τὰ δὲ, ‘but those things’ (referring to “πολέμους”), i.e. ‘such contests,’ οὐκ ἐριστὰ τοῖς δυνατοῖς, ‘cannot be waged with the powerful,’ (“ὥστε”) πλάθειν (“αὐτοῖς”), ‘so that one should come into conflict with them.’ The epexegetic inf. further explains the meaning of “ἐριστά”. Such contentions must not be pushed to an actual trial of force with those who are stronger than ourselves. For the inf. thus defining an adj., cp. Il. 21. 482“χαλεπή τοι ἐγὼ μένος ἀντιφέρεσθαι” (for thee to encounter): Pind. N. 10. 72“χαλεπὰ δ᾽ ἔρις ἀνθρώποις ὁμιλεῖν κρεσσόνων” (how hard, they know only when they are fairly engaged in it). ἐριστά (only here)=‘contested,’ then, ‘what can be contested’ (cp. O.T., append. p. 225). πλάθειν ( Ph. 728), in a hostile sense; cp. Her. 9. 74“ὅκως πελάσειε..τοῖσι πολεμίοισι”: Soph. Tr. 1093“λέοντ̓, ἄπλατον θρέμμα”.
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