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καὶ λόγῳ—there is a play on the double meaning of λέγω, λόγος—statement and pretence.
αὐτοί—belougs in seuse to ἀντίπαλον παρασκευασάμενοι: ‘with a force of our own not merely equal to that of the enemy’ (Jowett). πλήν γε—if τὸ ὁπλιτικόν is made part of the parenthesis, the meauing is open to grave doubt. (a) The note in Jowett explains: ‘While exhorting the A., he is secretly discouraging them. “You must do all you can to be a match for your opponents” is the general drift of the previous chapter, and yet he throws in by the way, “but in the great arm of war [the hoplites] you caunot be a match for them.”’ But (1) Nicias nowhere introduces this disparity of hoplites, of which so much might have been made as an argument against the expedition. (2) How, after an exception so vital, could he add ὑπερβάλλοντες τοῖς πᾶσι? (3) How in c. 31 could Thuc. say of the A. force that its superiority over that of the euemy was conspicuous, if in the great arm of war N. can assert that it will of course be inferior? Would not such a statement from a responsible general be ridiculous? (b) Classen makes τὸ ὁπλιτικόν refer to the A. hoplites, and makes the sense ‘except as regards our hoplites as compared with their whole fighting force’; but Stahl rightly objects that the comparison should then be between part and part, not between part and whole, of the rival forces. The remedy is not to read τὸ ἱππικόν with Urlichs,—for N. had proposed to take a force of σφενδονῆται and τοξόται which should be ἀντίπαλον to the enemy's cavalry,—but to make τὸ ὁπλιτικόν the object of παρας κευασάμενοι. Hence trans. ‘not only with a force of hoplites a match for them, except when compared with their fighting strength (i e. with our hoplites equal to their hoplites), but actually surpassing them in every point. τὸ μάχιμον αὐτῶν—this is the whole of the enemy's forces. The A. were in the habit of relying on their hoplites in the field: N. reminds them that there are other kinds of troops to be reckoned with besides hoplites. He is referring back to his remark in c. 22, 1. Not only must the hoplites be a match for them (excluding of course their cavalry), but hoplites and light-armed troops must be more than a match for their whole fighting force, and even thus it will be hard to deal with them. τὸ ὁπλιτικόν is in an emphatic position, because it is contrasted with τὸ ἐκείνων ὶππικόν, as in c. 22. ὑπερβάλλοντες—the antithesis between this and ἀντίπαλον παρασκευασάμενοι τὸ ὁπλιτικὸν πλήν γε πρὸς τὸ μάχιμον αὐτῶν is more formal than real: for the former words already imply that the A. hoplite force taken separately will be superior to the enemy's hoplite force taken separately. τοῖς πᾶσι—omnibus rebus. Of course A. cavalry are excepted after what has been said in c. 22. τῶν μὲν κρατεῖν, τὰ δὲ καὶ διασῶσαι—τῶν μέν is neut.; but different explanations are given of the meaning. (a) Stahl renders ‘aliis potiri, alia (quibus potiti erimus) etiam in tuto locare,’ thus referring both τῶν μέν and τὰ δέ to the enemy; ‘to seize on some positions and to hold permanently others’ (Wilkins). (b) Classen accepts the Scholiast's note: τῶν μέν=τῶν ἐκεῖ πραγμάτων, τὰ δέ=τὰ οἰκεῖα; ‘to conquer Sicily, or indeed to preserve ourselves’ (Jowett). That (b) is right is shown by the sentence that follows. It will be hard, says N., to conquer what we require to conquer, and even to preserve what we require to preserve: we should consider ourselves to be men who have to found a city in a hostile land—who have to fight for the soil— τῶν μὲν κρατεῖν—and to protect what we bring—τὰ δὲ καὶ διασῶσαι. διασῶσαι—not ingressive, but giving the result,=‘to bring safe through.’
πόλιν τε—‘and (further developing the previous idea) we must consider that it is a city among an alien and hostile population that our men are setting out to found.’ The warning that in setting out to make new conquests one runs the risk of losing what he has already in case of failure, is common in Thuc. To ἰέναι supply τούτους. κατάσχωσιν—sc. τὰς ναῦς: appulerint. κρατεῖν τῆς γῆς—explains τῶν μὲν κρατεῖν above, while πάντα πολέμια ἕξουσιν is a rcason for saying μόλις οἷοι τ᾽ ἐσόμεθα τὰ δὲ διασῶσαι.
χαλεπὸν δέ—sc. πολλὰ εὐτυχῆσαι. The edd. make χαλεπόν depend on εἰδώς, sc. ὄν; but it is better to supply ἐστί, and to regard the sentence as a parenthesis. This remark is very characteristic of N., who made εὐτυχία the chief object of life. Observe the personal tone of this section. N. betrays a fear that his spell of ευ:τυχία may be broken. παρασκευῇ . . ἀσφαλής—antithesis to τῇ τύχῃ παραδούς. So in VII. 67 παρασκευῆς πίστις is coutrasted with τύχης π. ἀπὸ τῶν εἰκότων—i.e. so far as human calculation can ensure safety. Human γνώμη is always liable to be crossed by divine τύχη.
ταῦτα γὰρ . . βεβαιότατα . . σωτήρια—see Index II. fines, τελικὰ κεφάλαια, i.e. the points on which a speaker insists in order to persuade. Here they are τὸ βέβαιον and τὸ σωτήριον, and these may be considered varieties of τὸ συμφέρον. εἰ δέ τῳ—i.e. if any of the ten strategi not appointed to the command takes a different view. It is indeed probable that other members of the board besides Nicias, Alcibiades, and Lamachus were going to Sicily, but with powers subordinate to theirs. Thus an inscription (Hicks, Gr. Ins. p. 96), referring to the official year July 416-July 415, mentions Antimachus among the strategi sent to Sicily along with Lamachus and Alcibiades.
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