previous next
86. And I myself, why am I here? I come, not to injure, but to emancipate the Hellenes. And I have bound the government of Lacedaemon by the most solemn oaths to respect the independence of any states which I may bring over to their side. I do not want to gain your alliance by1 force or fraud, but to give you ours, that we may free you from the Athenian yoke. [2] I think that you ought not to doubt my word when I offer you the most solemn pledges, nor should I be regarded as an inefficient champion; but you should confidently join me. [3] 'If any one among you hangs back because he has a personal fear of anybody else, and is under the impression that I shall hand over the city to a party, him above all I would reassure. [4] For I am not come hither to be the tool of a faction; nor do I conceive that the liberty which I bring you is of an ambiguous character; I should forget the spirit of my country were I to enslave the many to the few, or the minority to the whole people. [5] Such a tyranny would be worse than the dominion of the foreigner, and we Lacedaemonians should receive no thanks in return for our trouble, but, instead of honour and reputation, only reproach. We should lay ourselves open to the charges which are our best weapons against the Athenians, and in a far more detestable form, for they have never been great examples of virtue. [6] For to men of character there is more disgrace in seeking aggrandisement by specious deceit than by open violence2; the violent have the justification of strength which fortune gives them, but a policy of intrigue is insidious and wicked.

1 I am not the representative of a faction; and shall not enslave either the few or the many. The Lacedaemonians, unlike the Athenians, have a character, to lose.

2 Cp. 1.77 med.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (C.E. Graves, 1884)
load focus English (Thomas Hobbes, 1843)
load focus Greek (1942)
load focus English (1910)
hide References (48 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: