History of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides

Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.

The navies, then, of the Hellenes during the period we have traversed were what I have described.

All their insignificance did not prevent their being an element of the greatest power to those who cultivated them, alike in revenue and in dominion.

They were the means by which the islands were reached and reduced, those of the smallest area falling the easiest prey.

Wars by land there were none, none at least by which power was acquired;

we have the usual border contests,

but of distant expeditions with conquest for object we hear nothing among the Hellenes.

There was no union of subject cities round a great state,

no spontaneous combination of equals for confederate expeditions;

what fighting there was consisted merely of local warfare between rival neighbors.

The nearest approach to a coalition took place in the old war between Chalcis and Eretria; this was a quarrel in which the rest of the Hellenic name did to some extent take sides.