73.After this, Brasidas with his army came down nearer to the sea and to the city of Megara, and having seized on a place of advantage, set his army in battle array and stood still.For they thought the Athenians would be assailants, and knew the Megareans stood observing whether side should have the victory, and that it must needs fall out well for them both ways;
first, because they should not be the assailant and voluntarily begin the battle and danger, since having showed themselves ready to fight, the victory must also justly be attributed to them without their labour;
and next, it must fall out well in respect of the Megareans, for if they should not have come in sight, the matter had not been any longer in the power of fortune, but they had without all doubt been presently deprived of the city as men conquered;whereas now, if haply the Athenians declined battle likewise, they should obtain what they came for without stroke stricken;which also indeed came to pass.
For the Megareans—when the Athenians went out and ordered their army without the long walls, but yet, because the enemy charged not, stood also still, their commanders likewise considering, that if they should begin the battle against a number greater than their own, after the greatest part of their enterprise was already achieved, the danger would be unequal;for if they should overcome, they could win but Megara, and if they were vanquished, must lose the best part of their men of arms;whereas the enemy, who out of the whole power and number that was present in the field did adventure but every one a part, would in all likelihood put it to the hazard;and so for a while affronted each other, and, neither doing any thing, withdrew again, the Athenians first into Nisaea, and afterwards the Peloponnesians to the place from whence they had set forth—then, I say, the Megareans, such as were the friends of the outlaws, taking heart because they saw the Athenians were unwilling to fight, set open the gates to Brasidas as victor, and to the rest of the captains of the several cities;and when they were in (those that had practised with the Athenians being all the while in a great fear), they went to council.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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