Thursday, June 29, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Thucydides


Ancient Greek historian, author of the History of the Peloponnesian War, which recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens.
Thucydides
Contempt for an assailant is best shown by bravery in action.
Thucydides quotes
When one is deprived of one's liberty, one is right in blaming not so much the man who puts the shackles on as the one who had the power to prevent him, but did not use it.
Thucydides
On the whole, however, the conclusions I have drawn from the proofs quoted may, I believe, safely be relied on. Assuredly they will not be disturbed either by the lays of a poet displaying the exaggeration of his craft, or by the compositions of the chroniclers that are attractive at truth's expense; the subjects they treat of being out of the reach of evidence, and time having robbed most of them of historical value by enthroning them in the region of legend.




Thucydides quotes
I think, therefore, that we ought to take great numbers of hoplites, both from Athens and from our allies, and not merely from our subjects, but also any we may be able to get for love or money in the Peloponnesus, and great numbers also of archers and slingers, to oppose the Sicilian horse.
Thucydides
Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defence. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head, to divine a plot a still shrewder; but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries.
Thucydides quotes
Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can.
Thucydides
Abstinence from all injustice to other first-rate powers is a greater tower of strength than anything that can be gained by the sacrifice of permanent tranquillity for an apparent temporary advantage.
Thucydides quotes
They have discovered that the length of time we have now been in commission has rotted our ships and wasted our crews, and that with the completeness of our crews and the soundness of the pristine efficiency of our navy has departed. For it is impossible for us to haul our ships ashore and dry them out because the enemy's vessels being as many or more than our own, we are constantly anticipating an attack.
Thucydides
The growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Sparta, made war inevitable.
Thucydides
" still hope leads men to venture; and no one ever yet put himself in peril without the inward conviction that he would succeed in his design."
Thucydides
Fire signals of an attack were also raised toward Thebes, but the Plataeans in the city at once displayed a number of others, prepared beforehand for this very purpose, in order to render the enemy's signals unintelligible, and to prevent his friends from getting a true idea of what was happening and coming to his aid before their comrades who had gone out should have made good their escape and be in safety.




Thucydides quotes
We must march against the enemy, and teach him that he must go and get what he wants by attacking someone who will not resist him, but that men whose glory it is to be always ready to give battle for the liberty of their own country, and never unjustly to enslave that of others, will not let him go without a struggle.
Thucydides
But the prize for courage will surely be awarded most justly to those who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger.
Thucydides quotes
When men are once checked in what they consider their special excellence, their whole opinion of themselves suffers more than if they had not at first believed in their superiority, the unexpected shock to their pride causing them to give way more than their real strength warrants; and that is probably now the case with the Athenians.
Thucydides
" I have often before now been convinced that a democracy is incapable of empire..."
Thucydides quotes
The wide difference between the two characters, the slowness and want of energy of the Spartans as contrasted with the dash and enterprise of their opponents, proved of the greatest service, especially to a maritime empire like Athens. Indeed this was shown by the Syracusans, who were most like the Athenians in character, and also most successful in combating them.
Thucydides
" the freaks of chance are not determinable by calculation."
Thucydides quotes
A nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its laws made by cowards and its wars fought by fools.
Thucydides
"We hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."
Thucydides
If you give way, you will instantly have to meet some greater demand, as having been frightened into obedience in the first instance; while a firm refusal will make them clearly understand that they must treat you more as equals.


© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact