Any other view of the case is condemned by
the facts.When you first asked us over, the fear which you held out was that of
danger to Athens if we let you come under the dominion of Syracuse;
and it is not right now to mistrust the very same argument by which you
claimed to convince us, or to give way to suspicion because we are come with
a larger force against the power of that city.Those whom you should really distrust are the Syracusans.
We are not able to stay here without you, and if we proved perfidious
enough to bring you into subjection, we should be unable to keep you in
bondage, owing to the length of the voyage and the difficulty of guarding
large, and in a military sense continental, towns: they, the Syracusans,
live close to you, not in a camp, but in a city greater than the force we
have with us, plot always against you, never let slip an opportunity once
as they have shown in the case of the Leontines and others, and now have
the face, just as if you were fools, to invite you to aid them against the
power that hinders this, and that has thus far maintained Sicily
We, as against them, invite you to a much more real safety, when we beg you
not to betray that common safety which we each have in the other, and to
reflect that they, even without allies, will, by their numbers, have always
the way open to you, while you will not often have the opportunity of
defending yourselves with such numerous auxiliaries; if, through your suspicions, you once let these go away unsuccessful or
defeated, you will wish to see if only a handful of them back again, when
the day is past in which their presence could do anything for you.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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