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Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Demosth. § 41) quotes this speech of Xerxes as a proof that Ἡροδότου λέξιν τῆς τ᾽ αὐστηρᾶς ἁρμονίας καὶ τῆς ἡδείας ἁρμονίας μέσην εἶναι καὶ τὰ κράτιστα εἰληφέναι παῤ ἑκατέρας.

κατηγήσομαι, ‘the first to institute.’ Cf. ii. 49. 1, 56. 3. For the thought cf. Thuc. v. 105. 2.

θεός ... ἄγει. Since the phrase is fatalistic, and as a rule implies impending ruin, it is in the mouth of Xerxes ominous. Cf. Xen. Anab. vi. 3. 18; Soph. Oed. Col. 997; and 252 οὐ γὰρ ἴδοις ἂν ἀθρῶν βροτῶν, | ὅστις ἄν, εἰ θεὸς ἄγοι, ἐκφυγεῖν δύναιτο.

An ambitious longing to rival his father's exploits is described by Atossa (Aesch. Pers. 753 f.) as one of the motives which misled Xerxes.

προσγινόμενον. The present tense without ἄν marks the absolute confidence of Xerxes. That which is contingent on success is represented as already won. For H.'s exaggerated opinion of the size of Europe cf. iv. 42 n.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Aeschylus, Persians, 753
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 997
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.105.2
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