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85. 'Men of Acanthus, the Lacedaemonians have sent me out at the head of this army to justify the declaration which we made at the beginning of the war—that we were going to fight against the Athenians for the liberties of Hellas. [2] If we have been long in coming, the reason is that we were disappointed in the result of the war nearer home; for we had hoped that, without involving you in danger, we might ourselves have made1 a speedy end of the Athenians. And therefore let no one blame us; [3] we have come as soon as we could, and with your help will do our best to overthrow them. [4] But how is it that you close your gates against me, and do not greet my arrival? We Lacedaemonians thought that we were coming to those who even before we came in act were our allies in spirit, and would joyfully receive us; having this hope we have braved the greatest dangers, marching for many days through a foreign country, and have shown the utmost zeal in your cause. [5] And now, for you to be of another mind and to set yourselves against the liberties of your own city and of all Hellas would be monstrous! [6] The evil is not only that you resist me yourselves, but wherever I go people will be less likely to join me; they will take it amiss when they hear that you to whom I first came, representing a powerful city and reputed to be men of sense, did not receive me, and I shall not be able to give a satisfactory explanation,2 but shall have to confess either that I offer a spurious liberty, or that I am weak3 and incapable of protecting you against the threatened attack of the Athenians. [7] And yet when I brought assistance to Nisaea in command of the army which I have led hither, the Athenians, though more numerous, refused to engage with me; and they are not likely now, when their forces must be conveyed by sea, to send an army against you equal to that which they had at Nisaea4.

1 We come to you as the liberators of Hellas: why do you close your gates against us? Your refusal to admit us will have a bad effect on other ties. We are able and willing to help you. We were too strong for the Athenians at Nisaea.

2 Or, taking ἐπιφέρειν after αἰτίαν ἕξω: 'but shall be deemed either to offer a spurious liberty, or to be weak.'

3 Or, taking ἐπιφέρειν after αἰτίαν ἕξω: 'but shall be deemed either to offer a spurious liberty, or to be weak.'

4 Cp. 4.108 fin.

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