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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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