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But I urged that we should take warning from the Sicilian expedition, which was sent out to help the people of Leontini, at a time when the enemy were already in our own territory and Deceleia was fortified against us; and that final act of folly, when, outmatched in the war, and offered terms of peace by the Lacedaemonians, with the agreement that we should hold not only Attica, but Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros also, and retain the constitutional democracy, the people would have none of it, but chose to go on with a war that was beyond their powers. And Cleophon, the lyre-maker, whom many remembered as a slave in fetters, who had dishonourably and fraudulently got himself enrolled as a citizen, and had corrupted the people by distribution of money,1 threatened to take his knife and slit the throat of any man who should make mention of peace.
1 Aristot. Const. Ath. 28 tells us that it was Cleophon who introduced the two obol donation from the treasury to provide a free seat in the theatre for every citizen who applied for it. This was the beginning of the Theorika, recognized in the time of Aeschines as one of the greatest abuses in the democracy.
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