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ἔν τε ταῖς εὐναῖςτε couples this clause with its acc. participle to the nominative λαθόντες τὴν ἀπόβασιν, which is in agreement with οἰ Ἀθηναῖοι. Classen quotes from Tac. Hist. i. 45, vinciri iussum et maiores poenas daturum affirmans praesenti exitio subtraxit. Demosthenes now repeated the manoeuvre by which he had surprised the Ambraciots the year before; iii. 112, ἅμα ὄͅρθρῳ ἐπιπίπτει...ἔτι ἐν ταῖς εὐναῖς κ.τ.λ.

λαθόντες τὴν ἀπόβασιν—‘having landed without being seen’, ἀπόβασιν is a determinant accusative, ‘in the landing’: a strange construction. Rutherford inserts ποιησάμενοι.

ἐς ἔφορμον—because all the ships lay round the island at night; ch. 23, 14.

ἐκ μὲν νεῶν ἑβδομήκοντα—seventy ships were already at Pylos, ch. 23, 18, and Cleon had brought a small number besides. θαλαμίων—the oarsmen of the lowest bench, usually called θαλαμῖται. They were left to look after the ships, probably as being less able-bodied than the θρανῖται and ζυγῖται, who had to work longer oars.

According to the calculation on ch. 9, 13, each ship would furnish upwards of 100 men, giving a total of about 8000 sailors. Besides these there were 800 heavy-armed, at least 1600 archers and targeteers, and Messenians and others from the garrison. Demosthenes and Cleon had therefore a force of more than 10,000 men to attack the 420 Lacedaemonians with their attendant Helots.

ὡς ἔκαστοι ἐσκευασμένοι—‘equipped as they severally were’, i.e. as well as could be managed in each case. In this phrase, which is far from uncommon, the participle suggests the verb which is to be supplied with ὡς: vi. 17, ταχὺ δ᾽ ἂν ὡς ἔκαστοι προσχωροῖεν, ‘they would speedily join us severally’, lit. ‘as each (would be inclined to do so)’. τοξόται τε—corresponding to ἐκ μὲν νεῶν: so i. 144, τε answers to μέν, where Poppo cites other instances. Krüger writes τοξόται δέ. Three divisions of the force are noted, the sailors (μέν), the archers etc. brought by Cleon (τε), and besides these (τε) the Messenians and others on the spot.

κατεῖχον—‘were posted’, lit. ‘held (their quarters)’: viii. 28, ἐν Ἀμόργης πολέμιος ὢν κατεῖχε, ‘was maintaining (his position)’: so habito = ‘to live’; and so ‘to keep’ is sometimes used in English.

Δημοσθένους δὲ τάξαντος—Demosthenes, who appears to have directed the entire attack, brought to bear on the Spartans the same tactics that had overthrown his own army in Aetolia (iii. 98, 99). διέστησαν—‘were divided’; elsewhere used of taking different sides in a quarrel, as ch. 61, 8, κατὰ πόλεις διέσταμεν. κατά—distributive, ‘in bodies of two hundred or more’; τε and καί have here a disjunctive force, implying that there were bodies answering both descriptions, some of the stated size, some larger.

ἔστι δ᾽ —‘and at some points’: so i. 93, etc.: we have also ἔσγιν ὄτε, ‘at times’, i. 25, etc.; and various similar expressions with the relative, as ἔστιν ὦν, ἔστι παρ᾽ οἷς, είσὶν οἵ, this last phrase being always plural.

τὰ μετεωρότατα—‘the highest points’.

πρὸς τι ἀντιτάξωνται—for subj. see note on καθορμίσωνται, ch. 13, 13. ἀντιτάξωνται— so vi. 102, ἀντετάξαντο πρὸς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους, ‘faced, drew up against’: cf. ch. 11, 3 ἐτάξαντο: ch. 35, 10, etc. The aor. middle not having a passive force we must understand ‘themselves’ or ‘their forces’ in all these cases; indeed an object is expressed after ἀντιτάξασθαι in ii. 87 and iii. 56.

