ΑΘ. Ἡμεῖς τοίνυν οὔτε αὐτοὶ μετ’ ὀνομάτων καλῶν, ὡς ἢ δικαίως τὸν Μῆδον καταλύσαντες ἄρχομεν ἢ ἀδικούμενοι νῦν ἐπεξερχόμεθα, λόγων μῆκος ἄπιστον παρέξομεν, οὔθ’ ὑμᾶς ἀξιοῦμεν ἢ ὅτι Λακεδαιμονίων ἄποικοι ὄντες οὐ ξυνεστρατεύσατε ἢ ὡς ἡμᾶς οὐδὲν ἠδικήκατε λέγοντας οἴεσθαι πείσειν, τὰ δυνατὰ δ’ ἐξ ὧν ἑκάτεροι ἀληθῶς φρονοῦμεν διαπράσσεσθαι, ἐπισταμένους πρὸς εἰδότας ὅτι δίκαια μὲν ἐν τῷ ἀνθρωπείῳ λόγῳ ἀπὸ τῆς ἴσης ἀνάγκης κρίνεται, δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ξυγχωροῦσιν.
(Thucydides, Hist. 5.89)
Athenians: ’Well, we shall not bulk out our argument with lofty language, claiming that our defeat of the Persians gives us the right to rule or that we are now seeking retribution for some wrong done to us. That would not convince you. Similarly we do not expect you to think there is any persuasive power in protestations that though you are a Spartan colony you have never joined their campaigns, or that you have not done us any harm. So keep this discussion practical, within the limits of what we both really think. You know as well as we do that when we are talking on the human plane questions of justice only arise when there is equal power to compel: in terms of practicality the dominant exact what they can and the weak concede what they must.’ (tr. Martin Hammond)