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Yes, Athens single-handed sustained the greatest dangers against the power of Eurystheus, put an end to his insolence, and freed Heracles' sons from the fears by which they were continually beset. Because of these services we deserve the gratitude, not only of those who then were preserved from destruction, but also of those who are now living; for to us it is due both that they are alive and that they enjoy the blessings which are now theirs, since they never could have seen the light of day at all had not the sons of Heracles been preserved from death.
Consider first the exploits of Alcibiades.For the career of the brilliant, unscrupulous Alcibiades see Grote, Hist. vi. pp. 301 ff., vii. 49 ff., and Plut. Alc. Although he was exiled from AthensHe was exiled on the charge of having profaned the Eleusinian Mysteries. and observed that the others who had before labored under this misfortune had been cowedFor example, Themistocles. because of the greatness of the city, yet he did not show the same submissive spirit as they; on the contrary, convinned the Eleusinian Mysteries. and observed that the others who had before labored under this misfortune had been cowedFor example, Themistocles. because of the greatness of the city, yet he did not show the same submissive spirit as they; on the contrary, convinced that he must attempt to bring about his return by force, he deliberately chose to make war upon her.By stirring up and aiding, through his great personal influence and his sagacity, all the enemies of Athens in the Peloponnesian War.
Now if one should attempt to speak in detail of the events of that time, he would find it impossible to recount them all exactly, and for the present occasion the recital would perhaps prove wearisome. But so great was the confusion into which he plunged not only Athens but Lacedaemon and all the rest of Hellas as well, that we, the Athenians, suffered what all the world knows;The defeat at Aegospotami, and after that the rule of the “thirty tyrants,” and later the “decar
And not only did he rebuild the walls of his country,He restored the walls which had been torn down as one of the terms imposed upon Athens after the battle of Aegospotami. Xen. Hell. 4.8.9 ff. but he restored Athens to the same high repute from which she had fallen. And yet who could have expected that a man whose own fortunes had fallen so low would completely reverse the fortunes of Hellas, degrading some of the Hellenic states from places of honor and raising others into prominence? And not only did he rebuild the walls of his country,He restored the walls which had been torn down as one of the terms imposed upon Athens after the battle of Aegospotami. Xen. Hell. 4.8.9 ff. but he restored Athens to the same high repute from which she had fallen. And yet who could have expected that a man whose own fortunes had fallen so low would completely reverse the fortunes of Hellas, degrading some of the Hellenic states from places of honor and raising others into prominence?
but, though some will condemn my taste in saying so, I do lay claim to sane judgement and good education, and I would count myself in comparison with others not among the last, but among the foremost. And that is why I endeavor in this way, for which my nature and powers are suited, to give advice to Athens and to the Hellenes at large and to the most distinguished among men.
I draw my inference from their actions while they lived. For your father, in dealing with those states which I am urging you to cultivate, kept on friendly termsWith Athens, Aeschin. 2.26; with Sparta, Xen. Hell. 5.2.38. with them all. And the founder of your empire, although he aspired higher than did his fellow citizensOf Argos. and set his heart on a king's power, was not minded to take the same road as others who set out to attain a like ambition.
And so it came about, owing to his unique insight in this regard, that his kingship has proved to be quite set apart from that of the generality of kings: for, because he alone among the Hellenes did not claim the right to rule over a people of kindred race, he alone was able to escape the perils incident to one-man power. For history discovers to us the fact that those among the Hellenes who have managed to acquire such authority have not only been destroyed themselves but have been blotted, root and branch, from the face of the earth;The Pisistratidae of Athens. A recent case in point was the murder of Alexander of Pherae. Cf. Isoc. 2.5. while he, on the contrary, lived a long and happy life and left his seed in possession of the same honors which he himself had enjoyed.
Well, if I were trying to present this matter to any others before having broached it to my own country, which has thriceTwice from the barbarians—at Marathon and Salamis; once from the Spartans at the battle of Cnidus, where the navy under Conon put an end to the Spartan hegemony. freed Hellas—twice from the barbarians and once from the Lacedaemonian yoke—I should confess my error. In truth, however, it will be found that I turned to Athens first of all and endeavored to win her over to this cause with all the earnestness of which my nature is capable,In the Panegyricus. but when I perceived that she cared less for what I said than for the ravings of the platform orators,See General Introd. p. xxxviii. I gave her up, although I did not abandon my eff
And you will observe that this is the opinion which men hold, not of these heroes only, but of all mankind. Thus, no one would praise our city either because she was once mistress of the sea, or because she extorted such huge sums of money from her allies and carried them up into the Acropolis,The treasury of the Confederacy of Delos was originally in the island of Delos; later it was transferred to the Parthenon at Athens. nor yet, surely, because she obtained power over many cities—power to devastate them, or aggrandize them, or manage them according to her pleasure （for all these things it was possible for her to d