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τὸ γάρ—the introduction of this episode causes great surprise to modern critics. There are discrepancies in the account of the affair as given here and in the Ath. Pol.: ‘we cannot tell which story is the truer, and the probabilities which may be alleged on either side are not decisive’ (Forbes, Thuc. i.). Thuc. makes reference to the story in I. 20. We must remember that the matter was of first-rate historical and political interest to the Athenians, and that Thuc. writes for students.

τόλμημα—the conspiracy was in 514, but H. and A. were popularly regarded as heroes who had actually destroyed the tyranny. The famous scholium of Callistratus quoted by Athenaeus (ἐν μύρτου κλαδὶ τὸ ξίφος φορήσω κτλ.) is earlier than Thuc.


τελευτήσαντος—527 B C

οἱ πολλοί—as distinguished from students.

ἔσχε—‘received.’ Thuc. does not use

ἀστός sing. 12

μέσος πολίτης—belonging to the middle class, like Solon.

Ἱππάρχου—the Ath. Pol. makes Thessalus, younger brother of Hipparchus, the cause of the dispute.

ὡς ἀπὸ τῆς . —‘as best he could with such influence as he had,’ μέσος ὤν.

παρεσκευάζετο προπηλακιῶν—the omission of ὡς with παρασκευάζομαι is very rare except in Thuc., who has it several times. Xen. Hel. IV. 1, 41 παρεσκευάζετο πορευσόμενος.

τὴν ἄλλην ἀρχήν—‘his rule generally was mild’; he was not tyrant, but, as Ath. Pol. c. 18 says, both he and Hippias ἦσαν κύριοι τῶν πραγμάτων διὰ τὰ άξιώματα.

ἀνεπιφθόνως κατεστήσατο—sc. τὴν ἀρχήν, ‘he maintained it without exciting ill-feeling.’

καὶ ἐπετήδευσαν κτλ—‘and as tyrants they for the longest time displayed virtnous principles and good sense,’ i.e. πολιτικὴ ἀρετή such as Plato speaks of.

εἰκοστήν—Pisistratus had levied a tax of 10 per cent on produce: Ath. Pol. c. 15 συνέβαινεν αὐτῷ καὶ τὰς προσόδους γίγνεσθαι μείζους ἑργαζομένης τῆς χώρας: ἐπράττετο γὰρ ἀπὸ τῶν γιγνομένων δεκατήν. The tax was thus rednced by his sons.

καλῶς διεκόσμησαν—e.g. they are said to have adorned with columns the spring Callirhoe, and to have set up Hermae. No doubt they continued the building of the Olympieium, begun by Pisistratus; and they greatly added to the importance of the worship of Apollo, Athena, and Dionysus.

διέφερον . . ἔθυον—two of the most important duties of the sovereign: they carried through their wars and attended the temples to offer sacrifice. With the brachylogy ἐς τἀ ἱερά cf. II. 4 ἔκλῃσε στυρακίῳ . . χρησάμενος ἐς τὸν μοχλόν, and II. 49 ἔδρασαν ἐς φρεατα. Aristoph. Plut. 741 ἠφάνισεν αὑτὸν εἰς τὸν νέων.

αὐτή—i.e. without interference from the tyrants.

τοῖς πρὶν κειμένοις—the Solonian constitution. The phrase ἐπὶ Κρόνου βίος, Golden Age, was applied to the period both of Pisistratus and of Hippias. What Thuc. says of the sons the Ath. Pol. says of the father, and of the sons συνέβη διαδεξαμένων τῶν υἱέων πολλῷ γενέσθαι τραχυτέραν τὴν άρχήν.

ἀρχαῖς—especially the archons. Cf. Aristoph. Wasps 682 ἐν άρχαῖς εἶναι.

Ἀθηναίοις—the dat. is frequent, and does not imply inferiority like the gen. It is official.

τῶν δώδεκα θεῶν βωμόν—this altar stood in the new Agora, as instituted by the Pisistratids, who made the Cerameicus the centre of Athens instead of Cydathenaeon (S. of the Acropolis). The altar marked the completion of their changes (Curtius, Stadtgeschichte von Athen, pp. 79 f.).

τὸν ἐν . . Πυθίου—‘in the precinct of the Pythian Apollo,’ i.e. the Pythium (close to the Olympieium), which was the work of the Pisistratids. As archou, Pisistratus celebrated the Thargelia in honour of Apollo.

νῦν—the inscription was discovered in 1877 near Callirhoe (C.I.A. IV. 373).

ἀμυδροῖς—Classen remarks that the letters are mostly clear enough at the present day. But it is very likely that the inscription was restored later.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.20
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.4
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.49
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.1
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