Andocides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Andoc.].
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On the Peace with Sparta

3.1I think you all understand, gentlemen, that it is better to make peace on fair terms than to continue fighting. But some of you fail to see that although our political leaders have no objection to peace in the abstract, they are opposed to such measures as would lead to it, on the ground that the people would be in very grave danger of seeing the existing constitution overthrown once peace was concluded.

3.2Now had the Athenian people never made peace with Sparta in the past, our lack of previous experience and the untrustworthy character of the Spartans might have justified such fears. But you have done so on a number of occasions since the establishment of the democracy; and it is therefore only logical that you should first of all consider the results which followed at the time; one must use the past as a guide to the future, gentlemen.

3.3 note Now take the days when we were fighting Euboea note and controlled Megara, Pegae, and Troezen. We were seized with a longing for peace; and, in virtue of his being Sparta's representative at Athens, we recalled Cimon's son, Miltiades note,who had been ostracized and was living in the Chersonese, for the one purpose of sending him to Sparta to make overtures for an armistice. 3.4On that occasion we secured a peace of fifty years with Sparta; and both sides kept the treaty in question for thirteen. Let us consider this single instance first, gentlemen. Did the Athenian democracy ever fall during this peace? No one can show that it did. On the contrary, I will tell you how much you benefited by this peace. 3.5To begin with, we fortified Peiraeus in the course of this period note: secondly, we built the Long Wall to the north note: then the existing fleet of old, unseaworthy triremes with which we had won Greece her independence by defeating the king of Persia and his barbarians—these existing vessels were replaced by a hundred new ones note: and it was at this time that we first enrolled three hundred cavalry and purchased three hundred Scythian archers note. Such were the benefits which Athens derived from the peace with Sparta, such the strength which was added thereby to the Athenian democracy.

3.6Later we went to war on account of Aegina note; and after both sides had suffered heavily, we were seized once more with a desire for peace. So a deputation of ten —among them my grandfather, Andocides — was chosen from the whole citizen body and dispatched to Sparta with unlimited powers to negotiate a peace. They arranged a thirty years' peace with Sparta for us. That is a long period, gentlemen; yet did the democracy ever fall in the course of it? Was any party, I ask you, ever caught plotting a revolution? No one can point to an instance. In fact just the opposite happened. 3.7The peace in question exalted the Athenian democracy; it rendered it so powerful that during the years after we gained peace we first of all deposited a thousand talents on the Acropolis and passed a law which set them apart as a state reserve note; in addition to that we built a hundred triremes, and decreed that they should be kept in reserve likewise: we laid out docks, note we enrolled twelve hundred cavalry and as many archers, and the Long Wall to the south was constructed. note Such were the benefits which Athens derived from the peace with Sparta, such the strength which was added thereby to the Athenian democracy.

3.8Then we went to war again on account of Megara, note and allowed Attica to be laid waste; but the many privations which we suffered led us to make peace once more, this time through Nicias, the son of Niceratus. note As you are all aware, I imagine, this peace enabled us to deposit seven thousand talents of coined silver on the Acropolis 3.9and to acquire over three hundred ships note: an annual tribute of more than twelve hundred talents was coming in note: we controlled the Chersonese, Naxos, and over two-thirds of Euboea: while to mention our other settlements abroad individually would be tedious. But in spite of all these advantages we went to war with Sparta afresh, then as now at the instigation of Argos. note

3.10Now first of all, gentlemen, call to mind what I originally said that I was setting out to show. It was, was it not, that peace has never yet caused the fall of the Athenian democracy. That has now been proved against all possible arguments to the contrary. However, I have heard some people saying before now that the result of our last peace with Sparta note was the installment of the Thirty, the death of many citizens by the hemlock-cup, and the exile of others. 3.11Those who talk in this fashion misapprehend matters. There is a wide difference between a peace and a truce. A peace is a settlement of differences between equals: a truce is the dictation of terms to the conquered by the conquerors after victory in war, exactly as the Spartans laid down after their victory over us that we should demolish our walls, surrender our fleet, and restore our exiles. 3.12The agreement made then was a forced truce upon dictated terms: whereas today you are considering a peace. Why, look at the actual provisions of the two as they stand recorded; contrast the conditions of the truce inscribed upon the stone note with the conditions on which you can make peace today. On the stone it is laid down that we shall demolish our walls: whereas under the present terms we can rebuild them. The truce allows us twelve ships: the peace as many as we like. Under the truce Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros remained in the possession of their occupants: under the peace they are to be ours. Nor is there today any obligation upon us to restore our exiles, as there was then, with the fall of the democracy as its consequence. Where is the similarity between the one and the other? Thus the general conclusion which I reach in the matter is this, gentlemen: peace means safety and power for the democracy, whereas war means its downfall. So much for that aspect of the question.

