59.‘These things are not for your glory, men of Lacedaemon, nor to violate the common institutions of Greece and wrong your progenitors, nor to destroy us that have done you service for the hatred of another when you have received no injury from us yourselves, but to spare our lives, to relent, to have a moderate compassion in contemplation not only of the greatness of the punishment but also of who we are that must suffer and of the uncertainty where calamity may light, and that undeservedly.
Which we, as becometh us and our need compelleth us to do, cry aloud unto the common gods of Greece to persuade you unto producing the oath sworn by your fathers to put you in mind;and also we become here sanctuary men at the sepulchres of your fathers, crying out upon the dead not to suffer themselves to be in the power of the Thebans nor to let their greatest friends be betrayed into the hands of their greatest enemies, remembering them of that day upon which, though we have done glorious acts in their company, yet we are in danger at this day of most miserable suffering.
But to make an end of speaking (which is as necessary so most bitter to men in our case because the hazard of our lives cometh so soon after), for a conclusion we say that it was not to the Thebans that we rendered our city (for we would rather have died of famine, the most base perdition of all other), but we came out on trust in you.And it is but justice that if we cannot persuade you, you should set us again in the estate we were in and let us undergo the danger at our own election.
Also we require you, men of Lacedaemon, not only not to deliver us Plataeans, who have been most zealous in the service of the Grecians especially being sanctuary men, out of your own hands and your own trust into the hands of our most mortal enemies the Thebans but also to be our saviours and not to destroy us utterly, you that set at liberty all other Grecians.’
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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