Ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ἀδύνατον ἀμύνεσθαι οὕτω πόλιν ἐρχόμεθα, ἀλλὰ τοῖς πᾶσιν ἄριστα παρεσκευασμένην, ὥστε χρὴ καὶ πάνυ ἐλπίζειν διὰ μάχης ἰέναι αὐτούς, εἰ μὴ καὶ νῦν ὥρμηνται ἐν ᾧ οὔπω πάρεσμεν, ἀλλ’ ὅταν ἐν τῇ γῇ ὁρῶσιν ἡμᾶς δῃοῦντάς τε καὶ τἀκείνων φθείροντας. πᾶσι γὰρ ἐν τοῖς ὄμμασι καὶ ἐν τῷ παραυτίκα ὁρᾶν πάσχοντάς τι ἄηθες ὀργὴ προσπίπτει· καὶ οἱ λογισμῷ ἐλάχιστα χρώμενοι θυμῷ πλεῖστα ἐς ἔργον καθίστανται. Ἀθηναίους δὲ καὶ πλέον τι τῶν ἄλλων εἰκὸς τοῦτο δρᾶσαι, οἳ ἄρχειν τε τῶν
ἄλλων ἀξιοῦσι καὶ ἐπιόντες τὴν τῶν πέλας δῃοῦν μᾶλλον ἢ τὴν αὑτῶν ὁρᾶν. ὡς οὖν ἐπὶ τοσαύτην πόλιν στρατεύοντες καὶ μεγίστην δόξαν οἰσόμενοι τοῖς τε προγόνοις καὶ ἡμῖν
αὐτοῖς ἐπ’ ἀμφότερα ἐκ τῶν ἀποβαινόντων, ἕπεσθ’ ὅπῃ ἄν τις ἡγῆται, κόσμον καὶ φυλακὴν περὶ παντὸς ποιούμενοι καὶ τὰ παραγγελλόμενα ὀξέως δεχόμενοι· κάλλιστον γὰρ τόδε καὶ ἀσφαλέστατον, πολλοὺς ὄντας ἑνὶ κόσμῳ χρωμένους φαίνεσθαι.
(Thucydides, Hist. 2.11.6-9)
The city we are coming against is far from incapable of defending itself. It is supremely equipped in every way, so we must have every expectation that they will engage us in battle. Even if they are not already deployed pending our arrival, they will surely deploy when they see us in their territory, ravaging their land and destroying their property. Anger enters all men when they have in front of their own eyes the immediate sight of damage they have never seen before: and when reason retreats passion advances as the determinant of action. This is more likely to happen with the Athenians than with any others, since they presume the right to empire and expect to invade and ravage others’ territory rather than see it done to their own. Remember, then, that we are fighting a great city; and remember that on the result depends, for good or ill, the ultimate reputation we shall bring on our ancestors and ourselves. So follow your leaders; make discipline and security your absolute priorities; and be quick to respond to orders. Best and safest is when a large army is seen as a single disciplined body. (tr. Martin Hammond)
Τοῦ δ᾿ ἐπιγιγνομένου θέρους Πελοποννήσιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι μέχρι μὲν τοῦ Ἰσθμοῦ ἦλθον ὡς ἐς τὴν Ἀττικὴν ἐσβαλοῦντες Ἄγιδος τοῦ Ἀρχιδάμου ἡγουμένου Λακεδαιμονίων βασιλέως, σεισμῶν δὲ γενομένων πολλῶν ἀπετράποντο πάλιν καὶ οὐκ ἐγένετο ἐσβολή. καὶ περὶ τούτους τοὺς χρόνους, τῶν σεισμῶν κατεχόντων, τῆς Εὐβοίας ἐν Ὀροβίαις ἡ θάλασσα ἐπανελθοῦσα ἀπὸ τῆς τότε οὔσης γῆς καὶ κυματωθεῖσα ἐπῆλθε τῆς πόλεως μέρος τι, καὶ τὸ μὲν κατέκλυσε, τὸ δ’ ὑπενόστησε, καὶ θάλασσα νῦν ἐστὶ πρότερον οὖσα γῆ· καὶ ἀνθρώπους διέφθειρεν ὅσοι μὴ ἐδύναντο φθῆναι πρὸς τὰ μετέωρα ἀναδραμόντες. καὶ περὶ Ἀταλάντην τὴν ἐπὶ Λοκροῖς τοῖς Ὀπουντίοις νῆσον παραπλησία γίγνεται ἐπίκλυσις, καὶ τοῦ τε φρουρίου τῶν Ἀθηναίων παρεῖλε