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But if the Lacedaemonians act unjustly and insist on fighting, then, on the one hand, if the only question to be decided is whether we shall abandon Megalopolis to them or not, just indeed it is not, but I for my part agree to allow it and to offer no opposition to the people who shared the same dangers with usAt Mantinea.; but, on the other hand, if you are all aware that the capture of Megalopolis will be followed by an attack on Messene, I ask any of those who are now so hard on the Megalopolitans to tell me what he will advise us to do then.
But I shall get no answer. Yet you all know that, whether these speakers advise it or not, you are bound to help the Messenians, both for the sake of your sworn agreement with them and for the advantage that you derive from the preservation of their city. Just ask yourselves at what point you would begin to make your stand against Lacedaemonian injustice with more honor and generosity—with the defence of Megalopolis or with the defence of Messene
In the one case, you will show yourselves ready to help the Arcadians and eager to confirm the peace for which you faced danger on the field of battle. In the other case, everyone will see clearly that you wish to preserve Messene less for the sake of justice than for fear of the Lacedaemonians. But the proper course is in all things to find out what is right and then do it, though at the same time we must take care that what we do is expedient as well.
but they want it to be generally supposed that they are co-operating with each state to recover the territory that it claims, so that when they march against Messene on their own account, all the others will join heartily in the expedition, or else will put themselves in the wrong by making no adequate return for the support they have enjoyed in regaining what each state claimed as its own.
In order, then, that this unwillingness may not stand in the way of the weakening of Thebes, let us admit that Thespiae, Orchomenus and Plataea ought to be restored, and let us co-operate with their inhabitants and appeal to the other states, for it is a just and honorable policy not to allow ancient cities to be uprooted; but at the same time let us not abandon Megalopolis and Messene to their oppressors, nor allow the restoration of Plataea and Thespiae to blind us to the destruction of existing and established states.
Therefore when Alexander, contrary to the oaths and the compacts as set forth in the general peace, restored those tyrants, the sons of Philiades,Tyrant of Messene in the time of Philip. His sons, Neon and Thrasymachus, were expelled but restored by Alexander. Polybius, himself an Arcadian, born a century and a half later, enters a vigorous protest against Demosthenes' condemnation of
18.295, and claims that they had rendered valuable service in
freeing the Peloponnesian states from the yoke of Sparta and ensuring their prosperity
under the aegis of Macedonia
to Messene, had he any regard for
justice? Did he not rather give play to his own tyrannical disposition, showing
little regard for you and the joint agreeme
But these champions of tyranny might urge that the sons of Philiades were tyrants of Messene before the compact was made, and that that was why Alexander restored them. But it is a ridiculous principle to expel the Lesbian tyrants on the ground that their rule is an outrage—I mean the tyrants of Antissa and Eresus, who established themselves before the agreement—and yet to imagine that it re tyrants of Messene before the compact was made, and that that was why Alexander restored them. But it is a ridiculous principle to expel the Lesbian tyrants on the ground that their rule is an outrage—I mean the tyrants of Antissa and Eresus, who established themselves before the agreement—and yet to imagine that it is a matter of indifference at Messene, where the same harsh system pr