This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
περὶ δείλην ἤδη ὀψίαν. The afternoon is either πρωΐα or ὀψία. In iv. 69 and 103 περὶ δείλην alone = π. δ. πρωΐαν. Xen. An. ii. 2, 14, ἀμφὶ δείλην is opposed to ὀψέ. τὰς ἀπὸ κ.τ.λ. The article does not in sense go immediately with πέντε καὶ πεντήκοντα. Certain ships were expected from Peloponncsus and Sicily; this the article implies: the numeral states in what number the expected ships came, not the expected number. τῶν τε . . . is answered by αἵ τε ἐκ . . . Σικελιωτῶν ‘belonging to the Siceliots (Sicilian Grecks),’ who are subsequently dcfined by Συρακοσίων, Σελινούντιαι. ἃς παρεσκευάζοντο These thirty-three do not represent any previously specified number. In c. 3, § 2, the Peloponnesian ships to be built for the general conduct of the war were twenty-five from Lacedaemon, fifteen from Corinth, and sixty from other Peloponnesian states combined. In c. 6, § 4, the Lacedaemonians vote to send forty ships to Chios. In c. 7 it is the thirty-nine at Corinth which are to go. In c. 8, § 2, the allies met at Corinth and decided to send these thirty-nine in two halves, and the Laconian five under Chalcideus. But circumstances would alter the actual despatch of ships, and a hard and fast forty would not be adhered to. Thus of the twenty at Peiraeum four sail with Astyochus, sixteen are left at Cenchreae, and of these six come afterwards, c. 23, § 5. Five ships of the promised forty had sailed under Chalcideus and Alcibiades. It is not for Thucydides to be constantly telling us of any change in the Peloponnesian programme. Calculation will show that αἱ ἐκ Πελοποννήσου number now 4 + 6 + 5 + 33 = 48. Even though eight more were sent than the promised forty, Thucydides might easily speak of these ships in general as ‘those which (I have said) the P. were preparing.’ Λέρον . . . τὴν πρὸ Μιλήτου νῆσον So Vat. Nothing is known of such a name as ῞ελεος, which appears in most MSS., though there were several small islands about the entrance to the Latmian gulf. τὴν πρὸ Μιλήτου is not strictly applicable to Leros in the sense in which c. 24, § 2, Οἰνουσσῶν τῶν πρὸ Χίου νήσων is correct; for Leros is nearly forty miles from Miletus, and is not so much in front of that town as of the Halicarnassean peninsula. Nevertheless, by admitting some slight ignorance or laxity on Thucydides' part, the difficulty is not felt to be great. As Arnold points ont, in c. 27, § 1, ἀπὸ τῆς Λέρου ἐπύθετο τὰ τῶν νεῶν σαφῶς points to Leros being the island in question, and it is almost impossible that the ships can have come much closer to Miletus without being observed by the Athenians. Moreover, the Peloponnesians immediately sail up the Iasic gulf instead of going on to Miletus, and it is opposite the Iasic gulf that Leros lies. Again, Leros was a colony and dependency of Miletus (as is gathered from inscriptions and from Strabo, p. 635; cf. Hdt. v. 125), and this fact would account for the Pel. fleet choosing it for a temporary station. The Athenians get word that the Peloponnesians are ‘all but come’; this implies that they are not yet within such distance as to be visible. If Leros had been of more importance the addition of the words τὴν πρὸ Μιλήτου νῆσον would have been unnecessary. In the same case Thucydides' geography might have been more exact.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.