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53. the Athenian envoys who had been despatched from Samos with Pisander arrived at Athens, and made a speech before the people, giving a brief summary of their views, and particularly insisting that if Alcibiades were recalled and the democratic constitution changed, they could have the king as their ally, and would be able to overcome the Peloponnesians. [2] A number of speakers opposed them on the question of the democracy, the enemies of Alcibiades cried out against the scandal of a restoration to be effected by a violation of the constitution, and the Eumolpidae and Ceryces protested in behalf of the mysteries, the cause of his banishment, and called upon the gods to avert his recall; when Pisander, in the midst of much opposition and abuse, came forward, and taking each of his opponents aside asked him the following question:—In the face of the fact that the Peloponnesians had as many ships as their own confronting them at sea, more cities in alliance with them, and the king and Tissaphernes to supply them with money, of which the Athenians had none left, had he any hope of saving the state, unless some one could induce the king to come over to their side? [3] Upon their replying that they had not, he then plainly said to them: ‘This we cannot have unless we have a more moderate form of government, and put the offices into fewer hands, and so gain the king's confidence, and forthwith restore Alcibiades, who is the only man living that can bring this about. The safety of the state, not the form of its government, is for the moment the most pressing question, as we can always change afterwards whatever we do not like.'

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load focus Greek (1942)
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load focus English (Thomas Hobbes, 1843)
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