3.13Now it is argued by some that present circumstances oblige us to continue fighting. Let us begin, then, gentlemen, by considering exactly why we are to fight. Everyone would agree, I think, that war is justified only so long as one is either suffering a wrong oneself or supporting the cause of another who has been wronged. Now we were both suffering a wrong ourselves and also supporting the cause of the Boeotians who had been wronged. If, then, Sparta guarantees that our wrongs shall cease, and if the Boeotians have decided to allow Orchomenus its independence and make peace, why are we to continue fighting? 3.14To free Athens? She is free already. To be able to build ourselves walls? The peace gives us that right also. To be allowed to build new triremes, and refit and keep our old ones? That is assured us as well, since the treaty affirms the independence of each state. To recover the islands, Lemnos, Scyros, and Imbros? It is expressly laid down that these shall belong to Athens. 3.15Well then, is it to get back the Chersonese, our colonies, our landed property abroad, and the debts owed us? note A war for their recovery needs the support of the king of Persia and our allies, and they refuse that support. Or shall I be told that we must continue fighting until we have crushed Sparta and her allies? We are not adequately equipped, in my opinion, for a campaign on such a scale; and if we are successful, what must we ourselves expect from Persia afterwards? 3.16No, even if this were a justifiable ground for war, and we had sufficient money and the necessary men, we ought not to continue it. So if we have no reasons for prolonging the war, no enemy to fight, and no resources, why should we not make every effort to secure peace?

3.17Do not overlook another thing, gentlemen; you are negotiating today for the peace and independence of all Greeks alike: you are giving them all the opportunity of sharing in every advantage. Think of the circumstances in which the leading powers are ceasing hostilities. To begin with, take Sparta. When she first went to war with us and our allies, note she controlled both land and sea; but the peace is leaving her mistress of neither. 3.18And she is sacrificing this supremacy, not because we forced her to do so, but in order to give the whole of Greece its independence. The Spartans have now won three battles: the first at Corinth note against the full allied forces, who were left with no excuse for their defeat, save only that the Spartans, with none to aid them, fought more bravely than all the rest together; the second in Boeotia under Agesilaus, note when they once more gained a similar victory; and the third at the capture of Lechaeum, note against the full Argive and Corinthian forces, together with the Athenians and Boeotians present. 3.19But in spite of these amazing successes they, the victors in the field, are ready for a peace which will leave them with nothing save their own territory: they are recognizing the independence of the Greek states, and they are allowing their defeated opponents to share the freedom of the seas. Yet what terms of peace would they have gained from us, had they met with but a single defeat?

3.20Again, what are the conditions under which Boeotia is making peace? Boeotia went to war because she refused to allow Orchomenus its independence. note today, after the loss of thousands of lives, after the devastation of a large part of her territory, after heavy public and private expenditure, which is now a dead loss, after four years of fighting, Boeotia is recognizing the independence of Orchomenus and making peace, thereby rendering her sufferings useless, as by acknowledging the independence of Orchomenus at the outset she need never have gone to war at all. Those are the circumstances in which Boeotia is ceasing hostilities.

