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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10882
Thucydides, The History Of The Peloponnesian War, 6.33-6.34


nan'Although I shall perhaps be no better believed than others have been when I speak upon the reality of the expedition, and although I know that those who either make or repeat statements thought not worthy of belief not only gain no converts, but are thought fools for their pains, I shall certainly not be frightened into holding my tongue when the state is in danger, and when I am persuaded that I can speak with more authority on the matter than other persons. 2 Much as you wonder at it, the Athenians nevertheless have set out against us with a large force, naval and military, professedly to help the Egestaeans and to restore Leontini, but really to conquer Sicily, and above all our city, which once gained, the rest, they think, will easily follow. 3 Make up your minds, therefore, to see them speedily here, and see how you can best repel them with the means under your hands, and do not be taken off your guard through despising the news, or neglect the common weal through disbelieving it. 4 Meanwhile those who believe me need not be dismayed at the force or daring of the enemy. They will not be able to do us more hurt than we shall do them; nor is the greatness of their armament altogether without advantage to us. Indeed, the greater it is the better, with regard to the rest of the Siceliots, whom dismay will make more ready to join us; and if we defeat or drive them away, disappointed of the objects of their ambition — for I do not fear for a moment that they will get what they want — it will be a most glorious exploit for us, and in my judgment by no means an unlikely one. 5 Few indeed have been the large armaments, either Hellenic or barbarian, that have gone far from home and been successful. They cannot be more numerous than the people of the country and their neighbours, all of whom fear leagues together; and if they miscarry for want of supplies in a foreign land, to those against whom their plans were laid none the less they leave renown, although they may themselves have been the main cause of their own discomfort. 6 Thus these very Athenians rose by the defeat of the Mede, in a great measure due to accidental causes, from the mere fact that Athens had been the object of his attack; and this may very well be the case with us also.


nannan, ‘Although I shall perhaps be no better believed than others have been when I speak upon the reality of the expedition, and although I know that those who either make or repeat statements thought not worthy of belief not only gain no converts, but are thought fools for their pains, I shall certainly not be frightened into holding my tongue when the state is in danger, and when I am persuaded that I can speak with more authority on the matter than other persons. ,Much as you wonder at it, the Athenians nevertheless have set out against us with a large force, naval and military, professedly to help the Egestaeans and to restore Leontini, but really to conquer Sicily, and above all our city, which once gained, the rest, they think, will easily follow. ,Make up your minds, therefore, to see them speedily here, and see how you can best repel them with the means under your hands, and do not be taken off your guard through despising the news, or neglect the common weal through disbelieving it. ,Meanwhile those who believe me need not be dismayed at the force or daring of the enemy. They will not be able to do us more hurt than we shall do them; nor is the greatness of their armament altogether without advantage to us. Indeed, the greater it is the better, with regard to the rest of the Siceliots, whom dismay will make more ready to join us; and if we defeat or drive them away, disappointed of the objects of their ambition (for I do not fear for a moment that they will get what they want), it will be a most glorious exploit for us, and in my judgment by no means an unlikely one. ,Few indeed have been the large armaments, either Hellenic or barbarian, that have gone far from home and been successful. They cannot be more numerous than the people of the country and their neighbours, all of whom fear leagues together; and if they miscarry for want of supplies in a foreign land, to those against whom their plans were laid none the less they leave renown, although they may themselves have been the main cause of their own discomfort. ,Thus these very Athenians rose by the defeat of the Mede, in a great measure due to accidental causes, from the mere fact that Athens had been the object of his attack; and this may very well be the case with us also.


