Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

LCL 108: 118-119

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Thucydides

9ἀσχολίαν ἐπίπονον· ὥστε εἴ τις αὐτοὺς ξυνελὼν φαίη πεφυκέναι ἐπὶ τῷ μήτε αὐτοὺς ἔχειν ἡσυχίαν μήτε τοὺς ἄλλους ἀνθρώπους ἐᾶν, ὀρθῶς ἂν εἴποι.

LXXI. “Ταύτης μέντοι τοιαύτης ἀντικαθεστηκυίας πόλεως, ὦ Λακεδαιμόνιοι, διαμέλλετε καὶ οἴεσθε τὴν ἡσυχίαν οὐ τούτοις τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐπὶ πλεῖστον ἀρκεῖν, οἳ ἂν τῇ μὲν παρασκευῇ δίκαια πράσσωσι, τῇ δὲ γνώμῃ, ἢν ἀδικῶνται, δῆλοι ὦσι μὴ ἐπιτρέψοντες, ἀλλ᾿ ἐπὶ τῷ μὴ λυπεῖν τε τοὺς ἄλλους καὶ αὐτοὶ ἀμυνόμενοι μὴ βλάπτεσθαι 2τὸ ἴσον νέμετε. μόλις δ᾿ ἂν πόλει ὁμοίᾳ παροικοῦντες ἐτυγχάνετε τούτου· νῦν δ᾿, ὅπερ καὶ ἄρτι ἐδηλώσαμεν, ἀρχαιότροπα ὑμῶν τὰ ἐπιτηδεύματα 3πρὸς αὐτούς ἐστιν. ἀνάγκη δὲ ὥσπερ τέχνης αἰεὶ τὰ ἐπιγιγνόμενα κρατεῖν· καὶ ἡσυχαζούσῃ μὲν πόλει τὰ ἀκίνητα νόμιμα ἄριστα, πρὸς πολλὰ δὲ ἀναγκαζομένοις ἰέναι πολλῆς καὶ τῆς ἐπιτεχνήσεως δεῖ. δι᾿ ὅπερ καὶ τὰ τῶν Ἀθηναίων ἀπὸ τῆς πολυπειρίας ἐπὶ πλέον ὑμῶν κεκαίνωται.

4“Μέχρι μὲν οὖν τοῦδε ὡρίσθω ὑμῶν ἡ βραδυτής· νῦν δὲ τοῖς τε ἄλλοις καὶ Ποτειδεάταις, ὥσπερ ὑπεδέξασθε, βοηθήσατε κατὰ τάχος ἐσβαλόντες ἐς τὴν Ἀττικήν, ἵνα μὴ ἄνδρας τε φίλους καὶ ξυγγενεῖς τοῖς ἐχθίστοις πρόησθε καὶ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἄλλους ἀθυμίᾳ πρὸς ἑτέραν τινὰ ξυμμαχίαν

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Book I

greater calamity than laborious activity. Therefore if a man should sum up and say that they were born neither to have peace themselves nor to let other men have it, he would simply speak the truth.

LXXI. “And yet, although you have such a state ranged against you, O Lacedaemonians, you go on delaying and forget that a peaceful policy suffices long only for those who, while they employ their military strength only for just ends, yet by their spirit show plainly that they will not put up with it if they are treated with injustice; whereas you practise fair dealing on the principle of neither giving offence to others nor exposing yourselves to injury in self-defence.1 But it would be difficult to carry out such a policy successfully if you had as neighbour a state just like yourselves; whereas now, as we have just shown, your practices are old-fashioned as compared with theirs. But in politics, as in the arts, the new must always prevail over the old. It is true that when a state is at peace the established practices are best left unmodified, but when men are compelled to enter into many undertakings there is need of much improvement in method. It is for this reason that the government of the Athenians, because they have undertaken many things, has undergone greater change than yours.

“Here, then, let your dilatoriness end; at this moment succour both the Potidaeans and the rest of your allies, as you promised to do, by invading Attica without delay, that you may not betray your friends and kinsmen to their bitterest enemies, and drive the rest of us in despair to seek some other

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.thucydides-history_peloponnesian_war.1919