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Our duty, then, is to take care lest the Lacedaemonians grow strong and formidable before the Thebans are weaker, and lest their increase of power should, unperceived by us, out-balance the diminution of the power of Thebes, which our interests demand. For this at least we should never admit, that we would sooner have the Lacedaemonians for our rivals than the Thebans, nor is that our serious aim, but rather to put it out of the power of either to do us harm, for in that way we shall enjoy the most complete security.