Thucydides’ History, Book 6

Chapter 20

“Since, in all ways, I see that you, good Athenians, are eager to go to war, may it turn out just as we wish, and I shall indicate what I know concerning the present matter. The cities, or so I perceive by listening, we intend to go forth against are large and not the subjects of any others, nor are they in need of change, as of someone out of an enforced bondage would be fond of dwelling, well-pleased, in an easier migration, likewise naturally for our rule in place of a well-received freedom, and with respect to the number, for a single island, the Greek cities are many. For except Naxos and Katane, whom I hope will be added us on account of kinship with the Leontinoi, the others are seven, and they have prepared themselves in all ways very like to our own might, and not least are those against whom we mainly sail, Selinus and Syracuse. For many are the hoplites among them and also the archers and javelin-throwers, and many, too, are the triremes and the crowd that will fill them. And they have wealth, that held privately as well as what is in the Selintunine temples and also tribute is paid to Syracuse by certain barbarians ; in this way especially, they surpass our own, they have acquired many horses and and they make use of domestic grain, not imported.”

Chapter 21

“And so toward such a power there is a need not of naval prowess and a slight one as army alone but also to sail with a large infantry, if we truly wish to act worthy of our intent and not be shut out of the land by many knights, especially if the cities stand together terrified even, lest some allies arise and supply us in turn other than the Egestaioi by whom we shall be requited cavalry (it is a disgrace to be overpowered and depart, or to call for reinforcements after making ill-considered plans) ; from this spot by preparation sufficient to approach, knowing that we are about to sail far from our own and not campaigning in the same situation as when you went somewhere as allies among your subjects here, whence there were ready provisions from a friendly land when there was ever a need, but having removed ourselves for wholly foreign parts, from where for the four winter months a messenger does not easily come.”

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