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expelled from their island; but the Apollo of Delphi pleaded for his birthplace, and in 421 the survivors were permitted to return.
Soon after this date may be placed a memorable and picturesque incident in the history of the island—the sacred embassy from Athens which was led by Nicias. The new Delian festival fell in the third year of each Olympiad: this embassy probably belonged to the first celebration after the peace of 421 B.C.,—that, namely, of Ol. 90. 3, or 418 B.C. Hitherto, it appears, an unseemly disorder had attended the arrival of sacred missions at the island. On the approach of vessels from the various cities, bringing the choruses who were to chant Apollo's praise, a crowd had thronged down to welcome them at the harbour of Delos. The persons (Δηλιασταί) who were to form the sacred procession had been compelled to disembark hurriedly, in the very act of donning their festal garb and adjusting the wreaths upon their heads. An idle population—those "parasites of Greece" whom Delos nourished—had been accustomed to press around them as soon as they touched the shore, to impede their movements, and to derange the spectacle of their progress to the shrine. Nicias was resolved to prevent this indecorum. Instead of proceeding directly to Delos, he landed, with his chorus, with the animals destined for sacrifice, and with all his sacred gear, on the adjacent isle of Rheneia. A wooden bridge had been prepared at Athens, and brought in pieces on a ship. During the night this bridge was erected, not,