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Peace the Only Unquestioned Blessing

But in the course of time, when the Arcadians advanced
The ancient privileges of Elis lost.
a claim for Lasion and the whole district of Pisa, being forced to defend their territory and change their habits of life, they no longer troubled themselves in the least about recovering from the Greeks their ancient and ancestral immunity from pillage, but were content to remain exactly as they were. This in my opinion was a short-sighted policy. For peace is a thing we all desire, and are willing to submit to anything to obtain: it is the only one of our so-called blessings that no one questions. If then there are people who, having the opportunity of obtaining it, with justice and honour, from the Greeks, without question and for perpetuity, neglect to do so, or regard other objects as of superior importance to it, must we not look upon them as undoubtedly blind to their true interests? But if it be objected that, by adopting such a mode of life, they would become easily open to attack and exposed to treachery: I answer that such an event would be rare, and if it did happen, would be a claim on the aid of united Greece; but that for minor injuries, having all the wealth which unbroken peace would be sure to bring them, they would never have been at a loss for foreign soldiers or mercenaries to protect them at certain places and times. As it is, from dread of what is occasional and unlikely, they involve their country and property in perpetual wars and losses.

My object in thus speaking is to admonish the Eleans: for they have never had a more favourable time than the present to get back their ancient privilege of exemption from pillage, which is universally acknowledged to belong to them. Even now, some sparks, so to speak, of their old habit remaining, Elis is more thickly populated than other districts.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ELIS
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