98.After the herald had said this, the Athenians sent a herald of their own to the Boeotians, denying that either they had done any wrong to the holy place already or would willingly do any hurt to it hereafter;for neither did they at first enter into it to such intent, but to requite the greater injuries which had been done unto them;
as for the law which the Grecians have, it is no other but that they which have the dominion of any territory, great or small, have ever the temples also, and besides the accustomed rites, may superinduce what other they can:
for also the Boeotians, and most men else, all that having driven out another nation possess their territory, did at first invade the temples of others and make them their own;
that therefore, if they could win from them more of their land, they would keep it, and for the part they were now in, they were in it with a good will and would not out of it, as being their own;that for the water, they meddled with it upon necessity;
which was not to be ascribed to insolence, but to this, that fighting against the Boeotians that had invaded their territory first, they were forced to use it;
for whatsoever is forced by war or danger hath in reason a kind of pardon even with the god himself;for the altars, in cases of involuntary offences, are a refuge, and they are said to violate laws that are evil without constraint, not they that are a little bold upon occasion of distress;
that the Boeotians themselves, who require restitution of the holy places for a redemption of the dead, are more irreligious by far than they, who, rather than let their temples go, are content to go without that which were fit for them to receive;
and they bade him say plainly that they would not depart out of the Boeotian territory, for that they were not now in it, but in a territory which they had made their own by the sword;and nevertheless, required truce, according to the ordinances of the country, for the fetching away of the dead.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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