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αὐτόμολοι. These Arcadians have been identified with the inhabitants of Caryae on the borders of Laconia, who are said to have been all killed or enslaved for Medism (Vitruvius, i. 1. 5, explain ing ‘Caryatides’ in architecture). They would seem, however, to be a band of adventurers seeking service as mercenaries; the Arcadians, like the Swiss at the end of the Middle Ages, often earned a livelihood thus (Thuc. iii. 34; vii. 57, 58).

Ὀλύμπια ἄγουσι. The anecdote, whether true or false, goes to prove that the fighting at Thermopylae took place at the time of or just after the Olympic games, i. e. the end of August; cf. vii. 206. 1 n.; Busolt, ii. 673-4 n.

τὸν ... στέφανον (sc. κεῖσθαι), ‘that the wreath was the prize.’ In early days, as in the Homeric games (Il. xxiii), more substantial prizes were given, but at this time the four national festivals were all ἀγῶνες στεφανῖται. The victor, however, received more material rewards from his own city, e. g. a sum of money, or the right to maintenance for life in the Prytaneum, as well as Proedria.

Tritanaechmes (cf. vii. 82, 121. 3) speaks in the same spirit as his father Artabanus (iv. 83; vii. 46. 4 n.). The dramatic warning resembles that given to Croesus (i. 71).

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.34
    • Homer, Iliad, 23
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