The History of Thucydides. Newly tr. into English...with very copious annotations...Prefixed, is an entirely new life of Thucydides: with a memoir of the state of Greece, civil & military, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war online

. (page 15 of 59)
Online LibraryThucydidesThe History of Thucydides. Newly tr. into English...with very copious annotations...Prefixed, is an entirely new life of Thucydides: with a memoir of the state of Greece, civil & military, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war → online text (page 15 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

distributed among many ^ (for they had fifteen commanders),

I In wdnd and Aeor/.] So S, 87. ohU iuMUW, tijq yvc^^qc rb ft^ sard
icpdroc vtcff^^v,— ' Ttfi diroQdvTi dfi€KifVi(r^ai.

^ It wa$ the want of dUcipHne, 4rc,] Mitford paraphrases : " It was not
in strength, but in order and discipline ; not in bravery, but in system of
coniDmnd and subordination, that they were inferior.*'

3 B^ing (so to speak) mere, ^c] In this difficult and controverted pas*
sag^ I have followed the reading of Pollux and the margin, x^*P^''^X*^*U
which has been rightly edited by Groeller, though it had been rejected by
almost all the preceding editors. Such, indeed, I long ago conceived to be
the true reading, and defended and illustrated it from the following muk
sages : Dio Ca^ p. 615., where Anthony says to his men, xai iravrdc tUovQ
li&xnQ ««( xci/>orcxvai l<TTt» It is plain that Dio Cass, had then in view the
present passage, and read x^H^'^'^X^*'^* And so also seems Aristotle Eth.
5, 8. &<rirtp ovv Av6irXotQ wTrXctr/xlvoi fidxovrai, xai A^Xfjral ilitaraiQ, Dionys.
Hal. 464, 26. xoXcifOMi^v ipytav x^^poTtx^^ai. Eurip. Philoct. frag. 6* x<<P^''
vaicrog Xdytav. in wnich sense Coray adduces two other examples of x</po»*.
firom Hippocrates and Soph. Trach. 1001. This sense, indeed, is very usual
in TtxvirtiCf as Joseph. 861, 41. -rrpbg dk rex^i'^'ag rwv yroXtfiUav fiaxovfu^o,
where he had, perhaps, Thucydides in view. So TtxviraQ t&v ^oXtfii^v are
opposed to avTo^x^^^^*^ ^y Xenoph. Repub. Lac. 13. And so ipydrijc
lULxnQ by Suid. in ^KktaXXoQ,

•» Highlff mfurious, ^c.] According to the Homeric adage, II. ^. 204.
oi/K &y^ voXvKoipaViti. So also Plutarch Camill. c. 18. oiiivb^ S' ^rrov
kT&pamv ii iroXvapxia rd wpaTrSfuva. Joseph. 172. iroXvapxia ydp, vphQ

1 2

Digitized by



broke down the bridge over the Anapus. While they were
occupied on these preparations, none of the citizens issued
forth to hinder them, but first the Syracusan horse came up
to bring assistance, and afterwards the infantry was collected
in full force. And at first they advanced near to the camp of
the Athenians ; but when they found they would not come out
against them, they retreated, and crossing the road to Helo-
rum ^, they took up their quarters for the night.

LXVII. On the day following, the Athenians and their
allies prepared for battle, and ranged themselves in the fol-
lowing order. The Argives and Mantinaeans occupied the
right wing, the Athenians the centre, and the rest of the
allies the left. One half of their forces was placed in front ^,
ranged eight deep ; the other half was posted in column at the
tents ^ in the form of an oblong square, with orders to ob-
serve if any part of the line should be in distress, and
immediately repair to its assistance. The baggage-bearers

As, thereforei the Dascon occupied the farthest part of the great
port so we may easily comprehend why, when Thucydides speaks at 1. 7.
of the T(f KoiKif Kai ftvxv '^^^ Xt/icvoc, Diodorus should, in narrating the
same circumstance, substitute rbv kSXitov tov AdffKMva. The name Dascon,
it seems, came to be given to that sort of gulf of the great port in which
it is situated.

