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γνῶτε δέ—‘and see (the truth of this)’. ἀπιδόντες— lit. ‘looking away at’: ἀπό compounded with βλέπω etc. is especially used of looking at a standard or authority, e.g. of a painter looking at his model. οἵτινες—‘we who’, with ἡμετέρας.

πρότερον αὐτοὶ κυριώτεροι—‘though we formerly thought ourselves more able to grant that for which we are now come, making our request to you’: cf. ch. 20, 12, ὑμᾶς αἰτιωτέρους ἡγήσονται: ib. 15, ἦς νῦν ὑμεῖς τὸ πλέον κύριοί ἐστε, ‘which now rests with you in the greater measure’. νομίζοντες is imperfect in sense, ‘we had been thinking’ (till this happened).

οὕτε δυνάμεως ἐνδείᾳ...οὕτε ὑβρίσαντες—‘neither from deficiency of strength,...nor because we became arrogant’. ἐπάθομεν αὐτό—‘it befell us’, i.e. that we should be thus obliged to sue for terms. αὐτό and αὐτά are not uncommonly used in this way, to denote the circumstances, or state of things spoken of in the context: e.g. i. 69, οὐχ δουλωσἀμενος ἀλλ᾽ δυνάμενος μὲν παῦσαι περιορῶν δὲ ἀληθέστερον αὐτὸ δρᾷ, i.e. is the true cause of the allies being enslaved. μείζονος—sc. δυνάμεως. προσγενομένης—‘being added’, opposed to ἐνδείᾳ, ‘falling short’.

ἀπό δὲ τῶν ἀει ὑπαρχόντων—sc. ἐπάθομεν αὐτό, ‘going upon, starting from our regular resources’: ii. 91, ἀπὸ ἀντιπάλου παρασκευῆς. γνώμῃ σφαλέντες—‘failing in our calculations’. γνώμη, denoting generally ‘what one has in one's mind’, is used in various shades of meaning implying resolution, judgment, opinion, etc. Here it means the calculation which the Spartans had formed that they could easily recover Pylos; cf. ch. 5. For the dat. γνώμῃ Poppo compares vi. 78, γνώμῃ ὰμαρτεῖν: on the other hand we have σφαλεῖσι γνώμης, ch. 28, 30: so σφαλέντες δόξης, ch. 85, 6. Similarly we say disappointed in, or disappointed of, our expectations.

ἐν —‘in which matter’, i.e. in the liability to fail. πᾶσι...ὑπάρχει—‘the same (chance) awaits all alike’.

πόλεώς τε καὶ τῶν προσγεγενημένων—‘of your city and its acquisitions’, that is of the dominion which Athens had gained during late years, perhaps referring also to the recent success at Pylos. The omission of the article with πόλεως is noticeable, especially with τήν preceding. We have, i. 10, ξυνοικισθείσης πόλεως: ii. 72, πόλιν καὶ οίκίας παράδοτε, in each instance of a definite city. The explanation seems to be that words like πόλις acquire in such cases a definiteness like that of a proper name, and therefore do not need the article to define them further. So we often have παῖδες καὶ γυναῖκες without an article, as in i. 89: so iii. 50, Μυτιληναίων τείχη καθεῖλον καὶ ναῦς παρέλαβον: so ch. 31, 9, μέσον κ.τ.λ. In the present sentence πόλεως καὶ τῶν προσγεγενημένων taken together make up the idea ‘of your present empire’.

τὸ τῆς τύχης—‘what belongs to fortune’: also found vii. 61: ch. 55, 19, τὰ τῆς τύχης: ii. 60. τὰ τῆς ὀργῆς.

σωφρόνων δὲ...ἡγήσωνται—‘Now they are wise men who secure their advantages against a day of danger, (and these same men would show more sense in dealing with misfortunes), and as to war, are convinced that it can not be engaged in just so far as a man may wish to take it in hand, but (must go on) as its vicissitudes may determine’. The general sense of the passage is clear, that prudent men will not presume on a continuance of good fortune, especially in war. The grammatical form of the sentence has however given rise to much discussion, and requires close attention. Following οἵτινες we have three clauses, τἀγαθὰ...ἔθεντο,—καὶ...προσφέροιντο,—τόν τε...ἡλήσωνται. Each of these clauses varies in construction, and will require to be examined in detail.

σωφρόνων δὲ.. οἵτινες—=‘they are prudent men who’. This construction is probably a confusion between σώφρονες ἄνδρες είσὶν οἵτινες ἔθεντο and σωφρόνων δὲ ἀνδρῶν ἐστὶ τὸ θέσθαι, ‘it is the part of prudent men to secure’: so iii. 45, πολλῆς εὐηθείας, ὅστις οἴεται, ‘it shows great simplicity when a man thinks’: vi. 14, τὸ καλῶς ἄρξαι τοῦτ᾽ εἶναι, ὃς ἄν, ‘this is a proper discharge of official duty, when’: Xen. Anab. ii. 5. 21, ἀπόρων ἐστὶ..., οἵτινες. The genitive in these phrases gives the characteristic which belongs to the persons spoken of (Madvig, § 54). This explanation of the passage, for which there seems fully sufficient support, is adopted by the majority of editors; Classen however considers that the gen. is partitive, and that οὗτοί είσιν is understood; the sense would thus be, ‘they are of the class of prudent men who, etc.’

