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§ 19-22 Before we prepare the force I have mentioned, we must establish an offensive force to maintain the war continuously. It must not be a mere paper army of mercenaries, but must contain citizens (19). I will go into detail. Only do not make your usual mistake of passing decrees on a vast scale and leaving them wholly inoperative: better to make small plans and carry them out (20). I suggest a force of 2000 footmen and 200 horse, of whom a quarter must be citizens (21); also ten ships of war. I will explain why that will suffice (22).

δεδόχθαι...παρεσκευάσθαι. The resolution must be maintained and the preparations kept up: that is the force of the perfect.

πρὸ δὲ τούτων, in spite of the πρῶτον in § 16. The latter refers to order of importance, the present words to priority in immediate urgency.

συνεχῶς, cf. § 32 παρασκευῇ συνεχεῖ. The orator insists on this point, because the usual method of conducting warfare in Greece was simply to despatch troops (βοήθειαι) for a particular purpose and allow them to return on the completion of the immediate operations.

μή μοι, supply a transitive imperative (e.g. εἴπητε or εἰπάτω τις) to govern the accusative; cf. Aristoph. Ach. 345μή μοι πρόφασιν”.

ἐπιστολιμαίους, ‘paper armies,’ properly ‘existing (only) in letters or despatches to our allies or to our generals.’ For the order of the words see on § 17.

τῆς πόλεως ἔσται, ‘shall really belong to the city’ in contrast with the armies of mercenaries, which easily got out of control and sought their own profit more readily than that of their employers: see § 24.

κἂν ὑμεῖς. The καὶ is needed both as a copula to connect πείσεται with ἔσται, and with ἂν to balance the following clauses (κἂν being equivalent to ἐάν τε). We may say then that the first κἂν stands for καὶ κἄν, which is avoided for euphony.

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  • Commentary references from this page (1):
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 345
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