History of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides

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

Now you are not to think that either your generals or your soldiers have ceased to be a match for the forces originally opposed to them.

But you are to reflect that a general Sicilian coalition is being formed against us; that a fresh army is expected from Peloponnese, while the force we have here is unable to cope even with our present antagonists; and you must promptly decide either to recall us or to send out to us another fleet and army as numerous again, with a large sum of money, and some one to succeed me, as a disease in the kidneys unfits me for retaining my post.

I have, I think, some claim on your indulgence, as while I was in my prime I did you much good service in my commands.

But whatever you mean to do, do it at the commencement of spring and without delay as the enemy will obtain his Sicilian reinforcements shortly, those from Peloponnese after a longer interval; and unless you attend to the matter the former will be here before you, while the latter will elude you as they have done before.’