καὶ δύο νεῶν ἀνειλκυσμένων τὴν ἑτέραν κατέαξεν. ἐγένετο δὲ καὶ ἐν Πεπαρήθῳ κύματος ἐπαναχώρησίς τις, οὐ μέντοι ἐπέκλυσέ γε· καὶ σεισμὸς τοῦ τείχους τι κατέβαλε καὶ τὸ πρυτανεῖον καὶ ἄλλας οἰκίας ὀλίγας. αἴτιον δ’ ἔγωγε νομίζω τοῦ τοιούτου, ᾗ ἰσχυρότατος ὁ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο, κατὰ τοῦτο ἀποστέλλειν τε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ ἐξαπίνης πάλιν ἐπισπωμένην βιαιότερον τὴν ἐπίκλυσιν ποιεῖν· ἄνευ δὲ σεισμοῦ οὐκ ἄν μοι δοκεῖ τὸ τοιοῦτο ξυμβῆναι γενέσθαι.
(Thucydides, Hist. 3.89)
In the following summer the Peloponnesians and their allies, under the command of Agis, the son of Archidamus and king of Sparta, went as far as the Isthmus with the intention of invading Attica, but the occurrence of several earthquakes turned them back and no invasion took place. At around this time when the earthquakes were prevalent, the sea at Orobiae in Euboea retreated from what was then the coastline and returned in a tidal wave which hit one part of the town, and as a result of flooding combined with subsidence what was once land is now sea: the tidal wave killed the people who could not escape to higher ground in time. There was a similar inundation at Atalante, the island off Opuntian Locris, which carried away part of the Athenian fort and smashed one of the two ships laid up there. At Peparethus there was also a withdrawal of the sea, but not in this case followed by a surge: and an earthquake demolished part of the wall, the town hall, and a few other buildings. I believe the cause of this phenomenon to be that the sea retires at the point where the seismic shock is strongest, and is then suddenly flung back with all the greater violence, creating the inundation. I do not think that tidal waves could occur without an earthquake. (tr. Martin Hammond)
Βουλεύεσθε οὖν βραδέως ὡς οὐ περὶ βραχέων, καὶ μὴ ἀλλοτρίαις γνώμαις καὶ ἐγκλήμασι πεισθέντες οἰκεῖον πόνον πρόσθησθε. τοῦ δὲ πολέμου τὸν παράλογον ὅσος ἐστί, πρὶν ἐν αὐτῷ γενέσθαι προδιάγνωτε· μηκυνόμενος γὰρ φιλεῖ ἐς τύχας τὰ πολλὰ περιίστασθαι, ὧν ἴσον τε ἀπέχομεν καὶ ὁποτέρως ἔσται ἐν ἀδήλῳ κινδυνεύεται.
(Thucydides, Hist. 1.78.1-2)
Be slow, then, in reaching a decision: these are matters of great importance. And do not let other people’s opinions and complaints persuade you to incur troubles of your own. Give thought now to all the incalculable elements of war before you find yourselves in it. When war is prolonged it tends to become largely a matter of chance, in which we are both equally far from control and both face the danger of an uncertain outcome. And as they enter on their wars men take to action first, which should come later, and only have recourse to words when things go badly for them. (tr. Martin Hammond)
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)