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139. Thus the demand for the banishment of the accursed made by the Lacedaemonians on the1 occasion of their first embassy was met by a counter demand on the part of2 Athens. They came again and again, and told the Athenians that they must raise the siege of Potidaea and restore Aegina to independence. Above all, and in the plainest terms, they insisted3 that if they wanted to avert war, they must rescind the decree which excluded the Megarians from the market of Athens and the harbours in the Athenian dominions. [2] But the Athenians would not listen to them, nor rescind the decree; alleging in reply that the Megarians had tilled the holy ground and the neutral borderland, and had received their runaway slaves. [3] Finally, there came from Sparta an embassy, consisting of Rhamphias, Melesippus, and Hegesander, who said nothing of all this, but only, “The Lacedaemonians desire to maintain peace;and peace there may be, if you will restore independence to the Hellenes. Whereupon the Athenians called an assembly and held a discussion; it seemed best to them to make up their minds and to give a complete and final answer. [4] Many came forward to speak, and much was said on both sides, some affirming that they ought to go to war, and others that this decree about the Megarians should be rescinded and not stand in the way of peace. At last Pericles the son of Xanthippus, who was the first man of his day at Athens, and the greatest orator and statesman, came forward and advised as follows:—

1 B.C. 432.

2 The Lacedaemonians make a final demand for the restoration of Hellenes. Speech of Pericles.

3 B.C. 432.

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