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77. For because in our suits with our allies, regulated by treaty, we do not even stand upon our1 rights, but have instituted the practice of deciding them at Athens and by Athenian2 law, we are supposed to be litigious. [2] None of our opponents observe why others, who exercise dominion elsewhere and are less moderate than we are in their dealings with their subjects, escape this reproach. Why is it? Because men who practise violence have no longer any need of law. [3] But we are in the habit of meeting our allies on terms of equality, and, therefore, if through some legal decision of ours, or exercise of our imperial power, contrary to their own ideas of right, they suffer ever so little, they are not grateful for our moderation in leaving them so much, but are far more offended at their trifling loss than if we had from the first plundered them in the face of day, laying aside all thought of law. For then they would themselves have admitted that the weaker must give way to the stronger. [4] Mankind resent injustice more than violence, because the one seems to be an unfair advantage taken by an equal, the other is the irresistible force of a superior. [5] They were patient under the yoke of the Persian, who inflicted on them far more grievous3 wrongs; but now our dominion is odious in their eyes. And no wonder: the ruler of the day is always detested by his subjects. [6] And should your empire supplant ours, may not you lose the good-will which you owe to the fear of us? Lose it you certainly will, if you mean again to exhibit the temper of which you gave a specimen when, for a short time, you led the confederacy against the Persian. For the institutions under which you live are incompatible with those of foreign states; and further, when any of you goes abroad, he respects neither these nor any other Hellenic customs4

1 They were thought to be litigious, because they allowed their subjects a law other than the law of the stronger.

2 (?) by impartial law.

3 The ruler of the day is always unpopular

4 For the misconduct of Spartan officers abroad, cp. 1.95; 130; 3.3; 93 fin.; 8.84 init. Contrast Brasidas, 4.81.

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