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καὶ προσήκει μοι—the speech displays with great power (1) the temperament of Alc., (2) the reckless energy of the advanced democrats. The expedition to Sicily would not have been rash had it not been for the difficulties that were unsolved in Greece. Such seems to be the view of Thuc. (II. 65; VII. 28), who seems to think too that the forces should have been reealled when Nicias wrote home in the winter of 414. So too Isocrates, who has a long passage about the expedition (8, 85). ‘The terms προσήκει μ. and ἄξιος εἷναι are not convertible; the former having referenee to his right to the office, on the score of his birth, wealth, and lavish expenditure for the benefit of the state (in which view cf. Plato, p. 491 D τούτους προσήκει τῶν πόλεων ἄρχειν)’ (Bloomfield). Many passages (Gilbert, Bcitrage, pp. 2-5) show that in the fifth century B.C. the στρατηγία was associated with such advantages.

μᾶλλον ἑτέρων=μάλιστα.

ἄρχειν—as in c. 12, 2, though the claims of birth, etc. only cntrtled a man to hope for the office, not necessarily the command abroad.

τοῖς μὲν προγόνοις—thus he reverses the ordinary idea that a man gains δόξα from, rather than confers it on his ancestors. So Statius, Silv. 1. 4, 68 genus ipse suis, praemissaque retro | nobilitas. Nec origo latet, sed luce sequente | vincitur.

ὑπὲρ δύναμιν μείζω—‘greater even than her (real) strength warranted’; compared with the notion they had before, their respect for her was increased, and went even beyond what the facts justified. (There is no ‘mixture of constructions’ here: there is only an instance of the πολύνους βραχυλογία of Thuc.) In 420, the probable date referred to, there were not wanting ‘spiteful rumours, that A. had been so much impoverished by the war, as to be prevented from appearing with appropriate magnificence’ (Grote).

τῷ ἐμῷ δ—‘by my display as one of the embassy to O.’ There are many stories connected with this embassy and the private display of Alc. on the occasion: some of them are given by Grote. The edd. compare II. 61, 2 τῷ ὑμετέρῳ άσθενεῖ τῆς γνώμης.

ἅρματα μὲν ἑπτά—Isocr. 16, 34 ζεύγη καθῆκε τοσαῦτα ὅσοις οὐδ᾽ αἱ μέγισται τῶν πόλεων ἠγωνίσαντο.

καθῆκα—demittere in certamcn.

ἐνίκησα—‘won the (first) prize.’ Pliny, N.H. 34, 19 mentions a group by Pyromachus— ‘Alcibiades driving a chariot.’ Aglaophon the artist painted two pictures to celebrate the victories (Athenaeus), and Euripides (Plut. Alc. c. 11) wrote the ode.

τἆλλα—Isocrates speaks of the magnificence of Alc. ἐν ταῖς θυσίαις καὶ ἄλλαις ταῖς περὶ τὴν ἑορτὴν δαπάναις. Athenaeus says that he gave a magnificent banquet.

νόμῳ . . ἐκ τοῦ δρωμένου—‘a new disgnise of the old opposition between λόγῳ and ἔργῳ’ (note in Jowett). ‘Custom regards such success as an honour, and what is done leads men to infer power as well.’

χορηγίαις—orators constantly claim credit for the λῃτουργίαι that they have fulfilled. The Choregia was the most important of the ordinary, or encyclic, liturgies; cf. Ath. Pol. c. 56 § 5, of the Archon, χορηγοὺς τραγῳδοῖς καθίστησι τρεῖς, ἐξ ἁπάντων Ἀθηναίων τοὺς πλουσιωτάτους. λαμπρύνομαιὅσα is internal accus.

καὶ αὕτη—assimilated to the complement, as often in Lat., but not when there is a definition. Thus GK. can say πάντες οὗτοι νὀμοι εἰσὶν οὓς τὸ πλῆθος ἔγραψε (Xcn.), whereas Lat. has quod ita erit gestum, id lex crit (Cic.). With αὕτη ἰσχὺς φαίνεται cf. quae apud alios iracundia dicitur, ea in imperio superbia appellatur (Sall. Cat. 51: Riemann, § 25).

ἥδ᾽ ἄνοια—sarcastic; but the description was not applied by his enemies to the λῃτουργίαι or to the display at Olympia.

ὃς ἄν—c. 14.


ἐφ̓ ἑαυτῷ μέγα φρονοῦντα—cf. Isoer. Ep. 9, 16 οὕτως ἐπ᾽ ἐμαυτῷ μέγα φρονῶ, ὥστ᾽ οἶμαι λέγειν ἐμοὶ προσήκειν μάλιστα. ‘It is not at all unfair that he should have a high opinion of himself, and should not be on an equality, since he who is in trouble shares his adversity with no one.’ The noun to φρονοῦντα and ἴσον εἷναι is τὸν . . ὠφελοῦντα; the man who has a light to think much of himself is he who benefits the state as well as himself: such a man is entitled to indulge in the self-satisfaction of a prosperous benefactor. This is fair, says Alc., because no one shares his misfortunes with others so as to be equal with them. There is not much real value in this rather quibbling (as to ἴσος) enthymeme.


κτλ ‘or else let him claim equality (with the prosperous) by grauting it (to the unfortunate).’

τοὺς τοιούτουςτοὺς εὐπραγοῦντας καὶ ὅσοι ‘and in fact all who surpass others through distinction in anything.’

ἐν lit.=‘in respect of.’ Cf. Isocr. 10, 197 προέχειν ἐν τούτοις, and διαφέρειν ἐν often.

ἐν τῷ κατ᾽ αὐτοὺς β=lit. ‘in the life of their own time.’

τοῖς ὁμοίοις—‘their equals’ are more jealous than others who do not aspire to rival their distinctions.

ξυνόντας ‘while they are with them’

προσποίησιν ξυγ.—‘a claim to relationship even when the claim is fictitious.’ Some persons go so far as to invent a claim to descent from him. This must refer to such persons as tried in the time of Alc. to make out a relationship with the tyrants, e.g. with the Pisistratids: cf. Andoe. 2, 26. where he claims that his great-grandfather Leogoras might have married into the family of the tyrants. Alcibiades was descended on the mother's side from Cleisthenes of Sicyon.

αὔχησιν . . περί—the noun taking the construction of αὐχῶ. The partiality of Thuc. for verbal nouns in -σις has been often noticed.

καταλιπόντας—gnomic, M.T. § 159.

ἀλλοτρίων—hints at ἀτιμία in the case of certain offences against the constitution, which involved a complete loss of rights, so that the ἀ̔τιμος was said οὐ μετέχειν τῆς πόλεως. Similarly ἁμαρτόντων probably refers to ostracism.

μεταχειρίζω—referring to what Nicias said in c. 12, 2. The active is an Ionic use.

τὰ δυνατώτατα—viz. Argos, Elis, and Mantiuea in 420 B.C.

ὑμῖν—belongs to ξυστήσας=ὑμῶν ξυμμάχους ἐποίησα (Isocr. 16, 15) as well as to κινδύνου κ. δ.

κινδύνου—Alc. is described v. 52 as taking with him to the Pel. only a few Ath. hoplites and archers.

ἐς μίαν ἡμέραν—‘in one day’: cf. Aristoph. Pax 366 ἐξόλωλας . . εἰς αὐτίκα μάλα, answering εἰς τίν᾽ ἡμέραν; to be joined with ἀγωνίσασθαι, which is governed by κατέστησα—‘I made them fight.’

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  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.61
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.65
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.52
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.28
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