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συνωμόται ... ἐπὶ τῷ Π<*>´ρσῃ, ‘the confederates bound together by oath against the Persian’; for the phrase cf. ch. 235. 4, and for the facts ch. 132. 2, 145. 1.
νεωστί: probably about the year 494 B. C.; cf. vi. 76. 1 n., and App. XVII, § 3. τῶν δὴ εἵνεκα. The Argives were evidently anxious to absolve themselves of the charge of Medism. Hence they allege that they were only led to consult the oracle at all by the deplorable straits to which they had been reduced through their defeat by Cleomenes. They then were expressly warned to remain neutral, but nevertheless were willing to join the alliance, if Sparta would grant a peace for thirty years, and recognize their claim to an equal share in the leadership. There is no sufficient reason for doubting the genuineness of the oracle, which was in H.'s opinion given about 482 B. C. (αὐτίκα κατ᾽ ἀρχάς, cf. ch. 220. 3), but may really date back to the earlier Persian invasion, and sending of heralds in 491-490 B. C. (vi. 49), for had it been an Argive fiction it would have been disowned at Delphi after the defeat of Xerxes. The attitude of the Delphic priesthood, whether from fear or treachery, was before the war one of hostility to the league of patriots. Again, the negotiations with Sparta are a very pretty piece of diplomacy. Argos knew that Sparta would not concede equality, and could therefore safely use the demand to cover her Medism and justify her neutrality. H. does not explicitly reject the special pleading of Argos because he is influenced by Athenian tenderness for a city which later became a useful ally (cf. Introd., § 30 e).
εἴσω ... ἔχων, ‘with spear drawn in,’ i. e. remain at home on the defensive. προβόλαιον: rare form = προβολή, πρόβολος (ch. 76. 1), as an adjective δούρατι δὲ προβολαίῳ, Theocr. xxiv. 125. κεφαλὴν πεφύλαξο, ‘guard thy head’; perhaps the remnant of the ruling class, the σῶμα being the mass of the population of semiservile origin; cf. vi. 83. 1.
κατὰ τὸ δίκαιον. In the days of the Trojan war Agamemnon had a widely extended suzerainty, and Argos claimed to succeed to the hegemony held by the Mycenaean king. Further, when the three sons of the Heraclid Aristomachus cast lots for the lands of the Peloponnese, Argos fell to the eldest son Temenus. For similar claims founded on legendary history cf. v. 43, 94, and above all the dispute between Athens and Tegea, ix. 26f. Pheidon (cf. vi. 127. 3n.) had revived the ancient claim of Argos to hegemony. The hope of reasserting it still lived at Argos in the Peloponnesian war (Thuc. v. 27, 28), and made the Argives constantly ready to ally themselves with the enemies of Sparta, e. g. Athens in 461 and 420 B. C. (Thuc. i. 102, v. 44-7).
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