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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 ἡ. ὑπόπτῳ—‘on the ground of the suspicion we excite.’ ξυστήσαντες=ξυμμάχους ποιήσαντες, as in c. 16, 6. βίᾳ ἢ 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 ἡ. 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 ἢ 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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