previous next


‘This he did in imitation of his grandfather.’ Cf. ix. 34. 1, and i. 176 ad fin. The resemblance between the two policies, on which H. again insists (ch. 69. 1), is less clear than the contrast. The historian's distorted view shows how inadequate was his appreciation of Cleisthenes' political reforms. Introd. § 32. For their real significance cf. ch. 69. 1 n. Cleisthenes of Sicyon reigned thirtyone years, circ. 600-570 B. C.; cf. vi. 126 f. and Appendix XVI, § 2.

Ἀργείοισι. In legend Sicyon was a vassal-kingdom of the Pelopid monarchs of Argos: perhaps Dorian Argos attempted to reassert this old suzerainty, and was successfully resisted by Cleisthenes.

Ὁμήρεια ἔπεα. Even in the Iliad and Odyssey the constant use of ‘Argives’ for Greeks, and the position of Agamemnon as overlord of Sicyon, would be an offence to Cleisthenes, but it seems more probable that H. here, in spite of his doubt as to the authorship of the Epigoni (iv. 32, and cf. ii. 117), refers to the Thebais which began Ἄργος ἄειδε, θέα, πολυδίψιον, and to the Epigoni in which Adrastus must have played a great part.

τὰ πολλὰ πάντα, ‘almost throughout’; cf. i. 203. 1, ii. 35. 2.

Ἀδρήστου. A., originally perhaps a local god, was in the Epics son of Talaus the Argive; expelled from Argos, he took refuge with Polybus of Sicyon, married his daughter, and inherited his kingdom. He took a leading part in the expeditions against Thebes, and seems to have returned to Argos (Paus. ii. 6. 6, &c.). There was a cult of the hero at Megara (Paus. i. 43. 1) as well as at Sicyon.

ἐκβαλεῖν. To recover or to expel the corpse is to recover or expel the hero. Cf. the stories of the bones of Orestes (i. 68 n.) and of Theseus (Plut. Theseus 36).


λευστῆρα. Clearly intended to jingle with βασιλεύς (cf. 92) may be (1) = φόνεα λίθοις ἀναιροῦντα, Hesychius, cf. Cic. pro Dom. 5. 13 percussor, lapidator, or (2) a mere stone-thrower or skirmisher, not worthy of the hoplite's panoply, far less of a royal sceptre. If the Delphic god really gave this response to Cleisthenes, it was an ungrateful return to the man who had championed the cause of Delphi in the Sacred War (Paus. ii. 9. 6, x. 37. 6), and had joined in the re-institution of the Pythian festival, 582 B. C. (Paus. x. 7. 6), and who may well have founded the treasury of the Sicyonians recently discovered at Delphi (Paus. x. 11; Frazer, v. 270, 628). Probably the oracle is a product of later days, when Dorian Sparta was all powerful at Delphi and blackened the fame of anti-Dorian tyrants.

ἔδοσαν. Cf. the help lent by Thebes to Aegina against Athens (ch. 80, 81).


Melanippus, a Theban hero (Aesch. S. c. Theb. 413), buried there outside the Proetid gate (Paus. ix. 18. 1), slew Tydeus and Mecisteus in fair fight before Thebes.


ἄπαις: without male issue (ch. 48). Adrastus was his grandson or son-in-law.


τὰ πάθεα: especially in the expeditions against Thebes. In the first he lost all his companions, escaping himself by a miracle; in the second, only his son Aegialeus fell. Perhaps the story grew from the names Talaus (‘wretched’) and Adrastus, ‘the inevitable might of Fate.’

χοροὺς μέν: for the omission of the article cf. ix. 88. 1; i. 194. 4; ii. 402, &c. The worship of Dionysus was popular with the common people and favoured by the tyrants. Pisistratus founded the city Dionysia at Athens, or at least the dramatic performances. Periander of Corinth was the patron of Arion, the great maker of choric song (i. 23 n.).

ἀπέδωκε (cf. reddidit) here means ‘assigned to D., to whom they of right belonged’. There is no reason to think that at Sicyon the chorus had first been given to Dionysus, then transferred to Adrastus, and now restored to D., nor can this have been true of the sacrifice now assigned to Melanippus. Choruses would be appropriate to Adrastus, whether as originally a Chthonian deity (Welcker) or as a guardian hero. For the connexion of tragic choruses with the worship of the dead cf. Ridgeway, Origin of Tragedy, pp. 26-39; and for the change of ‘heroes’ Thuc. v. 11.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (8 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (8):
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 413
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.11
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.7.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.43.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.6.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.9.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9.18.1
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.11
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: