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ἐσβαλόντας—‘closing in’. ‘throwing (themselves) in’, ingressos; an unusual sense of the word. πληρῶσαι—sc. αὐτό. βεβαιὁτερον—as the flank could not now be turned.

ἐξ ὀλίγου—‘at short notice’; ch. 64, 20: iv. 108, 5. τόν τε—answeied by καὶ τοὺς πολεμίους, the clause ἀλλὰ καί being parenthetical in sense, though conforming to the general construction after ξυνέβη. Arnold compares i. 95, 3, ξυνέβη τε αὐτῷ καλεῖσθαί τε ἅμα καὶ τοὺς ξυμμάχους .μετατάξασθαι, where αὐτῷ applies only to the first clause.

δοξαντας—‘held guilty’; cf. the use of videor. Whether banishment was inflicted as a punishment, or punishment escaped by voluntary exile, is not clear. The latter view is the more probable: see Müller's Dorians, Bk. iii. ch. 11 § 4. Thus Xenophon's Clearchus was an exile, after having been condemned to death for disobedience to the military orders of the Ephors (Anab ii. 6, 4). ib φθάσαι τῇ προσμίξει—‘were beforehand in closing with them’, i e. before the line was restored to proper order. προσμίξει is a sort of instrumental dative. Krüger indeed considers the construction so unusual that he believes that the two words may be an explanatory gloss; their omission however would be fatal to the rhythm of the clause.

καὶ κελεύσαντος—‘and when, on the lochi not coming up to the Sciritae, he gave the order (to the Sciritae), close up again to us, he found that (ξυνέβη αὐτῷ) they too were now unable to close in’. This is the explanation adopted by Poppo and is indeed the only one which the wording and sense permit; for κελεύειν ἐπί would not be an admissible construction. The position of επὶ τοὐς Σκιρίτας is no doubt awkward, but may be intended to show emphatically that κελεύσαντος refers to the Sciritae. Classen gives other instances of conjunctions placed like ὡς here, e g. iv. 27, 1, πυνθανόμενοι...σῖτος τοῖς ἐν τῇ νήσῳ ὄτι ἐσπλεῖ. It is however tempting to suggest the omission of ἐπί (or the substitution of ἔτι), governing τοὺς Σκιρίτας directly by κελεύσαντος.

ἔτι—‘now’ or ‘after this’, i.e. there was now no time left. μηδέ—i.e. they as well as the λόχοι failed to fill up the gap. τούτους—the Sciritae, who were unable to regain their old position. It is altered into τούτοις by Classen, who unaccountably takes λόχοι as the subject of προσμίξαι and ξυγκλῇσαι, and understands τούτοις of Agis and his troops (σφίσι). He supposes that the λόχοι had made an ineffectual attempt to reach the Sciritae and now failed to regain their position on the right. This however is quite contrary to Thucydides, who says plainly enough that the commanders of the λόχοι refused to move at all, and were therefore exiled for cowardice.

ξυγκλῇσαι—‘to close in’ or ‘close up (the ranks)’; virtually intransitive; as in iv. 35, 1: see ch. 64, 22.

μάλιστα δή—cf. ch. 66, 7. The run of the words seems to show that this applies to the whole of the sentence, while κατὰ πάντα extends to ἐλασσωθέντες only, and τότε emphasizes the final clause. The sweeping expression κατὰ πάντα appears to point out the ‘entire failure’ of the movements which Agis had ordered; a failure which was redeemed by no less signal valour and steadiness in the actual encounter.

τῇ ἐμπειρίᾳ—skill in manœuvring in the field, in which both Agis and his subordinates proved deficient: cf. ii. 89, 2, διὰ τὴν ἐν τῷ πεζῷ ἐμπειρίαν: iv. 33, 2, τῇ σφετέρᾳ ἐμπειρίᾳ χρήσασθαι. The dative with ἐλασσωθέντες means ‘worsted’ or rather ‘proving inferior in skill’. F. compares Plat. Alc. i. 121 B, ὅρα μὴ τῷ τε γένους ὄγκῳ ἐλαττώμεθα τῶν ἀνδρῶν καὶ τῇ ἄλλῃ τροφῇ, and Xen. Hel. vi. 2, 28, μεγάλη ζημία ἦν τό τε ἐλαττοῦσθαι πᾶσι τούτοις. There is therefore no reason for spoiling the sentence by adopting such corrections as ἀπορίᾳ or ἀταξίᾳ, or by omitting ἐλασσωθέντες with Madvig, who translates ‘Lacedaemonii, qui semper arte, tum non minus virtute se praestare ostenderunt’, a rendering which seems to introduce an idea foreign to the sense of the present passage. The dative indeed seems naturally used with words denoting superiority or the opposite, and comparison generally; cf. vincere Caecilius gravitate Terentius arte (Hor. Ep. ii. 1, 58).

