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Now although we have shown ourselves to be of such character and have given so convincing proof that we do not covet the possessions of others, we are brazenly denounced by those who had a hand in the decarchies1—men who have befouled their own countries, who have made the crimes of the past seem insignificant, and have left the would-be scoundrels of the future no chance to exceed their villiany; and who, for all that, profess to follow the ways of Lacedaemon, when they practise the very opposite, and bewail the disasters of the Melians, when they have shamelessly inflicted irreparable wrongs upon their own citizens. For what crime have they overlooked?

1 In Athens and in other states under ther influence there was in the oligarchical party a group of Spartan sympathizers who out-Spartaned the Spartans. After the downfall of Athens at the close of the Peloponnesian war, when Sparta became the supreme power in Greece, 404 B.C., governing commissions of ten (“decarchies”) composed of these extremists, with a Spartan harmost and garrison to support them, were set up in most of these states by the Spartan general Lysander (Xen. Hell. 3.4.2). In Athens the “decarchy” succeeded the rule of the thirty tyrants. Compare what Isocrates says here about the decarchies with Isoc. 5.95 and Isoc. 12.54.

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