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ἐν τῇ Σικελίᾳ—in construction the epithet of Συρακόσιοι, but belonging in sense to the whole passage, marking the change of scene from Greece to Sicily: cf. iii. 88, οἱ ἐν τῇ Σικελίᾳ Ἀθηναῖοι, etc.

παρεσκευάζοντο—‘were (as we have told) getting ready’: see ch. 1, 19. προσκομίσαντες—‘having taken to (Messene)’.

ἐνῆγον—‘urged on’ the intruders, or the invasion. Sometimes of persons, as in ch. 21, 9, αὐτοὺς ένῆγε: sometimes of things, i. 67, ἐνῆγον τὀν πόλεμον: sometimes as here, with no object expressed: so vi. 61, ἐναγόντων τῶν ἐχθρῶν.

καὶ αὐτοὶ δέ—‘and they themselves too’: i. 132, καὶ ῆν ὃὲ οὕτως, ‘and so too was the case’: ii. 36, καὶ πρέπον δὲ ἅμα. καὶ δέ=and also (Madv. § 229 a). This seems to be the same invasion as that related in ch. 1.

ἀποπειρᾶσθαι—elsewhere Thuc. uses the active: e.g. vii. 17, with ναυμαχίας.

τὰς μὲν παρούσας—‘seeing that the ships they had were few’; the emphasis falling upon ὀλίγας, which in its construction is the predicate. For a similar order of words cf. v. 10, οἱ δ᾽ αὑτοῦ ξυστραφέντες ὁπλῖται ἐπὶ τὸν λόφον: v. 41, οἱ πρέσβεις ἀφικόμενοι αὐτῶν: Ar. Rhet. 1. 5. 17, οἱ ἅλλοι αἰσχροὶ ἀδελφοί, δὲ καλός: Ar. Vesp. 839, τοῦτ᾽ ἄρα πρῶτον τἀδίκημα εἰσακτέον: the spaced words being predicative.

ἐφορμοῦντες—‘blockading’: the word belongs more especially to ναυσίν; the sense of invading or attacking being supplied with πεζῇ.

χειρώσασθαι—‘they hoped to subdue’, aor. inf. after ἤλπιζον, referring to the result immediately looked for. The following γίγνεσθαι either depends directly on ἤλπιζον, the present inf. indicating a lasting result, or its construction, like that of εἶναι, line 17, corresponds to the general sense of the sentence—‘we hope to take Rhegium, and (we think) our position thereby becomes (γίγνεται) strong’. γίγνεσθαι=was sure to be: ch. 9, 26, ἁλώσιμον γίγνεσθαι.

ἀκρωτηρίου—in apposition with Ῥηγίου, ‘a projecting point on the Italian coast’. It seems plain that the passage refers to the advantageous position of Rhegium itself, not to some promontory near the city.

Ἀθηναίοις τε οὐκ—Classen omits τε, which however is found in the best manuscripts. If we retain it, we must either consider that it is out of place, and in sense follows ἐφορμεῖν, coupling it to τοῦ πορθμοῦ κρατεῖν; or we must suppose that Thuc. was going to speak of the Syracusans in the second part of the sentence, but altered its construction.

ἔστι δέ—‘consists of, is formed by’: so, in a similar topographical description, iii. 112, ἐστὸν δὲ δύο λόφω Ἰδομένη. τοῦτο—‘this channel’. βραχύτατον ἀπέχει—so iii. 104, ἀπέχει ὀλίγον. The strait is not narrowest between Rhegium and Messene, nor are these places exactly opposite each other. Thucydides is speaking of the strait generally, which at its narrowest point is not much more than two miles across, and would be entirely commanded by Rhegium and Messene.

Οδυσσεύς—the passage of Ulysses is related in the twelfth book of the Odyssey. Charybdis, the whirlpool monster, was more terrible than Scylla, the monster of the rock, and Ulysses escaped with the loss of some of his men by keeping nearer to the side on which Scylla dwelt.

διὰ στενότητα δὲ καί—‘owing to the narrowness of the passage, and as it rushes in, etc.’; two reasons given with different verbal construction. ἐς αὐτό—into this channel,=τοῦτο, line 20. Note that in this passage θάλασσα is used of the sea generally, πέλαγος of a particular ‘sea’, as a geographical description. The ‘Tyrsenian (Tyrrhenian) sea’ is that on the W. coast of Italy, the ‘Sicilian’ E. and S.E. of Sicily.

εἰκότως χαλεπὴ ἐνομίσθη—‘naturally got a dangerous name’. The way in which Thuc. speaks shows that the terrors of the strait were entirely a thing of the past.

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hide References (11 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (11):
    • Aristotle, Rhetoric, 1.5.17
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.132
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.67
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.36
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.104
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.112
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.88
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.10
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.41
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.61
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.17
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