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78. Do not then be hasty in deciding a question which is serious; and do not, by listening to1 representations and complaints which concern others, bring trouble upon yourselves. Realise, while there is time, the inscrutable nature of war; [2] and how when protracted it generally ends in becoming a mere matter of chance, over which neither of us can have any control, the event being equally unknown and equally hazardous to both. [3] The misfortune is that in their hurry to go to war, men begin with blows, and when a reverse comes upon them, then have recourse to words. [4] But neither you, nor we, have as yet committed this mistake; and therefore while both of us can still choose the prudent part, we tell you not to break the peace or violate your oaths. Let our differences be determined by arbitration, according to the treaty. If you refuse we call to witness the Gods, by whom your oaths were sworn, that you are the authors of the war; and we will do our best to strike in return.

1 The Lacedaemonians should not go to war at the instigation of others, but submit to arbitration.

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