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For so exactly did they gauge1 the actions by which human beings incur the worst odium that they passed a decree to divide the surplus of the funds derived from the tributes of the allies into talents and to bring it on the stage,2 when the theatre was full, at the festival of Dionysus3; and not only was this done but at the same time they led in upon the stage the sons of those who had lost their lives in the war,4 seeking thus to display to our allies,5 on the one hand, the value of their own property6 which was brought in by hirelings,7 and to the rest of the Hellenes, on the other, the multitude of the fatherless and the misfortunes which result from this policy of aggression.

1 Ironical. He means that they mastered the science of making themselves unpopular.

2 That is, the theoric fund. See Isoc. 8.13, note. The point of the division into talents is obscure. Perhaps one talent was distributed at each festival.

3 The “Greater Dionysia,” celebrated in March.

4 The state brought them up at public expense until they were of age for citizenship, at which time they were led before the concourse of the people in the theatre and bidden God speed! See Aeschin. 3.154.

5 It appears that the “tribute” money of the allies during the Confederacy of Delos was brought to Athens by their representatives at the time of the Dionysiac festival. See Aristoph. Ach. 505, 643. Besides, the festival attracted many unofficial visitors from the other states.

6 That is, the value we attach to it—how we honor their contributions.

7 The text clearly means “brought in by paid men.” But μισθωτοί may be either paid servants or paid soldiers. The former meaning is generally preferred by the editors because only in a loose sense could it be said that the tribute was brought in by mercenaries; besides, the present tense is employed. Nevertheless the reader will think of the hirelings mentioned just before (in 79) with whom the Athenians manned their triremes and through whom they forced the payment of the tribute, and doubtless the author so intended.

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hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Carol L. Lawton, Attic Document Reliefs, Art and Politics in Ancient Athens (Selections), Lawton essay 1
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek, The Article
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Aeschines, Against Ctesiphon, 154
    • Isocrates, On the Peace, 13
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 505
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (3):
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