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H. distinctly affirms both the completion (ch. 37) and the use of the canal (ch. 122); cf. Thuc. iv. 109. The ridicule cast on the assertion in antiquity (Juv. x. 174; Lucian, Dial. Mort. 20) is entirely undeserved, and the doubts whether it was ever completed (Stein, Wecklein) are unwarranted. Demetrius of Scepsis, indeed (Strabo 331, fr. 35), declared that after passing through ten stades of earth the canal must have been stopped by a bank of rock a stade broad. At present there are said to be ‘about 200 yards in the middle where the ground bears no appearance of ever having been touched. . . . But it is probable that the central part was afterwards filled up to allow a more ready passage into and out of the peninsula’ (Wolfe, ap. Mayor, Juvenal, x. 174). ‘Captain Spratt (R. G. S., 1847) found distinct traces of the ancient cutting almost across the whole isthmus, only failing where the canal approached the sea, and somewhat indistinctly marked in the alluvial plain north of the hills (cf. also Leake, N. G. iii. 145; Hauvette, p. 291). The canal forms a line of ponds from two to eight feet deep and from sixty to ninety broad. It was cut through beds of tertiary sands and marls, being probably where it was deepest not more than sixty feet below the natural surface of the ground, which at its highest point rises only fifty-one feet above the sea-level’ (Rawlinson). The work was not great but easy, hence Stein's comparison with the Corinth canal (cf. App. XVI, § 4), where there is a mile of rock and the land rises 255 feet above the sea, is misleading.

The distance across, 2,500 yards, agrees nearly with the ‘twelve stades’ of H., but its breadth may have been less than he implies (ch. 24). Demetrius gives 100 feet, which agrees better with the modern remains (cf. sup.). With the making of the canal may be connected the hoard of 300 Darics found in the neighbourhood before 1840 (Borell, Num. Chron. vi. 153). (See note, p. 415.)


ἐπὶ βάθρων: rather steps or stages in the side of the canal than ladders. The ascription to the expert Phoenicians (cf. vi. 47) alone of the only possible way of making the canal shows that H. is here repeating a popular story (Hauvette, p. 291; Macan, ii. 147).


κάτω τε δή. Parataxis as in ch. 12. 1.

τοῖσι ἄλλοισι: brachylogy for τοῖσι τῶν ἄλλων ἔργοισι.

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    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.109
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