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στάσις (Kruger) is very probable, as the ref. is to a στάσις just described, but it is not absolutely necessary. 2

μᾶλλον—sc. ὠμὴ προχωρῆσαι.

ἐν τοῖς πρώτην—see on c. 17, 1.

ὡς εἰπεῖν—qualifying a sweeping statement (never apologizing for a metaphor): ‘I might almost say,’ ‘almost.’

τὸ Ἑλληνικόν—c. 57, 2.

ἐπάγεσθαι—“sense” constr., διαφορῶν οὐσῶν implying ‘attempting.’

καὶ ἐν μὲν εἰρήνῃ . . ἐπορίζοντο—the transition from μέν+partic. to δέ+finite verb here is considered perhaps the most extraordinary anacoluthon in Thuc. It is quite different from cases like c. 81, 4, since there is here no finite verb for the μέν-clause. To put a comma only at Λακεδαιμονίους instead of the usual full stop helps to some degree. ἐτόλμων for ἑτοἱμων (Vollgraff and Classen) is a conjecture worth notice.

οὐκ ἂν ἐχόντων—sc. αὐτῶν, the leaders of both parties in any given state.

ἑτοίμων—sc. ὄντων, an unusual ellipse except when the adj.+omitted partic. is supplementary to a verb, as in τετύχηκε τὸ ἐπιτήδευμα ἄλογον, sc. ὄν, I. 23.

αὐτούς—Athenians or Lac., as the ease might be.

πολεμουμένων—mase. from πολεμόω, of the Ath. and Lac. (to refer this to the two political parties is very strained).

καὶ ξυμμαχίας ἅμα . . αἱ ἐπαγωγαί—i.e. καὶ αἱ ἐπαγωγαὶ ἅμα ξυμμαχίας. The point of καὶ άμα is that parties no longer carried on their rivalry amongst themselves at home, but readily called in the help of allies too. ἐπαγωγαί is ‘opportunities for calling in.’ ἑκατέροις is ambiguous: it may be (1) by the Ath. and Lac., agent to ἐπορίζοντο, or (2) to either party in a state <*> then τοῖς . . βουλομένοις will be in limiting apposition to it. In either case τοῖς . . βουλομένοις is probably not dat. of agent.

τῇ . . προσποιήσει—the two ideas are parts of one whole, so that one art. suffices. The dat is that of motive, esp. common in Thuc., mostly with single words such as φιλίᾳ, ἔχθει, εὐνοίᾳ Thompson, At Syn. p. 150. σφίσιν αὐτοῖς is governed by προσποιήσει, ib. p. 155. The whole sentence has the appearance of a series of notes that have not been put into their final form.


γιγνόμενα refers to time absolutely present, not contemporary with the main verb. MT'. § 141.

μᾶλλον . . διηλλαγμένα—i.e. varying in intensity and in form: μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἡσυχαίτερα form the first idea, adv. and adj. being combined, as either is possible separately with γίγνεται. μᾶλλον καὶ ἡσυχαίτερα γίγνεται might also mean ‘it rises and falls in intensity’ on any given occasion, but the emphatic position of γιγνόμενα shows that it corresponds in sense to the emphatic ἔστι, not to the mere copula ἐστί.

ὡς ἄν—‘according as.’

ἐφιστῶνται—‘impose themselves,’ like a doom: κῆρες ἐφεστᾶσιν Il. XII. 326, Soph. OT. 776, Eur. Hipp. 819.

τοῦ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν—some think that βίου has fallen out before βιαίου, and certainly τὸ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν is odd; but cf. τὸ παρόν and τὰ παρόντα.

ὀργάς—‘dispositions.’


ἐστασίαζέ τε—this passage down to the end of c. 83 is severely criticized by Dionysius Hal. de Thuc. iud. cc 29 f. for its artificial and far-fetched expressions

τὰ ἐφυστερίζοντά που—‘the later cases,’ the cities that followed the example of discord set by others; a strange expression, as Dionysius says, but occasioned by τὰ τῶν πόλεων. Notice that ποῦἔν τινι πόλει.

πολὺ ἐπέφερε—‘brought on much,’ i.e. carried much further.

διανοίας—‘plans.’

τῶν . . ἀτοπίᾳ—lit. ‘through extreme ingenuity in their enterprises and strangeness in their revenges.’


