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ἐκ τῆς ἑαυτῶν—the pronouns in this chapter are used with a freedom which is scarcely reducible to any rule; the meaning however is clear from the context. The words which refer to the primary subject οἱ Βοιωτοί are the following: ἐκ τῆς ἑαυτῶν...νομίζοντες...βίᾳ σφῶν...ἐκ τῆς ἑαυτῶν: the following refer to the secondary subject ἀπιόντας (sc. the Athenians): τὰ σφέτερα...ἐν τῇ ἐκείνων...αὐτοὺς γιγνώσκειν...οὐκ ἃν αὐτούς...ὐπὲρ τῆς ἐκείνων.

αὐτοὺς γιγνώσκειν—‘they must judge for themselves’; the infinitives in this chapter follow ἀπεκρίναντο, as ἀναιρεῖσθαι follows εἰπεῖν in ch. 98, 33.

νομίζοντες τὴν μέν—the corresponding ‘apodosis’ is τὸ δέ line 10; καὶ οὐκ ἄν being an additional clause with νομίζοντες, and οὐδ᾽ αὖ ἐσπένδοντο being parenthetical in construction. The original idea of the sentence seems to have been ‘the Boeotians thought that the dead were really lying on Athenian ground, but that still they might plausibly refuse to let the Athenians remove them till they evacuated Delium’.

κατὰ τὸ ὑπήκοον—‘as being subject to them’: i. 95, κατὰ τὸ ξυγγενές. καὶ οὐκ ἄν—‘and (yet) they could not’: καί has a somewhat similar adversative force in ii. 90, ἄκων καὶ κατὰ σπουδήν: et is at times similarly used, especially in late Latin.

οὐδ᾽ αὖ ἐσπένδοντο—‘nor again would they make a truce’: for this use of the imp. cf. ch. 4, 11, ἠπείγοντο: ch. 76, 15, ἐνεδίδοσαν. δῆθεν, like δή, gives the alleged reason; it sometimes stands before the words which it particularly affects; e.g. i. 127, τοῦτο τὸ ἄγος ἐλαύνειν ἐκέλευον δῆθεν τῷ θεῷ πρῶτον τιμωροῦντες.

τὸ δέ—‘but (considering) that the reply, Let them evacuate our land and then take back what they ask for, was a plausible answer to give’. ‘They considered it a fair diplomatic way of meeting the alternative raised by the Athenian herald’ (Grote). The substantive of τό is formed by the quoted words. The harsh break in the citation is intended to emphasize the phrase ἐκ τῆς ἑαυτῶν as the main point in the answer, to which the term εὐπρεπές especially belongs. We have a somewhat similar order in the concluding sentence of ch. 98.

The Boeotian answer was in fact a second demand for the evacuation of Delium couched in different terms. Comparing line 3 with ch. 97 line 21 we see that ἐκ τῆς ἑαυτῶν is simply substituted for ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ. Originally they had called on the Athenians to leave the temple which they profaned; now they bid them leave the territory of Boeotia. The demand seems at first to refer to the district of Oropus, where the dead were lying; but no Athenians were left there (ch. 96 fin.) nor could there be any reason for the Athenians insisting on its occupation. Delium, on the other hand, they claimed to be their own by right of conquest; and the Boeotians, who held Oropia, turn against them their own unlucky argument of de facto possession. Greek feeling, as Grote points out, was violated by the Boeotians in thus refusing to restore the dead, nor is it likely that they could have persisted in their refusal. On the other hand they might reasonably complain of the occupation of a temple as an advanced hostile post; which was a very different thing from conquering a country and taking over the temples as well.

εὐπρεπές—to be taken with ἀποκρίνασθαι. καὶ ἀπολαβεῖν—‘let them also take back’, i.e. then, on that condition.

δὲ κῆρυξ—‘so the herald’ etc.: ch. 71, 12.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.127
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.95
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.90
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