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After these words from the herald, the Athenians sent their own herald to the Boeotians to say that they had not done any wrong to the temple, and for the future would do it no more harm than they could help; not having occupied it originally in any such design, but to defend themselves from it against those who were really wronging them. [2] The law of the Hellenes was that conquest of a country, whether more or less extensive, carried with it possession of the temples in that country, with the obligation to keep up the usual ceremonies, at least as far as possible. [3] The Boeotians and most other people who had turned out the owners of a country, and put themselves in their places by force, now held as of right the temples which they originally entered as usurpers. [4] If the Athenians could have conquered more of Boeotia this would have been the case with them: as things stood, the piece of it which they had got they should treat as their own, and not quit unless obliged. [5] The water they had disturbed under the impulsion of a necessity which they had not wantonly incurred, having been forced to use it in defending themselves against the Boeotians who had first invaded Attica. [6] Besides, anything done under the pressure of war and danger might reasonably claim indulgence even in the eye of the god; or why, pray, were the altars the asylum for involuntary offences? Transgression also was a term applied to presumptuous offenders, not to the victims of adverse circumstances. [7] In short, which were most impious—the Boeotians who wished to barter dead bodies for holy places, or the Athenians who refused to give up holy places to obtain what was theirs by right? [8] The condition of evacuating Boeotia must therefore be withdrawn. They were no longer in Boeotia. They stood where they stood by the right of the sword. All that the Boeotians had to do was to tell them to take up their dead under a truce according to the national custom.

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load focus Notes (C.E. Graves, 1884)
load focus English (Benjamin Jowett, 1881)
load focus Greek (1942)
load focus English (Thomas Hobbes, 1843)
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