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πράξοντας τι...οἴσειν—‘to effect such an arrangement as may at the same time prove acceptable to you from the advantages which it offers, and may be most conducive to our honour in the circumstances of our present misfortune’. The construction after τι ἄν is slightly varied, ὑμῖν τε ὠφέλιμον ὂν πείθωμεν corresponding to καὶ ἡμῖν μέλλῃ οἴσειν. This modification is adapted to the sense of the passage. The first clause relates to the Athenians, who require to be convinced that the terms were good for them; the second concerns Lacedaemonian interests, which need not be pressed upon the audience. As the sentence stands τι is acc. after πείθωμεν, while it supplies the nom. to μέλλῃ: so ii. 84, πνεῦμα ὅπερ ἀναμένων τε περιέπλει καὶ εἴωθει γίγνεσθαι, ‘which he was waiting for and (which) usually sprang up’: cf. Madv. § 104; and see note on ch. 67, 6.

τι ἂν...πείθωμεν—‘whatsoever we may persuade you of’: ch. 22, 4, τι ἂν πείθωσι. ὑμῖν τε ὠφέλιμον ὂν τὸ αὐτό forms the predicate to τι, ‘(as) being at the same time (τὸ αὐτό) advantageous to you’. For τὸ αὐτό cf. iii. 47, τὸ Κλέωνος τὸ αὐτὸ δίκαιον καὶ ξύμφορον, ‘Cleon's coincidence of justice and interest’: so Cic. de Off. i. 19, 63, viros fortes et magnanimos, eosdem bonos et simplices esse volumus, ‘at the same time’.

ἐς τὴν ξυμφοράν—‘in respect of, in relation to’. ὡς ἐκ τῶν παρόντων, ‘as far as present circumstances will admit’: vi. 70, ώς ἐκ τῶν παρόντων συνταξάμενοι, ‘forming their ranks as well as they could’: ii. 3, ὼς ἐκ τῶν δυνάτων. In such expressions ἐκ gives the origin from which the result spoken of arises, and in accordance with which it is characterised. κόσμον—‘honour, credit’: i. 5, κόσμος καλῶς τοῦτο δρᾶν: Hdt. viii. 60, ἔφερέ οἱ κόσμον.

μακροτέρους—pred., with μηκυνοῦμεν, ‘prolong to greater length (than is our wont)’. οὐ negatives παρὰ τὸ εἰωθός only, and does not affect the rest of the sentence; the sense of which is, ‘our speaking at length will not be contrary to our custom’. Grote (vol. iv. ch. 52) misunderstands the sentence, saying that the envoys ‘prefaced their address with some apologies for the brevity of speech which belonged to their country’, whereas in fact they give reasons for departing from it. The laconic style of speech was proverbial. It was in accordance with the character of reserved and self-contained strength which the Spartans were careful to keep up.

ἀλλ᾽ ἐπιχώριον ὄν—lit. ‘but (we shall do so) it being our country's custom etc.’, i.e. we shall be carrying out our principles by speaking at length on a due occasion. ἐπιχώριον ὄν stands in opposition to παρὰ τὸ εἱωθός. The construction is accus. abs., like ἐξόν, ‘it being lawful’, εἰρημένον ‘it having been ordered’, etc.; which construction is admissible in impersonal expressions with ὄν and an adjective: so vii. 44, ἀδύνατον ὄν, ‘it being impossible’.

οὗ ἀρκῶσι—subj. without ἄν: see note on ch. 16, 19.

πλείοσι δέ—with this is probably to be supplied λόγοις χρῆσθαι, ‘but (to employ) more (words)’; the relative clause with ἐν lasting to the end of the sentence, and πράσσειν being dependent on καιρός, ‘whenever it is a proper time to effect our object etc.’ It is however possible to make the relative clause consist simply of ἐν ἂν καιρὸς , in which case πλείοσι agrees with λόγοις in line 10, and πράσσειν, like χρῆσθαι in line 8, depends on ἐπιχώριον ὄν.