9 The road to Helorum.] See the plan of Syracuse. Thus the road
seems to have been at present the boundaries between the ground occu-
pied by the Argives, and that by the Syracusans.

The position was a secure one, since their flanks were protected by the
marsh of Lysimalia and by the city walls.

> In /ron/.J Namely, the front of their position. Goeller maintains
that it must signify, im Vordertreffen, the van : but he seems mistaken.

2 At the tenu!^ So all the translators take ip tmq c^vmc, except
Goeller, who maintains that it must mean the thore, or anchorage ; on the
authority of Photius and Hom. U. 14. 77. I had myself, long since,
noticed the eloss of Photius ; but I am inclined to think the lexicographer
mistaken in his interpretation, which is certainly very harsh ; neither is it
easy to see why the column should have been placed at the anchorage,
where there was nothing to defend. Whereas, ranged at the tents and rear
of the first column, they would be ready to act as a corps de reserve ; and
that they were to serve as such, is expressly indicated in the words follow-
ing. The lin/aiQ has here the same sense as at 5, HI. iv ralg divaiq^ which
should be rendered, " in their tents."

It may perhaps be thought strange that the Athenians should not have
placed more than the half of their force in line. The reason, however,
seems to have been, that the half ranged eight deep, would occupy the whole
front of their position, which was flanked on the lell by the marsh, and on
the right by the precipitous ground near the sea.

Digitized by



and suttlers they' placed between the reserve and the front

The Syracusans ranged their heavy infantry sixteen deep,
consisting of the whole force of the Syracusans, and such
allies as were present. Tiiese were supported principally by
the Selinuntians, then by Geloan cavalry, some two hundred in
all, and of Camarinseans about one hundred and twenty horse,
and about fifty archers. Their cavalry, to the number of not
less than twelve hundred, they posted on the right wing, and
next them the lancers.

The Athenians being about to attack first, Nicias advanced
along the line by nations, and then made the following general
address : —

LXVIII. " What need, comrades, can there be of a long
exhortation to such as (like ourselves) are come for the sole
purpose of fighting.'* Indeed, the very army itself seems to
me more calculated to impart courage than fine spoken words
with an insufficient armament^ For where (as now) Argives ®,
Mantinaeans, Athenians, and the flower of the islanders are
present, how is it possible that we should not (associated with
so many and so brave allies) have a great, nay, every hope of
victory ? especially having to contend against men defending
themselves in promiscuous posse, and not chosen troops, like

"» The haggage-hearcn and ivtlers, ^c] Such is the sense mmntained by
Goeller in an elaborate note, which see. 1 am, however, half fnclined to

E refer the common interpretation, "within the reserve;" i. e. within the
oUow square. For the sense in question cannot easily be elicited from the
words; and it should seem injudicious to interpose a posse of baggage-
bearers and camp-followers between the two lines, tnus impeding the
motions of the reserve in rendering assistance to the front line.

4 What need, 4"^.] Such appears to be the sense, which, however, is
somewhat obscurely expressed. The Athenians had not only come to Sy-
racuse to seek a battle with the Syracusans, but they seem this day to have
Jirst drawn up in order of battle ; and therefore the words o'i napitrfitv
tTri rbv avrbv dydva m^y refer to both.

^ Indeed, the very army, 4^c.] So Onosand. p. 65, 5. \6yoiQ filv ydp ttoX*
Xoi Kai i^TriaTJjtrav, a>c rov Kaipov TrcjrXavfiivoiQ iviictv, oif/tv ^k ^apoovaav
dwirSKpirov ilvai vofii^ovriQ, ifnardteavTO rt)v dif>o€iav. There is a sentiment
very similar in Xen Cyr. 6, 4, 5. ri ovv fn lil kq^' iv TtKaarov \kytiv ; rii ydp
Ipya olfiai <Tot 7ri3avwr€pa naptaxn^^f"^ ^*^^ Xsx^fvriov Xdywv, also at 5, 3, 55,
« For where (as now) Argives, ^c] See a similar passage in Xen. Cyr.
2, 3, 5. This was certainly a very adroitly- turned compliment to his allies.

Digitized by



ourselves, and moreover against Siceliots, who indeed contemn^
but will not wiihstand us, by reason of their skill being in-
ferior to their courage.

** Let, too, this occur to the mind of every one — that we
are far from our country, and near no friendly state, nor any
but such as we can gain by our swords. And now I am, I
know, going to suggest an admonitory remembrance the re-
verse of the exhortation employed by our enemies. For ttiey
urge that ^ the contest will be for their country ; but I, that you
are to fight in what is not your country, but that wherein you
must conquer, or not easily get away ^ — for a numerous cavalry
will press upon you. Mindful, therefore, of your own dignity,
advance upon the enemy with spirit, and account that our
present necessity and difficulties are far greater objects of
terror than the enemy."

LXIX. Having delivered this exhortation, Nicias imme-
diately led on the army.

As to the Syracusans, they, not expecting at present that
they were going to fight, had some of them, as the city was
near, gone thither ; and who, though they took up arms with
all haste, and set o£P at full run, yet came too late ; each,
however, joining the ranks of any corps that he happened to
approach.^ For indeed they were not deficient in courage^ either
in that battle or in the rest ; but, though not indeed inferior
in bravery so long as their skill held out, when that fell short,
they, however unwillingly, slackened in their alacrity.'* Never-

7 For they urge that, S^c] So iEschyl. Theb. 13. taan av/iirpiir^c, TUXu
r dpTiyav, xai Biwv lyx*^'*^** Bw/ioT<rt, rifiA^ firj '^aXet^^vat work* Tixpoic
r«, yn rt firrrptf ^ikrary rpofif. Compare also the Pers. 400»8eqq.

• rou are toj^ht in what it not your country, 4^c,] Such seems to be the
true sense of this perplexed passage. I have ever been of opinion that ovc
iv Trarpiii is put for iv ov waTpidt, on which see 1,141. and 6, 18. And this
is confirmed by Bauer and Goeller. The construction is : lydt dk {napa"
KtX£VOftai] Sri iv oh trarpih (aywv itnai) &XX {iv xi*pq) it ^Q (ipfiutfAkvovc
itfiag) Kpartiv Bti, ^ (e^ tic) /^^ pq^UutQ diroxotpftv {i(mti\ The ^a is to be
repeated in the sense of mli, by dilogia. As to the ellipsis of 6pfiwfikvovg,
it IS somewhat harsh, but Thucydidean ; and this view is confirmed by a
kindred passage at 6, 50. KarteKk^/avro tA irtpl rtjv x^^P^^y ^^ ^C ai/roXc opfuit*
ftivotf TroXtftrjTia ^v. See also 3, 85. and 4, 6Z. s. f.

> Not expecHng at presefU, 4*c.] Such seems to be the true sense of the

iwhen that fell short, they, ^c] Literally, "gave up part of their

Digitized by



theless, though never thinking that the Athenians would first
attack them^ and being compelled to come to combat in haste,
they took up their arms, and immediately advanced agamst
the enemy. And first the stone-casters and the slingers^
maintained k prelusive skirmish, and, as is usual with light
troops, mutually routed and chased each other. Then the
soothsayers brought forward the accustomed victims/ And
now die trumpeters roused the heavy-armed to the engage-
ment And they respectively marched on, the Syracmans^ to
fight for their country, and each, individually for his own pre-
sent preservation and future freedom. Of their etiemies^ the
Athenians had to contest both for a foreign country, in order
to hold it as their own, and not, by being defeated, to injure
their own. ITie Argives and independent allies^ to assist the
Athenians in acquiring what they came for, and after victory,
to again revisit their own country. The subject allies were
prompt to engage, principally for their immediate safety, not
to be hoped for unless they should conquer ; and next, as a

alacrity." We must not too rigidly scan the expression weovrsc vpov^lSofrap
TTfv ftovXtiixiv : it must be taken populariter. The beat commentary on the
sense is a kindred passage at 2, 89. rtp 6k ixdripoi ri ifurtipdnpoi tlvai dpaoih-
repot Ifffuv,

3 Stone^catteri and the MUngers.] It is plmn from this passage that the
former, who threw stones with the hand, were distinct from those that
launched them with slings ; the missiles of the former being, we may sup.
pose, more formidable from their size and weight ; those of the latter, from
the impetus with which they were thrown. In proof and illustration of
this distinction, Wasse has here adduced several passages, only one of
which, however, (Pollux 1. 151.) have mention of the Xi^^oXoc Stephens
in his Thes., however, supplies another from Athenseus, to which 1 add
Polyb. 8, 7, 2. and 9, 41, 8.

•* Brought forward the accustomed mctimt.] Duker refers (as alluding to
this custom) to Pollux 1, 162. To which may be added Eurip. Phoen. 1 1 25.
Pors. Ix*i»p(i9 <r<f>ayi i\iiiv i^* dpfiatriv 'O fidvrtc 'A/i^uipaoc* In the passage of
Pollux referred to by Duker, for irpot^ffav o\ fidvrttc rd Upiia l^turavro, I
suspect, ought to be read npo^^tfrav <A fidvruc upcta, l^vaavro (scil. Up),
Now, npov^effov (which will answer to the wpoJoptpov of Thucydides) is read
in one MS., and favoured by another.

It may be remembered that Brasidas, immediately previous to the battle,
and though the time was pressing, yet did not omit this religious observ-
ance. And here, may we not suppose that, as Thucydides thought proper
to minutely advert to this among many other observances, both religious
and civil, he contemplated the possibility, perhaps the probability, of a
period arriving, when the former would be exploded, and the latter be only
a tale of other times ? On the same principle we may account for the geo-
graphical and genealogical details, many of which his own countr^'men and
contemporaries could not need.

Digitized by



secondary motive, in order that by cooperating in the subju-
gation of others, their yoke might be made the easier.

LXX. And now, coming to close combat, they, for a long
time, respectively maintained their ground ; and it happened
that there came on thunder and lightning, and heavy rain ',
insomuch, that to those who ^ were fighting their first battle, and
very little conversant with war, this, too, contributed to alarm
them^; whereas, to the better informed and experienced*, what
happened was supposed to have occurred by the ordinary effects
of the time of year^; and, by thus maintaining the combat
unconquered, they threw the enemy into much greater alarm.®
At length, the Argives first making the lefl of the Syracusans

' There came on thunder and lightning and heavy rmn.] Probably, flash-
ing and beating chiefly in the Syracusans* faces. So in a similar passage of
Pausan. 4, 21,4, it is said: aXXd b ^tb^ rb ^iiap ivrjyaytv a^pbov iidXkov
fitrd laxvpov r&v ppovTutv tov yj/b^ov, Koi roifg b^etXfioifc avTwv IvavrimQ raiQ
uiTTpairaiQ itJ^irXfim,

Perhaps this was the period when a stratagem, recorded by Pausan. 1,
40, 7. and ascribed (wrongly) to Alcibiades, took place. The Athenians,
seeing that the wind was directly in the face of the Syracusans, set fire to
some dry fern between the armies, of which the smoke driving into the
eyes of the Syracusans, annoyed them considerably ; insomuch that (Polyae-
nus tells us) they took to flight

There is also something much to the present purpose in Polyaen. 1, 52, 2.
where he records that Leonidas had tbe good sense to perceive, and the
power to convince his troops, that in violent storms only natural causes
operated. Thus he preferred fighting at such times ; for his own men felt
so much the more alacrity, as knowing there was no reason for supersti-
tious fear, and aware that the eneniy would be daunted.

^*Tho»e whOf <$'<?•] Namely, the Syracusans.

3 Contributed to alarm them.] I cannot but censure the temerity of
Goeller in introducing ^wtTritaXkeBai into the text, in opposition to all the
MSS. and Greek grammarians. He refers, indeed, to c. 5, 56. ; but see the
note on that passage. In defence of the common reading, KwiniXatka^m
I would adduce c. 8, 26. Herod. 5, 48, ^wtniXatoirro tov (rrpariVfiaroQ,
Menand. ap. Corp. Byz. Par. 1,111. B. ^wtiriXaUv^ai ol tov Kivbvvov
hckrivf, and 1 5S, c. ^vviTviXa^io^ai tov Kivbi/vov rolg oiKelotg.

