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Ἕλληνας ... εἶναι. Herodotus, who exaggerates the phil-Hellenism (vii. 173; viii. 143; ix. 44 f.) of Alexander, twice over insists on his Hellenic lineage (viii. 137), yet his proofs are weak: (1) a family legend, αὐτοὶ λέγουσι (cf. viii. 137 f.); (2) the verdict of the judges at Olympia, probably based on the legend.

ἐπιστάμενος. H. may have satisfied himself by inquiry at the Macedonian court, if he visited it (cf. Suidas, Introd. §§ 1, 4), but his ‘knowledge’ is not different in kind from ‘opinion’, certainty being attainable in his view, not only by the evidence of his own eyes or other testimony but by inference and combinations (cf. Macan, i, Introd. civ).

διέποντες ... Ἑλλήνων: i. e. the Ἑλληνοδίκαι, as most edd. read with A B C P. These presidents and judges at the Olympic games were citizens of Elis (ii. 160). Their number varied with that of the Elean tribes (Paus. v. 9. 5, with Frazer ad loc.).


καταβάντος, ‘entering the lists’; cf. Soph. Trach. 505; Plato, Laws 834 E.

Ἀργεῖος: a descendant of Temenus, the Heraclid conqueror of Argos (viii. 137). Thucydides accepts this genealogy (ii. 99, v. 80), as do most later authors, with variations (viii. 137 n.), though Demosthenes vehemently protests (Phil. iii. 31).

στάδιον: cognate accusative, the foot-race being a form of ἀγών; cf. Xen. Anab. iv. 8. 27; Plat. Laws 833 A.

συνεξέπιπτε: not ‘was drawn in the first pair’, as competitors ran in heats of four, not in pairs (Paus. vi. 13. 2), but ‘ran equal with the first’, i. e. ran a dead heat; cf. Plut. Mor. 1045 D ὑποθέμενος δύο δρομεῖς ὁμοῦ συνεκπίπτειν ἀλλήλοις. The word, properly used of votes or opinions (i. 206. 3; viii. 49. 2), is transferred here to the competitor voted upon, as in viii. 123. 2 to the voters. Since Alexander's name does not appear on the list of victors, we must either suppose he was beaten in the deciding heat, or that Herodotus here too (cf. 17 n.) is giving us an inaccurate Macedonian version of the story, such athletic traditions being proverbially untrustworthy.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.9.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6.13.2
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 505
    • Xenophon, Anabasis, 4.8.27
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