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ἑτέρη ... γνώμη ἔμπροσθε ταύτης. Dated in Ath. Pol. ch. 22 to 483-482 B.C. Though this date may be connected with the later chronology for Themistocles' life (cf. sup.), it is confirmed by other notices in H. The creation of the navy is clearly later than the expedition to Paros (490-489 B.C.), for which Miltiades has but seventy ships (vi. 132), even if that number be accepted; it is also later than and due to the war with Aegina (probably 488-486 B.C.), in which the Athenians had but fifty ships of their own (cf. vi. 89 n.).

ἐν τῷ κοινῷ, ‘in the treasury’; cf. ix. 87. 2.

Laurium (on which see Ardaillon, Les Mines du Laurion) is the name given by the ancients to the whole hilly and metalliferous region ending in Cape Sunium, and bounded on the north by a line from Thoricus to Anaphlystus (cf. iv. 99 n.). The mines produced silver and lead in abundance. They had been worked from time immemorial (Xen. de Vect. iv, § 2), and from them Pisistratus (i. 64 n.) drew great wealth, as did Nicias and Hipponicus later (Xen. de Vect. iv, § 14). They were still important in the Peloponnesian war (Thuc. vi. 91 ad fin.), but were less productive, though by no means exhausted, in the time of Xenophon (Vect. iv. 35. 25 f.; Mem. iii. 6. 12). They had been long abandoned in the days of Pausanias (i. 1. 1). Since 1860 much ore has been extracted from the stones and slag formerly thrown aside, an operation already attempted in the days of Strabo (399). The workings, in which only slaves were employed, consisted of shafts and galleries, whose roof was supported by columns (Ardaillon, op. cit. 25 f.). The mines were the property of the State, but were leased to individuals (usually for three years, Ath. Pol. 47), a net sum being paid down (often a talent), and also one twenty-fourth of the produce annually.

ὀρχηδόν: in a row, viritim; cf. εἰλαδόν, i. 172. 1; ἡβηδόν, i. 172. 2; vi. 21. 1.

δέκα = denas. If the citizens be reckoned at 30,000 (v. 97. 2 n.) this would amount to fifty talents, but that sum would only suffice to build a fleet of fifty ships (cf. inf.).

τῆς διαιρέσιος ... παυσαμένους. H. leaves it uncertain whether this distribution was exceptional or regular. Plutarch (Them. 4) speaks of a regular, and Cornelius Nepos (Them. 2) of an annual, distribution; this was the custom at Siphnos (iii. 57. 2), and perhaps at Thasos (vi. 46. 3). The Atthis, which is followed by Ath. Pol. 22 and Polyaenus, i. 30, spoke, probably rightly, of an exceptional surplus amounting to one hundred talents, due to the discovery of a fresh mine at Maroneia, a village in the district of Laurium. This sum was handed over to one hundred rich citizens, that each of them might build a trireme.

διηκοσίας. This is H.'s figure for the full strength of the Athenian navy (viii. 1 and 14, 44 and 46, 61; cf. Justin, ii. 12), and should not therefore be struck out. He apparently forgot that the navy already amounted to at least fifty ships (vi. 89 n., 132). The later writers, quoted above, while increasing the sum spent to one hundred talents (Ath. Pol. 22; Polyaen. i. 30), all reduce the number of new ships to one hundred. Macan (ii. 214), combining the different versions, suggests an annual increase of fifty ships for two or three years.

τὸν πρὸς Αἰγινήτας λέγων. Thucydides (i. 14) also gives this war as one of the motives for the creation of the navy, though he evidently thinks the expected Persian invasion more important. Probably Themistocles really looked forward to naval supremacy and empire in the Aegean (τὴν ἀρχὴν εὐθὺς συγκατεσκεύασε, Thuc. i. 93), but wisely preferred in his speeches to the Athenians (Plut. Them. 4) to insist on the need of the moment, rather than on less pressing dangers or more distant hopes. H.'s next words probably mean that it was the Aeginetan war which induced the Athenians to listen to Themistocles, while Thucydides (i. 14) insists more directly on Themistocles' foresight.


ἔδεε (cf. viii. 6. 2). These ships were intended to form a reserve to take the place of those lost or damaged. Thus, in spite of losses at Artemisium (viii. 16, 18), the Athenian fleet is still reckoned as two hundred strong at Salamis. But was there time to build more ships? The figures can be explained otherwise (cf. App. XIX, § 1).

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hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (6):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 22
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 47
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.93
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.91
    • Cornelius Nepos, Themistocles, 2
    • Plutarch, Themistocles, 4
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