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τοῖσι, relative. τὰς δέ. sc. γεφύρας. There were plainly (in Hdt.'s conception) two bridges of unequal length, the one (or northern bridge) the longer (360 vessels) nearer the Pontos, the other (τὴν ἑτέρην, or southern bridge) the shorter (314 vessels) on the side of the Aegean. He conceives them apparently as parallel to each other, but not as bound together so as to form a single structure. ἄλλοι. Thirlwall, Grote, and others suggest that Greeks were employed this time. Why did not Hdt. name Harpalos the architect? Cp. Diels, Laterculi Alexandrini, Berlin, 1904, pp. 8, 9.
ἐζεύγνυσαν δὲ ὧδε: instead of describing the bridges as they might have appeared, when complete, to the eye, Hdt., who, of course, could no more have seen them than we ourselves, follows the Homeric method of recording the process of their manufacture. He appears to distinguish four main stages in the process:—I. The synthesis of ships. II. The discharge of the anchors. III. The placing of the cables (ταῦτα δὲ ποιήσαντες κτλ.). IV. The formation of the roadway (ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἐγεφυρώθη κτλ.). It is not easy, however, to understand how the ‘synthesis’ of the ships could have been accomplished without the employment of anchors and of cables from the first, and the whole description bristles with problems, larger or smaller, too complicated to be adequately discussed here; but cp. Appendix II. § 4.
συνθέντες. How this ‘synthesis’ of pentekonters and triremes was accomplished is not clear. Each vessel might have been moored independently, in line with the rest, but the anchors to be next mentioned are not (according to Hdt.) to prevent the vessels from being swept away by the current. but for a different purpose. Or the vessels might have been attached to each other by ropes, or cables; but if so, Hdt. should have made that clear: and, moreover, what are the ὅπλα there for finally? The words ὑπὸ μὲν τὴν κτλ. (sc. γέφυραν) can hardly be taken to prove that the bridges, and therefore the cables, were already in place across the strait, but are obviously used, so to speak, proleptically. It is a further defect that Hdt. does not specify whether the vessels touched each other, thwart to thwart, or whether there was an interval, and if so, how much of an interval, between ship and ship. There is no difficulty in understanding why the two bridges had a different number of boats in them, for even if parallel to each other, they need not have been the same length. (Grote remarks that taking the breadth to be one mile or 5280 ft., 360 vessels of an average breadth of 142/3 ft. would exactly fill the spacc.) Nor does Hdt. specify the respective numbers of triremes and of pentekonters employed; but he plainly conceives of both classes of vessels as employed in each bridge, though Kraz (Abhandlung, 1851) assigns all the triremes to the one bridge, and all the pentekonters to the other. Grote speaks (iv. 118) of “triremes and pentekonters blended together” in each bridge, and “moored across the strait breastwise with their sterns towards the Euxine and their heads towards the Aegean”: what a blend! what a muddle!
τοῦ μὲν Πόντου ἐπικαρσίας, ‘at right angles to the Pontos.’ ἐπικάρσιος means not merely πλάγιος ‘schrag’ (as Stein takes it) but at right angles (as Grote rightly). There is nothing in 1. 180, 4. 101 against this, but the reverse, and Hdt. could have expressed the oblique angle, if that had been his intention. Moreover, ἐπικαρσίας must refer to all the ships, of both bridges, alike, and shows that in relation to each other the ships are all conceived as in parallels. There is nothing to justify our understanding τοῦ μὲν Πόντου ἐπικαρσίας only of the vessels of the longer (or northern) bridge, and τοῦ δὲ Ἑλλησπόντου κατὰ ῥόον only of the vessels of the shorter (or southern) bridge; nor again to justify us in restricting the whole phrase to the shorter bridge. Taking Πόντου to be the true text, the passage would prove Hdt. aware that the Hellespont forms an angle, and indeed a right angle with the Pontos— a conception by no means applicable to the general lie of the Hellespont, but precisely accurate of the portion of the Hellespont lying between Abydos and Madytos, though not of the portion lying between Abydos and Sestos. But (i.) so precise an orientation, and with reference to the remote Pontos, is neither after Hdt.'s way nor specially applicable to his proper audience; (ii.) the bridges cross, according to him, not from Abydos to Madytos, much less S. of Madytos, as this orientation might suggest, but distinctly N. of Madytos and towards Sestos. There is, then, something to be said for Schweighaeuser's conjecture πόρου for πόντου, the πόρος being understood of the ‘passage’ to be formed across the Hellespont by the bridge, or bridges, when completed. The change of reading makes no difference to the actual orientation of either bridge, or of the boats forming it, but delivers the text from an almost inexplicably remote reference. Nor is the statement that the boats are at right angles to the passage across them quite inane, as is proved by the theory of some commentators that the boats were, and were by Hdt. conceived as, at an oblique angle to the parallel cables drawn across them from shore to shore.
