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ἀνδρὶ δὲ τυράννῳ—Sicily was intimately acquainted with the ways of despots. Here the frankest description of the Athenian ἀρχή is given, as by Cleon in III. 37 τυραννίδα ἔχετε τὴν ἀρχήν. 2

οὐδὲν ἄλογον τι ξυμφέρον—this statement could not be made by a modern imperial power, but it is none the less the principle on which under diplomatic disguises modern states frequently act.

οὐδ᾽ οἰκεῖον—‘there is no tie of blood unless there is eonfidence.’ The Chalcidians of Euboea are kinsmen of Athens, but they are distrusted.

πρὸς ἕκαστα κτλ—‘in each case a hostile or friendly attitude must accord with circumstances.’

καὶ ἠμᾶς—applying the previous doctrine to the present case. ‘Now in our case our interest here is furthered, not by injuring our friends, but if we reduce our enemies to impotence through the strength of our friends.’

τοῦτο applies to what follows.

ἀπιστεῖν—referring back to πιστόν above. ‘You must not distrust us,’ and we will then trust you, and those that we trust we treat as friends. τοὺς ἐκεῖ ξυμμάχουςἐξηγοῦμαι takes either accus. or dat., but the sudden change from dat. (see crit, note) to accus. (Χίους) is scarcely probable. αὐτονόμους <ἔχοντες> Stein.

Μηθυμναίους—the only Lesbians who retained their autonomy after Lesbos revolted from Athens in 428.

νεῶν παροκωχῇ—in VII. 57 the Chians are described as οὐχ ὑποτελεῖς φόρου, ναῦς δὲ παρέχοντες, and the Methymnaeans in the same way.

βιαιότερον—sc. ἐξηγούμεθα. Cf. I. 141 αἱ βίαιοι ἐσφοραἰ.

ἐλευθέρως ξυμμαχοῦντας—those who in VII. 57 are called οἱ ἀπὸ ξυμμαχίας αὐτόνομοι, like Corcyra, Zaeynthus, Cephallenia.

πρὸς τὸ λυσιτελοῦν—‘in accordance with our interest and with the fear of Syr. of which we speak’ (c. 83, 4). With δέος ἐς Συρακοσίους cf. Eur. Her. Fur. 66 ἔρωτι σώματ εἰς εὐδαίμονα.

ὑμῶν—referring to all the Sicilian cities, as opposed to Syr.

ἐπὶ τῷ . ὑπόπτῳ—‘on the ground of the suspicion we excite.’

ξυστήσαντες=ξυμμάχους ποιήσαντες, as in c. 16, 6.

βίᾳ καὶ κατ᾽ ἐρημίαν—with ἄρξαι, ‘to acquire empire for themselves over Sicily by force or else through mere lack of resistance.’ Jowett renders ‘first they must unite you in a common suspicion of us, and then, either by force or through your isolation when we have failed and retired, they will dominate Sicily.’ But (1) βίᾳ refers not to ἀπράκτων ἡμῶν ἀπελθόντων, but to ἐπὶ τῷ . ξυστήσαντες ὑπόπτῳ: they want to unite your forces with their own, only that they may force themselves into the position of head of a Sicilian alliance, which they will turn into empire. (2) Only καὶ κατ᾽ ἐρημίαν refers to ἀπράκτων ἡμῶν ἀπελθόντων. If they fail to seeure empire while we are still in Sicily, nevertheless they will secure it when we are no longer here to resist them. (3) That this is so is shown by οὔτε γὰρ κτλ., where the ἰσχὺς τοσαύτη refers to the means by which Syr. would assure herself of empire βίᾳ, and ὴμῶν μὴ παρόντων means that Syr. would turn against the Siceliots when the Athenians were gone, and would acquire empire κατ᾽ ἐρημίαν, through laek of resistance. Thus (4) there is no reference to a struggle with the Siceliots in βίᾳ, but only to the struggle between a Sicilian confederation and Athens, in the course of whieh Syr. might assure herself of empire.

κατ᾽ ἐρημίαν—se. τῶν κωλυσόντων (Stahl).

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.141
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.37
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.57
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