33."Concerning the truth of this invasion, though perhaps I shall be thought, as well as other men, to deliver a thing incredible, and though I know that such as be either the authors or relaters of matter incredible shall not only not persuade, but be also accounted fools, nevertheless, I will not fear thereof hold my tongue, as long as the commonwealth is in danger, being confident that I know the truth hereof somewhat more certainly than others do.
The Athenians are bent to come even against us (which you verily wonder at), and that with great forces both for the sea and land, with pretence indeed to aid their confederates the Egestaeans and replant the Leontines;but in truth they aspire to the dominion of all Sicily, and especially of this city of ours, which obtained, they make account to get the rest with ease.
Seeing then they will presently be upon us, advise with your present means how you may with most honour make head against them, that you may not be taken unprovided through contempt nor be careless through incredulity, and that such as believe it may not be dismayed with their audaciousness and power.
For they are not more able to do hurt unto us than we be unto them.Neither indeed is the greatness of their fleet without some advantage unto us;nay, it will be much the better for us in respect of the rest of the Sicilians.For being terrified by them, they will the rather league with us.And if we either vanquish or repulse them without obtaining what they came for (for I fear not at all the effecting of their purpose), verily it will be a great honour to us, and in my opinion not unlikely to come to pass.For in truth there have been few great fleets, whether of Grecians or barbarians, sent far from home that have not prospered ill.
Neither are these that come against us more in number than ourselves and the neighboring cities;for surely we shall all hold together upon fear.And if for want of necessaries in a strange territory they chance to miscarry, the honour of it will be left to us against whom they bend their councils, though the greatest cause of their overthrow should consist in their own errors.
Which was also the case of these very Athenians, who raised themselves by the misfortune of the Medes (though it happened for the most part contrary to reason);because in name they went only against the Athenians.And that the same shall now happen unto us is not without probability.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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