τοῦ δὲ Ἑλλησπόντου κατὰ ῥόον, that is, ‘parallel to the stream of the Hellespont.’ The question arises, whether Hdt. conceived the stream, or current, setting down the Hellespont as parallel to the coast lines, which, of course, are not precisely parallel to each other, or whether he was aware, as was Strabo, that the current in the Heptastadion sets from the European to the Asiatic side, so that in order to cross from Asia to Europe the ferry started 8 stades above Abydos, ἔπειτα διαίρειν πλἀγιον καὶ μὴ τελέως ἐνάντιον ἔχουσι τὸν ρ̀οῦν (Strabo 591). But had Hdt. been acquainted with this remarkable fact, would he not have stated it clearly? Hdt. probably conceives the current as generally parallel to the coast, and the boats as heading directly up stream, likewise parallel to the coasts, or, more strictly, to the current, and traversed at right angles by the ὅπλα, the γέφυρα, the πόρος (there is absolutely no justification for saddling Hdt. with Grote's idea that the boats ‘had their heads towards the Aegean’). ἵνα ἀνακωχεύῃ τὸν τόνον τῶν ὅπλων. The subject, the sense, and even, perhaps, the reading, are in doubt. The most obvious subject is ὁ ῥόος understood out of the foregoing, or more generally τὸ ὧδε συνθεῖναι (so Sitzler); and even if Reiske's or Stein's possible plural for the verb were adopted the sense would not be substantially altered (whether a personal subject or αἱ νέες were supplied); ἀνακωχεύει seems impos sible, though ἵνα might be taken with it as locative. The phrase, however, is capable of contrary interpretations. ἀνακωχεύσαντες τὰς νέας 6. 116 ‘stayed their ships’; άνεκώχευε 9. 13 infra, absolutely ‘stayed,’ ‘waited’; but here, with τὸν τόνον τ. ὅπλ., ‘to stay the stretch of the ropes,’ may mean (i.) ‘to prevent the ropes being over-stretched,’ or (ii.) ‘to support the ropes when stretched,’ or even (iii.) ‘to maintain or keep up the stretch of the ropes,’ the strain on the ropes, i.e. to keep them taut. By τὰ ὅπλα the cables stretched from shore to shore are generally understood: very naturally, if τῶν ὅπλων τοῦ τόνου is to be read l. 21 infra. The method of mooring the boats could hardly affect the strain on these cables, or keep them taut; and indeed the stretching and tightening of these great cables is subsequently accounted for by windlasses on shore: this interpretation therefore must be dismissed. If the meaning be ‘to support the cables when stretched across from shore to shore,’ then τὸν τόνον τῶν ὅπλων for τὰ ὅπλα ἐντεταμμένα is rather a poetical curiosity, and the sense, though unimpeachable, is insignificant. The same remark applies to interpretation (i.). If by τῶν ὅπλων, however, be understood (with Baehr) the ropes, or cables, securing the anchors just about to be mentioned, then the phrase, though still wanting in lucidity, gives a good sense: mooring the vessels down stream kept the cables taut, by which they were moored.
συνθέντες δὲ ἀγκύρας κατῆκαν. That the ‘synthesis’ of the ships was complete before (II.) the anchors were let go seems an inconsequence that arises from Hdt.'s having attempted to enarrate the process of building instead of describing the bridges as finished structures. Otherwise, we should have to suppose that the bridges were constructed on shore, floated out into midstream, and anchored, not necessarily complete, but it might be in lengths— a process which would ill accord with the rest of Hdt.'s narrative description, though it is a conceivable way of making a bridge, and would accord with this curious separation of the ‘synthesis’ of ships and the anchoring.
