—The Peloponnesian forces had invaded Attica every year since the outbreak of the war, with the exception of 429 and 426. Their ravages caused much suffering to the Athenians, who were driven from the country and crowded within the city walls. The distress was especially great in 430, the year remarkable for the outbreak of the great plague. The Athenians usually retaliated by ravaging the coasts of Laconia with their fleet. The phrase Πελοποννήσιοι καὶ οὶ ξύμμαχοι
is commonly employed for the allied forces, e.g. ii. 47
, iii. 1
, in which passages the invasion is described in almost the same words which are here used. The article is omitted before Πελοποννήσιοι
, as is not uncommon with proper names. Sometimes the omission has no particular force: at other times, as in ch. 10, 25, ‘I call on you, who are Athenians’, it calls attention to the particular characteristics of the people spoken of as bearing on the point in question. So we say, ‘Is this worthy of Englishmen?’ i.e. of men who, as being Englishmen, profess to be brave, humane, etc.
—‘taking up their position in’ the country.
τὰς τεσσαράκοντα ναῦς
—‘the forty ships which (as we have related) they were getting ready’; see iii. 115
. The use of the definite article and of the imperfect tense has reference to presupposed knowledge in the reader.
—‘to see to the Corcyreans in the city’. Two years ago the popular party in Corcyra had overcome the aristocratical party and massacred most of them. Five hundred who had escaped established themselves with a few auxiliaries on Mount Istone, and carried on a plundering warfare against the democracy (iii. 70
is put in the accusative before ἐπιμεληθῆναι
, though τούτοις
to which it refers closely precedes it: cf. i. 53
, ἔδοξεν αὐτοῖς έμβιβά. σαντας προσπέμψαι
. Such a violation of strict grammatical principle is very common in Greek writers, who study above all things to avoid stiffness of expression.
—‘to help those in the mountain, and because they thought’. τιμωροί
is feminine, being a predicate in agreement with νῆες
: so iii. 36
, νῆες βοηθοί
. After this νομίζοντες
is introduced, in accordance with the sense of the passage, as if Πελοποννήσιοι
had preceded and not Πελοποννησίων νῆες
: so i. 110
, τριήρεις ἐς Αἴγυπτον ἔσχον, ούκ εἰδότες τῶν γεγενημένων ούδέν
κατασχήσειν τὰ πράγματα
—‘would get the control of affairs’: cf. iii. 72
, οἱ ἔχοντες τὰ πράγματα
, ‘those in power’. καταλαμβάνω
‘to get hold of’ is used in the passive with τὰ πράγματα
, iii. 30
: and τὰ πράγματα ἐφαίνετο καταληπτά
is found iii. 11
—‘who had held no command’, lit. ‘who had been (and was now) in a private position’. ἰδιώτης
in reference to any profession or business means a layman or non-professional person. Demosthenes had been sent round Peloponnesus with an Athenian force the year before. He met with a severe defeat in Aetolia, but was more successful in Acarnania, where he headed the natives against the Peloponnesians and Ambraciots (iii. 94
—98, 100—102, 105—114). αὐτῷ δεηθέντι
—‘at his own request’.