History of the Peloponnesian War


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

That our intention was not hostile is proved by our behavior.

We did no harm to any one, but publicly invited those who wished to live under a national, Boeotian government to come over to us;

which at first you gladly did, and made an agreement with us and remained tranquil, until you became aware of the smallness of our numbers.

Now it is possible that there may have been something not quite fair in our entering without the consent of your commons.

At any rate you did not repay us in kind.

Instead of refraining, as we had done, from violence, and inducing us to retire by negotiation, you fell upon us in violation of your agreement, and slew some of us in fight, of which we do not so much complain, for in that there was a certain justice; but others who held out their hands and received quarter, and whose lives you subsequently promised us, you lawlessly butchered.

If this was not abominable, what is?

And after these three crimes committed one after the other—the violation of your agreement, the murder of the men afterwards, and the lying breach of your promise not to kill them, if we refrained from injuring your property in the country—you still affirm that we are the criminals and yourselves pretend to escape justice.

Not so, if these your judges decide aright, but you will be punished for all together.