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67. 'We have entered into particulars, Lacedaemonians, both for your sakes and for our own,1 that you may know the sentence which you are going to pass on them to be just, and still more righteous the vengeance which we have taken. [2] Do not let your hearts be softened by tales about their ancient virtues, if they ever had any; such virtues might plead for the injured, but should bring a double penalty2 on the authors of a base deed, because they are false to their own character. Let them gain nothing by their pitiful lamentations, or by appealing to your fathers' tombs and their own desolate condition. [3] We tell you that a far sadder fate was inflicted by them on our murdered youth, of whose fathers some fell at Coronea in the act of bringing Boeotia to join you, while others are left in their old age by their solitary hearths, and entreat you, with far better reason, to punish the Plataeans. [4] Men who suffer an unworthy fate are indeed to be pitied, but there should be joy over those who suffer justly, as these do. For their present desolation they may thank themselves; [5] they might have chosen the worthier alliance, but they wilfully renounced it. They sinned against us though we had never injured them; the spirit of hatred and not of justice possessed them, and even now they are not punished half enough. For they are going to suffer by a lawful sentence, not, as they pretend, stretching out their suppliant hands on the field of battle, but delivering themselves up to justice under the terms of a capitulation. [6] Maintain then, Lacedaemonians, the common Hellenic law which they have outraged, and give to us, who have suffered contrary to law, the just recompense of our zeal' in your cause. Do not be moved by their words to spurn and reject us3 but show Hellas by example that, when a cause is tried at your tribunal, deeds and not words will prevail. If the deeds be good, a brief statement of them is enough; if they be evil, speeches full of fine sentiments do but veil them. [7] If all persons in authority were like you, and would sum up a case in a short question, and pass sentence upon all the offenders at once, men would be less tempted to seek out fair words in order to excuse foul deeds.'

1 You should know the truth about the Plataeans If they had the virtues to which they pretend, they deserve a double punishment. Pity not them, but their victims. For their misfortunes they may thank themselves. Put the question to them again.

2 Cp. 1.86 init

3 Cp. 3.57 fin.

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load focus Notes (E.C. Marchant, 1909)
load focus Notes (Charles F. Smith, 1894)
load focus English (Thomas Hobbes, 1843)
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