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History of The Peloponnesian War - Book VI   


first asked us over, the fear which you held out was that of danger to
Athens if we let you come under the dominion of Syracuse; and it is
not right now to mistrust the very same argument by which you
claimed to convince us, or to give way to suspicion because we are
come with a larger force against the power of that city. Those whom
you should really distrust are the Syracusans. We are not able to stay
here without you, and if we proved perfidious enough to bring you into
subjection, we should be unable to keep you in bondage, owing to the
length of the voyage and the difficulty of guarding large, and in a
military sense continental, towns: they, the Syracusans, live close to
you, not in a camp, but in a city greater than the force we have
with us, plot always against you, never let slip an opportunity once
offered, as they have shown in the case of the Leontines and others,
and now have the face, just as if you were fools, to invite you to aid
them against the power that hinders this, and that has thus far
maintained Sicily independent. We, as against them, invite you to a
much more real safety, when we beg you not to betray that common
safety which we each have in the other, and to reflect that they, even
without allies, will, by their numbers, have always the way open to
you, while you will not often have the opportunity of defending
yourselves with such numerous auxiliaries; if, through your
suspicions, you once let these go away unsuccessful or defeated, you
will wish to see if only a handful of them back again, when the day is
past in which their presence could do anything for you.
"But we hope, Camarinaeans, that the calumnies of the Syracusans
will not be allowed to succeed either with you or with the rest: we
have told you the whole truth upon the things we are suspected of, and
will now briefly recapitulate, in the hope of convincing you. We
assert that we are rulers in Hellas in order not to be subjects;
liberators in Sicily that we may not be harmed by the Sicilians;
that we are compelled to interfere in many things, because we have
many things to guard against; and that now, as before, we are come
as allies to those of you who suffer wrong in this island, not without
invitation but upon invitation. Accordingly, instead of making
yourselves judges or censors of our conduct, and trying to turn us,
which it were now difficult to do, so far as there is anything in
our interfering policy or in our character that chimes in with your
interest, this take and make use of; and be sure that, far from
being injurious to all alike, to most of the Hellenes that policy is
even beneficial. Thanks to it, all men in all places, even where we
are not, who either apprehend or meditate aggression, from the near
prospect before them, in the one case, of obtaining our intervention
in their favour, in the other, of our arrival making the venture
dangerous, find themselves constrained, respectively, to be moderate
against their will, and to be preserved without trouble of their
own. Do not you reject this security that is open to all who desire
it, and is now offered to you; but do like others, and instead of
being always on the defensive against the Syracusans, unite with us,
and in your turn at last threaten them."
Such were the words of Euphemus. What the Camarinaeans felt was
this. Sympathizing with the Athenians, except in so far as they
might be afraid of their subjugating Sicily, they had always been at
enmity with their neighbour Syracuse. From the very fact, however,
that they were their neighbours, they feared the Syracusans most of
the two, and being apprehensive of their conquering even without them,
both sent them in the first instance the few horsemen mentioned, and
for the future determined to support them most in fact, although as
sparingly as possible; but for the moment in order not to seem to
slight the Athenians, especially as they had been successful in the
engagement, to answer both alike. Agreeably to this resolution they
answered that as both the contending parties happened to be allies
of theirs, they thought it most consistent with their oaths at present
to side with neither; with which answer the ambassadors of either
party departed.

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