The latter years of the Athenian Empire prove what happens when bad decisions of leadership are made and when those fighting do not even know exactly who they are fighting against. Even Nicias understood this ignorance as he saw the potential dangers in trying to conquer an island of Sicily's magnitude. Athens failed to assess the true "size of the island the number of its inhabitants." As a conlcusion to this observation, it justifies Nicias' perception that to conquer the island would be "a mighty deed." and his argument that even if victorious, "we would only be able to rule them with difficulty, their being at such a distance and so many."  Only when it's too late do the Athenians realize their mistake. Athens' main focus in the expedition was the prize, they were not concerned with the responsibilty that would come with that prize. But the truth is that although Athens experienced great defeat in Sicily, had they been successful in their conquest, they might have been worse off considering their financial situation and availability of resources, post-Sicilian Expedition.