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The taunt and challenge of Mardonius seem to be reminiscences from Homer (Il. iii. 67 f.; viii. 161 f.). We may, however, compare the combat for Thyrea (i. 82 n.). For Spartan reputation for valour cf. vii. 209; Thuc. iv. 40.
τί δὴ οὐ ... ἐμαχεσάμεθα; These questions with τί οὐ, expressing surprise that something is not already done, and implying an exhortation to do it (Goodwin, § 62), are common in Attic; this is the only instance in H. For ἤν and εἰ parallel cf. iii. 35. 2; viii. 21. 1. βαρβάρων. H. has no more scruple than Aeschylus (Pers. 187, 337) in making a Persian herald speak of his nation as ‘barbarian’. νικᾶν depends on λέγομεν understood from ἄρξομεν τοῦ λόγου (3 ad fin.).
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