τὰς μέν, sc. άγκύρας. The passage in the vulgate, even as amended by the anonymous but indispensable ζεφύρου for εὔρου, involves Hdt. (a) in the slight stylistic inconsequence of τὰς μέν answered by τῆς δὲ ἑτέρης, (b) in the serious material absurdity that one bridge had all its anchors on the up side, and the other bridge had all its anchors on the down side: how the lower bridge, or rather the vessels of the lower bridge, could remain in their places, at least at this stage of the proceedings, and before the cables from shore to shore have been stretched across them, and attached to them, does not appear. If the boats of the upper bridge had anchors let down from the bows, then the ships of the lower bridge must have had anchors from the bows; and if the lower bridge had anchors from the sterns of its vessels, then the vessels of the upper bridge likewise, no doubt, had anchors from the sterns. This sense, or description, would be obtained by deleting τῆς ἑτέρης and substituting τὰς δέ for τῆς δὲ ἑτέρης. (Grote obtains the same result by understanding “μέριδος, τελευτῆς, or some word indicating direction”: which was rather too much for Hdt. to expect in this passage.) Even as so amended the text leaves Hdt. responsible for the apparent absurdity that the purpose of the anchors, even those from the prows of the vessels, was not to counteract the natural pressure of the stream, or current, but to counteract the effects of the winds. This implies, if it has any sense at all, that the boats were to be kept in their places by the great cables stretched across them: to which, however, Hdt. assigns no such purpose below. Whatever the intention of the builders, the certain effect of the stem-anchors would have been to lighten the strain of the current upon the whole structure of the bridge—and one is almost tempted to transfer the words ἵνα ἀνακωχεύῃ (or -ωσι) so as to follow άγκύρας κατῆκαν περιμήκεας (the vessels were anchored, so as to relieve the strain on the great cables—whether from winds or stream).
πρὸς ἑσπέρης τε καὶ τοῦ Αἰγαίου. These words are adverse to the view that Hdt. conceived the bridges as running E. and W. or the Hellespont as flowing S. through the Heptastadion; west and south-west sufficiently well describe the general direction, and the more precise orientation would probably have been beyond Hdt.'s resources, even after a personal visit to the spot (cp. c. 176 infra).
διέκπλοον δὲ ὑπόφαυσιν κατέλιπον τῶν πεντηκοντέρων καὶ τριηρέων. The last word is an emendation, but a fairly certain one; cp. App. Crit. It is not likely that three different openings were provided in each bridge for the passage of smaller crafts. The text will mean that where the pentekonters and the triremes joined, an opening was provided. (If the pentekonters had been all in one bridge, and the triremes all in the other, we should expect τῶν τριηρέων.) The remark throws some light on the structure of the bridges, but the respective positions of pentekonters and triremes remain unfortunately undetermined. Were the pentekonters all together in one place in each bridge, or distributed? If together, were they in the middle, or at oue side? and so forth. If, as is possible, the pentekonters formed movable blocks in the bridges which could be slung out, in order to allow of the navigation continuing, powerful cables and capstans might have been employed for performing that operation. (On Grote's ‘blend’ see above.) ὑπόφαυσιν appears to be a ἅπαξ λ., and διέκπλοος is used in a sense differing from the technical (later?) sense in 6. 12, and more resembling the use in 4. 179.
πλοίοισι λεπτοῖσι, but hardly for such larger craft as the corn ships mentioned c. 147 infra.
ταῦτα δὲ ποιήσαντες. Hdt. distinguishes (III.) the slinging of the cables from land across the boats, which he treats as the veritable γεφύρωσις, from (I.) the ‘synthesis’ of the boats and (II.) the anchoring of the boats in line across the channel. Whether the cables were fastened to the boats and the boats to the cables, or whether the cables simply rested upon the boats; whether the eables were each in one length, or whether there were in each several lengths, and so on, are questions which he neither resolves nor even raises. The stage in the process of construction which he is now describing savours more of a suspension bridge than of a pontoon, of bridge of boats. Grote, who seems to think Hdt. shows neither ‘ignorance’ nor ‘incorrectness’ in his description of the bridges, observes that “the essential portion of the bridge is the continuous way across from bank to bank, which, in the case of a narrow stream, may exist without any supports at all.” But the parallel cables laid over the vessels, ‘resting upon them, and stretching across from bank to bank’ (sic) do not by themselves constitute such a way, without the further treatment described by Hdt. below (IV.).
