9.‘Men of Peloponnesus, as for your country, how by valour it hath ever retained her liberty, and that being Dorians you are now to fight against Ionians, of whom you were ever wont to get the victory, let it suffice that I have touched it thus briefly.
But in what manner I intend to charge, that I am now to inform you of, lest the venturing by few at once, and not all together, should seem to proceed from weakness and so dishearten you.
I do conjecture that it was in contempt of us, and as not expecting to be fought withal, that the enemy both came up to this place, and that they have now betaken themselves carelessly and out of order to view the country.
But he that best observing such errors in his enemies shall also to his strength give the onset, not always openly and in ranged battle, but as is best for his present advantage, shall for the most part attain his purpose.
And these wiles carry with them the greatest glory of all, by which, deceiving most the enemy, a man doth most benefit his friends.
Therefore whilst they are secure without preparation, and intend, for aught I see, to steal away rather than to stay, I say, in this their looseness of resolution, and before they put their minds in order, I for my part with those I have chosen will, if I can, before they get away fall in upon the midst of their army running.
And you, Clearidas, afterwards, as soon as you shall see me to have charged and, as it is probable, to have put them into affright, take those that are with you, both Amphipolitans and all the rest of the confederates, and setting open the gates run out upon them, and with all possible speed come up to stroke of hand.
For there is great hope this way to terrify them, seeing they which come after are ever of more terror to the enemy than those that are already present and in fight.
And be valiant, as is likely you should that are a Spartan;and you, confederates, follow manfully, and believe that the parts of a good soldier are willingness, sense of shame, and obedience to his leaders;and that this day you shall either gain yourselves liberty by your valour, and to be called confederates of the Lacedaemonians, or else not only to serve the Athenians yourselves, and at the best, if you be not led captives nor put to death, to be in greater servitude than before, but also to be the hinderers of the liberty of the rest of the Grecians.
But be not you cowards, seeing how great a matter is at stake;and I, for my part, will make it appear that I am not more ready to persuade another than to put myself into action.’
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
This text was converted to electronic form by optical character recognition and has been proofread to a high level of accuracy.
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.