τῇ ἀνδρίᾳ. .περιγενόμενοι—‘proved their superiority in valour’, or ‘showed that they gained the victory by their valour’: cf. iv. 73, 2, ἔδειξαν ἑτοῖμοι ὄντες ἀμύνεσθαι. Poppo suggests περιγιγνόμενοι or ἂν περιγιγνόμενοι as having a general force, but the text seems to give a preferable sense. ἐπειδὴ γάργάρ brings in the expected account. For ἐν χερσί cf. ch. 10, 56. The phrase is found with ὄντες, iii. 108, 1: with γενόμενοι vii. 5, 2; but I have not found a parallel to the present dative construction.

τὸ μέν—like the resumptive ταύτῃ μέν below, answered by τῷ δ̓ ἄλλῳ=‘though...yet’. αὐτῶν—ch. 15, 5. For its position Classen compares i. 30, 3, ἐπεὶ σφῶν οἱ ξύμμαχοι ἐπόνουν: see also ch. 71, 17.

οἱ χίλιοι λογάδες—see ch. 67, 15. The imperfect διέφθειρον ‘inflicted loss’ is used in combination with aorists, as in iii. 98, 2, to denote what was begun or what lasted some little time. ἐξέωσαν—‘drove back’ out of their line and position. ἐπιτεταγμένων—‘posted in charge’ or ‘in reserve’; so ἐπίτακτοι vi. 67, 1.

καλούμενοι—Hdt. viii. 124, τριηκόσιοι Σπαρτιητέων λογάδες, οὗτοι οἵπερ ἱππέες καλέονται. They were the king's body-guard, and though called horsemen fought on foot. Arnold supposes that they were originally chiefs who fought round their king in chariots, ‘this being the early sense of ἱππεύς and ἱππότης, as we find from Homer’. The actual cavalry were stationed on the wings as we learn from ch. 67.

πέντε λόχοις ὠνομασμένοις—nothing is known of these divisions. ‘We can only suppose that Argos originally, like Sparta and Messenia, contained five districts or quarters, each of which sent its own lochus into the field’ (Arnold). Poppo considers the πέντε λόχοι identical with the πρεσβύτεροι, from the absence of the article; but πέντε λόχοι may have the definite force of a proper name, or the second article may be omitted as it is before ξυμμάχων at the beginning of the next chapter. In ch. 67, 17, we have simply οἱ ἄλλοι Ἀργεῖοι mentioned besides the χίλιοι λογάδες.

ἐς χεῖρας—so iii. 108, 1, ἐς ἀλκὴν ὑπομεῖναι: Xen. An. iv. 3, 31, εἰς χεῖρας δέχεσθαι. τοὺς πολλούς—partial apposition, ‘for the most part’. ἔστιν οὕς is a still further restriction.

καταπατηθέντας—i.e. by one another in their eager struggles to escape; as in vii. 84, 3, ἐπέπιπτόν τε ἀλλήλοις καὶ κατεπάτουν. This is explained by the following words, in which τὴν ἐγκατάληψιν is the subject of μὴ φθῆναι, and is equivalent to τοὺς ἐγκαταλαμβάνοντας, ‘in order that the enemy might not overtake them before they could escape’. Haack and Poppo approve of this view of the passage, which is now generally accepted. τοῦ μὴ φθῆναι may depend on both the preceding clauses, or on ἐνδόντας only, the next clause being then parenthetical. If this view is not adopted τὴν ἐγκατάληψιν must be taken as the object of φθῆναι, which necessitates giving an irregular sense to τοῦ μὴ φθῆναι, ‘because they could not escape’, or ‘so that they did not escape being overtaken’. Arnold suggests τῷ μή, dative of the efficient cause.

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  • Commentary references from this page (18):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.121
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.30
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.95
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.1
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.6
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.89
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.108
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.98
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.108
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.27
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.3
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.33
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.35
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.73
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.67
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.5
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.84
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