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CHAPTER LXXVIII

From this point the fortunes of the war begin to turn against the Athenians, who seem to have been entirely unprepared for Brasidas' bold enterprise against their Thracian allies.

Βρασίδας δέ—in sense this sentence is descriptive enough. Brasidas begins his march—reaches Heraclea—is joined by friends whom he had previously sent to—continues his march. The wording however is awkward and involved. There are two subordinate clauses, ἐπειδὴ ἐγένετο, and καὶ (ἐπειδὴ)...ἦλθον κ.τ.λ., the latter clause being complicated by a parenthetical explanation with gen. abs., προπέμψαντος...στρατιάν: the whole concludes with the main verb τότε δὴ ἐπορεύετο.

πορευόμενος—‘beginning his expedition’; he was last seen at Corinth, ch. 74, 3: the construction with ἐπειδὴ ἐγένετο somewhat resembles ὡς ἐγένοντο πλέοντες, κ.τ.λ. ch. 3, 1.

ἐν Ἠρακλείᾳ—in 426 the Lacedaemonians established a colony and place of arms at Heraclea near Trachis, and began the construction of docks at Thermopylae, 40 stades distant (iii. 93, 94). Cf. Liv. xxxvi. 22, sita est Heraclea in radicibus Oetae montis: ipsa in campo arcem imminentem loco alto et undique praecipiti habet. The town or district of Trachis gives the name to the Trachiniae of Sophocles, and the whole neighbourhood was associated with the memory of Heracles.

προπέμψαντος—parenthetical; Brasidas had already sent his messenger in advance. We find in ii. 22 that Pharsalus (ā) and Larissa like the other Thessalian towns were in alliance with Athens; οἱ ἐπιτήδειοι were therefore an oligarchical faction.

Ἀχαίας—Achaea Pthiotis, north of the Malian gulf. For the limits of the district see Arnold's note.

ἄλλως τε—i.e. under any circumstances, much less with an armed force in the face of an unfriendly people. καὶ μετὰ ὅπλων γε δή—either (1) to be taken with the following ὔποπτον καθ...διιέναι, καὶ strengthening πᾶσι: or (2) to be regarded as completing the sentence, sc. οὐκ εὔπορον ἦν διιέναι. The majority of editors are in favour of the latter view, and put a stop after δή. The sense of (1) seems however the better; and the passing from the particular Θεσσαλίαν to the general τοῖς πᾶσι is thoroughly Thucydidean. No doubt there is an awkwardness in the repetition γε δή...πᾶσί γε; but this is not more objectionable than the harsh and abrupt ending involved by (2).

καθεστήκει—cf. ch. 26, 29. ἀεί πότε—ch. 57, 26.

δυναστείᾳ—a narrow oligarchy or πολυκέφαλος τυραννίς: iii. 62, ἐγγυτάτω δὲ τυράννου δυναστεία ἀνδρῶν ὀλίγων: so Aristotle Pol. iv. 5, 2 speaks of a δυναστεία as the counterpart of a tyranny, ὅταν ἀρχῇ μὴ νόμος ἀλλ᾽ οἱ ἄρχοντες. It is opposed to a πολιτεία or constitutional government: cf. Tac. Ann. vi. 42, paucorum dominatio regiae libidini propior, ‘borders on arbitrary monarchy’. The government in Thessaly was held by ‘a class of rich proprietors distributed through the principal cities possessing most of the soil, and constituting separate oligarchies loosely hanging together’: the rest of the inhabitants were in a condition somewhat resembling that of the Laconians and Helots; see Grote, vol. ii. ch. 3, on the state of Thessaly. Some at any rate of the dominant families were naturally not ill disposed to the oligarchy of Sparta.

ἰσονομίᾳ—cf. iii. 82, where ἰσονομία πολιτική is an euphemism for δημοκρατία: in iii. 62 we have ὀλιγαρχία ἰσόνομος, i.e. constitutional. τὸ ἐγχώριον—adverbial: so ch. 3, 22, τὸ ἀρχαῖον.

βουλομένων—so ii. 79, τῶν οὐ ταῦτα βουλομένων, of political feeling. ἐπὶ τῷ Ἐνιπεῖ—at his entrance into Thessaly proper; see Arnold's note on the line of march probably taken by Brasidas.

ἄνευ—without the consent or authority of: i. 128, ἄνευ Λακεδαιμονίων etc.: Soph. O.T. 1464, ἄνευ τοῦδ᾽ ἀνδρός. τὸ πάντων κοινόν is the general confederacy of Thessaly. It had little cohesion, and though strong if united, seldom was.

αὐτοῖς—the people themselves. οὐ...ἀξίουν=‘he called on them not to stop him’: cf. the instances given on ch. 40, 5.

τὸ κωλῦσον—when the future participle is used to denote purpose or intention the article is usually prefixed. iii. 83, οὐ γὰρ ἦν διαλύσων οὔτε λόγος οὔτε ὅρκος=ὄστις δια λύσει: cf. Plat. Menex. 235 D, ἀγαθοῦ ἄν ῥήτορος δέοι τοῦ πεί. σοντος: Soph. Ant. 260, οὑδ᾽ κωλύσων παρῆν.

ἀφώρμησεν—only here in Thucydides in the active, though the uncompounded verb is common: mid. vii. 74 etc. Soph and Eur. have the active in intr. sense. ἐτέλεσε—‘accomplished (his march)’: ii. 97, ἐξ Ἀβδήρων ἐς Ἴστρον τελεῖ. Lid and Scott compare the use of ἀνύω, which like τελῶ is a trans. verb: e.g. Soph. Trach. 657, πρὸς πόλιν ἀνύσειε.

Brasidas seems to have marched northwards down the valley of the Enipeus as far as Pharsalus, and a little beyond, to its junction with the valley of the Apidanus. His troops probably did not enter Pharsalus. He then marched down the valley of the Apidanus, in a north-westerly direction as far as Phacium, which was at its lower extremity, where it joins the valley of the Peneus (Arnold).

ἐς Περαιβίαν—between the Peneus and the Cambunian mountains. Brasidas seems to have marched across this district leaving Tempe on his right and bearing towards Dium. ἀπὀ τούτου—‘from this point’.

κατέστησαν ἐς—‘brought him to’, or ‘set him down at’: so ch. 103, 19. Δῖον—on the Thermaic gulf: there was another place so called in Chalcidice, ch. 109. Μακεδονίας— ‘in, or belonging to Macedonia’. πρὸς Θεσσαλούς—‘looking towards Thessaly’, i.e. on the frontier.

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hide References (15 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (15):
    • Aristotle, Politics, 4
    • Plato, Menexenus, 235d
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 260
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 1464
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.128
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.22
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.79
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.97
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.62
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.82
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.83
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.93
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.74
    • Tacitus, Annales, 6.42
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 36, 22
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