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118. Not long afterwards occurred the affairs of Corcyra and Potidaea, which have been already1 narrated, and the various other circumstances which led to the Peloponnesian War. [2] Fifty years elapsed between the retreat of Xerxes and the beginning of the war; during these years took place all those operations of the Hellenes against one another and against the Barbarian which I have been describing. The Athenians acquired a firmer hold over their empire and the city itself became a great power. The Lacedaemonians saw what was going on, but during most of the time they remained inactive and hardly attempted to interfere. They had never been of a temper prompt to take the field unless they were compelled; and they were in some degree embarrassed by wars near home. But the Athenians were growing too great to be ignored and were laying hands on their allies. They could now bear it no longer: they made up their minds that they must put out all their strength and overthrow the Athenian power by force of arms. And therefore they commenced the Peloponnesian War. [3] They had already voted in their own assembly that the treaty had been broken and that the Athenians were guilty2; they now sent to Delphi and asked the God if it would be for their advantage to make war. He is reported to have answered that, if they did their best, they would be conquerors, and that he himself, invited or uninvited, would take their part.

1 The history is resumed from chap. 88. The Lacedaemonians having decided to go to war, obtain the sanction of the Delphian oracle.

2 A But cp. 7.18 med.

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