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[94] these we must avoid, but first and foremost we should be careful that we are never found doing any cowardly deed or making any unjust concessions to the foe; for it would be shameful if we, who once1 were thought worthy to rule the Hellenes, should be seen carrying out their commands, and should fall so far below our forefathers that, while they were willing to die in order that they might dictate to others,2 we would not dare to hazard a battle in order that we might prevent others from dictating to us.

1 Spartan supremacy lasted, theoretically, more than thirty years, from the end of the Peloponnesian War (404 B.C.) to the battle of Leuctra. Meantime, however, the Athenians secured for a short period their second naval empire (378 B.C.).

2 Thucydides, i. 140, puts in the mouth of Pericles the assertion that the Spartans prefer to resolve their complaints by war and not by words, dictating terms instead of bringing charges.

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