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βλάπτειν—the real question is, Would Athens still have a fleet large enough to retaliate on the Pel. in ease of an invasion by making effective deseents on the coast of Pel.? ἐστιν means after subtracting the fleet for Sicily: but ἀντίπαλον begs the question.

τί ἂν λέγοντες—‘by what reasonable assertion can we hold back ourselves or make excuse to our allies there for refusing to aid them?’ Thus τί ἂν εἰκός belongs to both clauses. αὐτά is somewhat artificially contrasted with πρὸς τοὺς ἐκεῖ ξυμ.

μὴ βοηθοῖμεν—the μή because prevention is implied (M. T. § 292).

καὶ ξυνωμόσαμεν—‘we actually exchanged oaths with them.’ Classen says this refers to the παλαιὰ ξυμμαχία, for which see on c. 6, 2. The A. cannot have bound themselves by any oath which was unconditional, and they would be false to their oath only if they could not show that it was impossible for them to send help.

ἀντιτιθέναι—this sense of the verb may be compared with its noun ἀντίθεσις, Quintihan's contrapositum. ἡμῖν sc. ἐπήμυναν. Muller notes that Thuc. is very fond of compounds of ἀντί, which are well adapted to his style.

προσεθέμεθα—se. πρὸς τὴν ξυμμαχίαν.

ἐχθροῖς—Sparta had applied for ships from her allies in Sicily at the beginning of the war, but without result.

οὕτως—explained by παραγιγνόμενοι.

ἦρξαν is ‘ingressive’ aor.

ἡσυχάξοιεν—like quiescere, often opposed to armed intervention.

φυλοκρινοῖεν—this rare verb, besides being explained by Hesychius and Pollux and in Bekker's Anecdota, is used twice by Aristides, and, according to Bloomfield, by other late authors.

βραχὺ ἄν τι—‘while making only a small addition to the empire, we should be more likely to lose what we have already’; i.e. we, the Athenians, οἱ προύχοντες, should soon find ourselves isolated if all Athenians were to act on the prineiples re commended by Nicias; and thus in any undertaking, however slight, we should be more likely to lose than to gain. (This sentence is generally wrongly rendered.)

τὸν γὰρ προύχοντα—‘for against a superior power men not only defend themselves when attacked, but to eseape being attacked take action beforehand’; i.e. against a promincnt state which is isolated, smaller states can combine, and do so from fear of an attack, when they see that the superior power is bent on increasing its influence.

ταμιεύεσθαι—Bloomfield quotes three instances of this verb used in this metaphorical sense by Xen. ‘We cannot regulate at will the limits that we choose for our empire, but being established in the position we occupy (i.e. as a ruling state) . . and not relax our hold on others.’

ἀνιέναι with personal object, though not found elsewhere in Thuc., is common.

διὰ τὸ ἀρχθῆναι ἄν—either we must retain our own rule or fall under the rule of others. This statement is true of the ancient city-states, but would not hold nowadays.

ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ—with τοῖς ἄλλοις=ὁμοίως ὥσπερ τοῖς ἄλλοις: ‘you cannot regard inaction from the same point of view as others, unless you mean to alter your methods to the pattern of theirs.’

τὸ ἥσυχον is the general conception of ἡσυχία apart from special circumstances; but much more often the neut. adj. expresses the idea of the corresponding noun under special circumstances, the noun being the universal concept.

ἐπιτηδεύματα are the concrete outcomes of ἐπιτήδευσις.

τάδετὰ ἐνταῦθα πράγματα Schol., in antithesis with ἐπ᾽ ἐκεῖνα.

στορέσωμεν—met. from quelling a storm at sea. The edd. quote Aeseh. P.V. 190 τὴν δ᾽ ἀτέραμνον στορέσας ὀργήν, and Bloomfield compares the same use of sternere, as in Aen. VI. 858 sternet Poenos Gallumque rebellem.

ὑπεριδόντες—i.e. that we stand in no need of the present rest from hostilities.

τῶν ἐκεῖ—neut.

ἐν =‘while,’ as often.

τὸ δ᾽ ἀσφαλές—obj. to παρέξουσι, καὶ μένειν καὶ ἀπ. being epexegetic of ἀσφαλές. M.T. § 749. The suppression of the alternative to ἤν τι προσχωρῇ is in accordance with the Gk. love of avoiding distinct allusions to misfortune.

