History of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides

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

I shall begin with our ancestors:

it is both just and proper that they should have the honor of the first mention on an occasion like the present.

They dwelt in the country without break in the succession from generation to generation, and handed it down free to the present time by their valor.

And if our more remote ancestors deserve praise, much more do our own fathers,

who added to their inheritance the empire which we now possess, and spared no pains to be able to leave their acquisitions to us of the present generation.

Lastly, there are few parts of our dominions that have not been augmented by those of us here, who are still more or less in the vigor of life;

while the mother country has been furnished by us with everything that can enable her to depend on her own resources whether for war or for peace.

That part of our history which tells of the military achievements which gave us our several possessions, or of the ready valor with which either we or our fathers stemmed the tide of Hellenic or foreign aggression, is a theme too familiar to my hearers for me to dilate on, and I shall therefore pass it by.

But what was the road by which we reached our position, what the form of government under which our greatness grew, what the national habits out of which it sprang; these are questions which I may try to solve before I proceed to my panegyric upon these men; since I think this to be a subject upon which on the present occasion a speaker may properly dwell, and to which the whole assemblage, whether citizens or foreigners, may listen with advantage.