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l. 1. ἐγὼ μὲν ὁ αὐτός εἰμι τῇ γνώμῃ—similar words are attributed to Pericles, II. 61. ἀμβλυτέρᾳ—‘with anger more dulled,’ when there is delay. ἀμύνεσθαι—for (τὸ) ἀμύνεσθαι as in Aesch. Ag. 191 παρ᾽ ἄκοντας ἦλθε σωφρονεῖν, and elsewhere in Thuc. The addition of κείμενον (and perhaps ὄν) makes the omission ugly and unusual. Cf. the schol. εί τὸ ἀμύνεσθαι τῷ παθεῖν ἐγγὺς τεθείη. ἀντίπαλον ὂν . . ἀναλαμβάνει—‘is most adequate when it recovers satisfaction’: the main emphasis on the partic., as often. If ὄν is omitted, ἀντίπαλον agrees with τιμωρίαν—cf. ἀμβλυτέρᾳ τῇ ὀργῇ above—and both form and sense are improved. (Hude reads τοῦ παθεῖν, takes κείμενον as accus. abs., ‘when it is proposed to take vengeance,’ and makes ὁ παθών subj. of ἀναλαμβάνει, omitting ὄν with Haase. But what is the point of saying κείμενον ἀμύνεσθαι where the sense calls for ἀμυνόμενος?) Some think ὰναλαμβάνει should be λαμβάνει or ἂν λαμβάνοι, as in δίκην, τιμωρίαν, λαμβάνειν. θαυμάζω δέ.—there might be reason in opposing the vote, if it were shown that either (1) the revolt is advantageous to Athens; or (2) though troublesome to us, it is indirectly a gain because it does harm to the allies and renders them less an object of fear to us.
τὸ πάνυ δοκοῦν—‘the universal opinion of men’: he must try to prove a paradox. (According to another view, the allusion is to the psephism. But (1) τὸ πάνυ δοκοῦν, ‘what is generally agreed upon,’ would hardly be a true description of the vote; and (2) τὸ δόξαν would certainly be natural.) κέρδει—a suggestion of bribery: the charge was a common one against public men, and was often true. The contrast in ἢ . . ἤ is between an opponent who wants to show his skill in oratory and one who is bribed to mislead. ἐκπονή: σας is co-ordinate with πιστεύσας, and ἐπαιρόμενος gives the motive that prompts him ἐκπονεῖν. τὸ εὐπρεπὲς τοῦ λόγου—‘what is plausible in the words.’ The whole of this section is a hit at the bad side of the new rhetoric: it is piquant, because Cleon himself indulges in rhetoric freely; this elaborate comparison to an ἀγών of rival rhetoricians is itself full of it.
θεαταὶ μὲν . . ἔργων—‘spectators of words and hearers of deeds’ is an artificial way of saying: you are content to take the facts from what the orators say, and look on at the debates, thus inverting the natural order of things at an ἀγών, in which one would watch the athletes' deeds and listen to the literary men's words: so badly do you, who are at once the directors and the people attending, manage the ἀγῶνες. (The explanations usually given of this passage do not seem to me to give an intelligible meaning to the whole: (a) κακῶς ἀγωνοθετεῖν does not mean ‘to be wrong in instituting a contest,’ but ‘to do so in the wrong way’; cf. the second and third failings—ἀπατᾶσθαι ἄριστοι and ζητοῦντες ἄλλο τε κτλ.: all indicative of a topsy-turvy mind and (b) only with the latter meaning—which is a natural one—does οἵτινες κτλ. given an intelligible reason.) ὡς δυνατὰ γίγνεσθαι—‘as practicable’: sc. ὄντα, cf. VI. 40 τοὺς λόγους ὡς ἔργα δυναμένους κρινεῖ. τὰ δὲ π. ἤδη—sc. σκοποῦντες. οὐ τὸ . . ἀκουσθέν ‘not taking what has been done as more trustworthy through having seen it, than what you have heard (about it).’ (It has been objected to ὄψει that we need ἀκροάσει or ἀκοῇ to contrast with it; but the whole clause corresponds to ὡς δυνατὰ γίγνεσθαι, and = ὡς τὸ ἀκουσθὲν πιστότερον ὂν ἢ τὸ ὀφθέν; τὸ ἀκουσθέν itself contains the contrast to ὄψει: instead of saying τὸ ὀφθέν, Thuc. says τὸ δρασθέν in order to introduce again the contrast between ἔργα and λόγοι —δρασθέν and ἀκουσθέν.) ἐπιτιμησάντων—the readiness of speakers to criticize adversely the action of public men, if opponents, is often insisted on; but it is odd that Cleon, who was ever ready to censure, should talk so.
