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18. At length the tyrants both at Athens and in the rest of Hellas (which had been under their1 dominion long before Athens), at least the greater number of them, and with2 the exception of the Sicilian the last who ever ruled, were put down by the Lacedaemonians. For although Lacedaemon, after the conquest3 of the country by the Dorians who now inhabit it, remained long unsettled, and indeed longer than any country which we know, nevertheless she obtained good laws at an earlier period than any other, and has never been subject to tyrants; she has preserved the same form of government for rather more than four hundred years, reckoning to the end of the4 Peloponnesian War. It was the excellence of her constitution which gave her power, and thus enabled her to regulate the affairs of other states. Not long after the overthrow of the tyrants by the Lacedaemonians, the battle of Marathon was fought between the Athenians and the5 Persians; [2] ten years later, the Barbarian returned with the vast armament which was to enslave Hellas. In the greatness6 of the impending danger, the Lacedaemonians, who were the most powerful state in Hellas, assumed the lead of the confederates, while the Athenians, as the Persian host advanced, resolved to forsake their7 city, broke up their homes, and, taking to their ships, became seamen. The Barbarian was repelled by a common effort: but soon the Hellenes,8 as well those who had revolted from the King as those who formed the original confederacy9, took different sides and became the allies either of the Athenians or of the Lacedaemonians; for these were now the two leading powers, the one strong by land and the other by sea. [3] The league between them was of short duration; they speedily quarrelled and, with their respective allies, went to war. Any of the other Hellenes who had differences of their own now resorted to one or other of them. So that from the Persian to the Peloponnesian War, the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians were perpetually fighting or making peace, either with one another or with their own revolted allies; thus they attained military efficiency, and learned experience in the school of danger.

1 B C. 510.

2 They were at length overthrown by Sparta, which for four hundred years has been well governed.

3 Reading κτῆσιν, not κτίσιν.

4 B.C. 804–404

5 B.C. 490.

6 B.C. 480.

7 The Hellenes, who had been united in resisting the Persian, soon broke up into two confederacies.

8 Or, 'as well those who had revolted from the King, as those who had joined with him.'

9 Or, 'either of Athens or Sparta.'

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