ὄνοισι: capstans, windlasses (though ‘ass’ in windlass is but a chance coincidence); the use of the word recalls our ‘donkey-engines,’ or still more exactly the ‘mule’ in a cotton mill.
ἑκάτερα, ‘each set,’ or ‘sort’ (force of the plural). There were six cables in all used for each bridge, two of ‘sparto’ and four of ‘papyros,’ the size and finish of each kind being alike, the specific gravity of sparto or grassrope being greater, for it weighed ‘a talent per cubit.’ How much the papyros weighed Hdt. does not say, nor does he specify how these cables were arranged; whether e.g. the sparto-cables were exterior, and the papyros-cables within, or otherwise. Nor does Hdt. specify exactly what ‘talent’ he had in view. Could this be determined we might calculate (1) the weight of the cubit of esparto-cable; (2) the weight of the whole cable, approximately 8 stades, or about a mile long; (3) the approximate size or thickness (παχύτης=πάχος) of each cable. As the cables were subsequently captured and taken to Athens (9. 121 infra) they may have been weighed there, and Hdt. may be drawing on an Attic source; the Phoenician makers would have reckoned by their own weights and measures. (Similarly the cubit here would be the mean Greek cubit=11/2 feet, not the ‘Samian’ or ‘Egyptian,’ for example, 2. 168.) If Attic weight is here used the ‘emporic’ talent is presumably intended, weighing 82 lbs. avoirdupois—a truly stupendous weight of rope, 542/3 lbs. per foot! (Stein gives the παχύτης as about 33<*>8 inches (Zoll): “the stoutest modern cable is only 24.”) The cables which Hdt. has here in view would have suited a suspension bridge. The anchors above mentioned also require cables. If any section, or sections, of the bridges were capable of being slipped back and forward into place, cables would be required for such an operation. Finally, if the bridges were made in lengths and floated out into position, or even put in position, ship by ship, cables would be used to control the movement. Hdt.'s account of the ὅπλα leaves much to be desired, in form as in substance; cp. c. 25 supra.
τοῦ, as relative, refers loosely to λευκολίνου implied in τὰ λίνεα.
ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἐγεφυρώθη ὁ πόρος. There follows (IV.) the fourth stage in the process as apparently conceived by Hdt., viz. the formation of the actual roadway. πόρος is a little ambiguous, and might mean the passage or waterway across which the bridge was stretched, or the passage or roadway formed by the construction of the bridge itself. It has the former meaning in c. 183 infra, 8. 76; and the latter conspicuously in c. 10 supra (παντοῖοι ἐγένοντο Σκύθαι δεόμενοι Ἰώνων λῦσαι τὸν πόρον), here, and elsewhere, including 1. 7 supra, if πόρου is read for Πόντου.
κορμοὺς ξύλων καταπρίσαντες. κορμοί are ‘logs,’ which, when ‘sawn up’ (as we say), would make ‘planks’; these were as ‘long’ as the ‘frame’ or ‘pontoon’ (σχεδίη: sc. of each bridge) was ‘wide’ (the exact measurement unfortunately not given). These planks had no doubt been got ready before the γεφύρωσις was accomplished; they were laid in order above the cables (dele τοῦ τόνου RWM), and bound down upon them (αὖτις ἐπεζεύγνυον), either by separate ties, or possibly by some of the great cables (perhaps the ‘papyros’） being put down along them. It is but a further stage of the same process of road-making that brushwood (ὕλη) was then laid down evenly upon the planks, and earth spread and stamped or rammed tight (κατανάξαντες) on the top of the brushwood. The bridge is completed by a bulwark (φραγμός) of planks, on either side, to prevent the sumpter-beasts being scared by sight of the water. This remark should apply to the bridge on the Aegean side for the commissariat (cp. c. 55 infra); presumably there was a railing, or some protection, along the other one too, although Hdt. does not say so. There are two systems of building pontoons, as distinguished from ‘suspension’ and from ‘sublician’ bridges, on one or other of which the bridges over the Hellespont must have been constructed. A. The one of these is virtually described by Arrian, in a well-known passage of the Anabasis Alexandri, 5. 