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53. They therefore determined to send a few men in a boat without a flag of truce to the Athenians,1 and so test their intentions. The men were to deliver the following message: [2]

You do wrong, Athenians, to begin war and violate the treaty. We were only chastising our enemies, and you come with a hostile force and place yourselves between us and them. If it is your intention to hinder us from sailing to Corcyra, or whithersoever we choose, and you are going to break the treaty, take us first and deal with us as enemies. [3] Whereupon all the Corcyraeans who were within hearing cried out ‘Take and kill them’. But the Athenians replied:

[4] Men of Peloponnesus, we are not beginning war, and we are not violating the treaty; we are only aiding the Corcyraeans here, who are our allies. If you mean to sail against Corcyra or any place belonging to the Corcyraeans, we will do our utmost to prevent you, but, if you want to go anywhere else, you may.

1 They hold a parley with the Athenians.

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