When the news of the victory came to Athens
, the people, contemplating the unexpected good fortune which had come to
the city after their former disasters, were elated over their successes and the populace in a
body offered sacrifices to the gods and gathered in festive assemblies; and for the war they
selected from their most stalwart men one thousand hoplites and one hundred horsemen, and in
addition to these they dispatched thirty triremes to Alcibiades, in order that, now that they
dominated the sea, they might lay waste with impunity the cities which favoured the
The Lacedaemonians, on the other hand, when
they heard of the disaster they had suffered at Cyzicus
, sent ambassadors to Athens
treat for peace, the chief of whom was Endius.1
When permission was given him, he took the floor and spoke succinctly and
in the terse fashion of Laconians, and for this reason I have decided not to omit the speech as
he delivered it.
"We want to be
at peace with you, men of Athens
, and that each
party should keep the cities which it now possesses and cease to maintain its garrisons in the
other's territory, and that our captives be ransomed, one Laconian for one Athenian. We are not
unmindful that the war is hurtful to both of us, but far more to you.
Never mind the words I use but learn from the facts. As for us, we till the entire
, but you only a small part2
. While to the
Laconians the war has brought many allies, from the Athenians it has taken away as many as it
has given to their enemies. For us the richest king to be found in the inhabited world3
defrays the cost of the war, for you the most poverty-stricken folk of the inhabited world.
Consequently our troops, in view of their generous pay, make
war with spirit, while your soldiers, because they pay the war-taxes out of their own pockets,
shrink from both the hardships and the costs of war.
second place, when we make war at sea, we risk losing only hulls among resources of the state,
while you have on board crews most of whom are citizens. And, what is the most important, even
if we meet defeat in our actions at sea, we still maintain without dispute the mastery on
land—for a Spartan foot-soldier does not even know what flight means—but
you, if you are driven from the sea, contend, not for the supremacy on land, but for
'It remains for me
to show you why, despite so many and great advantages we possess in the fighting, we urge you
to make peace. I do not affirm that Sparta
profiting from the war, but only that she is suffering less than the Athenians. Only fools find
satisfaction in sharing the misfortunes of their enemies, when it is in their power to make no
trial whatsoever of misfortune. For the destruction of the enemy brings no joy that can balance
the grief caused by the distress of one's own people.
for these reasons alone are we eager to come to terms, but because we hold fast to the custom
of our fathers; for when we consider the many terrible sufferings which are caused by the
rivalries which accompany war, we believe we should make it clear in the sight of all gods and
men that we are least responsible of all men for such things."