previous next
59. 'Sicilians, the city to which I belong is not the least in Sicily, nor am I about to speak because1 Syracuse suffers more than other cities in the war, but because I want to lay before you the policy which seems to me best fitted to promote the common good of the whole country. [2] You well know, and therefore I shall not rehearse to you at length, all the misery of war. Nobody is driven into war by ignorance, and no one who thinks that he will gain anything from it is deterred by fear. The truth is that the aggressor deems the advantage to be greater than the suffering; and the side which is attacked would sooner run any risk than suffer the smallest immediate loss. [3] But when such feelings on the part of either operate unseasonably, the time for offering counsels of peace has arrived, and such counsels, if we will only listen to them, will be at this moment invaluable to us. [4] Why did we go to war? Simply from a consideration of our own individual interests, and with a view to our interests we are now trying by means of discussion to obtain peace; and if, after all, we do not before we separate succeed in getting our respective rights, we shall go to war again.

1 Speech of Hermocrates. Why do men go to war? Because they expect to gain more than they will lose. But if they will lose more than they gain they had make peace.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (C.E. Graves, 1884)
load focus English (Thomas Hobbes, 1843)
load focus English (1910)
load focus Greek (1942)
hide References (25 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: