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κάρτα τε ἐθυμώθη ... καὶ ἀμείβετο: a weak parataxis as the subject of the verbs is not changed. ἀμείβεται, the reading of AB(α), is perhaps preferable, as rather stronger.
ἄνθρωπε, not ἄνερ.
αὐτοῦ, ‘in person’; cp. 4. 1.
μνήσασθαι περὶ σέο παιδός, ‘about a son of thine’ (thee). σέο περὶ π. would have been confused after μνήσασθαι: περὶ π. σέο would have been less emphatic. The mid. aor. (ἐμνησάμην) is rare in prose (Stein). Cp. Veitch sub v. μιμνήσκω.
αὐτῇ τῇ γυναικί: would that have added to the sacrifice? Is not πανοικίῃ enough? The words look almost like a comic gloss.
ἐν τοῖσι ὠσὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἰκέει ὁ θυμός has the air of a gnome; the psychological terminology of the passage, Homeric or popular as it is, is interesting: ὸ θυμός: τὸ σῶμα: τῇ ψυχῆ̣ (τοῦ ἑνός). τὸ σῶμα is the seat of pleasure (τέρψις): ψυχή=vita c. 209 infra, 8. 118.
ζημιώσεαι: fut. pass. (Stein); middle in passive sense (L. & S.).
ταύτῃ διεξιέναι τὸν στρατόν. If the army of Xerxes was to pass along the road between the halves of the bisected corpse, the army cannot have been a large one, or the feat would have been practically impossible; even if limited to τὸν κατ᾽ ἤπειρον μέλλοντα ἅμα αὐτῷ Ξέρξη̣ πορεύεσθαι στράτον (c. 26 supra) the performance is a difficulty. Behind the physical difficulty lies the obviously fabulous moral of the story, as an exhibition of the unbounded cruelty and caprice of the oriental despot, from whose rule Hellas had been saved at Salamis. Beyond that comes the dramatic or literary interest of the contrast between the beginning and the end of Pythios' dealings with Xerxes. The form and expression of the whole story are essentially Greek, and the parallel in 4. 84 (Dareios and Oiobazos) discounts it. Yet we may reasonably hesitate to dismiss the story of Pythios as a pure fabrication. The apparently unconscious precision of some of the details; Pythios' name and antecedents; Kritalla the place of meeting, as Sardes of parting, convey touches of verisimilitude to a story, or pair of stories, which has assuredly ‘lost nothing in the telling.’ We may discount but we cannot deny the evidences of autocratic caprice, cruelty and folly, recorded of Xerxes, as of Kambyses, of the Greek ‘tyrants,’ of the ‘Roman Caesars’—not to speak of modern examples from further east or nearer home. The possession of autocratic or almost autocratic powers over fellowmen is more than any human being can stand without disaster; and when those powers have been acquired, not by ability and service (as in the case of Dareios), but by way of inheritance and traditional right (as by Xerxes, or Kambyses), the prospects of disaster are increased. Such is the unanimous testimony of Greek tradition in regard to the second generation of ‘tyrants’ as compared with the first, or founders; and whatever the exaggerations of tradition and the prejudices of republicans, the general conscience of humanity justifies in its own forum the ‘tendency’ or moral of the too dramatic or too edifying natural history of the tyrant.
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