< The better informed and experienced,] Namely, the Athenians, who
had, together with their other superior knowledge, a tolerable acquaint-
ance with natural philosophy, and were, therefore, free from many of the
superstitious fears of most other nations.

ft The time of year,] Such is, I conceive, the simplest and most exact
version of iitpq, Itovq, So Appian 1,599,85. Ik iro^rjpUtc Tpo^&v, xai djcivj;-
aiac fpywv, Kai CipaQ irovg. Arrian E. A. 1, 17, 16. iipg. irovQ xei^i«tfv iwiyiy-
viTQij K€u ^povToi (ricX}/pac, Kai iJ^wp U wpavov, «. r, X.

6 And, by thus mcuntatningf^^c] Such seems to be the real sense, though
not the literal version, of the original, which has been imperfectly under-
stood by the translators.

Digitized by



give ground, and, after them, the Athenians having done the
same to those opposed to them, the whole of the rest of the
Syracusan army was broken, and put to flight. The Athe-
nians, however, did not pursue them far ; for the Syracusan
cavalry^ being numerous and miconquered, hindered them,
and charging on their heavy infantry, if they saw any going
in pursuit, held them in check. The Athenians, after fol-
lowing' them in collected bodies, and as &r as it was safe,
then retreated, and set up a trophy. But the Syracusans
rallying on th6 road to Helorum, and putting themselves in
the best order that circumstances would permit, conveyed
(notwithstanding what had happened®) a guard to Olympieum^,
fearing lest the Athenians should take away the treasure there
deposited, and the rest retreated to the city.

LXXI. As to the Athenians, they made no movement oa
the temple; but collecting together their own dead, and laying
them on pyres, they spent the night there. On the following
day, they gave up to the Syracusans their dead, under treaty.
There were slain of them and their allies about two hundred
and sixty. Of their own men, who were slain to the number of

7 The Syracusan cavalry,] These do not appear to have been in Hne.
They were probabhr stationed behind; for Plutarch Nic. 16. says that they
were in the way of the flying infantry.

8 Notwithstanding what had happened,] It is plain that the defeat was
but trifling. And to this Thucydides adverts in the 8;twc, which Goeller
absurdhr renders, ** quamvis vix sufliciebantur urbi defendendae, tamen,"
&c. Thucydides has never given us the least reason to suppose that the
Syracusans were scarcely numerous enough to defend their city.

9 Conveyed a guard to Olympieum] The rallying on the road to He-
lorum was intended to cover this movement ; for, on inspecting the plan^ it
will appear that no troops could be conveyed to Olympieum but by a very
eircuitous road, except in this direction.

From Polyaen. p. 345, 5. and Diodor. 1. 15, 6. it appears that the Olym-
pieum was taken by the Athenians on their first entering the port; and the
former adds, that they did not meddle with any of the sacred offerings, but
appointed the Syracusan priest to keep guard over them. This, however,
is inconsistent with the account of Thucydides, which is confirmed by Plu-
tarch Nic. 16., who blames Nicias for not occupying the temple, but suffer-
ing the Syracusans to send a garrison to it ; though it does not seem that
the Athenians were ever able to prevent the Syracusans from garrisoniuff it,
at least, after they had returned from Catana. The only time at which they
mi^ht have seized the Olympieum was at the very time when Polyaenus and
Diodorus say they did so, namely, at their first entering the great port ; and

Digitized by



fifty, they collected the bones ' ; and, with the spoils of the
enemy in their possession, they sailed away to Catana.^ For
it was winter, and it was thought no longer practicable to carry
on the war thence, before they had procured cavalry from
Athens, and assembled some from their allies in those parts
(that they might not be utterly beaten out of the field by ca-
valry) : also until money were collected from thence, and pro-

eren then they had so manj other things to attend to, as the securing of
their camp, that this was not likely to be thought of. *

» Co/Ucted the bones.] Namely, in order to be interred in their own
country. So .£schy). Agam. 423. ivri dk ^un-wy Ttvxn t^oi cirodbc etc Udarov
BSfxovg oupucvdrai,

« Sailed awai^ to Catana,] Plutarch censures Nicias for making no advan-
tage of so brilliant a victory, but retiring to Catana; and he brings asainst
hun the usual charge of tardiness and delay, if not timidity. But Kicias
and Lamachus had in the late afi^r against Syracuse shown much decision,
judgment, and courage : and it really does not seem that he would have
been justified in continuing any longer at Syracuse, for it was now the
unwholesome season of autumn, and his position, so near the marshy pool
of Lysimelia could not be a healthy one; circumstances which afterwards
were found very detrimental. And to stay the winter in so inclement and
cooped up a spot could have answered no purpose ; for, until the Syracusans
were beaten in the field, no operations could be attempted against the city.
But to beat them in the field was hopeless, without cavalry ; for there was-
no other position where Nicias could have ventured on a battle but his
late one, and tJiat the Syracusans would of course avoid. Thus it appears
that had the Athenians stayed nt their position, they could have effected
nothing against Syracuse, and the army must have suffered severely from
disease ; and, therefore, it was not only Justifiable, but highly exoedient,
that they should remove to Catana, to husband their strength, and recruit
their numbers.

The only fault, perhaps, was the original one of coming to a country
celebrated for its norse, almost entirely without cavalry. But it may be
asked, why should he have come to Syracuse at all, unless he meant to
stay? what purpose could the expedition serve? To which it may be
answered, that it was necessary to restore the tarnished glory of Athens,
and to decide the wavering cities of Sicily. And it was impossible to say
what consequences might not have followed a decisive and utter defeat of
the Syracusans, which was not improbable : and we may suppose Nicias
was not aware of the real number of the Syracusan horse. But, as it
happened, the victory was any thing but decisive ; and had not the violent
tempest occurred, there would probably have been none at all. And Nicias
had seen so much bravery displayed in the fisht, and such an overwhelming
force of cavalry, as left him no hope of subduing Syracuse without reinforce*

* Plutarch, indeed, affirms that they not only did think of it, but wished to
have done it ; but that Nicias intentionally neglected so to do, because lie was
unwilling that any impiety should be commit^ which could only benefit in-
dividuals, not the state ; which is certainly very accordant with the religious cba^
ractar of this commander.

Digitized by



cared from Athens ; and until ihey had brought over certain-
cities (which they hoped after this battle would more readily
listen to tlieir requests); and b^^JJ^^^y ^^ prepared oora
and other necessaries, in order to. an attack on Syracuse ia
the spring.

LXXIL With this intention, they sailed away for Naxua
and Catana, to winter there. As to the Syracusans, they, afimr
burying their dead, held an assembly. And Hermocrates son
of Hermon (a person who, in other respects, seemed to bo
inferior to no one in wisdom, and, in war, of competent skill
and experience, and of distinguished bravery) came forward,
to animate their courage, and would not suffer them to be dis-
mayed at what had befallen them. In mtfid and heart ^ they
were, he said, unconquefed ; it was the *tK>ant of discipline that
had done the mischief.^ They were, however, not so much
worsted as it was likely they should, especially when contesting
with Greeks most celebrated for skill, and being (so to speak)
mere raw bunglers against consummate workmen.® Highly
injurious, too, was the number of generals, and the command
distributed among many ^ (for they had fifteen commanders),

1 In mind and heart,] So 9, 87. oifSk iUawv, rrjQ yvw^iyc t6 fi^ Kurd
aep^roc vicif^^v,— r^ dtroQdpTi dfi^vvta^ai.

« It was the want of discipline, ^-c] Mitford paraphrases : *^ It was not
in strength, but in order and discipline ; not in bravery, but in system of
coninmnd and subordination, that they were inferior.*'

3 Being {so to speak) mere, ^c] In this difficult and controverted pas*

Online LibraryThucydidesThe History of Thucydides. Newly tr. into English...with very copious annotations...Prefixed, is an entirely new life of Thucydides: with a memoir of the state of Greece, civil & military, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war → online text (page 15 of 59)