The two armies were now on the point of engaging, but first the several commanders addressed1
exhortations to their own contingents. The Mantineans were told that they were not only about to fight for their country, but would have to choose between dominion2
or slavery; having tried both, did they want to be deprived of the one, or to have any more acquaintance with the other? The Argives were reminded that in old times they had been sovereign, and more recently the equals of Sparta, in Peloponnesus; would they acquiesce for ever in the loss of their supremacy, and lose at the same time the chance of revenging themselves upon their hateful neighbours, who had wronged them again and again? The Athenians were told that it was glorious to be fighting side by side with a host of brave allies and to be found equal to the bravest. If they could conquer a Lacedaemonian army in Peloponnesus, they would both extend and secure their dominion, and need never fear an invader again.
Such were the exhortations addressed to the Argives and to their allies. But the Lacedaemonians, both in their warsongs and in the words which a man spoke to his comrade, did but remind one another of what their brave spirits knew already3
. For they had learned that true safety was to be found in long previous training, and not in eloquent exhortations uttered when they were going into action.