81.Confidence might possibly be felt in our superiority in heavy infantry and
population, which will enable us to invade and devastate their lands.
But the Athenians have plenty of other land in their empire, and can import
what they want by sea.
Again, if we are to attempt an insurrection of their allies, these will
have to be supported with a fleet, most of them being islanders.
What then is to be our war?For unless we can either beat them at sea, or deprive them of the revenues
which feed their navy, we shall meet with little but disaster.
Meanwhile our honor will be pledged to keeping on, particularly if it be
the opinion that we began the quarrel.
For let us never be elated by the fatal hope of the war being quickly ended
by the devastation of their lands.I fear rather that we may leave it as a legacy to our children; so improbable is it that the Athenian spirit will be the slave of their
land, or Athenian experience be cowed by war.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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