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And these feelings would be found, not only among you, but in the whole of Greece: for in the case of this crime alone, under both democracy and oligarchy, the same requital is accorded to the weakest against the strongest, so that the lowest gets the same treatment as the highest.The general statement in these last words shows that the full sense of the preceding is: “the same requital is accorded to the weakest against the strongest as to the strongest against the weakest.” Thus you see, sirs, how all men abominate this outra
For indeed, being of noble stock and having minds as noble, the ancestors of those who lie here achieved many noble and admirable things; but ever memorable and mighty are the trophies that their descendants have everywhere left behind them owing to their valor. For they alone risked their all in defending the whole of Greece against many myriads of the barbarians.
For the King of Asia, not content with the wealth that he had already, but hoping to enslave Europe as well, dispatched an army of five hundred thousand. These, supposing that, if they obtained the willing friendship of this city or overwhelmed its resistance, they would easily dominate the rest of the Greeks, landed at Marathon, thinking that we should be most destitute of allies if they made their venture at a moment when Greece was in dissension as to the best means of repelling the invaders.
They proved their worth as men, neither sparing their limbs nor cherishing their lives when valor called, and had more reverence for their city's laws than fear of their perils in face of the enemy; and so in their own land they set up on behalf of Greece a trophy of victory over the barbarians, who had invaded others' territory for money,
Thereafter Xerxes, King of Asia, who had held Greece in contempt, but had been deceived in his hopes, who was dishonored by the event, galled by the disaster, and angered against its authors, and who was unused to ill-hap and unacquainted with true men, in ten years' time prepared for war and came with twelve hundred ships; and the land army that he brought was so immense in numbers that to enumerate even the nations that followed in his train would be a lengthy task.
But while Greece showed these inclinations, the Athenians, for their part, embarked in their ships and hastened to the defence of Artemisium; while the Lacedaemonians and some of their allies went off to make a stand at Thermopylae, judging that the narrowness of the ground would enable them to secure the passage.
So having to choose one of two courses, either to desert their native land or to join the barbarians in enslaving the Greeks, they decided to prefer freedom together with valor and poverty and exile to their country's servitude in infamy and wealth: they left their city for the sake of Greece, that they might challenge each of the two forcesi.e., the fleet and the army of the Persians. in turn, not both at once.
They deposited their children and wives and mothers safe in Salamis, and assembled to their aid the ships of their allies. A few days later both the land army and the fleet of the barbarians appeared; at such a sight, who would not have been afraid of the greatness and terror of the danger that had come upon our city in her struggle for the freedom of Greece?
Hence it was just that they should receive from Greece without dispute the prize of prowess in the sea-fight, and reasonable that they should attain a prosperity in accord with the measure of their perils, having taught the barbarians of Asia that their own valor was genuine and native to their soil.
By thus proving their quality in the sea-fight, and bearing by far the greatest share in its dangers, they obtained through their particular prowess a general access of freedom for the rest of Greece. But after this the Peloponnesians built a wall across the Isthmus; and being satisfied with their safety, and considering that they were now rid of the peril from the sea, they were disposed to stand by and see the other Greeks subdued by the barbarians.