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ὁ ἀγών—sc. ἐστί. δι᾽ ὀλιγαρχίας—‘by means of an oligarchy.’ Nicias had experienced the cunning of the Spartan government in the matter of the peace. It had been reduced to a name (c. 10, 2) through Spartan diplomacy aided by those in Athens who played into the hands of Sparta. This is a direct appeal to the extreme democrats, who were eagerly supporting the expedition. Cf. Demosth. 15, 30 εἷς ἀγών ἐστιν ὁ πρὸς τοὺς προδήλους ἐχθρούς. Stein thinks δι᾽ ὀ.=ὀλιγαρχικῶς. φυλαξόμεθα—M.T. § 339.
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