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τοῖς is neut., and προχωρήσειν is epexegetic. διὰ τοῦ πελάγους—crossing the Aegean directly instead of sailing down the coast of Asia Minor, between Chios and Erythrae, before crossing among the islands. The alternative routes are clearly explained in Odyssey III. 170 f. and the risks of that across the μέσον πέλαγος are indicated. (Cf. Tozer, Islands of the Aegean, p. 170.) αὐτοῖς prob. = the Lesbians, and is dat. commodi with ἔπρασσον, as in V. 76, where those acting for Sparta at Argos are called οἱ τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις πράσσοντες. (Others take αὐτοῖς with ἥξει, or refer it to the Lacedaemonians.)
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