nanLet us, therefore, confidently begin preparations here; let us send and confirm some of the Sicels, and obtain the friendship and alliance of others, and despatch envoys to the rest of Sicily to show that the danger is common to all, and to Italy to get them to become our allies, or at all events to refuse to receive the Athenians. 2 I also think that it would be best to send to Carthage as well; they are by no means there without apprehension, but it is their constant fear that the Athenians may one day attack their city, and they may perhaps think that they might themselves suffer by letting Sicily be sacrificed, and be willing to help us secretly if not openly, in one way if not in another. They are the best able to do so, if they will, of any of the present day, as they possess most gold and silver, by which war, like everything else, flourishes. 3 Let us also send to Lacedaemon and Corinth, and ask them to come here and help us as soon as possible, and to keep alive the war in Hellas. 4 But the true thing of all others, in my opinion, to do at the present moment, is what you, with your constitutional love of quiet, will be slow to see, and what I must nevertheless mention. If we Siceliots, all together, or at least as many as possible besides ourselves, would only launch the whole of our actual navy with two months' provisions, and meet the Athenians at Tarentum and the Iapygian promontory, and show them that before fighting for Sicily they must first fight for their passage across the Ionian Sea, we should strike dismay into their army, and set them on thinking that we have a base for our defensive — for Tarentum is ready to receive us — while they have a wide sea to cross with all their armament, which could with difficulty keep its order through so long a voyage, and would be easy for us to attack as it came on slowly and in small detachments. 5 On the other hand, if they were to lighten their vessels, and draw together their fast sailors and with these attack us, we could either fall upon them when they were wearied with rowing, or if we did not choose to do so, we could retire to Tarentum; while they, having crossed with few provisions just to give battle, would be hard put to it in desolate places, and would either have to remain and be blockaded, or to try to sail along the coast, abandoning the rest of their armament, and being further discouraged by not knowing for certain whether the cities would receive them. 6 In my opinion this consideration alone would be sufficient to deter them from putting out from Corcyra; and what with deliberating and reconnoitring our numbers and whereabouts, they would let the season go on until winter was upon them, or, confounded by so unexpected a circumstance, would break up the expedition, especially as their most experienced general has, as I hear, taken the command against his will, and would grasp at the first excuse offered by any serious demonstration of ours. 7 We should also be reported, I am certain, as more numerous than we really are, and men's minds are affected by what they hear, and besides the first to attack, or to show that they mean to defend themselves against an attack, inspire greater fear because men see that they are ready for the emergency. 8 This would just be the case with the Athenians at present. They are now attacking us in the belief that we shall not resist, having a right to judge us severely because we did not help the Lacedaemonians in crushing them; but if they were to see us showing a courage for which they are not prepared, they would be more dismayed by the surprise than they could ever be by our actual power. 9 I could wish to persuade you to show this courage; but if this cannot be, at all events lose not a moment in preparing generally for the war; and remember all of you that contempt for an assailant is best shown by bravery in action, but that for the present the best course is to accept the preparations which fear inspires as giving the surest promise of safety, and to act as if the danger was real. That the Athenians are coming to attack us, and are already upon the voyage, and all but here — this is what I am sure of.'


