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ἐθορυβήθησαν—‘were bewildered’ (Arnold); iii. 22, 6.

οἴ τε Ἀργεῖοι—answered by οἵ τε Λακεδαιμόνιοι. ἢν περιτύχωσιτοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις (schol.). πρὸς τὸ Ἡράκλειον— see the end of ch. 64.

δἰ ὀλίγου=έξαίφνης, according to the scholiast: but plainly used here of an interval of space, ‘close at hand’; so ii. 89, 7 etc.: cf. iv. 14, 1, διὰ βραχέος.

μάλιστα δή—this abrupt beginning can scarcely be right, and some connecting word seems lost. μάλιστα δέ and μάλιστα δὲ δή are suggestions, but not satisfactory. Krüger proposes to connect the clause with what goes before, inserting ὡς before ὁρῶσι and putting a comma after προεληλυθότας. But, as Poppo says, ‘comectura et audacior est, et propter iteratum Lacedaemoniorum nomen displicet’. ἐς ἐμέμνηντο—apparently ‘so far as they remembered’. The scholiast says μετὰ τὴν τῶν ἀνθρώπων μνήμην, but where does the subject come from? The whole sentence indeed seems doubtful.

ἐξεπλάγησαν—the natural meaning is ‘were dismayed’, but this does not agree with what follows. On the contrary it is the excellent discipline and rapid formation of the Spartans which are described. ἐκπλήσσω is used not only of fear but of any overpowering emotion, such as joy or love. The meaning here may be were ‘excited’, ‘startled’ from their usual slow and deliberate ways, so that they acted with unwonted vigour and alacrity (εὐθὺς ὑπὸ σπουδῆς). ἔκπληξις certainly has some such force in iv. 14, 3, ὑπὸ προθυμίας καὶ ἐκπλήξεως: nor is there any idea of fear in καταπλαγέντες, ch. 65, 23. By this view we get a satisfactory sense; and it is at any rate better than any of the suggested alterations, e.g. ἐξεφάνησαν, ‘came out in their true colours’: ἐξηλλάγησαν, ‘were different from (surpassed) all others’: Λακεδαιμονίους ..ἐξεπλάγησαν, ‘they (the Argives) were struck with admiration of the Lacedaemonians’, and other desperate shifts. The passage seems however incomplete, and some words or lines may be missing.

διά—adverbially used with the genitive. The sense is either ‘they had but short time to get ready’, or ‘they formed at once without delay’. ὑπὸ σπουδῆςiii. 33, 4, ὑπὸ σπουδῆς ἐποιεῖτο τὴν δίωξιν.

τὸν ἑαυτῶν—emphatic: so iv. 33, 2, τῆ σφετέρᾳ ἐμπειρίᾳ χρήσασθαι: iv. 55, 3, παρὰ τὴν ὑπάρχουσαν σφῶν ἰδέαν τῆς παρασκευῆς.

ἕκαστα ἐξηγουμένουiii. 55, 4, ἔκαστοι ἐξηγεῖσθε τοῖς ξυμμάχοις: iii. 93, 2, ἔστιν οὐ καλῶς ἐξηγούμενοι. ὑπ̓ ἐκείνου πάντα ἄρχεται—the passive ἄρχομαι is used of persons rather than things: πάντα may therefore have a personal meaning =‘all are under his orders’, not ‘everything is ordered’. Kruger suggests πάντα ἄρχονται ‘they are entirely under his orders’: and Dobree would read ἀπ̓ ἐκείνου, ‘everything originates with him’. We have seen (ch. 63 fin.) that Agis had been put under the restriction of a military council, while the Spartan kings generally were shackled in the exercise of their power. Thucydides therefore points out that they still had absolute authority on the field of battle.

τοῖς μὲν πολεμάρχοις—acting as generals of division. This is not the place to discuss the Spartan military organization, which is a rather complicated subject. Arnold and Grote have long notes on the present passage, and the recognized authorities are cited by Classen. See also Muller's Dorians Bk. iii. ch. 12. 14 φράζει—‘orders’; iii. 15, 1, τοῖς ξυμμάχοις ἔφραζον ἰέναι. τὸ δέον—‘what is to be done’; orders in general, before the battle begins. πεντηκοντῆρσιν—found also Xen. Anab. iii. 4, 21: πεντηκοστήρ is another form.

παραγγέλσεις—orders ‘passed along’ the line, as opposed to those given by herald or sound of trumpet: Xen. Anab. iv. 1, 5, ἀναστάντες ἀπὸ παραγγέλσεως: cf. ch. 58, 18: 71, 21. ταχεῖαι—adjective with verb; iv. 126, 6, τὸ ἀνδρεῖον ὀξεῖς ἐνδείκνυνται: so with participle iv. 38, 3, τελευταῖος διαπλεύσας etc. ἐπέρχονται=traverse the line: Cobet proposes περιέρχονται.

σχεδόν τι—modifying πᾶν: iii. 68, 4, σχεδὸν γάρ τι καὶ τὸ ξύμπαν: vii. 33, 2, σχεδὸν γάρ τι πᾶσα. πλὴν ὀλίγου— this of course is not to be taken literally, as far the largest part of the army consisted of private soldiers. The meaning is that the system of command within command extended throughout all ranks, and was peculiar to the Spartan organization. ‘In other Grecian armies orders were proclaimed to the troops in a loud voice by a herald, who received them personally from the general: each taxis or company had indeed its own taxiarch, but the latter did not receive his orders separately from the general, and seems to have had no personal responsibility for the execution of them by his soldiers’ (Grote, ch. 56).

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hide References (15 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (15):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.89
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.15
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.22
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.33
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.4
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.55
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.68
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.93
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.1
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.126
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.14
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.33
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.38
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.55
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.33
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