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ἦν δὲ τοῦτο μὲν σχῆμα κ.τ.λ. ‘now in this they offered a constitutional semblance, so far as their language went.’ σχῆμα approaches, but is not identical with, πρόσχημα, ‘pretence,’ a word used by Thuc. i. 96, iii. 82, v. 30. Cf. Hdt. iv. 167, πρόσχημα τοῦ λόγου; Plat. (?) Epin. 989 C, οὐ σχήμασιν ἀλλ᾽ ἀληθείᾳ. The force of πολιτικὸν may be seen from e.g. iii. 82, ἰσονομία πολιτική; Aristot. Pol. v. 5, 2, πολιτικωτέρα ἐγένετο ἡ ὀλιγαρχία; Dem. 151, οὐκ ἴσως οὐδὲ πολιτικῶς. For τοῦ λόγου cf. c. 91, § 3, διαβολὴ μόνον τοῦ λόγου. Others take σχῆμα πολιτικὸν as = σχῆμα πολιτείας (Plat. Pol. 291 D), or σχῆμα πόλεως (vi. 89), giving a much less natural force to the adjective and the genitive λόγου. τῷ τοιούτῳ προσέκειντο, ἐν ᾧπερ κ.τ.λ. ‘were in that kind of temperament, the prevalence of which is particularly ruinous,’ cf. προσκεῖσθαι οἴνῳ, Hdt. i. 133, or ‘applied themselves to the said course — conduct which is exactly that in which, etc.’ ἐκ δὲ δημοκρατίας κ.τ.λ. Much difficulty has been made concerning this passage, the difference of opinion turning on the rendering of ἀπὸ τῶν ὁμοίων. See Grote's long note in pt. ii. c. lxii. of Hist. Greece. One vexed point ought never to have been raised. ἀπὸ is not ὑπὸ, and ἐλασσούμενος ἀπὸ τῶν ὁμοίων cannot be the same as ἐλασσούμενος τῶν ὁμοίων (masc.), which is the normal Greek for ‘distanced by his equals.’ Looking at the desired sense and construction at the same time, and at the order of the words, which naturally joins ἀπὸ τῶν ὁμοίων to ἐλασσούμενος, one can hardly imagine another rendering than ‘but when election proceeds from a democracy, a man acquiesces more easily in the result, consoling himself that, though he fails, the start was not fair and level (i.e. a start on one's merits),’ which means that when a number of persons become an oligarchy, if a man does not get the first place, he is annoyed; all start alike, and leadership should naturally fall to merit and importance: but in a democracy the start is different; if two men are pitted against each other, the influencing causes of election will not be intrinsic superiority, but other reasons; a man feels that he has not been beaten on his merits, and he passes the matter over. An election on one's merits is ἀπὸ τῶν ὁμοίων: but when other causes, such as move a populace, affect the choice, the start is οὐκ ἀπὸ τῶν ὁμοίων. ἀπὸ τῶν ὁμοίων is neuter also in i. 141. Cf. v. 101, ἀπὸ τοῦ ἴσου; v. 89, ἀπὸ τῆς ἴσης ἀνάγκης; i. 77, τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἴσου δοκεῖ πλεονεκτεῖσθαι, τὸ δ᾽ ἀπὸ τοῦ κρείσσονος καταναγκάζεσθαι. ἠγωνίζετο Each made it a sort of prize to struggle for. See on ἀγωνιζομένους, c. 68, § 1. πρῶτος sc. in rank. προστάτης τοῦ δήμου Cf. iii. 75, οἱ τοῦ δήμου προστάται; iv. 46, etc. The title is not official (cf. ‘leader of the opposition’). The προστάται are merely champions of the popular interests.
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