11."And yet if we should reduce the Chalcideans into subjection, we could easily also keep them so;but the Sicilians, though we vanquish them, yet being many and far off, we should have much ado to hold them in obedience.Now it were madness to invade such, whom conquering you cannot keep, and failing, should lose the means for ever after to attempt the same again.
As for the Sicilians, it seemeth unto me, at least as things now stand, that they shall be of less danger to us if they fall under the dominion of the Syracusians than they are now;and yet this is it that the Egestaeans would most affright us with.
For now the states of Sicily, in several, may perhaps be induced, in favour of the Lacedaemonians, to take part against us;whereas then, being reduced into one, it is not likely they would hazard with us state against state.For by the same means that they, joining with the Peloponnesians, may pull down our dominion, by the same it would be likely that the Peloponnesians would subvert theirs.
The Grecians there will fear us most if we go not at all;next, if we but show our forces and come quickly away.But if any misfortune befall us, they will presently despise us and join with the Grecians here to invade us.For we all know that those things are most admired which are farthest off, and which least come to give proof of the opinion conceived of them.
And this, Athenians, is your own case with the Lacedaemonians and their confederates, whom because beyond your hope you have overcome in those things for which at first you feared them, you now in contempt of them turn your arms upon Sicily.
But we ought not to be puffed up upon the misfortunes of our enemies, but to be confident then only when we have mastered their designs.Nor ought we to think that the Lacedaemonians set their minds on anything else but how they may yet for the late disgrace repair their reputation, if they can, by our overthrow, and the rather because they have so much and so long laboured to win an opinion in the world of their valour.
The question with us therefore, if we be well advised, will not be of the Egestaeans in Sicily, but how we may speedily defend our city against the insidiation of them that favour the oligarchy.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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