3.21Now what are the terms available to ourselves, gentlemen? How is Sparta disposed to us? Here, if I am about to cause distress to any of you, I ask his forgiveness, as I shall be stating nothing but the facts. To begin with, when we lost our fleet on the Hellespont and were shut within our walls, note what did our present allies, note who were then on the Spartan side, propose to do with us? They proposed, did they not, to sell our citizens as slaves and make Attica a waste. And who was it who prevented this? The Spartans; they dissuaded the allies, and for their own part refused even to contemplate such measures. 3.22Later we gave them our oath, were allowed to erect the column, and accepted a truce upon dictated terms, a hardship which was welcome enough at the time. Nevertheless we then proceeded, by means of an alliance, to detach Boeotia and Corinth from Sparta, and to resume friendly relations with Argos, thereby involving Sparta in the battle of Corinth. note Who, again, turned the king of Persia against Sparta? Who enabled Conon to fight the engagement at sea which lost her her maritime supremacy? note 3.23Yet in spite of all that she has suffered at our hands, she agrees to the same concessions as those made us by our allies, and offers us our walls, our fleet, and our islands. What terms of peace do you expect representatives to bring you back, may I ask? Can they do better than obtain the same advantages from the enemy as our friends are offering us, the very advantages which we went to war to secure for Athens? Whereas others make peace at a loss to themselves, we gain precisely what we most want.

3.24What, then, remains to be considered? Corinth, and the appeal which Argos is making to us. First as to Corinth. I should like to be informed of the value of Corinth to us, if Boeotia leaves our ranks and makes peace with Sparta. Recall the day on which we concluded our alliance with Boeotia, gentlemen: 3.25Recall the assumption on which we acted. We imagined, did we not, that once Boeotia joined forces with us we could face the whole world. Yet here we are considering how we can continue fighting Sparta without her help, now that she is making peace. 3.26“Perfectly well,” say some, “provided that we protect Corinth and are allied with Argos.” But if Sparta attacks Argos, shall we go to her help or not? For we shall assuredly have no choice but to follow the one course or the other. Yet should we withhold our help, we are left without a single argument wherewith to justify ourselves or to show that Argos has not the right to act as she pleases. On the other hand, should we give her our aid, is not a conflict with Sparta inevitable? And to what end? To enable us to lose our own territory as well as that of Corinth in the event of defeat, and to secure Corinth for Argos in the event of victory. Will not that prove to be our object in fighting?

3.27Now let us examine the Argive proposals in their turn. Argos urges us to join Corinth and herself in maintaining the war; yet in virtue of a private peace which she has negotiated, note she has withdrawn her own territory from the field of hostilities. She forbids us to place the least trust in Sparta, although all our allies are joining us in making peace; yet she admits that Sparta's treaty with herself, which was made without any such support, has been faithfully observed. Again, Argos calls her own peace traditional, but forbids the other Greeks to secure a traditional peace for themselves: the reason being that she expects to annex Corinth by prolonging the war, and after gaining control of the state which has always controlled her, she hopes to extend her influence over her partners in victory as well.

3.28Such are the prospects to which we are committed; and we have a choice between two alternatives, that of joining Argos in fighting Sparta, and that of joining Boeotia in making common peace with her. Now what alarms me above all else, gentlemen, is our old, old fault of invariably abandoning powerful friends in preference for weak, and of going to war for the sake of others when, as far as we ourselves are concerned, we could perfectly well remain at peace. 3.29Thus—and it is only by calling the past to mind that one can properly determine policy—we began by making a truce with the Great King and establishing a permanent accord with him, thanks to the diplomacy of my mother's brother, Epilycus, the son of Teisander. note But later the king's runaway slave, Amorges, note induced us to discard the powerful support of his master as worthless. We chose instead what we imagined to be a more advantageous understanding with Amorges himself. The king in his anger replied by allying himself with Sparta, note and furnished her with five thousand talents with which to prosecute the war; nor was he satisfied until he had overthrown our empire. That is one instance of such policy.

3.30Again, an urgent request came to us from Syracuse; she was ready to end our differences by a pact of friendship, to end war by peace; and she pointed out the advantages of an alliance with herself, if only we would consent to it, over those of the existing alliance with Segesta and Catana. note But once more we chose war instead of peace, Segesta instead of Syracuse; instead of staying at home as the allies of Syracuse, we chose to send an armament to Sicily. The result was the loss of a large part of the Athenian and allied forces, the bravest being the first to fall; a reckless waste of ships, money, and resources: and the return of the survivors in disgrace.

