Further into Book I of The Peloponnesian War

Skipping over all the speeches, which go on for pages and pages, for which you’re welcome.

In this section, Athens squares off against the Lacedaemonians.

All she can remember of the Lacedaemonians is that they introduced the fashion of wrestling completely naked, and oiled all over. After which, the Athenian states followed. (Before then, according to Thucydides, the Greeks wrestled and boxed wearing a “belt around their middle.”)

Below, Athens charges the Lacedaemonians:

Such is Athens, your antagonist. And yet, Lacedaemonians, you still delay, and fail to see that peace stays longest with those who are not more careful to use their power justly than to show their determination not to submit to injustice. On the contrary, your ideal of fair dealing is based on the principle that if you do not injure others, you need not risk your own fortunes in preventing others from injuring you . . . your habits are old-fashioned. It is the law as in art, so in politics that improvements ever prevail; and though fixed usages may be best for undisturbed communities, constant necessities of action must be accompanied by the constant improvement of methods . . . Here, at least, let your procrastination end.

— the peloponnesian war, book 1

Whew! What a long speech! Athens charges the other side with being “old-fashioned,” which self does not really think are fighting words, but nevertheless. These two armies do get down to it. Exciting!

Stay tuned.

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