previous next

[244a] of the war against the men at Eleusis.1 And the cause of all these actions was nothing else than that genuine kinship which produces, not in word only but in deed, a firm friendship founded on community of race. And of those who fell in this war also it is meet to make mention and to reconcile them by such means as we can under present conditions,—by prayer, that is, and by sacrifice,—praying for them to those that have them in their keeping, seeing that we ourselves also have been reconciled. [244b] For it was not through wickedness that they set upon one another, nor yet through hatred, but through misfortune. And to this we ourselves, who now live, can testify; for we who are of the same stock as they grant forgiveness to one another both for what we have done and what we have suffered. After this, when peace was completely re-established, the city remained quiet, granting forgiveness to the barbarians for the vigorous defence they had offered when she had done them injury, but feeling aggrieved with the Greeks at the thought of the return they had made for the benefits she had done them, [244c] in that they joined themselves to the barbarians, and stripped her of those ships which had once been the means of their own salvation, and demolished her walls as a recompense for our saving their walls from ruin.2 Our city, therefore, resolved that never again would she succour Greeks when in danger of enslavement either by one another or at the hands of barbarians; and in this mind she abode. Such then being our policy, the Lacedaemonians supposed that we, the champions of liberty, were laid low, and that it was now open to them to enslave the rest, and this [244d] they proceeded to do. But why should I prolong the story? For what followed next is no tale of ancient history about men of long ago. Nay, we ourselves know how the Argives, the Boeotians and the Corinthians—the leading States of Greece—came to need our city, being stricken with terror, and how even the Persian king himself—most marvellous fact of all—was reduced to such a state of distress that eventually he could hope for salvation from no other quarter save this city of ours [244e] which he had been so eager to destroy. And in truth, if one desired to frame a just accusation against the city, the only true accusation one could bring would be this,—that she has always been compassionate to excess and the handmaid of the weak. And in fact, on that occasion, she proved unable to harden her heart and adhere firmly to her resolved policy of refusing to assist any in danger of enslavement against those who wronged them;

1 i.e. the oligarchical party at Athens who held sway for about eighteen months (404-403 B.C.) till ousted by the democrats under Thrasybulus.

2 These formed part of the terms exacted by the Spartans after the battle of Aegospotami, B.C. 405.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Eleusis (Greece) (1)
Athens (Greece) (1)
Aegospotami (Turkey) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
405 BC (1)
hide References (1 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 1080-1083
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: