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

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paraphrase thus : 'Mt was thought that in this attempt they should at least
succeed in raising a double palisade across the proposed line of the circum-
vallation. This they thought might be accomplished even asainst a part
of the Athenian forces ; and if they should choose to draw forth their wnole
force, the wall would, in the meantime, be suspended. If they raised the
double palisade, thev might easily, by degrees, convert that into a wall; and
so long as they could keep up the palisade, so long they had a safe approach
to the raising of a wall.**

13 Below the wall of the Athenians.] Goeller here explains: " Quia enim
inde ab inferiore et Epipolas subteijacente regione urbis murus transversus
a Syracusanis ducebatur, alterum correlativum posuit."

»^ Cutting down the olives of the Temenos,] i. e. the olives in the grove of
the sacred close belonsing to the temple of Apollo Temenites. Goeller
remarks that they worshipped Apollo as the 4px«y^''7C» ^^ arch-leader of
thdr colony, he having directed the colonization by his oracle.

It is well known to have been the custom of the antiencs to surround
their temples with a sacred close, encircled by a high wall, most of which
enclosure was occupied by groves.

i» Parts by the sea.] Such as the hill of Plemmyrium, and the island of
Plemmyrium, at the entrance of the great port.

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while the Athenians had to fetch aU their necessary stores by
land from Thapsus.

C. When they conceived that their under wall wasi sirf^
ficiently accomplished by palisade and stone work, and that the
Athenians came not to hinder them in the erection ^, the Sy-
racusans, since they feared they (i. e. the Athenians) should
engage with them more to advantage when apatt^, and,
moreover, as they were hastening forward with their circunv-
vallation ^, leaving one battalion (or tribe) as a guard of the
building, retired to the city. Meanwhile the Athenians
destroyed the pipes, which, by subterraneous ducts, brought
water for drinking to the city.** And watching the time
when the rest of the Syracusans were in their tents at nooi^
day, and when some had gone into the city, and those in the
palisaded work were keeping guard but negligently, they
ordered three hundred of their chosen troops, and some
picked light infantry with complete arms \ to run suddenly at
full speed up to the counter-wall ; and while the rest of the
army, under one commander, marched towards the city (lo
repel attack from thence) the above-mentioned division, under
the other commander, went towards the palisades, near the
postern gate* ^ And the three hundred, making their assault^
carried the palisade, the garrison abandoning it, and taking
refuge in the fore-walF around Temenites. And the pursuers

I Came not io kmder, 4^.] The Athenian generals saw the policy of
HerBQOcrates, and perceived that it was most for their own interest to com*
ptete the wall down to Trogilus.

3 Apart.] i. e. when with only a part of their forces, as at present, and
of those some engaged in builcyng. They feared lest the Athenians should
muster their whole force, and attack them.

9 Hastening forward with their circumvalhtion,'] And, therefore, anight
speedily fim«h it, and then attack them in full force.

* The pipes which, ^c] Of this noble aoueduct the ruins even yet
remain, and descriptions of it may be seen in Dorville, Swinburne, Hoare,
and others.

* Picked ^ht infantry with complete arms.] Such is the real sense, which
has been mistaken both by Hobbes and Smith.

fi Near the postern gate.] Namely* from the Temenites to Epipolae.
From thispostem we must distinguish the gates of Temenites, which also
led from Temenos, but in the du-ection ol Olympieum and the Anapus.
(Goeller») See the plan of Syracuse.

7 Fore-waU.] Namely, that which the Syracusans had drawn around
Temenites, to increase the difficulty of ciroumvallatton.

L 4

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burst in with them, but when within they were forced head-
long back again, and some few of the Argives and Athenians
were there slain. Then the whole army having entered,
destroyed the under, or counter-walling, and pulling up the
pales, distributed them among their own men, and then set
up a trophy.

CI. On the day following, the Athenians carried forward
their wall of circumvallation to the rocky ground bejrond the
marsh, which at that part of Epipolse looks toward the great
harbour, and where their circumvallation would be the
shortest, descending through the level- ground, and the pool
or marsh, to the port. Meanwhile the Syracusans went
forth, and themselves again sought to cut off the work by a
palisade ^ carried from the city across the middle of the
marsh ; and likewise dug a ditch, in order that it might not
be possible for the Athenians to carry their wall as far as the
^ sea. But they, when they had accomplished the part Up to
the steep, prepared for an attack on the palisade and ditch of
the Syracusans, ordering ^ejket to sail round from Thapsus
to the great port of Syracuse ; while the army, about daybreak
(descending from Epipolse to the level ground, and so across
the marshy pool, where it was clayey and stiflest, la}ring
doors and planks, and passing diereon), accomplished the
storming of the palisade (all but a small part % and the ditch,
and afterwards took the remaining portion. A battle then
ensued, wherein the Athenians gained the victory ; and such of
the Syracusans as were on the right wing fled to the city,
while those on the lefl took to the river. And now, with a view
to hinder them from ctossing it, the three hundred select
troops of the Athenians in all haste made for the bridge. But
the Syracusans, alarmed at this movement^ closed with those
three hundred (for many of their horse were there), and
putting them to the rout, made an attack on the right wing
of the Athenians. In the course of this charge, the first

1 Palitadcl By this ifl meant a work consisting of two palisades,
between which the guards were posted,
ft A small part.] Namely, it should seem, that next to the city walL

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Icitdon liMtlud ^ J-^/t^mtm f dBOmuvta' liff¥t,JLvf, lH2fi .

£nifnnvJ hr Jid-T 7/.ilZ

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4:HAP. CII. the history of THUCYDIDE8. 155

battalion ^ of the wing was seized with a panic On seeing
which, Lamachus went to their succour, following with him
aome few archers, and the Argives ; when having passed a
certain ditch % and being cut off from the main body with
4Hily a few % who had passed over with him, he wa^ slain,
and five or six of those with him. These the Syracusans
unmediately snatching up, hurried across the river into a
secure spot, and on the rest of the Athenian army advancing,
themselves retreated*

CII. In the mean time, such of them as had first taken
refuge in the city, when they saw what had happened,
themselves resuming courage, issued from thence, and again
ranged themselves against the Athenians, opposite, and sent
a part of their force to the Athenian wall of circumval-
lation at Epipolae, thinking that they should find it destitute of
defence, and easily take it A And to the extent often plethra
(or six hundred and eighty cubits) they took and destroyed
the outwork ' ; but the wall itself of circumvallation, Nicias
(for he happened to be there, left behind by indisposition)
hindered them from taking; ordering the labourers'' to set
fire to the machines, and whatever other timber had been de-
posited before the wall; being sensible that, from want of troops,
they could in no other way save themselves* And it hap-
pened according to his expectation ; for the Syracusans, by

' JF%rst baUaiion.] I here read, with Valla, Duker, and Portus, ^Xj).
The reading ^vXtuct^, the fore-guard or picket-guard, yields no tolerable

* Having passed a ceriain ditch,] 'E'm^ia€dvrfs : this verb is somewhat
rare; but 1 have noted it in Pausan. 1,36, 2. iiridut^avrotv itri r>)v ^rrn-
Xiiav Xenoph. Hist. 5, 5, 4. *0\{fv^ioi Su€aivov rbv 7r6rafiop. Herod. 4^ 122,
10. kmdiaJidvrig IttAxov^ Polyb. .5, H, 8. 5, 71, 10. 4, 64, 9. Dio Cass.
292, 57. Arrian E. A. 2, J. Joseph. 5, 56, 40.

5 Separated from, ^c,] The expression fiovkt^ttQ fur 6\iy6tv may seem to
involve an inconsistency ; hut bv the best writers ftovSut is used in a quaiifi^
sense, as Herod. 6, 15. ^schyl. Pers. 740. fAovdSa Sk SfpKv> tpril^ov ^aiy
ov 7roXXwi> ftfra. where Dr. Blomfield compares Eurip. Hec. 1 130. iaovov dk
avv riKifOifft fi* Eitrdyei.

The story told by Plutarch of the death of Lamachus seems entitled to
no attention.

• The outwork.] Namely, we may suppose, a sort of palisade, by way of
defence to the workmen and others against any sudclen attack, or the
Annoyance of stranding parties.

« Labourers.] TProbably, slaves. Not servants, as Hobbes renders*

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reason of the fire, made no fiurtber advances, but imm^
diately retreated back. Indeed, by this time there had come
up a reioforcement from the Athenians below, who had now
chased off the enemy there, and at the same time their fleet
from Thapsus (agreeably to orders) came to port in the great
harbour. At sight of this, those on the height quickly departed,
as did the whole army of the Syracusans, to the city, being
now of opinion that with their present forces they should no
longer* be able to hinder the carrying of the wall down to the

cm. After this, the Athenians raised a trophy, and gave
back the dead, under treaty, to the Syracusans, and received
those slain with Lamachus, and Lamachus himself. Then
with their whole armament, both of the sea and the land
service, they began to block up Syracuse with a double wall of
circumvallation, down to the sea. And now supplies of neces-
saries for the army were brought in from all parts of Italy.*
Many, too, of the Siculi, who had before stood aloof, looking
to see which should be the conquerors, now came over to the
Athenians as allies ; who were also joined by three fifty-oared
ships from Tjrrsenia. Other a£&irs, also, took a turn accord-
ing to their wishes. For the Syracusans, as no assistance came
to them from Peloponnesus, no longer thought that they should
surmount their difficulties, but were holding conferences with
each other, and correspondence with Kictas, respecting capitu-
lation ; for, since the death of Lamachus, he had held the sole
command. Nothing, however, was concluded *^, but (as was

9 Who now nippoied^ Sfc."] Mitford very well paraphrases thus: ** All
hope of intercepting the contravallation, or by any means preventing its
completion, was now given up by the besi^ed.'

1 Suppiiet of neceuariei^ 4^.] From the fear that their previous refusal
or hesitation to join in the attack or furnish provisions might draw down
upon them the vengeance of a powerful and prosperous state.

^ NoiMngt however, was conciudedA Because (as Mitford thinks) the
terms were not such as Nicias thought would satisfy his greedy masters.
The real reason, however, might be, that the persons in communication
with Nicias were chiefly, if not entirely, of the lower ranks, who had not
that apprehension of subjection to a democracy which might justly be
entertained by the aristocracy. ** Thus nearly, however," says Mitford,
" was a great point, and perhaps the most important, carried towards
realisiiig the magnificent visions of the amlution of Alcibiades^ and ^ near

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likely to be tbe case with men not knowing what ooarse t6
take, and besieged more closely than bcfere) many proposals
were made to him, and yet more debates were imitated m
the city. For, by reason of their present calamities, they bad
conceived a suspicion of each other ^, insomuch that they re-
moved from office the commanders under whom these misfi>r-
tunes had occurred (as if the harm had befallen them either
by their ill luck or treachery), and elected others in their
stead, Heraclides ^, Eucles, and Tellias.

CIV. In the meantime, Gylippus the Lacedaemonian, and
the ships from Corinth, were now about the parts of Leucas,
designing to bring assistance with all speed to Sicily; but
when terribly alarming reports reached them, and all concurring
in the falsehood that Syracuse was now completely blockaded,
Grylippus no longer entertained any hope of Sicily^ but being
desirous of preserving Ilali/y he himself and Pythen, the
Corinthian commander, crossed, with all haste, the Ionian gul^
with two Laconian and two Corinthian vessels, to Taras ; for
the Corinthians, having equipped, besides ten of their own,
two of the Leucadian and three Ambraciot triremes, were
to sail after. Gylippus, having first gone on an embassy
from Taras to Thuria (on account of his father having been
once a citizen of that place'), but not being able to bring them
over, he weighed anchor, and coasting along the Italian shores
was seized by a wind from off the Tarantine gulf ^ (such as

was Nidas to nuniDg, almost against his will, the glory of conqueror of
Syracuse and of Sicily, and adding to the dominion of Athens the greatest
acquisition ever yet made by Grecian arms."

» Had conceived a stapicion of each other.] This suspicion of treachery
between party and party Mitford justly considers as '* the universal bane
of the Grecian commonwealth, especially in adverse circumstances."

* Heraclides,] Probably, the same person that was in ofBce before.

1 Oft account of his father, 4>c.] His father, Cleandridas, being joined as
counsellor to Plistoanax in his expedition against the Athenians, and, alter
his return, accused and found guilty of having received bribes from Periclef
to hasten hb departure, was exiled, and went and resided at Thurium.

* Seized by a wind from off the Tarantine gui/^ I have here followed
the conjecture of Poppo TofrnvrXvov, for TtpipaXov, which (it may be added^
is somewhat confirmed by the reading of one MS. TffHwaXov. The f and
fi, as also the v and r, are often confounded. Certainly, the common read*
Sng cannot be tolerated, since the Terin^ean ffulf is on the other side of
Italy, and it is quite inconsistent with what fbliows. However, xard must.

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there has a mighty foi*ce^ when standing at north ^), and
carried off ^ to sea, and after being escceedingly tossed by the
storm, he again made Taras, where he drew on shore and
refitted such of his ships as had suffered from the storm.

