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For the canal of Darius cf. ii. 158. 1 n. Xerxes may no doubt have wished to rival his father (ch. 8 α), but that his motive was pride is avowedly a suggestion of H. Indeed, the importance attached to the canal seems due to the historian. Aeschylus never mentions it, though he refers repeatedly to the Hellespont Bridge (Pers. 69 f., 130, 723, 745). Only later did the turning of land into sea as well as sea into land by Xerxes become a rhetorical commonplace (Juv. x. 173; Mayor, ad loc.). But in the opinion of Leake (l. c., quoted in full by Grote, Abridgement, p. 170) Xerxes was perfectly justified in cutting this canal as well from the security which it afforded his fleet (cf. ch. 22. 1) as from the facility of the work and the advantages of the ground, which seems made expressly to tempt such an undertaking. The canal (if renewed) would be useful for the navigation of the Aegean, since there are between the Hellespont and Salonica no harbours protected against the South-West wind (Scirocco), while if the canal were available, ships might shelter from it in the bay of Acanthus, and from the North wind in the Singitic gulf (Anderson, Papers of Univ. Coll., Sheffield, 1897, p. 221).

For such transportation cf. the famous Δίολκος at Corinth, traces of which still remain (Thuc. iii. 15, viii. 7 and 8; Polyb. iv. 19, v. 101), and the similar transport at Leucas (Thuc. iii. 81, iv. 8) and Tarentum (Polyb. viii. 36). But the operation would have taken time and might have been difficult for so vast a fleet.

Στρυμόνα: cf. ch. 114.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.15
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.81
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