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These were surely great achievements of Themistocles, but there was a greater still to come. When he saw that the citizens yearned for Aristides, and feared lest out of wrath he might join himself to the Barbarian and so subvert the cause of Hellas,—he had been ostracized before the war in consequence of political defeat at the hands of Themistocles,1—he introduced a bill providing that those who had been removed for a time be permitted to return home and devote their best powers to the service of Hellas along with the other citizens. [2]

When Eurybiades, who had the command of the fleet on account of the superior claims of Sparta, but who was faint-hearted in time of danger, wished to hoist sail and make for the Isthmus, where the infantry also of the Peloponnesians had been assembled, it was Themistocles who spoke against it, and it was then, they say, that these memorable sayings of his were uttered. When Eurybiades said to him, ‘Themistocles, at the games those who start too soon get a caning,’ ‘Yes,’ said Themistocles, ‘but those who lag behind get no crown.’ [3] And when Eurybiades lifted up his staff as though to smite him, Themistocles said: ‘Smite, but hear me.’ Then Eurybiades was struck with admiration at his calmness, and bade him speak, and Themistocles tried to bring him back to his own position. But on a certain one saying that a man without a city had no business to advise men who still had cities of their own to abandon and betray them, Themistocles addressed his speech with emphasis to him, saying: [4] ‘It is true, thou wretch, that we have left behind us our houses and our city walls, not deeming it meet for the sake of such lifeless things to be in subjection; but we still have a city, the greatest in Hellas, our two hundred triremes, which now are ready to aid you if you choose to be saved by them; but if you go off and betray us for the second time, straightway many a Hellene will learn that the Athenians have won for themselves a city that is free and a territory that is far better than the one they cast aside.’ [5] When Themistocles said this, Eurybiades began to reflect, and was seized with fear lest the Athenians go away and abandon him. And again, when the Eretrian tried to argue somewhat against him, ‘Indeed !’ said he, ‘what argument can ye make about war, who, like the cuttle-fish, have a long pouch in the place where your heart ought to be?’

1 Cf. Plut. Them. 5 fin.

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