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οὐκ ἂν φθάνοιτε, ‘you could not be too soon in,’ i. e. the sooner the better, a polite but emphatic exhortation; cf. Arist. Plut. 874 and 1133 ἀποτρέχων οὐκ ἂν φθάνοις, Eur. Alc. 662, Troades 456. (Cf. Goodwin, § 894.)

The simile is twice ascribed by Aristotle to Pericles in a funeral oration (cf. Plut. Per. 8, 28), probably that over those who fell in the Samian war 440 B. C. (Meyer, F. ii, pp. 221, 222); cf. Ar. Rhet. iii. 10 and i. 7, 1365 b 31 οἷον Περικλῆς τὸν ἐπιτάφιον λέγων τὴν νεότητα ἐκ τῆς πόλεως ἀνῃρῆσθαι ὥσπερ τὸ ἔαρ ἐκ τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ εἰ ἐξαιρεθείη. That H. took the figure from Pericles is rendered probable by the other resemblances to funeral orations in this passage (cf. 157. 1 n.; 161. 3 n.). Even if the simile be older H. may well have been reminded of it by the striking application of it in Pericles' oration. Here it is far less appropriate, as seems to have been felt by the reader who appended the clumsy explanation which has since been interpolated in the text. Gelo might, however, compare the youthful vigour of the colony, Sicily, to the spring, and the effete mothercountry to the later duller months of the year.

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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Euripides, Alcestis, 662
    • Euripides, Trojan Women, 456
    • Plutarch, Pericles, 8
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