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ὡς ἐπύθοντο τῆς Πύλου κατειλημμένης—‘when they heard of the occupation of Pylos’. Thucydides more commonly uses the accusative participial construction with πυνθάνομαι: ch. 50, 17, πυθόμενοι Ἀρταξἐρξην τεθνηκότα, etc.; in accordance with the principle that verbs of hearing take the accusative of the sound heard, and the genitive of that which produces it. As this however is not an invariable rule, so with πυνθάνομαι the genitive of the thing heard of is not unfrequent, especially in poetry; οὐδ εἴ κεν τοῦ πατρὸς ἀποφθιμένοιο πυθοίμην, Hom. Il. xix. 322.

νομίζοντες μέν—the order of words is to be carefully observed. The reasons for the Peloponnesians leaving Attica at once are given in three clauses, νομίζοντες μέν..., ἅμα δέ... ἐσπάνιζον..., χειμών τε κ.τ.λ. The first of these clauses is limited in its application by the introduction of the words οἱ Λακεδαίμονιοι καὶ Ἄγις, ‘thinking, that is, Agis and the Lacedaemonians thinking’; the Lacedaemonians alone having a vital interest in Pylos. This is a construction of partial apposition, like ch. 38, 1, οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες παρῆκαν τὰς ἀσπίδας οἱ πλεῖστοι, ‘dropped their shields, that is, most of them did so’: cf. i. 49, where δεδιότες οἱ στρατηγοί is placed in apposition with αἱ Αττικαὶ νῆες. In the next clause the construction is changed after the participle ἐσβαλόντες, the finite verbs ἐσπάνιζον and ἐπίεσε giving the second and third reasons for retreat.

οἰκεῖον σφίσι—‘thinking that the matter of Pylos touched them nearly’. οἰκεῖος, ‘concerning one's self’, is the opposite of ἀλλότριος: iii. 13, ἀλλοτρίας γῆς πέρι οἰκεῖον κίνδυνον ἕξειν.

τοῖς πολλοῖς—according to Classen ‘for their large numbers’; but there is no reason to suppose that the expression has not its usual meaning ‘for the greater part’. No doubt the want of supplies would be felt throughout the army; but the chiefs and officers would not suffer like the rest of the troops (οἱ πολλοί): see also vii. 84 fin.

χειμών τε—‘stormy, wintry weather’: so iii. 21, χειμὼν νοτερός, ‘stormy and rainy weather’. μείζων παρά—‘with greater violence than was to be looked for at the time of the year then present’; lit. ‘greater, going beyond’; nearly = μείζων κατά: so i. 23, πυκνότεραι παρά. τὴν καθεστηκυῖαν ὥραν—lit. ‘the (then) settled season’, i. e. the spring, when finer weather might be expected to set in.

πολλαχόθεν—‘from many causes’: Dem. Con. 1261, πολλαχόθεν δῆλον: so i. 17, πανταχόθεν, ‘from all causes’, etc.

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.17
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.23
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.49
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.13
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.21
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.84
    • Homer, Iliad, 19.309
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