μετὰ καινότητος—equivalent to a dat, of cause, as I. 32 μὴ μετὰ κακίας, δόξης δὲ μᾶλλον ἁμαρτίᾳ: cf. c. 42, 1. ἀπατᾶσθαι ἄριστοι— sc. ὄντες, co-ordinate with κακῶς ἀγωνοθετοῦντες, the second way in which you are αἴτιοι: εὐπαρἀγωγος εἶ, θωπευόμενός τε χαίρεις κἀξαπατώμενος, Aristoph. Eq. 1115. μετὰ δεδοκιμασμένου—sc. λόγου, ‘when an approved argument is stated’; ξυνέπεσθαι means ‘go with the speaker.’ (Another way is to take ξυνέπεσθαι μετά closely together, ‘to follow the lead of’: I prefer the former.) δοῦλοι ὄντες—the whole down to ἀποβησόμενα is epexegetic of ἄριστοι (ὄντες).
καὶ μάλιστα μέν—co-ordinate with δοῦλοι ὄντες. βουλόμενοι would have made the sentence more symmetrical, but cf. already Iliad IX. 656 οἱ δὲ ἕκαστος ἑλὼν . . ἴσαν. ἀνταγωνιζόμενοι τοῖς τοιαῦτα λέγουσι—i.e. τοῖς τοιούτοις ῥήτορσι, who applaud that one of their number who happens to be speaking; ‘vying with speakers who use such arguments,’ viz. ἄτοπα. (It is objected to τοιαῦτα that it cannot be referred to τὰ ἄτοπα only, after what has preceded. But it is to be noted that ὑπερόπται δὲ τῶν εἰωθότων is merely parenthetical: had there been a μέν after δοῦλοι, the objection would have been serious.) τῇ γνώμῃ—not to lag behind the rest ‘in insight.’ To understand ‘plan’ or ‘purpose’ of the speaker (γνώμῃ governed by ἀκολουθῆσαι) is not so good, because it is the external form, not the meaning, that rivets their attention. ὀξέως with λέγοντος, because λέγοντός τι cannot here mean ‘says something important or sensible.’ On the other hand, ὀξέως, when taken with λέγοντος, is rendered ‘shrewdly,’ ‘cleverly’; but (1) ὀξύ, adj., would be natural, and (2) it seems that λέγειν ὀξέως means not ‘speak shrewdly’ but ‘speak rapidly’; it is only with words denoting mind that βραδύς, ὀξύς mean ‘slow,’ ‘quick’ of wit. I should prefer to render ‘when any one is speaking rapidly.’ προεπαιϝέσαι — sc. δοκεῖν, generally understood ‘to approve’ it before it is uttered, but perhaps ‘to be first with their approval.’ πρόθυμοι εἶναι—this may depend on ἀνταψωνιζόμενοι or, more probably, on δοκεῖν, but, in either ease, (εἶναι) βραδεῖς does not give very good sense, and can hardly be excused on the ground that the main emphasis falls on πρόθυμοι εἶναι; for—to mention only one objection—προαισθέσθαι and προνοῆσαι are plainly meant to be equal in importance. We require εἰωθότες to make sound sense. The best solution proposed is to consider καί before προαισθέσθαι and εἶναι as spurious: the whole would then be closely connected with προεπαινέσαι.
ζητοῦντές τε—again going back to αἴτιοι δ᾽ ὑμεῖς, ‘seeking something different—one might almost say— from the world in which we live;’ dreamers. ἁπλῶς τε—a resumption of the substance of the whole sentence. σοφιστῶν θεαταῖς καθημένοις—‘men sitting as spectators at a display of sophists,’ as shown in the Protagoras, for example.
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