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1. I do not blame those who have proposed a new debate on the
subject of Mytilene, and I do not share the view which we have heard
expressed, that it is a bad thing to have frequent discussions on
matters of importance. Haste and anger are, to my mind, the two
greatest obstacles to wise counsel.
2. It is difficult, and you may be sure that we know it, for
to oppose your power and fortune, unless the terms be equal.
Neverheless we trust that the gods will give us fortune as good as
yours, because we are standing for what is right against what is
3. We on our side will use no fine phrases saying, for
that we have a right to our empire because we defeated the Persians,
or that we have come against you now because of the injuries you have
done us -- a great mass of words that nobody would believe.
4. When these matters are discussed by practical people, the
standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel and
that in fact the strong do what they have the power to do and the
weak accept what they have to accept.
5. The blame is yours, for stupidly instituting these
competitive displays. You have become regular speech-goers, and as
for action, you merely listen to accounts of it.
6. Cities and individuals alike, all are by nature disposed to
do wrong, and there is no law that will prevent it, as is shown by
the fact that men have tried every kind of punishment, constantly
adding to the list, in the attempt to find greater security from
7. In our view it is at any rate useful that you should not
destroy a principle that is to the general good of all men--namely,
that in the case of all who fall into danger there should be such a
thing as fair play and just dealing, and that such people should be
allowed to use and to profit by arguments that fall short of
8. Punish them as they deserve, and make an example of them to
your other allies, plainly showing that revolt will be punished by
9. If we are sensible people, we shall see that the question
not so much whether they are guilty as whether we are making the
right decision for ourselves. I might prove that they are the most
guilty people in the world, but it does not follow that I shall
propose the death penalty, unless that is in your interests; I might
argue that they deserve to be forgiven, but should not recommend
forgiveness unless that seemed to me the best thing for the
10. By conquering you we shall increase not only the size but
the security of our empire. We rule the sea and you are islanders,
and weaker islanders too than the others; it is therefore
particularly important that you should not escape.
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