previous next
39. 'Then, again, our military training is in many respects superior to that of our adversaries.1 Our city is thrown open to the world, and we never expel a foreigner or prevent him from seeing or learning anything of which the secret if revealed to an enemy might profit him. We rely not upon management or trickery, but upon our own hearts and hands. And in the matter of education, whereas they from early youth are always undergoing laborious exercises which are to make them brave, we live at ease, and yet are equally ready to face2 the perils which they face3. [2] And here is the proof. The Lacedaemonians come into Attica not by themselves, but with their whole confederacy following; we go alone into a neighbour's country; and although our opponents are fighting for their homes and we on a foreign soil, we have seldom any difficulty in overcoming them. [3] Our enemies have never yet felt our united strength; the care of a navy divides our attention, and on land we are obliged to send our own citizens everywhere. But they, if they meet and defeat a part of our army, are as proud as if they had routed us all, and when defeated they pretend to have been vanquished by us all.

[4] 'If then we prefer to meet danger with a light heart but without laborious training, and with4 a courage which is gained by habit and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the gainers? Since we do not anticipate the pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest; and thus too our city is equally admirable in peace and in war.

1 In war we singly are a match for the Peloponnesian united; through we have no secrets and undergo no laborious training.

2 Or, 'perils such as our strength can bear;' or 'perils which are enough to daunt us.'

3 Or, 'perils such as our strength can bear;' or 'perils which are enough to daunt us.'

4 We are not enervated by culture, or vulgarised by wealth. We are all interested in public affairs, believing that nothing is lost by frce discussion. Our goodness to others springs not from interest, but from the generous confidence of freedom

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (E.C. Marchant, 1891)
load focus Greek (1942)
load focus English (Thomas Hobbes, 1843)
load focus English (1910)
hide References (67 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: