73.We were not sent here to argue with your allies, but on a special mission;observing,
however, that no small outcry has arisen against us, we have come forward, not to answer
the accusations which they bring (for you are not judges before whom either we or they
have to plead), but to prevent you from lending too ready an ear to their bad advice and
so deciding wrongly about a very serious question. We propose also, in reply to the wider charges which are raised against us, to show
that what we have acquired we hold rightfully and that our city is not to be
'Of the ancient deeds handed down by tradition and which no eye of any one who hears
us1 ever saw, why should we speak?But of the Persian War, and other events which you yourselves remember, speak we
must,2 although we have brought them forward so
often that the repetition of them is disagreeable to us3.When we faced those perils we did so for the common benefit: in the solid good you
shared, and of the glory, whatever good there may be in that, we would not be wholly
Our words are not designed to deprecate hostility, but to set forth in evidence the
character of the city with which, unless you are very careful, you will soon be involved
We tell you that we, first and alone, dared to engage with the Barbarian at Marathon,
and that when he came again, being too weak to defend ourselves by land, we and our
whole people embarked on shipboard and shared with the other Hellenes in the victory
of Salamis. Thereby he was prevented from sailing to the Peloponnesus and ravaging city after city;
for against so mighty a fleet how could you have helped one another?
He himself is the best witness of our words;for when he was once defeated at sea, he
felt that his power was gone and quickly retreated with the greater part of his army.
They recall the memory of their services in the Persian War.
2 Or, 'although it may be disagreeable to you to hear what
we are always bringing forward.'
'although it may be disagreeable to you to hear what we are always bringing
Thucydides translated into English; with introduction, marginal analysis, notes, and indices. Volume 1. Thucydides. Benjamin Jowett. translator. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1881.
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