Greek Historian and Author
Greek Historian and Author
But as the power of Hellas grew, and the acquisition of wealth became more an objective, the revenues of the states increasing, tyrannies were established almost everywhere.
Here we bless your simplicity but do not envy your folly.
It is frequently a misfortune to have very brilliant men in charge of affairs. They expect too much of ordinary men.
Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. We do not copy our neighbors, but are an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while the law secures equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty a bar, but a man may benefit his country whatever be the obscurity of his condition.
The growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Sparta, made war inevitable.
Their swaying bodies reflected the agitation of their minds, and they suffered the worst agony of all, ever just within the reach of safety or just on the point of destruction.
We must march against the enemy, and teach him that he must go and get what he wants by attacking someone who will not resist him, but that men whose glory it is to be always ready to give battle for the liberty of their own country, and never unjustly to enslave that of others, will not let him go without a struggle.
But the prize for courage will surely be awarded most justly to those who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger.
It is obvious that both man and gods, wherever it has the power and exercise a pulse invincible nature. and I, like everyone else, you act just like us, if you have a power equal to ours.
Peace is an armistice in a war that is continuously going on.
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.
There is no need to suppose that human beings differ very much one from another; but it is true that the ones who come out on top are the ones who have been trained in the hardest school.
We must not disguise from ourselves that we go to found a city among strangers and enemies, and he who undertakes such an enterprise should be prepared to become master of the country the first day he lands, or failing in this find everything hostile to him.
But what most oppressed them was that they had two wars at once, and has thus reached a pitch of frenzy which no one would have believed possible if he had heard of it before it had come to pass.
Hope, danger's comforter.
It is useless to attack a man who could not be controlled even if conquered, while failure would leave us in an even worse position.
Right or community of blood was not the bond of union between them, so much as interest or compulsion as the case may be.
The ones who come out on top are the ones who have been trained in the hardest school.
There is, however, no advantage in reflections on the past further than may be of service to the present. For the future we must provide by maintaining what the present gives us and redoubling our efforts; it is hereditary to us to win virtue as the fruit of labour, and you must not change the habit, even though you should have a slight advantage in wealth and resources; for it is not right that what was won in want should be lost in plenty.
We must remember that one man is much the same as another, and that he is best who is trained in the severest school.
By day certainly the combatants have a clearer notion, though even then by no means of all that takes place, no one knowing much of anything that does not does not go on in his own immediate neighborhood; but in a night engagement ( and this was the only one that occurred between great armies during the war) how could anyone know anything for certain?
I could have wished that the reputations of many brave men were not to be imperiled in the mouth of a single individual, to stand or fall according as he spoke well or ill. For it is hard to speak properly upon a subject where it is even difficult to convince your hearers that you are speaking the truth. On the one hand, the friend who is familiar with every fact of the story may think that some point has not been set forth with that fullness which he wishes and knows it to deserve; on the other, he who is a stranger to the matter may be led by envy to suspect exaggeration if he hears anything above his own nature. For men can endure to hear others praised only so long as they can severally persuade themselves of their own ability to equal the actions recounted: when this point is passed, envy comes in and with it incredulity.
It must be thoroughly understood that war is a necessity, and that the more readily we accept it,the less will be the ardor of our opponents, and that out of the greatest dangers communities and individuals acquire the greatest glory.