By Polybius; Shuckburgh, Evelyn S. (trans.)

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Example text

There happened to be residing in Megalopolis some Messenian exiles; by whose help he managed, under 112 cover of night, to get within the walls without being detected. When day broke he had a narrow escape from being ejected, if not from absolute destruction, through the valour of the citizens. This had been his fortune three months before, when he had made his way into the city by the region which is called the Colaeum: but on this occasion, by the superiority of his force, and the seizure in advance of the strongest positions in the town, he succeeded in effecting his purpose.

It would not be easy to mention a grosser or blacker act of treachery. Even if they resolved to utterly set at nought the gratitude they owed to, and the friendship they had formed with, the league; they ought at least to have spared these men, and to have let every one of them depart under some terms or another: for this much it is the custom by the law of nations to grant even to foreign enemies. But in order to satisfy Cleomenes and the Lacedaemonians of their fidelity in the policy of the hour, they deliberately, and in violation of international law, consummated a crime of the most impious description.

The facts of the case are these. He abdicated his sovereignty of Argos shortly before, finding himself in difficulties, owing to the state of affairs brought on by the death of Demetrius. He was, however, protected by the clemency and generosity of the league; and, much to his own surprise, was left unmolested. 19 All these favours he immediately forgot, as soon as his hopes were a little raised by the Cleomenic war; and at a crisis of the utmost importance he withdrew his native city, as well as his own personal adhesion, from the league, and attached them to its enemies.

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