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57. 'Consider, before you act, that hitherto you have been generally esteemed among Hellenes to1 be a pattern of nobility; if you decide unjustly (and this judgment cannot be hidden, for you, the judges, are famous, and we, who are judged by you, are of good repute), mankind will be indignant at the strange and disgraceful sentence which will have been passed against good men by men still better2. They will not endure to see spoils taken from us, the benefactors of Hellas, dedicated by our enemies in the common temples. [2] Will it not be deemed a monstrous thing that the Lacedaemonians should desolate Plataea; that they, whose fathers inscribed the name of the city on the tripod at Delphi in token of her valour3, should for the sake of the Thebans blot out the whole people from the Hellenic world? [3] For to this we have come at last. When the Persians conquered our land, we were all but ruined; and now, when we plead before you, who were once our dearest friends, the Thebans have prevailed against us. We have had to meet two terrible trials, the danger first of starvation, if we had not given up the city; [4] and secondly, of condemnation to death. The Plataeans, who were zealous in the cause of Hellas even beyond their strength, are now friendless, spurned and rejected by all. None of our old allies will help us, and we fear that you, O Lacedaemonians, our only hope, are not to be depended upon.

1 Remember your own reputation: do not out-rage Hellenic sentiment by allowing Plataea, whose name your fathers inscribed on the Delphian tripod, to be blotted out in order to please the Thebans.

2 Cp. iii,53 fin.

3 Cp. 1.132 init.

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