καὶ ξυμπάντων—i e. all the Siceliots together. This is an answer to the argument of Nicias, c. 11, 4, that in case of any reverse the Siceliots would despise them.

Νικίου—depends on τῶν λόγων: the speech of N. was characterised by or contains (1) ἀπραγμοσύνη, (2) διάστασις τοῖς νέοις ἐς τοὺς π. This is one of the passages in Thuc. that prove that not only the possessive gen. is placed between the art. and noun. See e. 62, 5 n. The dat. τοῖς νέοις is somewhat unusual: ‘the difference for the young with the old’ is the lit. meaning; for there is no ground for taking διάστασις as causal. ἀπραγμοσύνη= ‘avoidance of trouble’ for all the citizens, and διάστασις, ‘a dispute for the young,’ are the two jarring notes of the speech. ‘Let not the avoidance of effort and the dispute . . which N. sets out in his speech . .’

ὥσπερ καὶ οἱ πατέρες—Classen notes that these words recall sentiments expressed by Pericles.

ἐς τάδε—deictie.

αὐτα: applies to the matter being discussed, as in c. 10, 2.

τό τε φαῦλον—‘Bauer says there is reference to the three ages of man—the juvenilc, the virile, and the senile; thus understanding φαῦλον to denote the first. . . There is an allusion to the position they may be thought to occupy in the exercise of counsel—the raw, the mature, and the quite consummate judgments’ (Bloomfield). It is supposed that Alc. is speaking sarcastically, himself meaning rather the old by φαῦλον. But all this ingenuity is needless. Alc. only means that it is wrong to imply, as N. did, that only the old are fit to settle the matter. The right way is for all—young or old— whether their ability be ‘inferior,’ ‘average,’ or ‘consummate,’ to take part in affairs. The best result is obtained by this fusion of abilities.

ξυγκραθέν is conditional. Cf. VIII. 97 μετρία τε ἐς τοὺς ὀλίγους καὶ ἐς τοὺς πολλοὺς ξύγκρασις.

τρίψεσθαι—passive, also in VII. 42, 5 αύτοὺς περὶ ἑαυτούς occurs in the same sense in VIII. 46. Poppo, I. 1, 192 gives a collection of fut. mid. used by Thuc. in pass. sense; cf. ἀδικήσομαι c. 87, βλάψομαι c. 64. Alc. argues as though Athens had not already enough to occupy her energy in counteracting the infiuence of Sparta within her empire: ἐὰν μὲν ἡσυχάζῃ begs the question. Kr.'s ἐάν is probably right.

πάντων τὴν ἐπιστήμην ἐγγηράσεσθαι—the position of τε after τρίψεσθαι and προσλήψεσθαι shows that τὴν πόλιν is the subject of all the infinitives. Hence trans. ‘as regards her knowledge of everything, she will grow old therein.’ πάντων is neut.; ἐγγηράσεσθαι=γηράσεσθαι ἐν (τῇ ἐπιστήμῃ), the compound being one of several compounds of έν that require a personal or quasi-personal subject. The construction is the same as in Eur. Bacchae 508 ἐνδυστυχῆσαι τοὔνομ᾽ ἐπιτήδειος εἶ. See Sandys' note. According to Stahl ἐγγηράσεσθαι=γηρά- σεσθαι ἐν τῷ τρίβεσθαι; but this construction cannot be got out of the passage.

καὶ τὸ ἀμύνεσθαι—‘and will be more accustomed to defend herself by action rather than by mere words.’ οὐ λόγῳ ἀλλ̓ ἔργῳ belongs to τὸ ἀμύνεσθαι, the policy of Nicias being described as τὸ λόγῳ ἀμύνεσθαι.

γιγνώσκω . . μοι δοκεῖν—‘on the whole I judge that in my opinion a state accustomed to activity would quickly be ruined by a change to inactivity.’ For γιγνώσκω with infin, see M.T. § 915. μοι δοκεῖν is not superfluons, but is intended to emphasise the contrast between the views of Alc. and Nic.

καὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων κτλ—this sentiment has become a commonplace, but is capable of being variously applied. The datives go with διαφόρως.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.1
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.42
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.46
    • Thucydides, Histories, 8.97
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