Apeirēton

298_xerxes-_david_farrar_300spartanwarriors

Σοὶ δὲ δὴ μέλλει τίς ὦ βασιλεῦ ἀντιώσεσθαι πόλεμον προφέρων, ἄγοντι καὶ πλῆθος τὸ ἐκ τῆς Ἀσίης καὶ νέας τὰς ἁπάσας; ὡς μὲν ἐγὼ δοκέω, οὐκ ἐς τοῦτο θράσεος ἀνήκει τὰ Ἑλλήνων πρήγματα· εἰ δὲ ἄρα ἔγωγε ψευσθείην γνώμῃ καὶ ἐκεῖνοι ἐπαερθέντες ἀβουλίῃ ἔλθοιεν ἡμῖν ἐς μάχην, μάθοιεν ἂν ὡς εἰμὲν ἀνθρώπων ἄριστοι τὰ πολέμια. ἔστω δ’ ὦν μηδὲν ἀπείρητον· αὐτόματον γὰρ οὐδέν, ἀλλ’ ἀπὸ πείρης πάντα ἀνθρώποισι φιλέει γίνεσθαι.
(Herodotus, Hist. 7.9γ)

So, my lord, who is going to oppose you? Who is going to threaten you with war when you come from Asia at the head of a massive army and with your whole fleet? I am sure that the Greeks are not so foolhardy. But suppose I’m mistaken in this opinion; suppose their rash foolishness encourages them to confront us in battle. Then they will discover that when it comes to military matters there is no one in the world to match us. Anyway, we should leave nothing untried. Nothing comes of its own accord; people invariably get things as a result of their own efforts. (tr. Robin Waterfield)

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