10.Now seeing Mycenae was but a small city, or if any other of that age seem but of light regard, let not any man for that cause, on so weak an argument, think that fleet to have been less than the poets have said and fame reported it to be.
For if the city of Lacedaemon were now desolate and nothing of it left but the temples and floors of the buildings, I think it would breed much unbelief in posterity long hence of their power in comparison of the fame.For although of five parts of Peloponnesus it possess two and hath the leading of the rest and also of many confederates without, yet the city being not close built and the temples and other edifices not costly, and because it is but scatteringly inhabited after the ancient manner of Greece, their power would seem inferior to the report.Again, the same things happening to Athens, one would conjecture by the sight of their city that their power were double to what it is.We ought not therefore to be incredulous [concerning the forces that went to Troy] nor have in regard so much the external show of a city as the power;
but we are to think that that expedition was indeed greater than those that went before it but yet inferior to those of the present age, if in this also we may credit the poetry of Homer, who being a poet was like to set it forth to the utmost.And yet even thus it cometh short.
For he maketh it to consist of twelve hundred vessels, those that were of Boeotians carrying one hundred and twenty men apiece, and those which came with Philoctetes fifty: setting forth, as I suppose, both the greatest sort and the least;and therefore of the bigness of any of the rest he maketh in his catalogue no mention at all, but declareth that they who were in the vessels of Philoctetes served both as mariners and soldiers;for he writes that they who were at the oar were all of them archers.And for such as wrought not, it is not likely that many went along except kings and such as were in chief authority;especially being to pass the sea with munition of war, and in bottoms without decks, built after the old and piratical fashion.
So then, if by the greatest and least one estimate the mean of their shipping, it will appear that the whole number of men considered as sent jointly from all Greece were not very many.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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