Nicias was a Athenian politician and general during the war. His wealth came from inheritance which was invested in silver mines and numerous slaves which would be rented by the citizens for a payment in return. However, Nicias had one flaw that would led to his downfall...he was religiously superstitious.
It all happened during the "Sicilian Expedition" led by a wildly popular fellow politician and general Alcibiades in which Nicias was dragged along. Earlier Nicias was against the expedition as he knew there's a high chance that the mission to take Sicily won't end well. However, due to Alcibiades' massive popularity, no one listened to Nicias' warning.
While on their way to Sicily, a ship caught up and one of the men said, "Alcibiades, we're here to take you back to Athens for you to stand trial as you have been accused of defacing the herms of the city!"
Alcibiades shrugged and said, "Okay...Nicias, it's your problem now, see ya sucker!"
The problems piled on Nicias' shoulders grew heavier by the minute.
Once the fleet reached Sicily, the troops were disembarked and camped out right outside of Syracuse. There, Nicias and the troops spend the night preparing for the battle that could enable them to take control of the entire island...little do they know, Syracusans also have a formidable army as well. After series of stalemates, it became clear the attempted invasion of Sicily isn't going anywhere. Eventually Nicias decided to withdraw and bring the troops back to Athens as he knew such thing would happen, just hoped that he was wrong.
As they were preparing to leave Sicily, something happened...Nicias looked up and to his horror, it's a eclipse!
"Oh my gods, the moon...it blinded us out...it's bad luck, what can we do?" Nicias yelled.
One of his men said, "Maybe Artemis is trying to warn us about something, we should sit there for thirty days until it blows over."
As the Athenian troops camped out, waiting for thirty days to pass, couple of Syracusan soldiers spotted them and to their surprise, the ships were left unguarded!
"Dude, did they just left their ships alone?"
"Seemed that way, what do you think we should do?"
The soldier took out a flaming arrow and said with a grin, "Let's torch'em!"
Nicias dreamt that he was lying at his olive garden being fed grapes by his servants when he woke up smelling smoke...
"What the Hades is going o-OH DEAR GODS!"
Nicias watched helplessly as the entire fleet were up in flames, their ticket back to Athens...all gone!
The day day, Nicias and his army scoured the entire island hoping to find a city willing to lend them ships to allow them to return home. As they were doing so, they were stalked by Syracusan troops who then picked off the Athenians one by one. As time went by, some of the Athenians fell due to illness while others went to take a drink at the rivers...only to get ambushed by the Syracusan troops hiding by the river bank. After that, it was all over as Nicias and his troops surrendered.
Meanwhile back in Athens, the citizens were awaiting the news of their victory in Sicily when a package was delivered. The Athenians believe it was a news send to them by Nicias on the news of their victory only to find a pile of rotten fish wrapped in robes. On the robe is a message written,
Nicias now sleeps with the fishes!