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That the vengeance should fall on ambassadors was natural enough since the offence had been committed against ambassadors, but that it should fall on the sons of the very men who had taken the guilt of the community on themselves, but had not been allowed to expiate it, was a striking fulfilment of the law that the children must suffer for the sins of the fathers (Ezekiel, ch. xviii; St. John ix. 2, 3), and that the divine Nemesis, which had apparently slept, must in the end manifest itself against the guilty race; cf. vi. 86 and Introduction, § 36.

ὃς εἶλε. The feat was the more remarkable as Aneristus had only a merchantman. Halieis was a small port on the southern point of the Argolic Acte, in the territory of Hermione, opposite the island now called Spetzia. Its capture must have occurred after the destruction of Tiryns by Argos (after 468 B.C., cf. vi. 83. 2), as τοὺς ἐκ Τίρυνθος would naturally refer to refugees from the fallen city, and in 468 an Olympic victor is still styled Τιρύνθιος (Ox. Pap. ii, pp. 89 and 93 n.), and before the second year of the Peloponnesian war, when Halieis was allied with Sparta (Thuc. ii. 56) and Aneristus was seized and put to death (inf.). Presumably it would fall in the years when Athens and Argos were allied against Sparta, 461-50 B.C.

For the facts cf. Thuc. ii. 67. He adds three other victims—a Spartan Stratodemus, a Tegean Timagoras, and an Argive Pollis— whom H. omits, lest they should spoil the moral of the story of retribution, already weakened by the inclusion of Aristeus the Corinthian (for whom cf. Thuc. i. 60 f. and Introd. § 30 (c). Thucydides further ascribes the treacherous arrest of the envoys, not to Nymphodorus and Sitalces (for whom cf. iv. 80 n.), but to his son Sadocus. Nevertheless the intervention of Nymphodorus is quite probable, since he as Athenian Proxenus induced his brother-in-law Sitalces to make alliance with Athens, and obtained Athenian citizenship for Sadocus (Thuc. ii. 29), and in any case Sadocus must have gained his father's consent.

It would seem probable that this striking example of the doctrine of Nemesis drew H.'s attention in 430 B.C. to the fate of the Persian heralds, and led him to insert the story in the part of his history which he was then revising, and not in its proper place (vi 49). Though there are suspicious points in it (e.g. that the barathron and the well would supply earth and water, Wecklein, Sitz. der Bayer. Akad. 1876, p. 230) there seems no sufficient reason for rejecting the whole story (as Macan, Herod. iv-vi, vol. ii, pp. 98-100), or even for denying that Athens emulated Sparta's violation of the sanctity of heralds (Wecklein, loc. cit.; Duncker, vii. 108; Busolt, ii. 571). It does not seem incredible (pace Macan) that even after the rejection by Athens of Persian demands for earth and water (v. 73) and for the restoration of Hippias (v. 96), and even after the burning of Sardis (498 B.C.) and the anger caused by it (v. 102, 105), Darius should have in 492 B.C. given Athens a last chance of repentance, when he was sending heralds round Greece (vi. 48), even though the mission of Mardonius (vi. 44 f.) and the levying of a fleet (vi. 48) show that he expected war. It is difficult to see when or why this story of the maltreatment of heralds should have been invented, and there is nothing incredible in it, especially if (Hauvette, p. 231) they were Greek interpreters, who might be regarded by an angry people as traitors. The Spartans at least, as Macan admits, had something on their conscience, or we should hardly have had this story of the wrath of Talthybius.

Βισάνθη: a Samian colony (later Ῥαιδεστόν, now Rodosto) on the Propontis, here included in the Hellespont (cf. iv. 38 n.).

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    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.60
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.29
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.56
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.67
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