Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

LCL 108: 112-113

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κρατῦναι καὶ ὕστερον τὰ μακρὰ στῆσαι τείχη, ἐς τόδε τε αἰεὶ ἀποστεροῦντες οὐ μόνον τοὺς ὑπ᾿ ἐκείνων δεδουλωμένους ἐλευθερίας, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς ὑμετέρους ἤδη ξυμμάχους· οὐ γὰρ ὁ δουλωσάμενος, ἀλλ᾿ ὁ δυνάμενος μὲν παῦσαι, περιορῶν δὲ ἀληθέστερον αὐτὸ δρᾷ, εἴπερ καὶ τὴν ἀξίωσιν τῆς 2ἀρετῆς ὡς ἐλευθερῶν τὴν Ἑλλάδα φέρεται. μόλις δὲ νῦν γε ξυνήλθομεν καὶ οὐδὲ νῦν ἐπὶ φανεροῖς. χρῆν γὰρ οὐκ εἰ ἀδικούμεθα ἔτι σκοπεῖν, ἀλλὰ καθ᾿ ὅ τι ἀμυνούμεθα· οἱ γὰρ1 δρῶντες βεβουλευμένοι πρὸς οὐ διεγνωκότας ἤδη καὶ οὐ μέλλοντες 3ἐπέρχονται. καὶ ἐπιστάμεθα οἵᾳ ὁδῷ οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι καὶ ὅτι κατ᾿ ὀλίγον χωροῦσιν ἐπὶ τοὺς πέλας. καὶ λανθάνειν μὲν οἰόμενοι διὰ τὸ ἀναίσθητον ὑμῶν ἧσσον θαρσοῦσι, γνόντες δὲ 4εἰδότας περιορᾶν ἰσχυρῶς ἐγκείσονται. ἡσυχάζετε γὰρ μόνοι Ἑλλήνων, ὦ Λακεδαιμόνιοι, οὐ τῇ δυνάμει τινά, ἀλλὰ τῇ μελλήσει ἀμυνόμενοι, καὶ μόνοι οὐκ ἀρχομένην τὴν αὔξησιν τῶν ἐχθρῶν, 5διπλασιουμένην δὲ καταλύοντες. καίτοι ἐλέγεσθε ἀσφαλεῖς εἶναι, ὧν ἄρα ὁ λόγος τοῦ ἔργου ἐκράτει. τόν τε γὰρ Μῆδον αὐτοὶ ἴσμεν ἐκ περάτων γῆς πρότερον ἐπὶ τὴν Πελοπόννησον ἐλθόντα ἢ τὰ


Book I

strengthen their city after the Persian war,1 and afterwards to build their Long Walls,2 while up to this very hour you are perpetually defrauding of their freedom not only those who have been enslaved by them, but now even your own allies also. For the state which has reduced others to slavery does not in a more real fashion enslave them than the state which has power to prevent it, and yet looks carelessly on, although claiming as its preëminent distinction that it is the liberator of Hellas. And now at last we have with difficulty managed to come together, though even now without a clearly defined purpose. For we ought no longer to be considering whether we are wronged, but how we are to avenge our wrongs. For where men are men of action, it is with resolved plans against those who have come to no decision, it is at once and without waiting, that they advance. We know too by what method the Athenians move against their neighbours—that it is here a little and there a little. And as long as they think that, owing to your want of perception, they are undetected, they are less bold; but once let them learn that you are aware but complaisant, and they will press on with vigour. For indeed, O Lacedaemonians, you alone of the Hellenes pursue a passive policy, defending yourselves against aggression, not by the use of your power, but by your intention to use it; and you alone propose to destroy your enemies’ power, not at its inception, but when it is doubling itself.3 And yet you had the reputation of running no risks; but with you, it would seem, repute goes beyond reality. For example, the Persian, as we ourselves know, came from the ends of the earth as far as the Peloponnesus before your forces went

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.thucydides-history_peloponnesian_war.1919