Thucydides’ History, Book 6

Chapter 13

“And I now, seeing which men from here are summoned and sit by this man, I feel fear. And to the older men I advise in turn not to be disgraced, should any of these men sit near him, lest he seem, should he fail to cast a vote for making war, to be faint-hearted, nor to do the very thing which those men might themselves suffer, to be sick in love for what is absent, but rather know that with desire, they succeed the least, but with forethought, the most, and instead, on behalf of our fatherland, now gambling a greater risk than any prior, to vote against, and to cast your ballots that the Sikeliots observe those present boundaries with us, which are not blameworthy, those by the Ionian bay1 if one should sail along the coast, and by Sicily, if through the sea, and to come together that they may allot their own affairs amongst themselves ; and to tell the Egestaioi in particular that, since they first joined battle with the Selintunines without the Athenians, they can also resolve it all by themselves ; and in the future, not to make allies such as we have been accustomed, wherein we give defense to those who fare poorly while we ourselves, needing aid, chance upon none.”

1. The word for bay here, κόλπος, can refer to any fold or hollow, but often more specifically means “bosom” or “womb”. I wonder if this gives a sense here of the Ionian bay as the womb of Greek culture.

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