'Sicilians, the city to which I belong is not the least in Sicily, nor am I about to speak because1
Syracuse suffers more than other cities in the war, but because I want to lay before you the policy which seems to me best fitted to promote the common good of the whole country.
You well know, and therefore I shall not rehearse to you at length, all the misery of war. Nobody is driven into war by ignorance, and no one who thinks that he will gain anything from it is deterred by fear. The truth is that the aggressor deems the advantage to be greater than the suffering; and the side which is attacked would sooner run any risk than suffer the smallest immediate loss.
But when such feelings on the part of either operate unseasonably, the time for offering counsels of peace has arrived, and such counsels, if we will only listen to them, will be at this moment invaluable to us.
Why did we go to war? Simply from a consideration of our own individual interests, and with a view to our interests we are now trying by means of discussion to obtain peace; and if, after all, we do not before we separate succeed in getting our respective rights, we shall go to war again.