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Now up to this point I am sure that all men would acknowledge that our city has been the author of the greatest number of blessings, and that she should in fairness be entitled to the hegemony. But from this point on some take us to task, urging that after we succeeded to the sovereignty of the sea we brought many evils upon the Hellenes; and, in these speeches of theirs, they cast it in our teeth that we enslaved the Melians and destroyed the people of Scione.1

1 The Melan episode is dramatically told by Thucydides v. 84-116. Because the Melians refused to join the Delian Confederacy they were besieged and conquered by the Athenians, 416 B.C. The men of military age were put to the sword and the women and children sold into slavery. Five hundred Athenians were later settled there. Scione revolted from the Confederacy in 423 B.C. Reduced to subjection in 421 B.C., the people suffered the same fate as did the Melians later and their territory was occupied by Plataean refugees (Thuc. 4.120-130). These are blots on the record which Isocrates can at best condone. “Even the gods are not thought to be above reproach,” he says in the Isoc. 12.62-64, where he discusses frankly these sins of the Athenian democracy. Xenophon tells us that when the Athenians found themselves in like case with these conquered peoples after the disaster at Aegospotami they bitterly repented them of this injustice, Xen. Hell. 2.3.

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    • Isocrates, Panathenaicus, 62
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