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ἐβούλοντο—‘the word is here (as in Xen. Hel. III. 4, 2, and elsewhere) used not so much of will as of intention (Bloomfield). This is not accurate. Trans. ‘felt a wish.’ βούλομαι expresses a vaguer wish than διανοοῦμαι: it never means ‘make up one's mind,’ and consequently cannot, like διανοοῦμαι, be constructed with a fut. infin.

αὖθις—with ἐπὶ Σικελίαν πλεύσαντες. It is the habit of Thuc. to place the prominent word early in its clause. For the previous A. expeditions see Intr. p. x.

μείζονι παρασκευῇ—the numbers that sailed under Laches are not known. [Pythodorus and] Eurymedon took forty ships with them.

Αάχητος—in Sicily 427-426 B.C.; replaced in winter of 426 by Pythodorus. He was a supporter of Nicias in arranging the peace of 421. Plato's Laches is named after him. It has been conjectured that he is represented under Tydeus in the Supplices of Euripides (produced circ. 420 B.C.). He is the dog Labes in Aristoph. Wasps. He was attacked by Cleon.

καί—joins the names of two commanders who were not in power at the same time. Hence the full form would be τῆς μετὰ Λάχητος καὶ τῆς μετὰ Εὐρ.: but it is worth noticing how with the second of two expressions joined by καί it is possible to omit (1) the article, (2) the preposition. Such omissions are common even when the connected expressions are quite distinct.

Εὐρυμέδοντος—on returning to Athens from Sicily in 424, he had been tried on a charge of taking bribes (γραφὴ δώρων or δωροδοκίας), and was fined. He was not στρατηγός again until 414 B.C. This long period of retirement is probably connected with his trial and condemnation.

ἐπὶ Σ. πλεύσαντες καταστρέψασθαι—it is regular to construct the common object of a partieiple and verb so as to suit the participle.

ἄπειροι οἱ πολλοί—in limiting apposition to Ἀθηναῖοι. Thuc. enlarges or contracts the subject at will.

τοῦ μεγέθους . . τοῦ πλήθους—chiasmus is so common in Thuc. as to amount to a mannerism. Cf. V. 61 τήν τε τοῦ τείχους ἀσθενείαν καὶ τοῦ στρατοῦ τὸ πλῆθος. (On μέγεθος and πλῆθος τῶν ἐνοικούντων in reference to the City see Aristot. Pol. 1326 a, with Fowler's City-State, p. 276.)

καὶ ὅτι—a clause introduced by ὅτι in either of its meanings is often co-ordinated to a noun, as in VII. 58, 4 διὰ μέγεθός τε πόλεως καὶ ὅτι (‘because’) ἐν μεγίστῳ κινδύνῳ ἦσαν. Cf. Demosth. VIII. 71 οὐδὲν ἂν τούτων εἴτοιμι, ἀλλ̓ ὅτι . . οὐδὲν πολιτεύομαι. (1) A similar use of ‘and that’ is common in eighteenth-centnry English prose; as also is (2) the habit of using together two constructions after a single verb or governing expression—here τοῦ μεγέθους . . καὶ ὅτι after ἄπειροι ὄντες. Thus in VIII. 4, 1 we have παρεσκευάζοντο δὲ . . τήν τε ναυπηγίαν καὶ Σούνιον τειχίσαντες: Addison has ‘It was his design to marry her to such a gentleman, and that her wedding should be celebrated on such a day’; ‘They believe the same of all works of art . . and that, as any one of these things perish, their souls go into another world’; Cowper has ‘The fine gentleman would find his ceilings too low, and that his casements admitted too much wind’; Johnson, ‘They think veneration gained by such appearances of wisdom, but that no ideas are annexed to the words.’ Thackeray, Carlyle, and Ruskin also indulge in this and similar constructions.

οὐ πολλῷ τινι—Hudson wrongly says ‘τινι videtur πλεονάζειν.’ Greek has three words for our ‘very,’ ‘really,’ or ‘actually’ (quidam with adjeetives)—(1) τις (generally with adjectives of degree); (2) πάνυ and σφόδρα (often with words other than numcrals which cannot be compared. See Class. Rev. VIII. p. 152b). With negatives τις or πάνυ or both together can be used. (See Stein on Herod. V. 33.)

ὑποδεἐστερον—antithesis to μεγέθους καὶ πλήθους, as in II. 89, 6 ἐκ πολλῷ ὑποδεεστέρων . . μέγα τι τῆς διανοίας τὸ βέβαιον ἔχοντες: V. 20 ὑποδεέστερον ὂν τὰ μέγιστα τιμήσει.

ἀνῃροῦντο—the pres and imperf., especially of -γίγνομαι and -δίδωμι, often express intention or attempt; as Aristoph. Pax 408 προδίδοτον τὴν Ἑλλάδα: Eur H. F 538 καὶ τἄμ᾽ ἔθνῃσκε τέκν̓, ἀπωλλύμην δ᾽ ἐγώ liberi mei morituri erant, ego autem peritura.


Σικελίας—here follows a description of Sicily, in which Thuc., ‘like Herodotus, retains the spirit of the older geographers and logographers,’ and writes with something of the grace that characterises the style of Herodotus. It has been commonly supposed since Nicbuhr that Thuc. borrows from his contemporary Antiochus of Syracuse—so Goller, Wolfflin, Classen, Mahaffy,—but there is no certainty (see Freeman, Hist. Sic. I. p. 456). Thuc. probably visited Sicily during his exile.

ἔλασσον—not ἐλάσσων: the adverbs πλέον, ἔλασσον are regularly used in such cases. Cf. c. 95, 1 ἐπράθη ταλάντων οὐκ ἔλασσον πέντε καὶ εἴκοσι. The repetition of οὐ πολλῷ τινι emphasises the vastness of the undertaking.

ἡμερῶν—so II. 97, 1 περίπλους τεσσάρων ἡμερῶν. The length of the coasts of Sicily is 512 miles. In ancient times, astronomy not being applied to navigation, distance round the coasts of a country of which the measurements were unknown, could be reckoned only by the time occupied in the voyage.

τοσαύτη οὖσα—Thuc. ‘seems to think that there is a geographical incongruity in so large an island being separated from the mainland by so narrow a channel’ (note in Jowett); or rather, he adds as a second proof of the geographical importance of the island—and consequently of the magnitude of the new undertaking—the fact that Sicily, in addition to its size, is so close to the mainland as to be almost part of the continent. Athens was in the habit of reducing islands— πλεύσαντες καταστρέψασθαι—but she had not the means for reducing a large continental country. (Stein explains similarly.)

ἐν . . μέτρῳ—a difficult use of ἑν in its quasi-instrumental sense, ‘res in qua aliqua actio vel qualitas cernitur.’ c. 16, 5 ἔν τινος λαμπρότητι προέσχον is the same use. It is from this use that adverbial phrases like ἐν τάχει come.

τὸ μή—Soph. Phil. 1141 ἔστιν τις ἔστιν ὅς σε κωλύσει τὸ δρᾶν. M.T. 811: Wecklein on Agam. 1588. It is internal accus.

εἶναι—see crit. note. Poppo defended οὖσα here as a confusion between two constructions; but Classen is probably right in thinking that οὖσα got in from τοσαύτη οὖσα above. Among recent critics, only L. Herbst defends οὖσα: he thinks that τό does not affect the construction here and in other places, but is used as a demonstrative particle. Would μή then be possible?

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    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.89
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.97
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.20
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.33
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.61
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.58
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.4
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.71
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