On the Peace


Isocrates. Isocrates with an English Translation in three volumes, by George Norlin, Ph.D., LL.D. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1929-1982.

If, then, you will abide by the advice which I have given you, and if, besides, you will prove yourselves warlike by training and preparing for war but peaceful by doing nothing contrary to justice,[*](Repeated from Isoc. 2.24.) you will render not only this city but all the Hellenes happy and prosperous.

For no other of the states will dare to oppress them; on the contrary, they will hold back and studiously avoid aggression when they see the power of Athens on the alert and ready to go to the aid of the oppressed. But no matter what course the rest may take, our own position will be honorable and advantageous;

for if the foremost states resolve to abstain from acts of oppression, we shall have the credit for this blessing; but if, on the other hand, they attempt to oppress others, then all who fear them and suffer evil at their hands will come to us for refuge, with many prayers and supplications, offering us not only the hegemony but their own support.

So that we shall not lack for allies to help us to check the oppressors but shall find many ready and willing to join their forces to our own. For what city or what men will not be eager to share our friendship and our alliance when they see that the Athenians are at once the most just and the most powerful of peoples and are at the same time both willing and able to save the other states, while needing no help for themselves?

What a turn for the better should you expect the affairs of our city to take when we enjoy such good will from the rest of the Hellenes? What wealth will flow into Athens when through her all Hellas is made secure? And who among men will fail to praise those who will have been the authors of blessings so many and so great?