ἀξίωσιν belongs to ἐς τὰ ἔργα, ‘in relation to facts,’ as well as to ὀνομάτων. It is not necessary to repeat the art. before ἐς because ἀξίωσις has another qualifying word.

τῇ δικαιώσει—by the arbitrary construction they put on them.

τὸ δ᾽ ἐμπλήκτως ὀξύ—‘impulsive rashness’: cf. Plutarch, Eum. 3 ἔμπληκτον καὶ φορᾶς μεστὸν ὀξείας.

ἀνδρὸς μοίρᾳ προσετέθη—‘was ascribed, or set down, to the part of a man.’

ἀσφαλείᾳ δὲ . . εὔλογος—this appears to have been obscure already to Dionysius, who, while commenting on what precedes and what follows, discreetly leaves this alone. The usual explanation is as follows: (1) ἀσφαλείᾳ is dat. of manner, in contrast with ἐμπλήκτως; (2) τὸ ἐπιβουλεύσασθαι= ‘reconsideration,’ or ‘further reflexion’; (3) the verb to be supplied is ἐνομίσθη. Each of these suppositions is surprising ἀποτροπή=‘evasion.’ It has been proposed to supply προσετέθη (with Herbst and Fr. Müller) and to take ἀποτροπῆς π. εὔλογος as apposition to τὸ ἐπιβουλεύσασθαι. We should then transl. ‘to form a hostile design was regarded as a measure of selfdefence, (being) the specious pretence of fending off enmity.’


l. 37

μὲν χαλεπαίνων—viz. about the political situation.

ἐπιβουλεύσας . . τυχών—‘if one had succeeded in a plot.’

δεινότερος—of ability.

αὐτῶν—viz. τοῦ ἐπιβουλεύειν καὶ ὑπονοεῖν.

ἐπικελεύσας—sc. κακόν τι δρᾶν. ἐπικελεύω ‘to encourage,’ of an authority, has dat; here κελεύω sets the constr. and ἐπί is intensive.


καὶ μήν introduces a new and important point (it never means ‘and yet’).

τοῦ ἑταιρικοῦ—‘the tie of party.’ To this ἑτοιμότερον refers.

ὠφελίᾳ—‘to render help’ cf. the principle συγγνώμη ἀδελφῷ βοηθεῖν. This seems more likely than the usual explanation ‘for the public advantage.’

ξύνοδοι—of political meetings, a word of sinister meaning in the political life of Gk. states, suggesting intrigue and treason. The verb is ἐγένοντο and had Thuc. written ὠφελίας ἕνεκα and πλεονεξίας above, all would have been clear.

ἐς σφᾶς αὐτούς=ἐς ἀλλήλους, a common use.

τῷ θείῳ νόμῳ—i.e. it was not the oaths witnessed by the gods—θεῶν ὅρκοι—that bound them when they exchanged pledges. Cf., for example, Eur. Med. 21 βοᾷ μὲν ὅρκους, ἀνακαλεῖ δὲ δεξιάς, | πίστιν μεγίστην, καὶ θεοὺς μαρτύρεται, and the celebrated passage in the same play, 439 βέβακε δ᾽ ὅρκων χάρις, οὐδ᾽ ἔτ᾽ αἰδὼς Ἑλλάδι τᾷ μεγάλᾳ μένει, with Verrall's notes.


τά τε ἀπὸ τῶν ἐναντίων—the sense (says Prof. Lamberton) is, ‘when fair proposals were made by the adversary, the other party, when they had the advantage of superiority, would receive them not in a spirit of generosity, but only with practical precautions’ Thus οἱ ἐνδεχόμενοι, not οἱ ἐναντίοι, is the subject of προύχοιεν. This is surely correct, though the passage is usually taken as if οἱ ἐναντίοι denoted the stronger party, and the subject of ἐνεδέχοντο were ‘the weaker.’ The right version is given by Herbst, who says “How can it be supposed that from the party that had the upper hand at the moment proposals should emanate that were generous to the weaker side, and how can any one conceive that generosity (γενναιότης) should lead the weaker side to accept them?” For ἔργων φυλακῇ cf c. 46, 4.

ὅρκοι . . ξυναλλαγῆς—‘oaths to confirm a reconciliation’; cf. Andocides, de Myst. 103 διηλλάγητε καὶ ὅρκους ὠμόσατε.

