We have also other ways of carrying on the war, such as revolt of their allies, the surest method of depriving them of their revenues, which are the source of their strength, and establishment of fortified positions in their country, and various operations which cannot be foreseen at present.
For war of all things proceeds least upon definite rules, but draws principally upon itself for contrivances to meet an emergency; and in such cases the party who faces the struggle and keeps his temper best meets with most security, and he who loses his temper about it with correspondent disaster.
Let us also reflect that if it was merely a number of disputes of territory between rival neighbors, it might be borne; but here we have an enemy in Athens, that is a match for our whole coalition, and more than a match for any of its members; so that unless as a body and as individual nationalities and individual cities we make an unanimous stand against her, she will easily conquer us divided and in detail.
That conquest, terrible as it may sound, would, it must be known, have no other end than slavery pure and simple;
a word which Peloponnese cannot even hear whispered without disgrace, or without disgrace see so many states abused by one.
Meanwhile the opinion would be either that we were justly so used, or that we put up with it from cowardice, and were proving degenerate sons in not even securing for ourselves the freedom which our fathers gave to Hellas; and in allowing the establishment in Hellas of a tyrant state, though in individual states we think it our duty to put down sole rulers.
And we do not know how this conduct can be held free from three of the gravest failings, want of sense, of courage, or of vigilance.
For we do not suppose that you have taken refuge in that contempt of an enemy which has proved so fatal in so many instances,—a feeling which from the numbers that it has ruined has come to be called, not contemptuous but contemptible.