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τὸ δ᾽ ἀληθέστατον κ.τ.λ.—assure yourselves of a plain fact from information which we think to be clear: it is because their distress is overpowering and because they are forced by their present misery that they are reduced to the desperate expedient of risking a battle as best they can, trusting more to fortune than to orderly preparation. Their purpose is either to force their way out by sea or to retreat by land after the battle; for they know that their plight could not possibly be worse than it is. βιαζόμενοι ὑπὸ—see on c. 13 παρασκευῆς . . . τύχης—the same antithcsis in IV. 55. So γνώμη and τύχη are very often contrasted. Thuc. thinks of Nicias. But παρασκευὴ is not ‘actual force’ here, as Bloomfield and Arnold say, but it is τὸ παρεσκευάσθαι, the opposite of ἀταξία in c. 68.1.
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