'And yet if we must call in allies and involve ourselves in dangers, as men of sense, looking1
to the interest of our several states, we should set before us the prospect of gaining an increase of dominion, not of losing what we already have. We should consider that internal quarrels more than anything else are the ruin of Sicily and her cities; we Sicilians are fighting against one another at the very time when we are threatened by a common enemy.
Knowing this, we should be reconciled man to man, city to city, and make an united effort for the preservation of all Sicily. Let no one say to himself, ‘The Dorians among us may be enemies to the Athenians, but the Chalcidians, being Ionians, are safe because they are their kinsmen.’ For the Athenians do not attack us because we are divided into two races, of which one is their enemy and the other their friend, but because they covet the good things of Sicily which we all share alike2
Is not their reception of the Chalcidian appeal a proof of this?3
They have actually gone out of their way to grant the full privileges of their old treaty to those who up to this hour have never aided them as required by the terms of that treaty.
The ambition and craft of the Athenians are pardonable enough. I blame not those who wish to rule, but those who are willing to serve. The same human nature which is always ready to domineer over the subservient, bids us defend ourselves against the aggressor.
And if, knowing all these things, we continue to take no thought for the future, and have not, every one of us, made up our minds already that first and foremost we must all deal wisely with the danger which threatens all, we are grievously in error.
'Now a mutual reconciliation would be the speediest way of deliverance from this danger;4
for the Athenians do not come direct from their own country, but first plant themselves in that of the Sicilians who have invited them. Instead of finishing one war only to begin another, we should then quietly end our differences by peace. And those who came at our call and had so good a reason for doing wrong will have a still better reason for going away and doing nothing.