41.To sum up: I say that Athens is the school of Hellas,1 and that the individual Athenian in his own person seems to have the power of
adapting himself to the most varied forms of action with the utmost versatility and
This is no passing and idle word, but truth and fact; and the assertion is verified by
the position to which these qualities have raised the state.
For in the hour of trial Athens alone among her contemporaries is superior to the
report of her. No enemy who comes against her is indignant at the reverses which he
sustains at the hands of such a city; no subject complains that his masters are unworthy
And we shall assuredly not be without witnesses; there are mighty monuments of our
power which will make us the wonder of this and of succeeding ages; we shall not need
the praises of Homer or of any other panegyrist whose poetry may please for the
moment2, although his representation of the facts will not bear the
light of day. For we have compelled every land and every sea to open a path for our
valour, and have everywhere planted eternal memorials of our friendship and of our
Such is the city for whose sake these men nobly fought and died; they could not bear
the thought that she might be taken from them; and every one of us who survive should
gladly toil on her behalf.
In fine, Athens is the school of Hellas. She alone in the hour of trial rises
above her reputation. Her citizens need no poet to sing their praises: for every
land bears witness to their valour.
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