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ἧκον: i.e. before the Persians left Thermopylai. These Arkadian medizers, or mercenaries, were long ago traced to Karyai (vide Schweighaeuser in loco) on the strength of Vitiuvius 1. 1, who, in explaining the origin of Cargatides (in architecture), mentioned that Carya had joined the Persians against Greece. A medizing movement in Arkadia might help, with the attitude of Argos, to explain a good deal in the policy of the Peloponnesians during the war; but does this anecdote go beyond a mercenary adventure? Even so, it is significant of the miserable lack of pan-Hellenic sentiment or loyalty in the peninsula; albeit these very men have a word to say concerning the Olympiad, a celebration which existed to emphasize the ‘Unity of Hellas’; cp. 5. 22. But this whole anecdote is open to suspicion; it is ‘gnomic,’ it is told for the sake of an ἔπος εὖ εἰρημένον, such as Hdt. loves to close a section of his narrative withal (cp. my notes to 4. 143 f.), as here, the story of Thermopylai - Artemision; and the chronological implication, strictly interpreted, is neither in itself quite acceptable nor quote consistent with 7. 206 supra.
βίου τε δεόμενοι, victus egentes: the word ἐνεργός may mean simply ‘employed,’ not necessarily ‘employed for hire,’ though the word ἐνεργάζεσθαι in 1. 93 certainly connotes filthy lucre, and the ‘hire’ here may be taken for granted. The use of the word in Thuc. 3. 17 does not help us, as the passage is in every way doubtful; but the use ap. Xenoph. Platon. et al. shows that the word does not necessarily connote wages. Was this Arcadian embassy a political move (ὀλίγοι τινές) or simply a mercenary adventure?
εἷς δέ τις πρὸ πάντων: this circumstantiality would hardly belong to Hdt.'s own method at this stage of the story if he had not found it in his source; natural to the isolated anecdote, it is hardly called for in the body of a work, which has narrated mauy interviews with the Persian king already. The ‘one’ in question was presumably ‘the son of Artahanos,’ named below: πρό, ‘on behalf of’; cp. Index.
Ὀλύμπια ἄγουσι: the general synchronism of the invasion with an Olympiad is indubitable, and a cornerstone for the chronology of the war; but the exact comcidence of the festival, or any of its five(?) days (Pindar, Ol. 5. 6), with the defence of Thermopylai (7. 206), or with the Arkadian application to the king, is very doubtful, all the more as these two supposed synchronisms conflict with each other! Stein's note, however, on this passage still remains as written under the exploded hypothesis that the Olympiad coincided with the first full moon after the summer solstice, the last day of the festival in 480 B.C. being June 25. He therefore transfers the scene of the Arkadian reception to Therme, maintaining its synchronism with the Olympiad, while rightly dating the defence of Thermopylai to the end of August or beginning of September. But if the synchronism of the Olympiad with the defence of Thermopylai is to be abandoned as an anachronism, why is the Olympiad in this anecdote to be maintained as good chronology? It is surely much more probable that the Arkadian application (assuming the anecdote to have any truth in it) is correctly located at Thermopylai, and correctly dated after the Spartan fiasco there, than that the very substance of the conversation, including the Olympiad synchronism, is precisely and exactly reproduced. However that may be, and not to press the distance from Arkadia to Macedon, the revised calculation for the Olympiad celebrations (Unger, Philol. 30, 1874, 227 ff.; A. Mommsen, Ueber die Zeit der Olympien, 1891; cp. Busolt, ii.2 708) makes the approximate synchronism of Ol. 75, with the scenes laid at Thermopylai, a sufficiently reasonable yet elastic date to cover both cases. Cp. Appendix V. § 4.
καὶ θεωρέοιεν ἀγῶνα γ. καὶ ἱ.: a similar change of moods (ἄγουσι: θεωρέοιεν) in a question is exemplified 5. 13 τίνες ... εἰσὶ ... καὶ τί ... ἐθέλοντες ἔλθοιεν, with somewhat less abruptness than in the answer here. The Olympian festival was purely athletic and ‘hippic’ —not including a ‘musical’ element (as did the Pythian).
