142.Their greatest difficulty will be want of money, which they can only provide slowly;delay1 will thus occur, and war waits for no man.
Further, no fortified place which they can raise against us2 is to be feared any more than their navy.
As to the first, even in time of peace it would be hard for them to build a city able
to compete with Athens; and how much more so when they are in an enemy's country, and
our walls will be a menace to them quite as much as theirs to us!
Or, again, if they simply raise a fort in our territory, they may do mischief to some
part of our lands by sallies, and the slaves may desert to them;but that will not prevent us from sailing to the Peloponnese and there raising forts
against them, and defending ourselves there by the help of our navy, which is our strong
For we have gained more experience of fighting on land from warfare at sea than they of
naval affairs from warfare on land.
And they will not easily acquire the art of seamanship3;
even you yourselves, who have been practising ever since the Persian War, are not yet
perfect.How can they, who are not sailors, but tillers of the soil, do much? They will not even be permitted to practise, because a large fleet will constantly be
lying in wait for them.
If they were watched by a few ships only, they might run the risk, trusting to their
numbers and forgetting their inexperience;but if they are kept off the sea by our
superior strength,their want of practice will make them unskilful, and
their want4 of skill timid.
Maritime skill is like skill of other kinds,not a thing to be cultivated by the way or
at chance times; it is jealous of any other pursuit which distracts the mind for an
instant from itself.
They cannot do you any real harm by building a rival city or fortified posts in
Attica nor can they, mere landsmen as they are, rival you at sea.
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