History of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides

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

For myself, though, as I said at first, the representative of a great city, and able to think less of defending myself than of attacking others, I am prepared to concede something in prevision of these dangers.

I am not inclined to ruin myself for the sake of hurting my enemies, or so blinded by animosity as to think myself equally master of my own plans and of fortune which I cannot command; but I am ready to give up anything in reason.

I call upon the rest of you to imitate my conduct of your own free will, without being forced to do so by the enemy.

There is no disgrace in connections giving way to one another, a Dorian to a Dorian, or a Chalcidian to his brethren; above and beyond this we are neighbors, live in the same country, are girt by the same sea, and go by the same name of Sicilians.

We shall go to war again, I suppose, when the time comes, and again make peace among ourselves by means of future congresses;

but the foreign invader, if we are wise, will always find us united against him, since the hurt of one is the danger of all; and we shall never, in future, invite into the island either allies or mediators.

By so acting we shall at the present moment do for Sicily a double service, ridding her at once of the Athenians, and of civil war, and in future shall live in freedom at home, and be less menaced from abroad.’