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καὶ (ἀδικοῦσι τούτους) πρὸς οὓς ἔχουσι πρόφασιν] ‘and those again are liable to injury against whom there is (lit. others have) any available pretext’ (real or supposed for attacking, or doing them wrong) ‘of injury received or threatened by their ancestors or themselves or their friends against themselves or their forefathers, or those whom they care for, (are interested in); because, as the proverb has it, villany only wants a pretext’.

For μελλησάντων Brandis' Anonymus (ap. Schneidewin's Philologus, IV, 1, p. 44) read μελετησάντων; no great improvement.

μέλλειν, to be about to do, hence of something impending or threatening. Plat. Theaet. 148 E, of the intention; see Stallbaum's note; of a threatening attitude or posture, μέλλησις. Thuc. I 69, οὐ τῇ δυνάμει τινὰ ἀλλὰ τῇ μελλήσει ἀμυνόμενοι, and IV 126, Brasidas (of the threatening demonstrations of the barbarians before the battle), οὗτοι δὲ τὴν μέλλησιν μὲν ἔχουσι τοῖς ἀπείροις φοβεράν.

The proverb ‘any pretext will serve a knave’ is thus expressed by Menander, Thettale, Fr. 1. (Meineke IV 133), μικρά γε πρόφασίς ἐστι τοῦ πρᾶξαι κακῶς, ap. Stob. Flor. IV 40. To the same effect, Eurip. Iph. Aul. 1180, ἐπεὶ βραχείας προφάσεως ἐνδεῖ μόνον, ἐφ᾽ ς᾿ ἐγὼ καὶ παῖδες αἱ λελειμμέναι δεξόμεθα δέξιν ἥν σε δέξασθαι χρεών.

Victorius refers to a story of Agathocles tyrant of Sicily, in Plutarch, as an illustration of this topic. It is told (in the de sera numinis vindicta 557 B) of the Corcyreans, Ἀγαθοκλῆς δὲ Συρακοσίων τύραννος καὶ σὺν γέλωτι χλευάζων Κερκυραίους ἐρωτῶντας, διὰ τί πορθοίη τὴν νῆσον αὐτῶν, ὅτι, νὴ Δία, εἶπεν, οἱ πατέρες ὑμῶν ὑπεδέξαντο τὸν Ὀδυσσέα: and then of the people of Ithaca, καὶ τῶν Ἰθακησίων ὁμοίως ἐγκαλούντων ὅτι πρόβατα λαμβάνουσιν αὐτῶν οἱ στρατιῶται, δὲ ὑμέτερος, ἔφη, βασιλεὺς ἐλθὼν πρὸς ἡμᾶς καὶ τὸν ποιμένα προσεξετύφλῳσεν. And the last is repeated, Apophth. 176 F.

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