nannan, Let us, therefore, confidently begin preparations here; let us send and confirm some of the Sicels, and obtain the friendship and alliance of others, and despatch envoys to the rest of Sicily to show that the danger is common to all, and to Italy to get them to become our allies, or at all events to refuse to receive the Athenians. ,I also think that it would be best to send to Carthage as well; they are by no means there without apprehension, but it is their constant fear that the Athenians may one day attack their city, and they may perhaps think that they might themselves suffer by letting Sicily be sacrificed, and be willing to help us secretly if not openly, in one way if not in another. They are the best able to do so, if they will, of any of the present day, as they possess most gold and silver, by which war, like everything else, flourishes. ,Let us also send to Lacedaemon and Corinth, and ask them to come here and help us as soon as possible, and to keep alive the war in Hellas . ,But the true thing of all others, in my opinion, to do at the present moment, is what you, with your constitutional love of quiet, will be slow to see, and what I must nevertheless mention. If we Siceliots, all together, or at least as many as possible besides ourselves, would only launch the whole of our actual navy with two months' provisions, and meet the Athenians at Tarentum and the Iapygian promontory, and show them that before fighting for Sicily they must first fight for their passage across the Ionian sea, we should strike dismay into their army, and set them on thinking that we have a base for our defensive—for Tarentum is ready to receive us—while they have a wide sea to cross with all their armament, which could with difficulty keep its order through so long a voyage, and would be easy for us to attack as it came on slowly and in small detachments. ,On the other hand, if they were to lighten their vessels, and draw together their fast sailors and with these attack us, we could either fall upon them when they were wearied with rowing, or if we did not choose to do so, we could retire to Tarentum ; while they, having crossed with few provisions just to give battle, would be hard put to it in desolate places, and would either have to remain and be blockaded, or to try to sail along the coast, abandoning the rest of their armament, and being further discouraged by not knowing for certain whether the cities would receive them. ,In my opinion this consideration alone would be sufficient to deter them from putting out from Corcyra ; and what with deliberating and reconnoitring our numbers and whereabouts, they would let the season go on until winter was upon them, or, confounded by so unexpected a circumstance, would break up the expedition, especially as their most experienced general has, as I hear, taken the command against his will, and would grasp at the first excuse offered by any serious demonstration of ours. ,We should also be reported, I am certain, as more numerous than we really are, and men's minds are affected by what they hear, and besides the first to attack, or to show that they mean to defend themselves against an attack, inspire greater fear because men see that they are ready for the emergency. ,This would just be the case with the Athenians at present. They are now attacking us in the belief that we shall not resist, having a right to judge us severely because we did not help the Lacedaemonians in crushing them; but if they were to see us showing a courage for which they are not prepared, they would be more dismayed by the surprise than they could ever be by our actual power. ,I could wish to persuade you to show this courage; but if this cannot be, at all events lose not a moment in preparing generally for the war; and remember all of you that contempt for an assailant is best shown by bravery in action, but that for the present the best course is to accept the preparations which fear inspires as giving the surest promise of safety, and to act as if the danger was real. That the Athenians are coming to attack us, and are already upon the voyage, and all but here—this is what I am sure of.’


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

1 results
1. Thucydides, The History of The Peloponnesian War, 1.104, 4.27-4.28, 4.59-4.64, 5.46, 6.8-6.32, 6.23.3, 6.34, 6.42-6.52, 6.89, 6.92, 7.61-7.64, 7.61.2 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

6.23.3. Fearing this, and knowing that we shall have need of much good counsel and more good fortune—a hard matter for mortal men to aspire to—I wish as far as may be to make myself independent of fortune before sailing, and when I do sail, to be as safe as a strong force can make me. 7.61.2. You must not lose heart, or be like men without any experience, who fail in a first essay, and ever afterwards fearfully forebode a future as disastrous.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aristotle Rengakos and Tsakmakis, Brill's Companion to Thucydides (2006) 394
athenian exceptionalism Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
athens Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
autochthony, athenian Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
callipolis Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
christianity and hope as a virtue Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 132
danger, hope as a dangerous emotion/state of mind Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 132
despair Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 132
dialectic/dialogue Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
divination/oracles Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 120
egypt Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
etruria Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
expectation (negative and positive) Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 132
hope, ambivalent concept Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 132
hope, and chance/fortune Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 120
hope, and religion Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 120
hope, cognitive vs. affective Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 132
justice Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
monologue Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
myth, platonic Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
nicias Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 120; Rengakos and Tsakmakis, Brill's Companion to Thucydides (2006) 166
pandora Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 132
peloponnesian war, the Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
plato Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160; Rengakos and Tsakmakis, Brill's Companion to Thucydides (2006) 394
politics, hope in greek and roman Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 120
reason/ratio Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 132
rhetoric Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
sicily Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
socrates Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
statues Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
superstition Kazantzidis and Spatharas, Hope in Ancient Literature, History, and Art (2018) 120
thucydides, son of melesias, generalship' Rengakos and Tsakmakis, Brill's Companion to Thucydides (2006) 394
tragedy Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
tyranny Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160
writing Kirichenko, Greek Literature and the Ideal: The Pragmatics of Space from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Age (2022) 160