Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

LCL 108: 120-121

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Thucydides

5τρέψητε. δρῷμεν δ᾿ ἂν ἄδικον οὐδὲν οὔτε πρὸς θεῶν τῶν ὁρκίων οὔτε πρὸς ἀνθρώπων τῶν αἰσθανομένων· λύουσι γὰρ σπονδὰς οὐχ οἱ δι᾿ ἐρημίαν ἄλλοις προσιόντες, ἀλλ᾿ οἱ μὴ βοηθοῦντες οἷς ἂν 6ξυνομόσωσιν. βουλομένων δὲ ὑμῶν προθύμων εἶναι μενοῦμεν· οὔτε γὰρ ὅσια ἂν ποιοῖμεν μεταβαλλόμενοι οὔτε ξυνηθεστέρους ἂν ἄλλους εὕροιμεν. 7πρὸς τάδε βουλεύεσθε εὖ καὶ τὴν Πελοπόννησον πειρᾶσθε μὴ ἐλάσσω ἐξηγεῖσθαι ἢ οἱ πατέρες ὑμῖν παρέδοσαν.”

LXXII. Τοιαῦτα μὲν οἱ Κορινθιοι εἶπον. τῶν δὲ Ἀθηναίων ἔτυχε γὰρ πρεσβεία πρότερον ἐν τῇ Λακεδαίμονι περὶ ἄλλων παροῦσα, καὶ ὡς ᾔσθοντο τῶν λόγων, ἔδοξεν αὐτοῖς παριτητέα ἐς τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους εἶναι, τῶν μὲν ἐγκλημάτων πέρι μηδὲν ἀπολογησομένους, ὧν αἱ πόλεις ἐνεκάλουν, δηλῶσαι δὲ περὶ τοῦ παντὸς ὡς οὐ ταχέως αὐτοῖς βουλευτέον εἴη, ἀλλ᾿ ἐν πλέονι σκεπτέον. καὶ ἅμα τὴν σφετέραν πόλιν ἐβούλοντο σημῆναι ὅση εἴη δύναμιν, καὶ ὑπόμνησιν ποιήσασθαι τοῖς τε πρεσβυτέροις ὧν ᾔδεσαν καὶ τοῖς νεωτέροις ἐξήγησιν ὧν ἄπειροι ἦσαν, νομίζοντες μᾶλλον ἂν αὐτοὺς ἐκ τῶν λόγων πρὸς τὸ ἡσυχάζειν τραπέσθαι 2ἢ πρὸς τὸ πολεμεῖν. προσελθόντες οὖν τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις ἔφασαν βούλεσθαι καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐς τὸ πλῆθος αὐτῶν εἰπεῖν, εἴ τι μὴ ἀποκωλύοι. οἱ δὲ ἐκέλευόν τε παριέναι, καὶ παρελθόντες οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι ἔλεγον τοιάδε.

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Book I

alliance. If we took such a course we should be committing no wrong either in the sight of the gods we have sworn by or of men of understanding; for treaties are broken not by those who when left unsupported join others, but by those who fail to succour allies they have sworn to aid. But if you mean to be zealous allies we will stay; for in that case we should be guilty of impiety if we changed our friends, nor should we find others more congenial. In view of these things, be well advised, and make it your endeavour that the Peloponnesian league shall be no weaker under your leadership than when you inherited it from your fathers.”

LXXII. Thus spoke the Corinthians. But there happened to be present at Lacedaemon an embassy of the Athenians that had come on other business, and when they heard the various speeches they deemed it advisable to appear before the Lacedaemonians, not indeed to make any defence on the charges brought by the cities, but to make clear with regard to the whole question at issue that the Lacedaemonians should not decide it hastily but should take more time to consider it. At the same time they wished to show how great was the power of their own city, reminding the older men of what they already knew, and recounting to the younger things of which they were ignorant, in the belief that under the influence of their arguments the Lacedaemonians would be inclined to peace rather than war. Accordingly they approached the Lacedaemonians and said that they also wished, if there was nothing to hinder, to address their assembly. The Lacedaemonians invited them to present themselves, and the Athenians came forward and spoke as follows:

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.thucydides-history_peloponnesian_war.1919