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ἐγκειμένων—by the occupation of Pylos and Cythera; see ch. 55. For ἀποστρέψαι some manuscripts have ἀποτρέψαι, the two words being easily confused: see ch. 97, 9. There is also some slight authority for ἀποτρέψειν: the aor. construction however is quite regular.

εἰ ἀντιπαραλυποῖεν—this compound, which only occurs here, implies ‘parallel (i.e. simultaneous) counter-annoyance’: for παραλυπῶ cf. ii. 51, ἄλλο παρελύπει οὐδέν, i.e. nothing besides the plague. Classen gives a list of upwards of 40 compounds with ἀντί which Thuc. only uses once; and concludes that this prefix was connected at pleasure with any following verb: cf. Plat. Gorg. 521 E, ἀντ᾽ εὖ ποιεῖν...ἀντ᾽ εὖ πείσεται.

ἑτοίμων ὄντων—sc. των ξυμμάχων: cf. note on gen. abs. ch. 73, 15. τρέφειν τε—the usual irregularity or ‘trajection’ of τε.

τῶν Εἱλώτων—partitive gen. with ἐκπέμψαι: i. 30, τῆς γῆς ἔτεμον: Xen. Hel. ii. 3, 14, τῶν φρούρων ξυμπέμποντος. βουλομένοις ἦν—cf. iii. 2, τῷ πλήθει οὐ βουλομένῳ ἦν: so ch. 28, 27, ἀσμένοις ἐγίγνετο: see Madvig 38 d. So in Latin we have volenti, volentibus esse, Liv. Tac. etc.

ἐπὶ προφάσει—‘on a (good) pretext’: like παρασκευῇ, ch. 27, 30. πρὸς τὰ παρόντα—lit. ‘looking to’, i.e. in the present circumstances and in consequence of them; like πρὸς ταῦτα, ‘therefore’, one of the many phases of meaning with πρός expressing relation between two things.

ἐπεί—often thus used in elliptical expressions, where the context supplies the meaning; here the sense is ‘it is plain that they always dreaded the Helots, for’, etc.; cf. a similar use in ch. 78, 19, ἐπεὶ καὶ τότε.

τόδε ἔπραξαν—probably ‘they once did, or had done’ at some time not stated, so Thirlwall. ‘That this atrocity should have been committed at the very time when the Spartans were sending out a body of Helots on a foreign expedition is improbable in itself, and is contradicted by the words καὶ τότε κ.τ.λ. (line 22), which clearly imply that Thucydides is led by association to speak of what had occurred on some former occasion. Shortly after the expedition of Brasidas the Spartans changed their policy towards the Helots, and emancipated those of them who had served with him, v. 34. They had previously given promises of emancipation which were believed, and therefore probably fulfilled, to Helots conveying food into Sphacteria, ch. 26’ (Jowett). Grote however (vol. iv. ch. 53) considers that the massacre took place immediately after the capture of Sphacteria, which was in July or August of the previous year, and that there was an interval of several months before the government formed the idea of employing the Helots on foreign service, an interval ‘quite sufficient to give a full and distinct meaning to the expression καὶ τότε’.

νεότητα—either abstract, ‘their youth (and vigour)’, as in vi. 17, ἐμὴ νεότης: ib. 18, contrasted with γῆρας: or with a concrete meaning (iuventus=iuvenes), as in ii. 8, πολλὴ νεότης: so ii. 21. In the latter case πλῆθος means the general number, or the two words give a ‘hendiadys’=τὸ πλῆθος τῶν νέων.

Instead of νεότητα some manuscripts have σκαιότητα, which is adopted among other editors by Classen. He understands it to mean the rash stupidity and wrong-headedness (stoliditas, importunitas), which would make bondsmen rise in insurrection, even with little prospect of success: cf. Soph. Ant. 1028, αὐθαδία τοι σκαιότητ᾽ ὀφλισκάνει: Hdt. vii. 9, ὑπὸ ὰγνωμοσύνης καὶ σκαιότητος.

ἀεὶ γάρ—the predicate of this sentence is τῆς φυλακῆς πέρι, the sense being that ‘most of the relations between the Lacedaemonians and the Helots always were of an eminently precautionary character’: not that ‘most of the Lacedaemonian institutions were intended mainly to guard against the Helots’. This latter statement, besides not being true, would require a different wording: cf. Shilleto on i. 17, πρὸς περιοίκους τοῖς αὑτῶν ἑκάστοις, ‘between each state and its neighbours’: so i. 127, διαβολὴν αὐτῷ πρὸς τὴν πόλιν, ‘prejudice between him and the city’: cf. ch. 54, 14. Dem. Lept. § 68 fin. is a parallel.