3.31Later, note the same Argives who are here today to persuade us to continue the war, induced us to arouse Sparta's anger by making a naval descent upon Laconia while at peace with her, an act which was responsible for endless disasters; from it sprang a war which ended with our being forced to demolish our walls, to surrender our fleet, and to restore our exiles. Yet what help did we receive in our misfortunes from Argos who had drawn us into the war? What danger did she brave for Athens?

3.32Today, then, it remains for us to choose war instead of peace once again, the Argive instead of the Boeotian alliance, the present masters of Corinth instead of Sparta. Gentlemen, I trust that no one will induce us to choose such a course. The examples furnished by our past mistakes are enough to prevent men of sense from repeating them.

3.33A number of you are extremely anxious to see peace concluded as quickly as possible. In fact, according to those in question, the forty days allowed you for consideration are a waste of time and a concession which we delegates have done wrong to obtain, as the one object of our being sent to Sparta with full powers was to avoid any further reference of the matter to the Assembly. Our desire to secure our position by such a reference they call nervousness, since no one, they argue, has ever yet saved the Athenian people by open persuasion: measures for its good must be secret or disguised.

3.34Now I cannot praise this reasoning. I admit, gentlemen, that in time of war a patriotic and experienced general should employ secrecy or deception in leading the majority of men into danger; but when a peace to include the entire nation is being negotiated, an agreement to which sworn assent will be given and which will be recorded on public monuments, I deny that the negotiators should practise secrecy or deception. I maintain that we deserve praise much more than blame, if, in spite of our full powers of discretion, we still refer the question to you for consideration. Decisions should be reached with all the caution possible; then, once we have made our sworn compact, we should abide by it.

3.35As delegates, we must be guided not only by your written instructions, but by your character, gentlemen. You have a way of suspecting and being dissatisfied with a thing if you can have it: while if there is anything which you have not, you airily talk as though it lay ready to your hand. If it is your duty to go to war, you want peace; if peace is arranged for you, you count up the benefits which war has brought you. 3.36Thus there are those who are already complaining that they cannot see the meaning of the treaty, if it is walls and ships which Athens is to recover. They are not recovering their own private property from abroad: and walls cannot feed them. This objection also requires an answer.

3.37There was once a time, gentlemen, when we had no walls or fleet: but it was when we acquired them that our prosperity began. If you have a similar desire for prosperity today, then make sure of your walls and your ships. It was with them that our forefathers started; and, partly by persuasion, partly by stealth, partly by bribery, and partly by force, they won for Athens a greater empire than any other state has ever gained. 3.38Persuasion we used in arranging that Hellenotamiae should be appointed at Athens to control the joint funds, note that the allied fleet should assemble in our own harbor, and that such states as possessed no ships should be supplied with them by us: stealth in building our walls unknown to the Peloponnesians note: bribery in purchasing Sparta's acquiescence: and force in crushing our enemies; thus it was that we built up an empire over the whole nation. All these successes were achieved in eighty-five years. note 3.39Then came defeat; and not only did we lose our empire: our walls and our fleet were also seized as securities by Sparta. The fleet she confiscated, and the walls she demolished, to prevent our using them as the foundations of a fresh Athenian dominion. Thanks to the efforts of us delegates, representatives have today come from Sparta with full powers, offering to restore those securities to us, to concede us our walls and our fleet, and to recognize the islands as ours.

3.40Now although we hold the very same key to prosperity as our forefathers, it is maintained by some that we must not acquiesce in this peace. Let such critics come forward in person, then, —we have ourselves made it possible for them to do so by securing a further forty days for discussion—and let them tell you on the one hand whether any of the clauses drafted is undesirable: if it is, it can be excised; on the other hand, if anyone wishes to make any additions, let him gain your approval and make them. If you accept all the clauses drafted, you can live in peace. 3.41If you are satisfied with none of them, war is inevitable. The decision rests entirely with you, gentlemen; make your choice. Argives and Corinthians are here to show you that war is preferable: while Spartans have come to gain your consent to a peace. The final word in the matter rests with you instead of with Sparta—thanks to us. Thus we delegates are making delegates of you all; every man of you who is about to raise his hand to vote is a delegate whose business is peace and war, no matter which he prefers. So bear in mind all that I have said, gentlemen: and vote for that alternative which will never cause you regrets.

Andocides, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Andoc.].
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