τῆς ἐλαίης τὸν διδόμενον στέφανον: sc. κεῖσθαι, or εἶναι; the article (bis) and the present participle mark the notoriety and the periodicity of this proud yet paltry prize; but the Arkadians presumably did not use exactly this phrase, but simply ἐλαίης or κοτίνου στέφανον. Cp. Pausanias 5. 15. 3 “κατὰ δὲ τὸν ὀπισθόδομον μάλιστά ἐστιν ἐν δεξιᾷ πεφυκὼς κότινος: καλεῖται δὲ ἐλαία καλλιστέφανος, καὶ τοῖς νικῶσι τὰ Ὀλύμπια καθέστηκεν ἀπ᾽ αὐτῆς δίδοσθαι τοὺς στεφάνους”. The value of a win is very much under-stated and under-estimated by this anecdote, in the interests of the moral; an Olympian victor obtained substantial rewards and advantages from his own city; cp. K. F. Hermann, gottesdienst. Alterth. iii. 50, with reff. (e.g. Plutarch, Solon 23; Plato, Ap. 36 D, Rep. 465 D; Thuc. 4. 121, etc.).
γνώμην γενναιοτάτην: herein no doubt the key to the fable, whieh exists for the sake of the moral, as fables always do. These poor men of Arkadia are come to read the proud Persians a lesson on the connexion between πενίη and ἀρετή; cp. 7. 102. The moralist has, however, nothing to say on the amazing spectacle of a nation's amusing itself at Olympia with the enemy at its very gates; the religious assoeiations prohibit that (but cp. 9. 11); nor, again, of the uselessness of such speetacles and athleticisms for purposes of war; it was left to the Makedonian age to discover the inferiority of athletes to soldiers; cp. Plutarch, Alex. 4, Philopoem. 3. Τιγράνης ὁ Ἀρταβάνου. The variant Τριτανταίχμης many have preferred on the ground, given by Wesseling, that Tigranes, though well known, is nowhere (else) described as a son of Artabanos. But he is described as an Achaimenid, 7. 62, cp. 9. 95, which is enough. Hdt. follows his sources without fully co-ordinating, harmonizing, and relating them. The patronymic here for Tigranes is in itself a valuable evidence for the independence of this aneedote, and of the gnomic source to whieh it must be referred; cp. Introduction, § 10. δειλίην ὦφλε: cp. “αἰσχύνην ὀφλεῖν” Thuc. 5. 101. This well-known Atticism does not occur elsewhere in Hdt. (nor indeed in Thucydides either).
οὔτε ἠνέσχετο σιγῶν: the participial construction is noticeable, cp. 5. 19 ἀνέχευ ὁρέων τὰ ποιεύμενα, and the parallel in 1. 206. On the other hand, 7. 139 καταμείναντες ἀνέσχοντο τὸν ἐπιόντα ἐπὶ τὴν χώρην δέξασθαι is obviously a different construction. ἐς πάντας: coram omnibus (Baehr) = ἐς μέσον.
οὐ περὶ χρημάτων ... ἀλλὰ περὶ ἀρετῆς. χρήματα and ἀρετή are not quite co-ordinate in this passage; the slight inconsequence only sharpens the gnome. περὶ ἀρετῆς = τοῦ καλοῦ ἕνεκα. Baehr observes that the speaker utters a thoroughly Greek sentiment: Stein adds, one worthy of his sire! (“spricht ganz im Geiste seines Vaters”). Such observations, however, go to illustrate not so much the spread of Hellenie culture and ethos among the Asiatics as the literary mechanism of Hellenic logography. ‘The distinguished foreigner’ as a vehicle for national sentiment, whether praise or blame be the objeet in view, seems to have been a Greek invention; cp. 4. 77, 142; 7. 9, 236, etc.
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