ἀμφίβολοι—‘exposed on all sides, between two fires’: so ch. 36, 19: ii. 76, ἐν ἁμφιβόλῳ: from βάλλω in the sense of ‘to shoot at, hit with a missile’, as in line 19, and often in this description. τῷ πλήθει—‘from the number’ of their assailants; dat. of instrumental cause.

χωρήσειαν—opt. because of ἔμελλον, ‘wherever they went the foe were sure to be in their rear’; it corresponds to ἃν χωρήσωσιν after a present. Classen is perhaps right in taking οἱ πολέμιοι as nom. to χωρήσειαν, as πολέμιοι is used in line 16 of the Lacedaemonians. In most editions the comma is placed after χωρήσειαν and πολέμιοι is nom. to ἔμελλον.

ψιλοὶ καὶ οἱ ἀπορώτατοιἄπορος is taken by nearly all commentators as meaning in this passage ‘hard to deal with’, of those against whom a πόρος or ‘means of acting’ can not be found. The sense then is ‘light armed troops and those the most difficult to cope with’. The words καὶ οἰ come in very awkwardly with ἀπορώτατοι, and καί is bracketed by Classen, who takes ψιλοὶ οἱ ἀπορώτατοι as subst. before adj. like κινδύνου τοῦ ταχίστου.

Probably however καὶ οἱ ἀπορώτατοι means ‘even the worst provided’, being in partial apposition with ψιλοί and closely connected with ἔχοντες ἀλκήν. This view avoids any difficulty as to the construction of καὶ οἱ, and gives the excellent sense that even the least efficient combatants proved in the circumstances very effective foes.

It is to be noticed that adjectives which, like ἄπορος, admit of both an active and a passive meaning, have usually an active sense when used of persons, and a passive sense when used of things: e.g. Soph. Ant. 79, βίᾳ πολιτῶν δρᾶν ἔφυν ἀμήχανος, ‘I am unable to do’, compared with ib. 90, ἀμηχάνων ἐρᾶς, ‘you are enamoured of what can not be done’. So ἄπορος of persons would naturally be ‘without means’, as i. 9, ἦλθεν ἐς ἀνθρώπους ἀπόρους: Soph. Ant. 360, ἄπορος ἐπ᾽ οὐδὲν ἔρχεται. It is however certainly used sometimes of persons in the passive sense, e.g. Plat. Apol. Socr. 18 D: Eur. Bacch. 800.

ἐκ πολλοῦ ἔχοντες ἀλκήνἀλκή, ‘prowess, spirit for fighting’: ii. 84, ἐς ἀλκὴν τρέπεσθαι opposed to φεύγειν: ib. 87, τέχνη ἄνευ ἀλκῆς οὐδὲν ὠφελεῖ. The meaning is that the light troops proved valiant and formidable foes with missiles from a distance (ἐκ πολλοῦ): cf. iii. 30, (θάλασσαν) ἠμῶν ἀλκὴ τυγχάνει μάλιστα οὖσα = ‘where our main strength lies’. So Aristotle, Eth. Nic. iii. 6 (9). 11, says the ἀνδρεῖος is brave, ἐν οἶς ἔστιν ἀλκή, ‘in circumstances where a man can strike a blow for life and honour’.

οἶς μηδὲ ἐπελθεῖν—The neg. μή implies such that, like qui with the subjunctive.

φεύγοντές τε γάρ—explains οἷς μηδὲ ἐπελθεῖν. ἐκράτουν—‘got the better’, i.e. in speed. ἀναχωροῦσιν—dat. participle: ii. 79, ἀναχωροῦσιν ἐνέκειντο.

γνώμῃ—‘plan’ or ‘design’ as formed in the mind. τό τε πρῶτον. καί—cf. ch. 103, 15. ἐπενόει—‘planned’.

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hide References (21 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (21):
    • Euripides, Bacchae, 800
    • Plato, Apology, 18d
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 360
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 79
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 90
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.144
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.25
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.9
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.93
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.76
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.79
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.84
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.87
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.112
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.30
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.56
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.98
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.102
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.17
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.28
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 1.45
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