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αἷς ἂν . . ἔλθῃ—the clause forms the object to τρέπειν. μάλιστα καὶ δι᾽ ἐλαχίστου, ‘most fully and most suddenly,’ refers to the moment just alluded to in ἐν ᾧ ᾠήθησαν; it was καιρὸς ὡς οὔπω πρότερον, c. 13, 3. The revolt was not really the unpremeditated thing that Cleon represents it to have been. The ἀπροσδόκητος εὐπραξία refers to the difficulties in which Athens was. (The objection to δι᾽ ἐλαχίστου that the change of fortune on the part of the Mytilenaeans was not sudden, but was gradually brought about by the events of the war, rests on a confusion of facts and the rhetorical presentment of them.) τὰ δὲ πολλὰ . . εὐτυχοῦντα ἀσφαλέστερα—‘in most things prosperity according to calculation is safer than prosperity that is a surprise.’ It is an extraordinary explanation that makes τὰ πολλά, after the schol., adverbial accus., and κατὰ λ. εὐτυχοῦντα equivalent to τὰ . . εὐτυχοῦντα. The constr. intended is clearly ἀσφαλέστερά (ἐστι) τὰ πολλὰ εὐτυχοῦντα=εἰ εὐτυχεῖ: cf. II. 13 (ἔφη) τὰ πολλὰ κρατεῖσθαι. And there is no doubt about the reading being right: εὐτυχία, a stable condition, is in contrast with εὐπραξία. a single event (cf. I. 33); a calm life unmarred by misfortune constituted εὐτυχία (cf. II. 44). Of course παρὰ δόξαν (εὐτυχοῦντα) gives a different and paradoxical meaning to εὐτυχία. This doctrine of Cleon seems to be based upon the philosophy of life professed by his opponent Nicias. Cf. V. 16, of Nicias, διασώσασθαι τὴν εὐτυχίαν. ὡς εἰπεῖν ῥᾷον—‘almost more easily.’
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