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H.'s account of the long delay and sudden dispatch of the Spartans is obviously inadequate. The wall was probably defensible in the autumn of 480 B. C. (viii. 71). Again, there can have been no need for a Tegean to show the Spartan government that ‘a great door to the Peloponnese was open’ from the sea, if the Athenian navy changed sides (cf. Plut. de Mal. 41. 871 E). But the delay, as well as the secrecy and speed of the mobilization can be explained if we remember (1) that Argos had an understanding with Mardonius (ch. 12), (2) that the Eleans and Mantineans were at least wavering, since they arrived too late for the battle of Plataea (ch. 77), and afterwards banished their generals, presumably for Medism; indeed no Arcadians except the men of Tegea and Orchomenus (ch. 28) fought at Plataea. The Argives may have hoped to anticipate the strategy of Alcibiades in 418 B. C. (Thuc. v. 57 f.) by cutting off the Spartans from their northern allies. This explains why the Spartans marched by Orestheum (ch. 11. 2 n.) well away from the Argive frontier. It may, however, well be true that the Ephors were at last induced to risk an attack from Argos and a rising in Arcadia, by the fear that the loyalty of Athens would stand no further strain.

H. puts the whole Spartiate force at 8,000 (vii. 234. 2 n.). The 5,000 here may be meant for two-thirds of the host, a common proportion (Thuc. ii. 10; iii. 15), or for a corps of 1,000 from each Spartan village (cf. ch. 53 n.). For the Helots cf. ch. 28. 2 n. and Appendix XIX. 2.

The eclipse, which was partial, was on October 2, 480 B. C. (Busolt, ii. 715). Cleombrotus must have contemplated attacking the Persians as they retreated from Attica, probably by marching through the Megarid to occupy the passes of Cithaeron in their rear (cf. ch. 13, 14). But to risk all that had been won at Salamis in another battle was utterly opposed to the cautious policy of Sparta. The eclipse only justified a timidity in keeping with the situation and with the orders no doubt given to Cleombrotus. The return home was due to the approach of winter, during which a Greek force was always disbanded. They then came back to complete the wall in the spring.

Εὐρυάνακτα. The genealogy implied seems to be

but if Euryanax be the son of Dorieus who fell in Sicily (cf. v. 41-6) he should have been king before Leonidas. Perhaps Dorieus by going abroad (cf. vi. 70. 1 n.) forfeited the throne or renounced it for himself and his descendants, or possibly the Dorieus here mentioned belonged to a younger branch of the royal house.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.10
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.57
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