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καίτοι . . κατεργ. κἂν κατ—the alliteration renders the assertion more incisive. διὰ πολλοῦ καὶ πολλῶν—cf. below § 6 περὶ πλεῖστον καὶ διὰ πλείστου, and c. 87, 4 ἐν παντὶ γὰρ πᾶς χωρίῳ. The γε gives a causal force to the partic. ὧν—common object to κρατήσας and κατασχήσει, following, as usual, the coustruction of the partic. καὶ μή—the rel. is not repeated in this clause, but the second μή carries on its force. μὴ ἐν τῷ ὁμοίῳ—cf. II. 60 ἐν ἴσῳ εἶναι, III. 22 ἐν ἀπόρῳ εἶναι, and many others. καὶ πρὶν ἐπι.—καί ‘as’; so after ἴσος (e.g. III. 14, 1) and other similar words. Failure to capture a city by assault or siege was an experience of the Athenians: it had not hitherto led to disastrous consequences. But a failure in Sicily would mean a combined attack from Sparta and their Sicilian friends, an invitation to doubtful allies to revolt, and great loss of treasure and prestige.
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