11.‘Men of Peloponnesus and confederates, not only our fathers have had many wars, both within and without Peloponnesus, but we ourselves also, such as are anything in years, have been sufficiently acquainted therewith;yet did we never before set forth with so great a preparation as at this present.And now, not only we are a numerous and puissant army that invade, but the state also is puissant that is invaded by us.
We have reason therefore to show ourselves neither worse than our fathers nor short of the opinion conceived of ourselves.For all Greece is up at this commotion observing us, and through their hatred to the Athenians do wish that we may accomplish whatsoever we intend.
And therefore, though we seem to invade them with a great army and to have much assurance that they will not come out against us to battle, yet we ought not for this to march the less carefully prepared but of every city, as well the captain as the soldier, to expect always some danger or other in that part wherein he himself is placed.
For the accidents of war are uncertain, and for the most part the onset begins from the lesser number and upon passion.And oftentimes the lesser number, being afraid, hath beaten back the greater with the more ease;for that through contempt they have gone unprepared.
And in the land of an enemy, though the soldiers ought always to have bold hearts yet for action, they ought to make their preparations as if they were afraid.For that will give them both more courage to go upon the enemy and more safety in fighting with him.
But we invade not now a city that cannot defend itself but a city every way well appointed.So that we must by all means expect to be fought withal, though not now because we be not yet there, yet hereafter, when they shall see us in their country wasting and destroying their possessions.
For all men, when in their own sight and on a sudden they receive any extraordinary hurt, fall presently into choler;and the less they consider, with the more stomach they assault.
And this is likely to hold in the Athenians somewhat more than in the others, for they think themselves worthy to have the command of others and to invade and waste the territories of their neighbours rather than to see their neighbours waste theirs.
Wherefore, as being to war against a great city and to procure both to your ancestors and yourselves a great fame, either good or bad as shall be the event, follow your leaders in such sort as above all things you esteem of order and watchfulness.For there is nothing in the world more comely nor more safe than when many men are seen to observe one and the same order.’
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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