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ἔπεμπε . . ἀγγέλλων—so 2.81 ἔπεμπον κελεύοντες. The partic. is generally in the nom. with πέμπω in Thuc. The imperf. here is probably intended to represent the details of an elaborate act (as often with πέμπω): thus it will suit both πολλάκις μὲν and μάλιστα δὲ. See c. 3.1 on λέγοντα. καθ᾽ ἕκαστα—a prepositional phrase replacing the object (of ἀγγέλλων), as often with ἐπὶ πολύ. δεινοῖς—regular word for the difficulties of war. εἰ μὴ . . μεταπέμψουσιν—the construction, εἰ with fut., expresses merely the logical dependence of the apodosis on the protasis, whereas ἢν with subj. shows that the speaker hopes or fears the fulfilment of the condition. Thus Thuc. here puts the matter in a scientific form. εἶναι—not ἔσεσθαι. Cf. Lys. 21.25 ἡγουμένους αἰσχρὸν εἶναι εἰ ἀναγκασθησόμεθα. (The logical expression is sacrificed to effective rhetoric)
κατὰ τοῦ λέγειν ἀδυνασίαν—the omission of τὴν after κατὰ shows that Nicias did not know that they actually were incompetent. ἀδυνασίαν—this form, in place of the commoner ἀδυναμία, is found in Herod., and was perhaps used also by Antiphon. γιγνόμενοι—notice that in expressing the two causes, Thuc. varies the construction (κατὰ and causal participle). πρὸς χάριν—cf. II. 65.8 πρὸς ἡδονήν τι λέγειν, and πρὸς ὀργήν τι ἀντειπεῖν. The phrases are useful. τὰ ὄντα—the facts. ἐπιστολήν—litteras. In Lat. down to the empire epistula means a private letter. (Contrast the verbosa et grandis epistula from Capreae.) ἐν τῷ ἀγγέλῳ—in the hands of, i e. through. Cf Aeschin. 2.104 ἐν ἡμῖν ἀποκινδυνεύειν. Common both in prose and verse. μαθόντας=μαθεῖν καὶ—so that μάλιστα belongs to μαθόντας as well as to βουλεύσασθαι. βουλεύσασθαι—come to a decision.
καὶ—and so, a use frequent also in Aeschylus. φέροντες—as in Soph. Aj. 735 ἥκει φέρων Αἴαντος ἡμῖν πρᾶξιν. διὰ φυλακῆς . . ἔχων—cf. διὰ χειρὸς ἔχειν, δι᾽ ὀργῆς ἔ. etc.=ξυνεχῶς φυλάσσων. τὰ κατὰ τὸ ς. is object of ἔχων. Superintended the army by keeping it in a state of defence instead of running self-imposed risks. So Dio Cassius 47.36 αὐτοί τε διὰ φυλακῆς μᾶλλον ἢ διὰ κινδύνων τὸ στρατόπεδον ἐποιοῦντο, taken from this passage. Isaeus 7.14 ὃν ἤσκει καὶ δι᾽ ἐπιμελείας εἶχεν. δι᾽ ἑκουσίων κινδύνων—Classen supplies ἔχων; Stahl takes the words with ἐπεμέλετο as an adverbial phrase. Either way will do, since ἔχων is itself almost equivalent to an adv. here, implying continuance. ἐπεμέλετο—absolute.
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