7, as the Roman method employed on the Danube, Rhine, Euphrates, and Tigris. Ships are allowed to drift down the current, stern foremost, to the given spot, where they are stayed by a galley with oars, to which they are attached (presumably each ship to a separate galley?), and which rows or paddles against the stream while the next operation is accomplished. While this galley is rowing or paddling against the stream, large baskets of picked stones are dropped from the stem of each ship, forming the pontoon, and serve as anchors. The ships are thus arranged at intervals from each other all across the stream, with their stems to the current; and from ship to ship beams (ξύλα) are laid lengthwise, and planks (σανίδες) at right angles (ἐγκάρσιαι) to bind them together (this work beginning as soon as two ships have been successfully moored near enough to each other, and proceeding on both sides, every ship having a working party on board) until the whole passage is bridged by the requisite number of ships (ὅσαι ἱκαναὶ γεφυρῶσαι τὸν πόρον). At each end fixed gangways (κλίμακες） project from the bank to the bridge, which serve as a safe approach for horses and beasts, and also keep the pontoon in its place. With this kind of bridge and bridgebuilding Arrian contrasts the method here reported by Hdt. (ὡς λέγει Ἡρόδοτος ὁ Ἁλικαρνασσεὺς ζευχθῆναι τὸν Ἑλλήσποντον), by which ξυνδεθεῖσαι αἱ νῆες σχοίνοις καὶ κατὰ στοῖχον ὁρμισθεῖσαι ἐς τὸ ζεῦγμα ἀπήρκεσαν. But Arrian has apparently a little forgotten his Herodotus! One great difference he does indeed rightly signalise between the Roman method and that here described. There is nothing in the Roman bridge corresponding to the colossal ὅπλα, which give the bridge of Xerxes somewhat the air of a suspension-bridge. For the rest, the floating of the ships stern foremost down stream, and their mooring, just on the Roman system, seems to be involved in Hdt.'s account, though he does not specify the κελήτιον ἐπῆρες which is necessary to this operation, unless indeed the pentekonters mentioned by him should be taken out of the bridge, and definitely assigned to this service. The place of the gangways (κλίμακες) too on the Roman bridge is taken by the shore ends of the cables with Hdt.; but this is a mere detail of difference. B. The substantial alternative to the Roman method of throwing a bridge across a stream, and to the method described by Hdt. which appears to correspond in essentials to the Roman method, is not specified by Arrian, and would be to form pontoons on shore, or close to shore, of vessels bound or fastened together, and then float these pontoons, with the shore ends securely fastened, out into the stream, and either moor them or bind them together, or both moor them independently and attach them to each other at their juncture. Such a method would give a less stable result than the method described by Arrian; but some hints of such a process seem to shimmer through the description of the bridge-building in Hdt. (e.g. the separation of the ‘synthesis’ of the ships from the anchoring; the descriptions of the cables and windlasses, which seem quite de trop for the formation of the roadway, in anything but a suspension-bridge—of which there may have been examples, of course on a smaller scale, in Asia, which have affected the Herodotean account of the Hellespontine structure). The real use of the great cables and windlasses may have been (1) to control the great pontoons when being floated out into position, and perhaps to help to moor them there; (2) to control the opening and closing of the διέκπλοος ὑπόφαυσις, which must have been effected by slipping one or more ships out of position in the bridge, and replacing the same after the passage of the craft (unless, indeed, a gap or quasi-archway was left somewhere, or in more than one place in the bridge). Possihly the two pairs of bridges, successively thrown across the Hellespont, were not made on the same methods. It is conceivable that the first pair of bridges, which were destroyed by a storm, had been made upon the latter principle, and that the eables really played a more important rôle in relation to the first than in relation to the second pair of bridges. The second pair of bridges may have been constructed more upon the lines of the ‘Roman’ method (which may have been ‘Greek’ before it was Roman), and the cables used simply or mainly to form the basis, or to bind together the roadway; the change in method being underestimated and misconceived by Hdt., who makes it merely a matter of a different distribution and perhaps number of sparto and byblos ropes. Hdt., who gives no precise account of the structure or appearance of the first pair of bridges, had to rely upon mere hearsay for his account, and might easily have got details of the last bridges mixed up with details from earlier structures, not merely on the Hellespont, but on Bosporos and Istros; cp. Introduction, § 10. The fact that he describes the bridges of Xerxes but not the bridges of Dareios supports the theory of the prior composition of Bks. 7-9, ibid. § 8.
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