Arnold compares the situation of the Spartans to that of an army of occupation in a conquered country, perpetually on its guard to prevent the inhabitants from breaking out into insurrection.

ἐν τοῖς πολεμίοις—probably masc., the preposition denoting the sphere of operation of the adjective=‘on the persons of, in dealing with’ etc.; Verg. Aen. ii. 540, talis in hoste fuit: Soph. Aj. 1092, ἐν τοῖς θανοῦσιν ὑβριστής: ib. 1315, ἐν ἐμοὶ θρασύς: Ar. Eth. iv. 3, 26, ἐν ἐκείνοις σεμνύνεσθαι, ‘to give one's self airs at their expense’. Classen takes ἐν τοῖς πολεμίοις to be neuter. ‘in matters of war’; citing ch. 126, 9: so i. 18, and vi. 80. These however are all instances of the acc. of reference; we should therefore expect the same construction here, or else ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ.

κρίνεσθαι—‘should be selected’, a common meaning of κρίνω in Homer: so Hdt. vi. 129, κρίνοι ἐκ πάντων.

ὑπὸ φρονήματος—‘from their high spirit’; ὐπό expresses the cause, as in i. 49, ὑπὸ πλήθους καὶ ὄχλου τῶν νεῶν: so possibly in v. 31, περιορώμενοι ὑπὸ Λακεδαιμονίων, ‘looking about them (i.e. refusing to commit themselves) from Lacedaemonian influence’ (R. S.); unless indeed τὰ ἀπὸ should be read. For φρόνημα cf. ii. 43, ἀνδρί γε φρόνημα ἔχοντι; v. 40, ἐν φρονήματι ὄντες, ‘proudly aspiring’.

καὶ ἠξίωσαν...καὶ ἐπιθέσθαι—a good instance of καί with both clauses. πρῶτος ἕκαστος—resolved sing. in apposition with plur.: Plato Gorg. 503 E, βλέποντες πρὸς τὸ αὐτῶν ἔργον ἕκαστος: so quisque.

καὶ προκρίναντες...οἱ μὲν...οἱ δέ—there is no difficulty in understanding this sentence; and an exact parallel to it occurs in iii. 34, δὲ (Paches) προκαλεσάμενος ἐς λόγους Ἱππίαν... μὲν (Hippias) ἐξῆλθε παρ́ αὐτόν, δὲ (Paches) ἐκεῖνον ἐν φυλακῇ εῖχεν. Poppo compares Dem. in Callip. 1244, οὓτως ἐρρωμένος ἐστὶν ὤστε πέρυσί μοι λαχὼν τὴν δίκην...ἐγὼ μὲν...οὖτος δὲ κ.τ.λ.: so Xen. Cyr. iv. 6. 3, etc. In all these sentences the ‘anacoluthon’ arises from stating in a primary clause with μέν a fact which is really accessory to the main subject of the sentence. Thus in the passage before us the sense is ‘they chose out some 2000 Helots, and while they decked themselves with garlands on the strength of being set free, the Lacedaemonians etc.’ This is an extension of the ordinary idiom of expressing the contrast between two things by coordinate clauses with μἐν and δέ, the clause with μέν being in sense subordinate to that with δέ (ἐγὼ μὲν...σὺ δέ, ‘although I ...yet you’, etc.); see Madv. § 189.

ἐς δισχιλίοις—cf. ch. 48, 2.

οὐδεὶς ᾔσθετο—Diodorus (1st cent. B.C.) says that the chief Spartans were commissioned to put them to death at their own homes, a mere guess. ‘The government had now made the selection which it desired; presently every one among these newly enfranchised Helots was made away with— no one knew how. A stratagem at once so perfidious in the contrivance, so murderous in the purpose, and so complete in the execution, stands without parallel in Greek history—we might almost say without a parallel in any history. The Ephors must have employed numerous instruments, apart from each other, for the performance of this bloody deed. Yet it appears that no certain knowledge could be obtained of the details—a striking proof of the mysterious efficiency of this Council of Five, surpassing even that of the Council of Ten at Venice—as well as of the utter absence of public inquiry or discussion’ (Grote iv. ch. 53).

καὶ τότε—‘so now’, resuming the account from line 9. τοὺς δ᾽ ἄλλους—1000 in number, ch. 78, 2. μισθῷ πείθειν is the regular term for engaging mercenaries, as in i. 31: ii. 96.

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hide References (28 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (28):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.129
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.9
    • Plato, Gorgias, 503e
    • Plato, Gorgias, 521e
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 1092
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 1315
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1028
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.127
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.17
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.18
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.30
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.31
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.49
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.21
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.43
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.51
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.8
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.96
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.34
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.34
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.40
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.17
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.80
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 4.6.3
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 2.3.14
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 2.540
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 5.31
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