previous next

The studied variety of phrases used by H. to express the same idea, viz. the juxtaposition of the various Greek contingents, is remarkable, especially if it be compared with the monotonous repetition of ch. 31.

The great importance of this chapter for the question of Greek population is admitted even by Beloch (Bevölkerung, p. 9), though he holds, probably wrongly, that the numbers of hoplites given rest on a mere estimate made by the historian.


The repeated assertion that there were seven Helots to each Spartiate (ch. 10. 1, 29. 1, 61. 2) evidently rests on something more than mere conjecture. The words ἐφύλασσον most naturally would mean that they were in personal attendance on their master, but elsewhere each Spartiate has but one squire (θεράπων, cf. vii. 186. 2 n., 229. 1 n.). Krüger would take it to mean that the light-armed Helots covered the right wing from the attacks of the Persian horse and archers; but though H. regards them as combatants (μάχιμοι, ch. 30; cf. 29. 8), there is nowhere any indication that they played an effective part in the fighting, though archers, and presumably other light troops, were urgently required (ch. 60). Hence at best they can only have been an army service corps (ch. 39, 50); cf. Appendix XIX. 3.


εὕροντο, ‘gained the favour.’ Potidaea (cf. vii. 123. 1; viii. 127 f.) was a colony of Corinth (Thuc. i. 56). E. Meyer (iii. 235 n.) holds that it is unlikely that any Potidaeans fought at Plataea, and that H. put them in erroneously because he found their name on the memorial at Delphi (ch. 81 n.), while Beloch (l. c.) would derive the whole list of names from the same source. Both views seem unlikely; cf. ch. 81 n. Obst (Der Feldzug des Xerxes, pp. 62-6) accepts the numbers given by Herodotus for the contingents of hoplites, and argues for the presence of the Paleans and Potidaeans at Plataea, which Munro (C. A. H. iv. 323) now doubts.


The only Arcadians who fought at Plataea were the men of Tegea and Orchomenus (cf. ch. 10 n.), though Mantineans and other Arcadians followed Leonidas (vii. 202) and Cleombrotus (viii. 72). The men of Tiryns and Lepreum were the only new recruits from Peloponnese. For Lepreum cf. iv. 148. 4. Tiryns and Mycenae were at the time of the Persian war independent communities; for their subsequent destruction cf. vi. 83 n.


Χαλχιδέες. Macan holds that these are probably the native inhabitants and not Athenian Cleruchs, since the latter would naturally have been brigaded with the Athenians. In viii. 1 and 46, however, Chalcidians serve on ships provided by Athens.

Παλέες. Beloch (l. c.) suggests that Παλέες is a misreading of the ϝαλεῖοι (Eleans) extant on the Delphic serpent (ch. 81. 1 n.), but it seems far more probable that Pale really sent hoplites to Plataea, and, like Croton, Lemnos, and Seriphos, which each sent a single ship to Salamis, was not inscribed on the Delphic memorial because of the insignificance of its contingent.


Μεγαρέων τρισχίλιοι. Beloch (op. cit. and Klio vi. 52-7) holds that the 5,000 hoplites assigned to Corinth (§ 3) and the 3,000 to Sicyon (§ 4) and Megara are all exaggerated estimates. He points out (Bevölk., p. 119) that the field army of Corinth in the Peloponnesian war and later is not much more than 3,000 strong (Thuc. i. 27, iv. 42-4, v. 57; Xen. Hell. iv. 2. 17), while Sicyon, whose force in 394 B.C. is but 1,500 (Xen. l. c.), and Megara he considers (pp. 118, 173) even less able to provide the contingents here given. But all these towns must have lost very much in strength during the period of the Athenian empire; all had been very important in the 6th century.

Πλαταιέες ἑξακόσιοι. In spite of Beloch's doubts (p. 165) this number agrees very well with the data in Thucydides, for the Plataeans much outnumber their 300 Theban assailants (ii. 3), and still number 400 after the removal of all but those necessary to garrison the town (ii. 78). As the campaign was in their territory, they would come in full force, πανδημεί (vi. 108) or πανστρατιᾷ (Thuc. v. 57).

ὀκτακισχίλιοι. If allowance be made for the hoplites serving on board the fleet (ch. 99 f.), this number agrees very well with the 9,000 or 10,000 said by late authors to have fought at Marathon (vi. 117 n.) and with the field army of 13,000 hoplites in 431 B. C., however we may explain the large number of men then used only for garrison duty (Thuc. ii. 13). For the whole number of citizens cf. v. 97 n.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.27
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.56
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.13
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.57
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 4.2.17
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: