In an oft-quoted section of the Melian Dialogue, the envoys of powerful

Athens attempt to persuade the commissioners of the tiny island of Melos

that an alliance is in the latter’s best interest. Facing inevitable Athenian

subjugation, the Melians state:

Then surely, if such hazards are taken by you to keep your empire and

by your subjects to escape from it, we who are still free would show

ourselves great cowards and weaklings if we failed to face everything that comes rather than submit to slavery.