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You will perceive still more clearly from what follows both that we are now dealt with most unfairly and that in the past we held Messene justly. For in the many wars which have befallen us we have before this at times been forced to make peace when we were in much worse case than our foes.such were the Peace of Nicias （421 B.C., Thucyd. v. 18）, the Peace of Antalcidas, and the separate peace between Athens and Sparta （Xen. Hell. 6.2.1）. But, although our treaties were concluded under circumstances in which it was impossible for us to seek any adv
yet, while there were other matters about which differences arose, neither the Great King nor the city of Athens ever charged us with having acquired Messene unjustly. And yet how could we find a more thoroughgoing judgement on the justice of our case than this, which was rendered by our enemies and made at a time when we were beset with misfortunes?
Athens, however, is not the only instance by which one might show how great are the advantages of daring to resist one's enemies. There is also the case of the tyrant Dionysius, who, when he was besieged by the Carthaginians, seeing not a glimmer of hope for deliverance, but being hard pressed both by the war and by the disaffection of his citizens, was, for his part, on the point of sailing away, when one of his companions made bold to declare that “royalty is a glorious shroud.”That is, it is a glorious thing to die a king. For the event, 396 B.C., See Dio. Sic. 14.58, and for the anecdote, Dio. Sic. 14.8.5 and Ael. Var. Hist. 4
But if I must also speak of aid from the outside, I think that many will be disposed to assist us.For Athens see Isoc. 8.105 and Isoc. 5.44. Among the states in Peloponnesus, Phlius, Heraea, and Orchomenus in Arcadia were still true to Sparta. （Xen. Hell. 7.2.1, Xen. Hell. 6.5.22, and Xen. Hell. 6.5.11.） The reference is to Dionysius the younger, who began to reign 367-366 B.C. His father had given aid to Sparta on various occasions. See Underhill's note on Xen. Hell. 5.1.28 （Oxford edition）. Nectanebos （378-364 B.C.） was king of Egypt at this time. Egypt generally supported those who fought against the Persians, and now the Theban enemies of Sparta were in league with Persia. As to the dynasts of Asia see Isoc. 4.162 and Isoc. 5.103. Probably such powerful rulers as Mausolus of Caria, who revolted from Persia in 362 B.C., are here meant, as well as the rulers of Cyprus. See Isoc. 5.102 and Isoc. 4.134. For I know, in the first place, that the Athenians, although they may
But why need I mention remote instances? Even now we should find that those states which are foremost—Athens and Thebes, I mean—have not derived their great progress from peace, but that, on the contrary, it was in consequence of their recovery from previous reverses in war that one of them was made leader of the Hellenes,The Athenians won their second naval supremacy after the reverses of the Peloponnesian war. while the other has at the present time become a greater state than anyone ever expected she would be. Indeed, honors and distinctions are wont to be gained, not by repose, but by strugg
Many of you are wondering, I suppose, what in the world my purpose isStrictly, what my purpose was. The aorist tense reflects the fact that the Athenian orators had to give written notice, in advance, of any subject they proposed to discuss before the General Assembly. See Isoc. 7.15. in coming forward to address you on The Public Safety, as if Athens were in danger or her affairs on an uncertain footing, when in fact she possesses more than two hundred ships-of-war, enjoys peace throughout her territory, maintains her empire on the sea,The second Athenian Confederacy, organized in 378 B.C. See General Introduction p. xxxvii.
and has, furthermore, many allies who, in case of any need, will readily come to her aid,He refers here, probably, to allies by special treaty as distinguished from the allies next mentioned, who were members of the Confederacy and under the leadership of Athens. The latter paid their quotas into the Athenian treasury for the support of the Confederate navy. and many more allies who are paying their contributionsIn the second Confederacy the word su/ntacis （contribution） was used instead of fo/ros （tribute） which became an odious term in the Confederacy of Delos. Cf. Isoc. 15.123. and obeying her commands. With these resources, one might argue that we have every reason to feel secure, as being far removed from danger, while our enemies may well be anxious and take thought for their own
Whoever, therefore, knowing that such great vicissitudes have taken place and that such mighty powers have been so quickly brought to naught, yet trusts in our present circumstances, is all too foolish,For the language cf. Isoc. 6.48. especially since Athens is now in a much less favorable condition than she was at that time, while the hatredBy the bitter “Social War.” See General Introduction p. xxxviii. of us among the Hellenes and the enmityIn the course of the “Social War,” the Athenian general Chares had aided the satrap Artabazus in his revolt against Artaxerxes III. See Diodorus xvi. 22. of the great King, which then brought disaster to our arms, have been again r