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Λέσβος ἀπέστη—the gravity of this event lay in the fact that Lesbos and Chios were the only two islands in the Aegean that retained the position of independent allies of Athens. These furnished manned ships, but not infantry or money. For the narrative see Introd. p. xiii.

Μηθύμνης—Methymna, the second town in Lesbos, was under a democracy, Mytilene under an oligarchy.

βουληθέντες agrees κατὰ σύνεσιν with Λέσβος: this change, in the case of peoples, is especially common in Thuc.; and cf. c. 67, 3 ἠλικία . . ῶν. So with στρατιά, στράτευμα.

τῶν . . τήν serve for all three pairs of nouns.

χῶσιν—the harbours were to be turned into λιμένες κλῃστοί (II. 94, 4): walls were carried across the mouth on artificial moles, and the narrow opening left could be closed with a chain.

ἐπέμενον—showing why they had put off the revolt. The constr. with ἐπιμένειν is here double: (1) τὴν . . ποίησιν τελεσθῆναι, as in VII. 20 περιέμενε τὸν Χαρικλέα . . παραλαβεῖν: (2) ὅσα . . ἔδει ἀφικέσθαι, an accusative clause. (It is objected that Thuc. elsewhere uses ἐπιμένειν only as intrans., but he uses e.g. μένω and ὑπο- in both ways; and why not ἐπι-?)

τοξότας—as mercenaries.

μεταπεμπόμενοι ἦσαν—cf. I. 99 ἦσαν . . ἄρχοντες, II. 80 ἦσαν . . ξυμπροθυμούμενοι. Of course, the periphrasis with pres partic. is much less common than with perf., but it is not different in principle. Passages like II. 67 οὗ ἦν στράτευμα πολιορκοῦν ‘where there was a blockading army’ are quite different, the partic. not belonging to the verb. In yet another case, like I. 38 τοῖς πλείοσιν άρέσκοντές ἐσμεν, the partic. is a predicative adj.

ἰδίᾳ—in contrast with what the government was doing κοινῇ.

κατά—often of the motive or reason, e.g. II. 87 ξυμπαραγενομένων κατὰ φιλίαν.

πρόξενοι—the fact that there were more representatives of Athens than one at Mytilene might show that the office was hereditary in a family, but more probably the title of πρόξενος καὶ εὐεργέτης had been granted by Athens to members of different Mytilenean families. Aristotle in Pol. 1304 a says that Dexander ἦρξε τῆς στάσεως καὶ τοὺς Ἀθηναίους παρώξυνε πρόξενος ὤν: he had a private quarrel with a member of the aristocratic party; from this small matter πολλῶν ἐγένετο ἀρχὴ κακῶν. In any case it would have been the duty of the Proxenus to inform Athens of movements in Mytilene unfavourable to her interests even before the war; but doubtless the quarrel was now an exasperating motive to him, and led directly to the outbreak of stasis, for it was a dispute about property and intermarriage between families of the opposed parties.

ξυνοικίζουσι—i.e. attempting to make the island into a single πόλις under one government, and in this case, an oligarchy.

ξυγγενῶν — Lesbos being of Boeotian (Aeolic) origin. To intervene on behalf of kinsmen was under all circumstances deemed justifiable among Greek states.

εἰ μή τις—‘unless they mean to,’ the fut. indic. marking the urgency; cf. VIII. 91 εἰ μή τις ἤδη φυλάξεται.

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hide References (8 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (8):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.38
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.99
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.67
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.80
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.87
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.94
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.20
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.91
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