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Origin of the Name "Achaean"

It will be useful to ascertain, to begin with, how it
The origin of the name as embracing all the Peloponnese.
came to pass that the name of the Achaeans became the universal one for all the inhabitants of the Peloponnese. For the original bearers of this ancestral name have no superiority over others, either in the size of their territory and cities, or in wealth, or in the prowess of their men. For they are a long way off being superior to the Arcadians and Lacedaemonians in number of inhabitants and extent of territory; nor can these latter nations be said to yield the first place in warlike courage to any Greek people whatever. Whence then comes it that these nations, with the rest of the inhabitants of the Peloponnese, have been content to adopt the constitution and the name of the Achaeans? To speak of chance in such a matter would not be to offer any adequate solution of the question, and would be a mere idle evasion. A cause must be sought; for without a cause nothing, expected or unexpected, can be accomplished. The cause then, in my opinion, was this. Nowhere could be found a more unalloyed and deliberately established system of equality and absolute freedom, and, in a word, of democracy, than among the Achaeans. This constitution found many of the Peloponnesians ready enough to adopt it of their own accord: many were brought to share in it by persuasion and argument: some, though acting under compulsion at first, were quickly brought to acquiesce in its benefits; for none of the original members had any special privilege reserved for them, but equal rights were given to all comers: the object aimed at was therefore quickly attained by the two most unfailing expedients of equality and fraternity. This then must be looked upon as the source and original cause of Peloponnesian unity and consequent prosperity.

That this was the original principle on which the Achaeans acted in forming their constitution might be demonstrated by many proofs; but for the present purpose it will be sufficient to allege one or two in confirmation of my assertion.

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