καιρός—‘due occasion, opportunity’, without art.: ch. 27, 23, καιρὸν παριέντας: iii. 13, καιρὸς δὲ ὡς οὔπω πρότερον.

προὔργου—‘of importance’, contracted for πρὸ ἔργου. A declinable comparative form is found iii. 109, προὐργιαίτερον ἐποιήσαντο, ‘they considered of more importance’.

λόγοις—‘by the use of words’, may be governed either by διδάσκοντας or by πράσσειν. The run of the words seems slightly in favour of connecting it with πράσσειν, but it may perhaps be affected by both: see note on ch. 40, 13.

λάβετε δέ—‘and listen to them, not in a hostile spirit, but etc.’ μή deprecates πολεμίως, and must not be taken with λάβετε, the aor. imperat. not being used in prohibition, for which μὴ λάβητε would be required.

ὑπόμνησιν—‘a reminder’, with gen.: i. 72, ὑπόμνησιν ὧν ᾔδεσαν. πρὸς εἰδότας—‘to men who know (what good counsel is)’: Pericles says he will not μακρηγορεῖν ἐν είδόσιν, ii. 36: so ch. 59, 7, τί ἄν τις ἐν είδόσι μακρηγοροίη; v. 89, ἐπισταμένους πρὸς είδότας: Dem. Androt. 613, ὡς εἰδόσι μὲν ἴσως, ὁμῶς δὲ ἐρῶ.

καλῶς θέσθαι—‘to make a good use of’, lit. ‘to order, arrange, dispose for yourselves’; used especially of good or bad fortune, and its resulting circumstances, sometimes with an idea of securing or investing: cf. ch. 18, 14: i. 25, ἐν ἀπόρῳ εἴχοντο θέσθαι τὸ παρόν, ‘they were at a loss how to settle the question’ (see Classen's full note).

ἔχουσι...προσλαβοῦσι—agreeing with υμῖν: note the difference of tense in these participles. μὴ παθεῖν—after ἔξεστι, = ‘to avoid’, lit. ‘not to have that happen to you’; in sense but little different from ‘not to do’, but less harsh and direct. A Greek speaker avoids suggesting that his audience will do what is injudicious or foolish. He warns them lest an error should befall them. ὅπερ—sc. πάσχουσι: cf. vii. 61, οὐδὲ πάσχειν ὅπερ οἱ ἀπειρότατοι τῶν ἀνθρωπων.

τοῦ πλέονος—‘more’, gov. by ὀρέγονται: ch. 21, 8, τοῦ δὲ πλέονος ὠρέγοντο: ch. 92, 13, τοῦ πλείονος ὀρεγόμενος: cf. ch. 30, 23, περὶ τοῦ πλέονος. In these cases the definite article probably denotes the larger remaining part of a whole amount contemplated as attainable, the smaller portion of which is already attained. ἐλπίδι—with ὀρέγονται, ‘they grasp at in hope’.

τὰ παρόντα—cognate accusative with εὐτυχῆσαι: vi. 23, πλείω εὑτυχῆσαι, ‘to be fortunate in’.

ἐπ᾽ ἀμφότερα—i.e. for the better or the worse: so i. 83; ii. 11: Dem. Lept. 471, μετέπιπτε τὰ πράγματα ἐπ᾽ ἀμφό τερα.

δίκαιοί εἰσι—‘have just reason to be most distrustful’: so Hdt. ix. 60, δίκαιοί ἐστε ἰέναι, ‘you are bound in justice to come’: see the note on ch. 10, 17, ῥᾷστοί εἰσιν ἀμύνεσθαι. ὄπιστος, ‘distrustful’, is used with the dative, Plat. Apol. 26 E, ἄπιστος εἶ σαυτῷ: Dem. Fals. Leg. 349, ἄπιστος πρὸς Φίλιππον.

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  • Commentary references from this page (20):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.60
    • Herodotus, Histories, 9.60
    • Plato, Apology, 26e
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.25
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.5
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.72
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.83
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.11
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.3
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.36
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.84
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.109
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.13
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.47
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.89
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.23
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.70
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.44
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.61
    • Cicero, De Officiis, 1.19
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