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44. 'I do not come forward either as an advocate of the Mytilenaeans or as their accuser; the1 question for us rightly considered is not, what are their crimes? but, what is for our interest? [2] If I prove them ever so guilty, I will not on that account bid you put them to death, unless it is expedient. Neither, if perchance there be some degree of excuse for them, would I have you spare them, unless it be clearly for the good of the state. [3] For I conceive that we are now concerned, not with the present, but with the future. When Cleon insists that the infliction of death will be expedient and will secure you against revolt in time to come, I, like him taking the ground of future expediency, stoutly maintain the contrary position; [4] and I would not have you be misled by the apparent fairness of his proposal, and reject the solid advantages of mine. You are angry with the Mytilenaeans, and the superior justice of his argument may for the moment attract you; but we are not at law with them, and do not want to be told what is just; we are considering a question of policy, and desire to know how we can turn them to account.

1 The question is one of policy, not of law. Your anger ought not to make you prefer justice to expediency.

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  • Commentary references to this page (26):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 1492
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 327
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 2, 2.11
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 2, 2.49
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 3, 3.21
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 3, 3.40
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 3, 3.43
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 3, 3.45
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 3, 3.46
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 3, 3.47
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 3, 3.54
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 3, 3.59
    • T. G. Tucker, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 8, 8.1
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 4, CHAPTER XXIII
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 4, CHAPTER XL
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 5, 5.26
    • C.E. Graves, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 5, 5.89
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.40
    • Harold North Fowler, Commentary on Thucydides Book 5, 5.111
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.102
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.43
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, 1.5
    • Charles D. Morris, Commentary on Thucydides Book 1, Introduction
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides Book 7, 7.47
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides Book 7, 7.48
    • Charles F. Smith, Commentary on Thucydides Book 7, 7.49
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Herbert Weir Smyth, A Greek Grammar for Colleges, PREPOSITIONS
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 1.3.1
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (14):
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