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πρῶτον. πρῶτος the common reading, should perhaps mean ‘in an eminent degree,’ with the sense of c. 68, § 4, ἐν τοῖς ξυγκαταλύουσι τὸν δῆμον πρῶτος ἦν. πρῶτον cannot be taken in the sense of ‘for the first time,’ since Alcibiades had done good to his country before (vi. 16), and, as Jowett points out. Thucydides does not elsewhere summarily condemn his conduct. Nor is the combination πρῶτον καὶ οὐδενὸς ἔλασσον natural with that sense. It does not appear to have been noticed also that the salutary prevention exercised by Alcibiades in c. 82, § 2, was on an earlier occasion than this. At the assembly at which he was restored he had prevented the rash undertaking (c. 82, § 2). He had since gone to meet Tissaphernes (c. 82, § 3), and it was not till he had returned (c. 85, § 4) that the envoys of the 400 came and the project of attacking Athens was mooted again. πρῶτον must therefore be taken with ὠφελῆσαι in the same construction as πολὺ, πλέον, μέγα ὠφελῆσαι, ‘he did capital service.’ The words καὶ οὐδενὸς ἔλασσον are epexegetical. Cf. vii. 44, μέγιστον δὲ καὶ οὐχ ἥκιστα ἔβλαψεν, which forms an exact parallel. Cf. also vii. 27, ἐν τοῖς πρῶτον ἐκάκωσε τἀ πράγματα. ὡρμημένων of eagerness. Cf. c. 11, § 3. ἐπὶ σφᾶς αὐτοὺς i.e. ἐπ᾽ Ἀθηναίους or τὴν ἑαυτῶν πόλιν. ἐν ᾧ Cf. iii, 84, vi. 55: ‘when, in such a case.’ σαφέστατα . . . εἶχον Dobree's σαφέστατ᾽ ἂν naturally suggests itself. On omission of ἂν see Goodwin, M. and T. § 49, 2, whose statement would not include an instance like the present. Jelf, § 858. Constructions like καλὸν ἦν, ὑπῆρχε, ἐβουλόμην, ἐκινδύνευσε (iii. 74) without ἂν should not be quoted as parallel to this. ‘He ran a risk,’ ‘it was within possibility,’ etc., are often quite interchangeable with ‘he would have run a risk,’ ‘it would have been possible,’ etc. σαφέστατα εἶχον is rather to be defended on the ground of vivid realisation, like Horace's ‘sustulerat . . . nisi levasset.’ Cf. vi. 55, καὶ οὐχ ὡς ἀδελφὸς νεώτερος ὢν ἠπόρησεν, ἐν ᾧ οὐ πρότερον ξυνεχῶς ὡμιλήκει τῇ ἀρχῇ. Plut. Alc. 26 has τοῖς πολεμίοις εὐθὺς ἔχειν ὑπῆρχεν Ἰωνίαν κ.τ.λ.. κωλυτὴς γενέσθαι grammatically dependent on δοκεῖ, but actually a statement of fact.
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