πρὸς τὸ ἄπορον . διδόμενοι—‘as they were administered to either side only to meet an emergency.’ It is surely unnecessary to regard ἑκατέρῳ as dat of agent, as is usually done.

οὐκ ἐχόντων applies to those who took the oaths tendered—i.e. it applies by sense to ἑκατέρῳ—and explains πρὸς τὸ ἄπορον. ὅρκον δίδωμι generally means ‘I administer an oath,’ but in Eur. Hipp. 735 ‘I take an oath.’ The ordinary meaning gives an equallv good sense here.

ἐν δὲ τῷ παρατυχόντι—‘when a chance occurred.’

φθάσας θαρσῆσαι—see MT. 903. 8, where grave doubts are raised as to the possibility of the infin. with φθάνω in place of the ordinary partic. As φθάσας θαρσήσας is intolerable, it is best to give the text as it stands, leaving the point undecided. The paraphrase of Dionysius is worth notice: εἰ δέ που παρατύχοι τινὶ καιρὸς καὶ μάθοι τὸν ἐχθρὸν ἀφύλακτον, ἥδιον ἐτιμωρεῖτο ὅτι πιστεύσαντι μᾶλλον ἐπέθετο φυλαττομένῳ. διὰ τὴν πίστιν applies to the enemy, as having confidence in the oath.

ἀπὸ τοῦ προφανοῦς=‘than when he attacked openly,’ giving the other side a fair chance.

ῥᾷον δ᾽ οἱ πολλοὶ . . ἀγαθοί—‘most men are more readily called elever if they are knaves than good if they are ignorant’ Another way of taking this is: ‘most men prefer to be called clever knaves rather than honest fools.’ The Gk favours the first. the connexion with the previous sentence the second. To make the latter way easier Steup brackets ὄντες.


πάντων δ᾽ αὐτῶν αἴτιον—‘the cause of all that was office (i.e. the desire of office), resting on covetousness and ambition.’

ἐκ δ᾽ αὐτῶν—viz. πλεονεξίας καὶ φιλοτιμίας.

καθισταμένων—masc., ‘when men were settling down to.’ The καί belongs, not merely to ἐς τὸ φιλονικεῖν, but to the whole phrase to πρόθυμον.

πλήθους . . σώφρονος—these are the fine names that were used for δημοκρατία and ὀλιγαρχία. ἰσονομία was a catchword with democrats, σωφροσύνη with aristocrats.

ἆθλα—this suggests several of the words that follow— ἀγωνιζόμενοι, περιγενέσθαι, ἐπεξῇσαν (the last unusual with object)—the general idea being that of a desperate struggle between enemies. (Very like is Xen Cyr. II. 2, 18-19.)

ἔτι μείζους—as compared with the τολμήματα.

προστιθέντες—from Dionysins, in place of προτιθέντες of the MSS., for ‘to threaten’ hardly suits with what precedes.

ψήφου ἀδίκου—best taken as subjective gen. depending on καταγνώσεως.

χειρί—the contrast is between force and the forms of law.

ἐνόμιζον—with dat., as χρῆσθαι.

εὐπρεπείᾳ δὲ λόγου—since εὐσέβεια and λόγου εὐπρέπεια are not a proper contrast, many suppose that the contrast to the former is to be found in ἐπιφθόνως τι, and consequently attach εὐπρεπείᾳ δὲ λόγου to the rel. sentence, ‘those who managed to hide some malicious act under fair words.’ But the μὲν . . δέ contrast is not between single words, but between the two sentences as a whole: εὐσέβεια is ‘a name for piety,’ as e.g. in Soph. Ant. 924 τὴν δυσσέβειαν (‘reputation of being δυσσεβής’) εὐσεβοῦσ᾽ ἐκτησάμην, ‘on this pretence, covering an odious act, earned a better reputation.’ Thuc not seldom puts two similar words (εὐσέβειαεὐπρέπεια) in contrast that do not really form an antithesis.

τὰ δὲ μέσα τῶν πολιτῶν—for the moderate element and the preference given to it by so many thinking men cf. Eur. Suppl. 244 τριῶν δὲ μοιρῶν 'ν μέσῳ σῴζει πόλεις.

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hide References (9 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (9):
    • Euripides, Hippolytus, 735
    • Euripides, Hippolytus, 819
    • Euripides, Medea, 21
    • Euripides, Suppliants, 244
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 924
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 776
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.29
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.83
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