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(6.68) 'What need, soldiers, is there of a long exhortation when we are all here united in the same cause?64 The mere sight of this great army is more likely to put courage into you than an eloquent speech and an inferior force.65 We are Argives and Mantineans, and Athenians and the chief of the islanders; and must not the presence of so many brave allies inspire every one of us with a good hope of victory, especially when we reflect that our opponents are not like ourselves picked soldiers, but a whole city which has turned out to meet us? They are Sicilians too, who, although they may despise us, will not stand their ground against us; for their skill is not equal to their courage. Consider again that we are far from home, and that there is no friendly land near but what you can win with your swords.66 The generals of the enemy, as I know well, are appealing to very different motives. They say to them, "you are fighting for your own country," but I say to you that you are fighting in a country which is not your own, and from which, if you do not conquer, retreat will be impossible, for swarms of cavalry will follow at your heels. Remember your own reputation, and charge valiantly, deeming the difficulties and necessities of your position to be more formidable than the enemy.'

Special thanks to for permission to use this image adapted from their authentic replica of a Spartan spear.


64. (From 6.68) Cp. vii. 61 init.

65. (From 6.68) Cp. v. 69 fin. ; vii. 61 fin., 77 med.

66. (From 6.68) Cp. vii. 77 fin.

From Thucydides, translated into English, to which is prefixed an essay on inscriptions and a note on the geography of Thucydides, by Benjamin Jowett. Second edition. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1900.

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