1. If I thought it were possible, O fellow-citizens who are assembled at this burial-place, to set forth in words the valor of those who lie here, I should blame the men who invited me to speak about them at a few days' notice. But as all time would not be sufficient for (the combined efforts) of all men to prepare an address adequate to their deeds, the city seems to me, in providing for men to speak here, to make the appointment at short notice, on the supposition that the speakers would under the circumstances meet with less adverse criticism.
2. And though my words relate to these men, the chief difficulty is not concerning their deeds, but with those who formerly spoke upon them. For the valor of these men has been the occasion of such abundance (of composition), both by those able to compose, and those wishing to speak, that, although many noble sentiments have been uttered about them by men in the past, yet much has been left unsaid, and enough can yet be spoken at the present time. For they have experienced perils on land and sea, and everywhere and among all men, who, while bewailing their own hard fate, yet sing the praises of the courage of these men.
3. First, then, I will review the hardships of our ancestors, following the traditions. For all men should keep them too in mind, both celebrating them in song, speaking of them in maxims about the good, honoring them at such times as this, and instructing the living by the deeds of the dead.
4. The Amazons were once the daughters of Ares, living by the river Thermodon, and they alone of the inhabitants of that region were armed with metal, and first of all they mounted horses, by which they unexpectedly, because of the inexperience of their adversaries, overtook those who fled from them, and they left their pursuers far behind. So for their spirit they were thought men, rather than women for their nature. For they seemed to surpass men in spirit rather than to be inferior in physique.
5. And after they had subdued many tribes and in fact enslaved the surrounding nations, they heard great reports about this country, and for the sake of glory took the most warlike of their tribes and marched against this city. And after they met these brave men, they came to have their souls like their nature, and with changed hearts seemed to be women rather from their conduct in danger than from their forms.
6. And they alone were not allowed to learn from experience and to plan better for the future, and they might not go homeward and tell of their discomfiture and the valor of our ancestors; for they died here and paid the penalty for their rashness, and made the memory of this city immortal through valor, and rendered their own country nameless through their defeat here. These women then, through their unjust desire for a country not their own, justly lost their own.