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Πρὸς οὖν ἀταξίαν κ.τ.λ.—Therefore against such disorderly and such bitter enemies whose fortune has already submitted, let us advance with eagerness, and let us think that men act lawfully towards an enemy, when purposing to retaliate upon the aggressor they determine to satisfy their heart's animosity, and also that we shall have the delight of repelling our foes, and that this is proverbially most pleasant. ἀταξίαν . . . καὶ τύχην—referring back to παρασκευῆς and τύχης. νομιμώτατον εἶναι . . . οἳ ἂν—this kind of combination is idiomatic and oecurs throughout Attic. Cf. on c. 63.3 From the analogy of other constructions in Gk., and from a comparison of the instances, it is more likely that the idiom is based on a brachylogy than on a combination of two constructions. Cf. Xen. Hel. II. 3.51 νομίζω προστάτου ἔργον εἶναι οἵου δεῖ, ὃς ἂν . . . μὴ ἐπιτρέπη̣. ὡς ἐπὶ τιμωρίᾳ—ἐπὶ and a noun frequently take the place of a final clause. δικαιώσωσιν—an Ionic and old Attic word. ἀποπλῆσαι—explere, as τὴν φιλονικίαν ἐκπιμπλάναι III. 82.8. τῆς γνώμης τὸ θυμούμενον—cf. I. 90 τὸ βουλόμενον τῆς γνώμης; 2.59 τὸ ὀργιζόμενον τῆς γ.; III. 10.1 τὸ διαλάσσον τῆς γ.; V. 9 τὸ ἀνειμένον τῆς γ. For τὸ θυμούμενον wrath cf. Eur. Hec. 299. ἐκγενησόμενον—the partic. depends on νομίσωμεν, in spite of the infin. δίκαιον εἶναι (and ἥδιστον εἶναι). But then with the partic. νομίσωμεν=εἰδῶμεν. καί . . . ἥδιστον εἶναι—sc. τὸ ἐχθροὺς ἀμύνασθαι. They are to think that their conduct (1) νομιμώτατον εἶναι—is in accordance with custom and right, (2) ἥδιστον εἶναι—is in accordance with the proverb that expresses that custom. (I am unable to accept the interpretation hitherto given of this passage. See crit. note.) τὸ λεγόμενόν που—this is in accordance with the ancient love of revenge; but Thuc., like Euripides, had reason to know that there was something better. Cf. Eur. Ba. 877 τί τὸ κάλλιον | παρὰ θεῶν γέρας ἐν βροτοῖς | ἢ χεῖρ᾽ ὑπὲρ κορυφᾶς | τῶν ἐχθρῶν κατέχειν ; For the proverb cf. Juv. 13.180 at vindicta bonum vita jucundius ipsa, where Mayor refers to Iliad 18.108.
ὡς δὲ ἐχθροὶ κ τ.λ.—that they are our enemies, nay our bitterest enemies, you all know: for they invaded our land to make us slaves; and had they succeeded in that, they would have inflicted on our men the worst penalty (i e. death), on onr wives and children the worst indignities (i.e. slavery), on the whole city the most disgraceful reproach (i.e. dependence).
ἀνθ᾽ ὧν μὴ κ.τ.λ.—wherefore no man should feel for them. nor think it gain that they should depart without danger to us. That is all they will do even if they win the battle; but the prize—to punish them when we have gained our desire, as we probably shall do, and to confirm for the whole of Sicily the liberty which she already enjoyed—is a glorious one. How few ventures there are in which the loss in case of failure is as small as the gain through success is great. τινα—cf. c. 61.1. ἀκινδύνως—certainly not ‘without doing us further harm’ (Holden); which would involve a paradox that would scarcely be convincing to men who had suffered so much; but ‘without our having to run (a further) risk,’ as is shown by ἀγών and, above all, by κινδύνων below. πραξάντων—sc. ἡμῶν. Beside εὖ (κακῶς, etc.) ποιεῖν, πράττειν, neut. plur. adj. are regularly used with ποιεῖν, πράττειν. ἃ βουλόμεθα—sc. πρᾶξαι, not, as Kruger, the fate which we wish for them, but for ourselves. Victory is meant. καὶ τῇ πάσῃ Σ.—Confirmed the charters that were yours before:— | No parleying now! In Britain is one breath Wordsworth, To the Men of Kent. βεβαιοτέραν παραδοῦναι—the language is taken from the tenure of property. καρποῦσθαι is in contrast with the βεβαιοτέρα κτῆσις which is to be bestowed (παραδοῦναι) on them. The subject changes at παραδοῦναι. καλὸς ὁ ἀγών—notice that ὁ ἀγών is in apposition with τὸ . . . κολασθῆναι . . . καὶ παραδοῦναι, for this is the right way of taking the words, instead of making τὸ κολασθῆναι καἱ παραδοῦναι subject and ὁ ἀγών part of the pred., as the edd say. κινδύνων κ.τ.λ.—the speech ends with a γνώμη, or general truth, a form of close of which Thuc. is very fond. Cf. c. 77 end. σπανιώτατοι—again we have the accumulation of superlatives noticed at c. 42.3 σφαλῆναι βλάπτοντες—σφαλλω and βλάπτω are often near neighbours.
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