Eruption of Aetna.

περὶ αὐτὸ τὸ ἔαρ τοῦτο: “just at the beginning of this spring.” τοῦτο refers to the words τελευτῶντος τοῦ χειμῶνος, c. 115. 20, in which there is a hint of the nearness of spring. On this, as well as the relation of the present passage to ταῦτα μὲν κατὰ τὸν χειμῶνα τοῦτον ἐγένετο (l. 7), see App. on ii. 2. 7. The eruption began doubtless in the last days of winter and extended a little beyond the commencement of spring, i.e. into the summer, as Thuc. uses the term.—

ῥύαξ: used esp., as τὸ ῥεῦμα l. 6, of volcanic eruptions, with and without τοῦ πυρός. Cf. Plato Phaedo 111 e; Lycurg. c. Leocr. 95; Arist. de Ausc. Mirab. 38 τὸν δ᾽ ἐν τῇ Αἴτνῃ ῥύακα οὔτε φλογώδη φασὶν οὔτε συνεχῆ, ἀλλὰ διὰ πολλῶν ἐτῶν γίνεσθαι, 40 τὸ ἐν Σικελίᾳ περὶ τὸν ῥύακα γινόμενον. ‘The art. is used because the “fire-flood” was a well known phenomenon peculiar to Aetna. So App. B. C. v. 117 ἐμπεσεῖσθαι σφίσι καὶ τὸν ῥύακα, and Strabo vi. 2. 3.’ Arn. See Kr. Spr. 47, 8, 5.

ὥσπερ καὶ τὸ πρότερον: Unger, N. Jahrbb. exli. p. 183, understands the meaning to be, that the two eruptions occurred in the same season of the year. But the τοῦτο added to περὶ αὐτὸ τὸ ἔαρ is against this explanation. Besides, it is incredible that Thuc., who acc. to what follows did not venture a definite statement even with regard to the year of the preceding eruption, should have distinctly designated the season of the year. In ὥσπερ καὶ τὸ πρότερον, as also before (cf. ii. 72. 9 ἅπερ καὶ τὸ πρότερον ἤδη προυκαλεσάμεθα), Thuc. seems to have intended to indicate only that the eruption of 425 B.C. was not the first. This he regards as certain, whereas he does not vouch (λέγεται, l. 4) for the correctness of the statement, that since the Hellenic settlement of Sicily, in all three eruptions had occurred, nor for that of his authority as to the interval between the eruption of 425 B.C. and the preceding.—3.

ἐπὶ τῇ Αἴτνῃ: near Actna. Cf. c. 89. 12; i. 105. 3, 6; ii. 32. 3; 86. 11; iv. 101. 20; v. 14. 5. The reading of Laur. ὑπὸ τῇ Αἴτνῃ is certainly a gloss. —

τῷ ὄρει: considered an interpolation by Cobet, v. H., and Kallenberg (Studien über d. griech. Artikel, ii. p. 21). But the repetition of ὄρος in the following rel. clause should not give offence, since Thuc. is by no means careful to avoid the repetition of a word after a short interval (e.g. cf. ῥυῆναι, 1. 5, and ῥεῦμα twice in l. 6). Nor can much weight be laid upon the circumstance that, allowing with Kallenberg that in viii. 108. 16 διὰ τῆς Ἴδης τοῦ ὄρους the gen. τῆς Ἴδης depends upon τοῦ ὄρους, the present passage is the only one in Thuc. in which τὸ ὄρος follows the name of a mountain likewise connected with the art. For, disregarding Hdt. i. 43. 3 ἐς τὸν Ὄλυμπον τὸ ὄρος, the following passages, Thuc. iv. 96. 28 πρὸς Πάρνηθα τὸ ὄρος, ii. 23. 3 μεταξὺ Πάρνηθος καὶ Βριλησσοῦ ὄρους, ii. 102. 12 ἐκ Πίνδου ὄρους, and esp. c. 79. <*> ἐπὶ τὴν Λευκίμμην τὸ ἀκρωτήριον (cf. i. 47. 7), if considered without bias, are not so essentially different from the present passage that one must object to the latter. And, finally, the transition from the simple τῆς Αἴτνης to τῇ Αἴτνῃ τῷ ὄρει does not seem more remarkable than e.g. the change of expression in ii. 23. 3 μεταξὺ Πάρνηθος καὶ Βριλησσοῦ ὄρους. At any rate, objection could more properly be raised, with Badham, against the remark ὅπερ . . . Σικελίᾳ, since it is not coupled with the first mention of Aetna. But this too may be due to the lack of revision on the part of the historian. —5.

τοῦτο: the present eruption of 425 B.C.—

τὸ πρότερον ῥεῦμα: refers without doubt to the eruption of Aetna mentioned in the Parian Marble 52, 67 ff. as contemporaneous with the battle of Plataea. But this is not sufficient reason why πεντηκοστῷ ἔτει, which taken strictly would lead to the year 475 or 474 instead of 479 B.C. should either be considered as a round number (see Boeckh in C. I. G. ii. p. 339), or changed, acc. to Kr.'s conjecture, into πεντηκοστῷ πέμπτῳ (or νέ) ἔτει. For unquestionably Thuc. indicates by λέγεται that he does not vouch for the correctness of the number given by him. The expression λέγεται is also decidedly against the assumption of Büdinger, Poesic und Urkunde bei Thuk. i. p. 39, that Thuc. chose the date πεντηκοστῷ ἔτει with reference to the first Pythian ode of Pindar (474 B.C.), in which, v. 21 ff., an eruption of Aetna is deseribed. At most, Thuc.'s authority may have fixed the date by inference from Pindar's ode.—6.

τρὶς γεγενῆσθαι kte(.: from his manner of expression it is clear that Thuc. can have had no knowledge, when he wrote this passage, of an eruption of Aetna later than that of 425 B.C. Otherwise he must have expressed himself definitely as to three eruptions, and not with λέγεται τρὶς γεγενῆσθαι τὸ ῥεῦμα, since acc. to l. 2 two eruptions are regarded by him as facts. Evidently, then, Thuc.'s authority must have mentioned, in addition to the πρότερον ῥεῦμα of l. 5, a still earlier eruption. See Ullrich, Beitr. p. 92 f., and Introd. to Book 1. p. 18, N. 38. Another eruption is said by Diod. xiv. 59 and Orosius ii. 18 to have occurred in the year 396. Thuc., therefore, must have either died before 396, or never revised this passage.—

ἀφ̓ οὗ . . . οἰκεῖται: i.e. from about the middle of the 8th century B.C. See on vi. 3. 1.—7.

ταῦτα μὲν . . . ἐγένετο, καὶ . . . ξυνέγραψεν: cf. the similar conclusion of ii. 70. 21.

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    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.115
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.79
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.89
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