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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VI   


again envying my prosperity. An idle wish, if he now sacrifice us
and refuse to take his share of perils which are the same, in
reality though not in name, for him as for us; what is nominally the
preservation of our power being really his own salvation. It was to be
expected that you, of all people in the world, Camarinaeans, being our
immediate neighbours and the next in danger, would have foreseen this,
and instead of supporting us in the lukewarm way that you are now
doing, would rather come to us of your own accord, and be now offering
at Syracuse the aid which you would have asked for at Camarina, if
to Camarina the Athenians had first come, to encourage us to resist
the invader. Neither you, however, nor the rest have as yet
bestirred yourselves in this direction.
"Fear perhaps will make you study to do right both by us and by
the invaders, and plead that you have an alliance with the
Athenians. But you made that alliance, not against your friends, but
against the enemies that might attack you, and to help the Athenians
when they were wronged by others, not when as now they are wronging
their neighbours. Even the Rhegians, Chalcidians though they be,
refuse to help to restore the Chalcidian Leontines; and it would be
strange if, while they suspect the gist of this fine pretence and
are wise without reason, you, with every reason on your side, should
yet choose to assist your natural enemies, and should join with
their direst foes in undoing those whom nature has made your own
kinsfolk. This is not to do right; but you should help us without fear
of their armament, which has no terrors if we hold together, but
only if we let them succeed in their endeavours to separate us;
since even after attacking us by ourselves and being victorious in
battle, they had to go off without effecting their purpose.
"United, therefore, we have no cause to despair, but rather new
encouragement to league together; especially as succour will come to
us from the Peloponnesians, in military matters the undoubted
superiors of the Athenians. And you need not think that your prudent
policy of taking sides with neither, because allies of both, is either
safe for you or fair to us. Practically it is not as fair as it
pretends to be. If the vanquished be defeated, and the victor conquer,
through your refusing to join, what is the effect of your abstention
but to leave the former to perish unaided, and to allow the latter
to offend unhindered? And yet it were more honourable to join those
who are not only the injured party, but your own kindred, and by so
doing to defend the common interests of Sicily and save your friends
the Athenians from doing wrong.
"In conclusion, we Syracusans say that it is useless for us to
demonstrate either to you or to the rest what you know already as well
as we do; but we entreat, and if our entreaty fail, we protest that we
are menaced by our eternal enemies the Ionians, and are betrayed by
you our fellow Dorians. If the Athenians reduce us, they will owe
their victory to your decision, but in their own name will reap the
honour, and will receive as the prize of their triumph the very men
who enabled them to gain it. On the other hand, if we are the
conquerors, you will have to pay for having been the cause of our
danger. Consider, therefore; and now make your choice between the
security which present servitude offers and the prospect of conquering
with us and so escaping disgraceful submission to an Athenian master
and avoiding the lasting enmity of Syracuse."
Such were the words of Hermocrates; after whom Euphemus, the
Athenian ambassador, spoke as follows:
"Although we came here only to renew the former alliance, the attack
of the Syracusans compels us to speak of our empire and of the good
right we have to it. The best proof of this the speaker himself
furnished, when he called the Ionians eternal enemies of the
Dorians. It is the fact; and the Peloponnesian Dorians being our
superiors in numbers and next neighbours, we Ionians looked out for
the best means of escaping their domination. After the Median War we
had a fleet, and so got rid of the empire and supremacy of the

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