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[The external grounds for regarding this chap. as spurious are these. (1) In cod. F it is obelized; (2) a scholium says that none of the commentators thought it genuine: all found it obscure in style and strange in thought; (3) Dionysius (time of Augustus), who says a great deal about cc. 81-82, and transcribes to the end of c. 83, does not mention this c.: the inference may be that he did not find it in his MS.; (4) there are very few scholia on the chapter. On the other hand it is certain that Dio Cassius, who wrote late in the 2nd cent. A.D., knew it. The citations from Josephus (fl. 70 A.D.) are not sufficient to prove that he knew the passage. If, then, this is an imitation, it must have been written before the end of the 2nd cent., and perhaps not before the reign of Augustus. The internal evidence is hardly decisive. If this is the work of an imitator, it is a remarkably skilful production; but I think that any attentive reader of Dionysius, Josephus and Dio Cassius—not to mention Procopius—would hesitate to say that a scholar of the 1st or 2nd cent. A.D. could not have produced it. The most suspicious part is, I think, from οὐ γὰρ ἄν (§ 2) onwards. In the earlier part ὑπὸ τῶν τὴν τιμωρίαν παρασχόντων, διὰ πάθους . . ἔχειν, and καὶ παρὰ τοὺς νόμους ἀδικεῖν are strange. The first sentence as regards constr. is, perhaps, merely a little corrupt. The weight of opinion among modern critics is against the c.; but the question cannot be decided.]


αὐτῶν—vaguely referring to the ill deeds previously described. προυτολμήθηπρο- denotes before the rest of Greece.

καὶ ὁπόσα—the καί is probably answered by οἴ τε μή κτλ. below. The first clause requires ἄν, which has perhaps fallen out either after ὁπόσα or δράσειαν.

ὑπὸ τῶν . . παρασχόντων with ἀρχόμενοι. Hitherto they have been ruled oppressively by those who now give opportunity for revenge. Instead of παρασχόντων something like ἤδη παρεχόντων seems required. The oligarchs are meant.

διὰ πάθους . . ἔχειν—there has been much discussion of these words. τινες and μάλιστα δ᾽ seem to show that διὰ πάθους must be intended as a contrast to πενίας . . ἀπαλλαξείοντες, passion versus sheer poverty. But πάθος=‘emotion’ or ‘passion’ occurs nowhere else before Aristotle: in Thuc. it=‘a disaster.’ (To take τὰ τῶν πέλας as equivalent to τοὺς πέλας, and διὰ πάθους ἔχειν like δι᾽ ὀργῆς ἔχειν does not get over the difficulty, and does not yield a proper contrast.)

ἐπὶ πλεονεξίᾳ—i.e prompted by oppression, poverty or downright passion

ἀπὸ ἴσου—‘on equal terms’ with their adversaries already. Only here in Thuc. in place of ἀπὸ τοῦ ἴσου.

ἐπέλθοιεν—sc. ἄν from the previous sentences. The omission is rather awkward and unusual in so long a sentence.

ὠμῶς and

ἀπαραιτήτως only here in Thuc.


ἐς τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον—‘at this crisis,’ like ἐς μίαν ἡμέραν in VI. 16, Aristoph. Pax 366 εἰς τίν᾽ ἡμέραν;

καὶ παρὰ τοὺς νόμους ἀδικεῖν—cf. c. 82, 6 παρὰ τοὺς καθεστῶτας (νόμους). As Stahl says, we expect κρατήσασα after τοὺς νόμους, ‘even when the laws are generally respected.’ Steup suggests the loss of πρίν after καί but Dio Cass. knew the passage as it stands.

ἐδήλωσεν . . οὖσα—obj. of δηλῶ replaced by the partic., as often; cf. I 21 πόλεμος δηλώσει μείζων γεγενημένος.

τοῦ προύχοντος—neut.

ἐν —lit. ‘in a case in which,’ amounting to εἰ. Cf. II. 35 χαλεπὸν τὸ μετρίως εἰπεῖν ἐν μόλις καὶ δόκησις τῆς ἀληθείας βεβαιοῦται.


ἀξιοῦσί τε—the sense is clearly given by Arnold thus: Men in their violence set the example of doing away with those common laws of humanity which all parties alike might have appealed to in their adversity, and by their own previous conduct put themselves out of the pale of those laws, when they themselves might have occasion to solicit their protection. By the κοινοὶ νόμοι the κοινὸς νόμος κατὰ φύσιν, as Aristotle (Rhet. I. 13) calls it, is of course meant. See n. on c. 58, 3. Plato in the Laws (p. 793) says these observances are the δεσμοὶ πάσης πολιτείας.

ὑπολείπεσθαι—middle.

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  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.13
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.21
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.35
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.16
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