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H.'s description of this way up as in front of the Acropolis but behind the gates has caused some confusion (e. g. Leake, Top. Athens, p. 264, thinks it implies that H. regarded the north side as the front). The entrance, however, to the subterranean passage (cf. inf.) faces west, the same direction as the main entrance (πύλαι), and is about seventy yards to the rear of it (ὄπισθε). Thus H.'s description is both accurate and obvious (E. Gardner, Ancient Athens, p. 47 ff.). ἀνέβησαν ... κατὰ τὸ ἱρόν. Pausanias (i. 18. 2) repeats this, adding the myth of Aglauros (Agraulos) and her sisters who opened the chest in which Erichthonius was hidden (cf. ch. 41. 2 n.) and then cast themselves down from the rocks above the precinct of Aglauros. ‘It has generally been supposed that the escalading party either climbed up in the open, where they could hardly have escaped notice, or else ascended by the direct but narrow staircase that may still be seen above the grotto of Aglauros; but so obvious a way if not strongly barricaded, could hardly have been left unguarded. Recent excavations have shown a much more likely route. A natural cleft in the rock runs under or within the northern wall of the Acropolis; its western entrance is in the projecting face of rock just to the west of the cave of Aglauros; it has also an outlet at the eastern end, nearly opposite the west end of the Erechtheum. Where this cleft is within the wall of the Acropolis, it has an opening at the top which gives access to the plateau above it; but there is a sheer drop of about twenty feet, which might well lead the defenders to regard it as needing no guard; and an attacking party, once within the cleft, could ascend at their leisure with scaling ladders or ropes’ (E. Gardner, l. c.). Bury (Cl. Rev. x. (1896) p. 416) argues that the defence of the Acropolis was undertaken by a regular garrison at the command of the Athenian generals. He lays stress on the length of the defence (συχνὸν χρόνον, 52 ad fin.), reckoned by Busolt (ii. 695) at about a fortnight, on the desirability of satisfying both the rival interpretations of the wooden wall (c. 51 2; vii. 142), and above all on the consternation caused at Salamis by the capture of the Acropolis (ch. 56). Munro (J. H. S. xxii. 321) accepts this view, though he admits that a fortnight's siege is hard to reconcile with the movements of the Persian fleet (ch. 66, 70), and the regular occupation of the Acropolis inconsistent with the decree recorded in Plutarch (Them. 10), τοὺς δ᾽ ἐν ἡλικίᾳ πάντας ἐμβαίνειν ἐς τὰς τριήρεις: cf. Thuc. i. 73 “ἐσβάντες ἐστὰς ναῦς πανδημεί”, Aristides, ii. p. 256 (Dind.). Moreover, the terror in the Greek fleet may be discounted as prevailing among the Peloponnesians always anxious to retreat to the Isthmus, and the συχνὸς χρόνος may only mean a long time under the circumstances (cf. Grundy, op. cit. 358, 359); so it seems better to accept H.'s account. Ctesias (§ 26, p. 70), who otherwise agrees with H., makes the defenders escape by night, a suggestion uncritically accepted by Wecklein (Ber. Bayer. Akadem. (1876), p. 272).
τὸ μέγαρον cannot be distinguished from τὸ ἱρόν (ch. 51. 2 n., 55 n., and v. 72).
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