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ξυνέδρους ἑλέσθαι—‘but requested that commissioners might be chosen to confer with them’. ἑλέσθαι—trans., the usual construction with words like κελεύω. σφίσι—governed by ξυνέδρους, cf. ch. 23, 5: ch. 93, 21, οἱ ξύμμοροι αὐτοῖς. When the Athenians invaded Melos their envoys were not brought before the general assembly (πρὸς τὸ πλῆθος), but heard before the authorities and officials (ἐν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ τοῖς ὀλίγοις), who are afterwards called οἱ τῶν Μηλίων ξύνεδροι (v. 85).

οἵτινες ξυμβήσονται—future in final sense: iii. 16, ναυτικὸν παρεσκεύαζον τι πέμψουσιν. κατὰ ἡσυχίαν—as opposed to the tumult and hurry of the assembly: i. 85, μηδ᾽ ἐπειχθέντες ἐν βραχεῖ μορίῳ ἡμέρας βουλεύσωμεν ἀλλὰ καθ᾽ ἡσυχίαν.

πολὺς ἐνέκειτο—‘fell on them vehemently’, like a mighty tempest or torrent: Hdt. vii. 158, Γέλων πολλὀς ἐνέκειτο. Eur. Hip. 443, Κύπρις γὰρ οὐ φορητόν, ἢν πολλὴ ῥυῇ: so Sal. Iug. 84, multus atque ferox instare. ἔγκειμαι=incumbo, used of pressing an enemy hard, or pursuing an object, with dat. or without a ease: ii. 59, ἐνέκειντο τῷ Περικλεῖ, ‘assailed Pericles’: v. 43, εὐθὺς ἐνέκειντο, ‘at once urged on their purpose strenuously’.

ὲν νῷ ἔχοντας—‘intending’: ch. 8, 23, note. οἵτινες— ‘seeing that they’;=qui, quippe qui, with subj. ὅστις as rel. denotes the class, the characteristics of which are found in the antecedent: iii. 64, τίνες ἂν ὑμῶν δικαιότερον μισοῖντο, οἵτινες κ.τ.λ., ‘inasmuch as you’.

εἴ τι ὑγιὲς διανοοῦνται—‘if they have any honest purpose’: iii. 75, οὐδὲν ὑγιὲς διανοουμένων.

σφίσιν οἷόν τε ὄν—‘possible for them’, i.e. consistently with their interest, as is explained afterwards. ἐν πλήθει—‘in a public assembly’. εἴ τι καὶ...ξυγχωρεῖν—‘even if they were ready to make any concession’, τι acc. with ξυγχωρεῖν, the two words forming the subject of ἐδόκει ‘seemed good’. It does not appear what the Lacedaemonians were willing to concede, as they did not get a hearing.

μὴ...διαβληθῶσιν—‘lest they should be represented injuriously to their allies’. διαβάλλω, to set cross or wrong, means to slander or represent prejudicially: iii. 109, Πελοποννησίους διαβαλεῖν ἐς τοὺς Ἕλληνας, ‘to raise a prejudice against the Peloponnesians in the eyes of the Greeks’, ἐς denoting those to whom the report reaches and among whom it spreads: ii. 18, σχολαιότης διέβαλεν αὐτόν, ‘his slowness did him injury’: also with dat., viii. 88, βουλόμενος αὐτόν τοῖς Πελοποννησίοις διαβάλλειν. We have too the passive with dat. meaning lit. ‘to be set wrong with’: viii. 81, ἵνα τῷ Τισσαφέρνει διαβάλλοιντο, ‘that they might be set against Tissapheines’: Plat. Phaed. 67 E, διαβέβληνται τῷ σώματι: common in Dem. with πρός.

εἰπόντες καὶ οὐ τυχόντες—‘having made proposals and failed’: ii. 74, προκαλεσάμενοι πολλὰ καὶ εἰκότα οὐ τυγχάνομεν.

ἀνεχώρησαν ἄπρακτοι—‘withdrew without effecting anything’. Little else could be expected from the temper of both sides, and the way in which matters were managed. Cleon and the democracy are scarcely to be blamed for demanding more than the Lacedaemonians seemed prepared to grant, while on the other hand a delicate negotiation could not be carried on before the popular assembly. The conduct of affairs at this time seems to have rested chiefly with Nicias and his adherents, but they were powerless to force their views against the will of the people. According to Plutarch (Nicias ch. 7) it was from personal enmity to Nicias that Cleon persuaded the assembly to reject the truce, προθύμως ὁρῶν αὐτὸν συμπράττοντα τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις. Thucydides says nothing of the efforts of Nicias on this occasion, but he relates that in 422 he was most eager for peace, from his anxiety to preserve his own good fortune and name as a safe and successful general (v. 16). The impression which we form of his character is that he was a brave and careful commander when actually in the field, but disposed to magnify dangers and difficulties, and deficient in confidence and in a spirit of enterprise. He was also rich and prosperous, and ‘had given hostages to fortune’. It is therefore probable that if he had been one of the proposed ξύνεδροι he would willingly have agreed to one-sided terms; and Cleon showed both courage and statemanship in opposing such an arrangement.

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hide References (17 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (17):
    • Euripides, Hippolytus, 443
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.158
    • Plato, Phaedo, 67e
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.85
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.18
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.59
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.74
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.109
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.16
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.64
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.75
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.16
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.43
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.85
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.81
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.88
    • Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum, 84
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