143.Suppose, again, that they lay hands on the treasures at Olympia and Delphi, and tempt
our mercenary sailors with the offer of1 higher pay2, there might be serious danger, if we and our metics3 embarking alone were not still a match for them.But we are a match for them:and, best of all, our pilots are taken from our own
citizens, while no sailors are to be found so good or so numerous as ours in all the
rest of Hellas.
None of our mercenaries will choose to fight on their side for the sake of a few days'
high pay, when he will not only be an exile, but will incur greater danger, and will
have less hope of victory.
Such I conceive to be the prospects of the Peloponnesians.But we ourselves are free4 from the defects which I have noted in them; and we have great advantages.
If they attack our country by land, we shall attack theirs by sea;and the devastation,
even of part of Peloponnesus, will be a very different thing from that of all Attica.For they, if they want fresh territory, must take it by arms, whereas we have abundance
of land both in the islands and on the continent;
such is the power which the empire of
the sea gives.Reflect,if we were islanders, who would be more invulnerable?Let us imagine that we are, and acting in that spirit let us give up land and houses,
but keep a watch over the city and the sea. We should not under any irritation at the loss of our property give battle to the
Peloponnesians, who far outnumber us.
If we conquer, we shall have to fight over again with as many more;and5 if we fail, besides the
defeat, our confederacy, which is our strength, will be lost to us;for our allies will
rise in revolt when we are no longer capable of making war upon them.
Mourn not for houses and lands, but for men; men may gain these, but these will not
gain men.If I thought that you would listen to me, I would say to you, ‘
Go yourselves and destroy them, and thereby prove to the Peloponnesians that
none of these things will move you.
Our foreign sailors will not be temped by offers of high pay, and if they are,
we can do without them.
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