'We rule then, in the first place, because we deserve to rule; for we provided the largest navy We come hither for and showed the most patriotic alacrity1
in the cause of Hellas2
; while those who became our subjects were willing slaves to the Persian, and were doing us mischief. And secondly, we were anxious to gain additional strength against the Peloponnesians. We use no fine words:
we do not tell you that we have a right to rule on the ground that we alone overthrew the Barbarians3
, nor do we pretend that we fought for the liberty of our allies, and not equally for the general liberty and for our own4
. Can any man be blamed because he makes the natural provision for his own safety5
? The same care of our safety has brought us hither, and we can see that our presence here is for your benefit as well as for ours.
This we will prove to you; and our proofs shall be drawn from the calumnies of our enemies, and from the suspicions and fears which most sway your minds. For we know that those who are timorous and mistrustful may be won for the moment by alluring words, but that when the time of action comes they follow their own interests.
'We have told you already that fear makes us maintain our empire at home; and that a6
like fear brings us to your shores. For we desire by the help of our friends to secure our position in Sicily. And we have not come to enslave you, but to save you from being enslaved.