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Θεμιστοκλέης here puts into operation the παλάμη announced in c. 19 supra. The employment of ἐπιλεξάμενος followed by ἐπελέξαντο in a different sense (ἐπιλέγεσθαι eligere 6. 73, 7. 10, etc., legere c. 136 infra, etc.) is not quite happy: an ‘unconscious iteration.’ ἐπορεύετο περὶ τὰ πότιμα ὕδατα: he would, of course, have to land in order to do this: what time of day was it? The battle had begun at mid-day, or somewhat later, c. 15 supra; the hour at which it ended has not been specified; but it had been a long and heavy engagement, in which half the Athenian vessels had been damaged (c. 18 supra): then, according to Hdt., a council was held—the account of which is obscure. Then, the news of the disaster at Thermopylai is brought by Abronichos, and retreat becomes at once inevitable; but Themistokles now proceeds to carry out his projected παλάμη. How many the springs, or fountains, to which the device was applied Hdt. does not say.
ἐντάμνων ἐν τοῖσι λίθοισι γράμματα. We are to understand that these inscriptions were incised (and coloured?) in the living rocks, or in some cases in the stones (marble) with which the springs, or cisterns, were fenced and builded. These inscriptions were read by the Ionians on the very next day; cp c. 23 infra: were they ever read by any other mortals thereafter? How many times the inscription was reproduced by Themistokles Hdt. does not specify, but he gives the ipsissima verba, which ‘cut the record,’ for argument and rhetoric in inscriptions, a veritable ‘sermon in stones’; had Hdt. copied the same? Did ‘Ionians’ remember and report them at home? Is the aneedote an Attic invention? The appeal reads in any case more like a letter or an oral address than like a hastily cut inscription, and that in duplicate. There was no need to cut these inseriptions; they might as well have been simply written or painted up.
τὰ δὲ γράμματα τάδε ἔλεγε: a conclusive proof of the use of λέγειν, λόγοι, et sim. for seript. The order of the words τάδε ἔλεγε is unusual, but occurs also 2. 136 in a less abrupt form.
ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας: cp. 7. 51, where the same point and the same moral are urged by Artabanos.
μάλιστα μὲν ... εἰ δὲ ... μή: perhaps the earliest instance of the employment of this rhetorieal formula; cp. Thuc. 1. 40. 4, Plato Rep. 590 D, etc.
ὑμεῖς δέ: a genuine δέ in apodosi; the construction is repeated immediately below; cp. 7. 50, and Index. ἐκ τοῦ μέσου ἡμῖν ἕζεσθε, ‘assume a neutral position’; cp. 4. 118 ὑμεῖς ὦν μηδενὶ τρόπῳ ἐκ τοῦ μέσου κατήμενοι περιίδητε ἡμέας διαφθαρέντας. Also 3. 83 and c. 73 infra. ἡμῖν dat. ethicus, ‘we pray you’—
τῶν Καρῶν δέεσθε: cp. c. 19 supra; and for δέεσθαι cc. 3, 4 supra.
εἰ δὲ μηδέτερον τούτων: three courses are open to the Ionians, more or less consistent with their duty to their fathers: (i.) μάλιστα μέν, to desert the Persian and join the Greeks (πρὸς Ἑλλήνων γίνεσθαι); (ii.) εἰ δὲ μή, to leave the Persian and assume a neutral position (ἐκ τοῦ μέσου ἕζεσθαι, κατῆσθαι); (iii.) to play the Persian false in the hour of battle (ἐν τῷ ἔργῳ ἐθελοκακέειν).
μέζονος ... ἢ ὥστε ἀπίστασθαι. The conjunction ὥστε is not de rigueur in this construction of the infinitive after a comparative, but is certainly in place; cp. Madvig, G.S. 150 c.
ἀρχῆθεν ἡ ἔχθρη: a parallel argument is addressed to the Athenians by the Spartans c. 142 infra. The reference here is, of course, to the Ionian revolt and the part taken by Athens therein; but, as Hdt. 5. 73. 96, 97 clearly shows, the casus belli between Athens and Persia was already in existence before Athens espoused the cause of the Ionians, and the participation in the Ionian revolt was the effect and not the cause of the Athenian enmity with Sardes and with Susa.
δοκέειν ἐμοί, ἐπ᾽ ἀμφότερα νοέων: was this very obvious design really a discovery of Hdt.'s, or was the doublemindedness of Themistokles other than commendable?
μεταβαλεῖν, intransitive; 7. 52.
καὶ διαβληθῇ: sc. τὰ γράμματα; a curious phrase, though the meaning of διαβάλλειν cannot be doubtful; cp. 5. 50, 97 etc. But the sentence is rather clumsy, τὰ γράμματα as the subject of ποιήσῃ and of ἀπόσχῃ being harsh. ἀπίστους, passive; 9. 98.
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