τἀλαθὰ...ἔθεντο—aor. denoting what is wont to happen (having happened in other supposed instances), to be translated by our present (Madvig, § 111, R. 3). It is a question whether ἔθεντο is to be taken in close connexion with ἀσφαλῶς or ἐς ἀμφίβολον. In the former case, ἀσφαλῶς ἔθεντο is a phrase like καλῶς θέσθαι, ch. 17, 14, and means ‘to order safely’, i.e. to secure, by making good terms; while ἐς ἀμφίβολον is ‘in reference to, with a view to (a time of) doubt’. In the latter case, ἐς ἀμφίβολον θέσθαι means ‘to reckon as doubtful’, τιθέναι ἐς meaning ‘to put down to, count among’, while the middle gives the sense ‘in their own case’: so Hdt. iii. 3, ἐν τιμῇ τίθεται, ‘holds in honour’. The clause then means ‘who safely reckon their gains as doubtful’, i.e. know they may lose them again, and so run no needless risks.

καὶ...προσφέροιντο—by most editors taken as a parenthesis, ‘now these same men would, etc.’ Others take it as a second clause with οἵτινες, ‘and who would also, etc.’ making οἱ αὐτοὶ a predicate like τὸ αὐτό, ch. 17, 3. This however merely gives the somewhat feeble sense that prudent men would be more likely to act with prudence; and the former view is preferable. προσφέρεσθαι—‘to behave oneself towards, deal with’: vi. 44, πρὸς τὰ πράγματα προσοίσονται: more commonly used of dealing with persons, either with dat., as v. 111, or with a prep., as v. 105, etc.

τόν τε πόλεμον—‘and as regards war, are convinced, etc.’ Instead of the aor. indic. to correspond to ἔθεντο, we have ϝομίσωσι, as if οἵτινες ἄν had gone before. Such a subj. with ἄν is equivalent to the Latin 2nd future, ‘shall have taken the view’, i.e. once for all. The position of πόλεμον is in favour of regarding it as the subject to ξυνεῖναι: in which case τούτῳ must refer either to τις or to μέρος, the meaning being either ‘that it abides with this man’, or ‘that it restricts itself to this part’. The former gives the better sense, that πόλεμος is a potent thing, which when once called up, can not be got rid of at pleasure. So war is as it were personified in such expressions as i. 78, μηκυνόμενος (πόλεμος) φιλεῖ ἐς τύχας τὰ πολλὰ περιίστασθαι: i. 122, πόλεμος ἥκιστα έπὶ ῥητοῖς χωρεῖ, ‘proceeds least of all on fixed conditions’: ii. 36, πόλεμον ἐπιόντα ἀμύνεσθαι. Some editors take τις as the subject of ξυνεῖναι and τούτῳ as referring to πόλεμος or μέρος, ‘that a man can deal with this’, viz. with war, or a particular part of it: but this is more than doubtful in construction, though it gives a reasonable sense.

ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ἄν—‘but (that it abides with him, τούτῳ ξύνεστι) just as, etc.’ αἱ τύχαι—‘the phases of fortune’; as in the passage from i. 78 cited above. αὐτῶν—neut. governed by τύχαι, referring either to the different stages of the war (μέρη) or generally to τὰ τοῦ πολέμου: cf. note on line 6. ἡλήσωνται— ‘may have led the way’. By some αὐτῶν is taken as masculine, governed by ἡλήσωνται, ‘may have led them (those engaged in war) on’, the sense of αὐτῶν being supplied from τις.

καὶ ἐλάχιστ᾽ ἄν—in this sentence we have metaphors derived from stumbling (πταίοντες), standing upright (τῷ ὀρθουμἑνῳ), and being lifted up (ἐπαίρεσθαι). ἄν, which in construction goes with καταλύοιντο, is placed, as is often the case, at the beginning of the sentence, to show its contingent character, and repeated later on; so i. 36, βραχυτάτῳ δ᾽ ἂν κεφαλαίῳ...τῷδ᾽ ἂν μάθοιτε, etc. ἐλάχιστα πταίοντες—‘making the fewest trips’. καταλύοιντο ἄν—‘would make terms’: so i. 81, etc.: we have also καταλύειν πόλεμον, ‘to give up fighting’, vii. 31, and καταλυειν without a case (in the words of a treaty), v. 23, viii. 23.

—viz. to make terms while successful. καὶ μὴ .. νομισθῆναι—dependent on καλῶς ἔχει, ‘and (so) to avoid being thought, etc.’

ἢν ἄρα—‘if, after all, you reject our terms and meet with failure’: for ἄρα cf. note on ch. 8, 24. πολλὰ ἐνδέχεται is cognate acc. after σφαλλεσθαι, which is understood after ἐνδέχεται: πολλά is predicative, ‘failure which is possible in many ways’.

καὶ τὰ νῦν προχωρήσαντα κρατῆσαι—‘to have won even your present successes’; κρατῆσαι governed by νομισθῆναι. Such words often take a neut. acc. carrying on the idea of the verb: so ch. 19, 10, ἐπικρατήσας τὰ πλέω. προχωρήσαντα—cf. i. 109, ὡς αὐτῷ οὐ προὐχώρει, ‘when his design did not succeed’: v. 37, τούτου προχωρήσαντος, ‘when this was secured’. δόκησις —‘credit, reputation’: ii. 35, δόκησις τῆς ἀληθείας.

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  • Commentary references from this page (27):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.3
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.10
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.109
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.122
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.36
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.69
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    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.81
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.89
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.35
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.36
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.72
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.91
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.45
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.50
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.105
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.111
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.23
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.37
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.14
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.44
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.78
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.31
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.61
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.23
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 2.5.21
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.60
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