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Ἄρξομαι—here begins a subsidiary introduction, the object of which is to get rid of the conventional topics in few words, and lead up to the prothesis (see 4 below).

προγόνων —dismissed with merely a respectful mention, as Pericles' real business is with the present, not the past. He begins with πρόγονοι, the θεοὶ χθόνιοι, as poets and orators begin with the gods. Plato does it sometimes at the beginning of a long discussion; cf. Livy's conclusion to his preface, and the opening of Demosth. de Cor.

πρῶτον—not pleonastic, for the analysis shows that the ἀρχὴ of the speech contains three points.

δίκαιον .. πρέπον—the former of one's duty towards others, the latter of one's duty towards oneself.

αὐτοῖς—with δίδοσθαι. καὶ π. δὲ ἅμα—like non modo ... sed etiam.

ἐν τῷ τοιῷδε—‘on such an occasion as this.’

οἱ αὐτοὶ—predicate with οἰκοῦντες. The Athenians prided themselves on being αὐτόχθονες. διαδοχῇ—instrumental.

Πατέρες—he passes to the period of the Persian Wars.

πρὸς οἷς—they received Attica; they left the maritime confederacy.

ἀρχὴν—Pericles avoids stating the steps by which the Athenian ἡγεμονία was turned into an ἀρχή.

Τὰ πλείω—is accus. of respect, and refers especially to the internal improvements, made in the age of Pericles, of whatever kind. As for the material improvements—buildings and walls—Pericles' connection with them precluded him from referring to them in detail.

ἡμεῖς—Pericles was born about 490 B.C. Hence μάλιστα, ‘more or less.’

ἐν τῇ καθ —lit. ‘living in settled life,’ i.e. ‘in the vigour of life,’ the time between growth and decay. Cic. Cat. maj. 76 constans aetas quae media dicitur.

ἐπηυξήσαμεν—‘have improved it.’

αὐταρκεστάτην—by the increase of the revenue and the advance of culture.

Ὧναὐτῶν καὶ τῶν πατέρων. οἷς κ.τ.λ.—of the Persian Wars, the reduction of Naxos (468 B.C.), the war with Thasos (465), those with Corinth, Epidaurus and Aegina (458), those in Boeotia (457 and 447), that with Euboea (445) and Samos (440).

ἐκτήθη—offensive measures) (ἠμυνάμεθα, defensive. [

πόλεμον]—this would require Ἑλληνικύν, since Ἕλλην can only be used as an adj. with persons, as VII. 42, 1 ἀκοντιστὰς βαρβάρους καὶ Ἕλληνας. ἀπὸ δὲ—this introduces the prothesis, or statement of the theme of the main portion of the speech (the πίστις).

ἐπιτηδεύσεως—‘principles’ on which concrete ἐπιτηδεύματα are based. Pericles will explain the meaning and point out the results of the ideas which underlie the Athenian constitution, and show that it is based on philosophy and intelligence. (Aristotle did not admire Pericles much, because Athens degenerated so rapidly after his death; and Plato thought little of most men who took part in public affairs: but the passage in Phaedo, 82 A οἱ τὴν δημοτικήν τε καὶ πολιτικὴν ἀρετὴν ἐπιτηδευκότες, ἣν δὴ καλοῦσι σωφροσύνην τε καὶ δικαιοσύνην, ἐξ ἔθους τε καὶ μελέτης γεγονυῖαν ἄνευ φιλοσοφίας τε καὶ νοῦ, could not apply to Pericles and the circle of Anaxagoras. See Appendix in Archer—Hind's edition).

αὐτὰ—cf. c. 1 ἕκαστα, 43, 1.

μεθ᾽ οἵας—the prepositions are important. ἀπὸ gives the remote origin, ἐξ the immediate cause, μετὰ the circumstances under which the result was produced. From both ἀπὸ and ἐκ must be distinguished ὑπό, of the agent (see Class. Rev. III. 436 a),

πολιτείας—of public and active life) (τρόπων, of personal relations, and intellectual life.

ταῦτα δηλώσας—‘I will explain this before’ etc. The main emphasis is on the partic. as c. 12, 2.

ἐπὶ τῷ παρόντι—‘under the present circumstances,’ i.e. at the end of the first campaign. There will be practical lessons to learn from the description. Intr. p. lxxii. In the same sense ἐπὶ τοῖς παροῦσιν is used VIII. 54, 4.

ἀπρεπῆ— predicate, with λεχθῆναι. Cf. c. 102, 6.

ἀστῶν—so that they might lay to heart the lesson to be learnt.

ξένων— see c. 34, 4.

ξύμφορον—neut. The general topic of the πίστις is τὸ ξυμφέρον. It is changed at c. 43 for τὸ καλόν. ἐπακοῦσαι—‘to hear with attention’) (ὑπακούειν ‘to hear and obey.’

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.1
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.43
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.42
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.54
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