Nicias, though he heard that he was on the voyage, yet
contemned the paucity of his ships (which had excited a
similar feeling in the Thurians), and conceiving that Gylippus
had sailed rather for privateering purposes than regular war,
he had as yet kept no watch on his motions.^

CV. About the same time this summer the Lacedaemonians
(themselves and their allies) made an irruption into Argos,
and ravaged most of the country ; on which the Athenians
went to the assistance of the Argives with thirty ships, which
was a most manifest violation of their treaty with the Lacedae-

in spite of the otgections of Pdppo^ signify en the dirpcHcm of, oHut ab, at
Benedict rightly renders it.

3 HoM a mighty force.'\ So Soph. Aj. Il48. iKirvtvaaQ fikyac dvtfioc.
Pseudo-Eurip. in Hbeso 319. i^vartic — i^pawrt kai^tf^*- fiiyat irvkmf.
Aristoph. Vesp. 1 123. Bopkac 6 idyag. See also Herod, s. 138. and Plutarch
Ages. 32.

^ Standing at Nortk.] The Scholiast and Goeller rightly observe that
ioTiiK^ is applicable to what we call a steady or stiff wind. Here I would
compare Aristaen. \.^, 11. rov Si rr^vfiaroc Iv^iv hrriKSrot, Herod. 6, HO,
4. irtimmv dvifJMV K«Tt<miiit6Tbhf,

Groeller censures the Scholiast for adducing the phrase 9t&9iq dvsftov,
affirming that that meatis quite another thing ; but the passage of ^schyl.
Prom. 10^3. which he adduces from Coray, seems to justify the Scholiast;
and if that should be thought dubious, the following must be acknowledged
to be decisive. Dio Chrys. (the page I have not noted) "Qinrtp ydp ol r6v
dptfiov otifiaivovcm ratvioi, leaTd ri)v vrdoiv aitl rov nvtv/iaroQ aitttpovvrai^
wvi ftiv oi;rwc» rrdkiv fk Iwi ddrfpa. So also Suidas explains the phrase by
liri Itpoiic fUdiot di/lfioi;.

That violent winds do sometiiiies blow from gulft cannot be doubted,
and they are occasionally mentioned by the antients ; ex. gr. Plutarch
Anton. d^vu> Sk rov kSXttov 7roXt>v ImrvtixmvtfQ XfCa.

* Carried of,] Bekker and Goeller edit dp'/rao^tiCf which may be con-
firmed from Eiirip. Cycl. 108. dv^jnav ^weXXot f(vp6 ft ^praoK^v /3i^. ^schyl.
Agam. 610. ^ Y<iM« — ftpiratn (scil. airbv,) See also the commentators on
Acts 27, 12. Yet the common reading dvapir. is confirmed by .^chin.
C. Ctes. § 4S. Kal ydp vavTueij Kai w^^i; arparia Kal irdXetc apBrfv tiaiy
ttvtipirafffivai. The sense will thus be '* in transversum abripi," which, as
being more significant and apposite, I should be inclined to adopt, did I not
fuspect that Hie dv arote from the alpreceding. However, nihil decerno.

* Kept no watch on his motions,] This was certainly very unwise in so
experienced a person as Nicias. The Athenian government, too, seems to
have been very blamable in having no squadron, however small) in the
western parts of Greece, to watch the motions of the fleet now fitting out
at Corinth and elsewhere, and pick up stragglers.

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monians: for hefbre^ indeed, they had carried on hostilities
from Pylus, and by cruising round Peloponnesus, rather than
making any debarkation on the Laconian territory, or carry''
ing on loor (as now) in conjunction with the Argives and Man-
tinseans ; and though the Argives repeatedly counselled them
only to land with arms on the Laconian territory, and, after,
having ravaged a very little of the territory, to return', they
would not. Nay, having now (under the command of Pytho-
dorus, Laespodius, and Demaratus) landed at Epidaurus Li-
mera, and ravaged Prasia and certain other parts of the ter-
ritory, they gave the Lacedaemonians a plausible reason
for going to war with them.^ After the Athenians had retired
with their fleet, and the Lacedaemonians gone home, the
Argives made an irruption into Phliasia, and having ravaged
part of the country, and slain some of the inhabitants, they
returned home.

» Gave the L^cedtpmoruaru, 4*c.] This ebullition of ill will, however
natural and merited, was certainly a very impolitic* step, and by exciting the
Lacedsmonians to go to war, and send Gyhppus and the forces to Sicilyt,
was the immediate cause of the failure of the Sicilian expedition, which
led to the ruin of Athens.

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I. Alsd now Gylippus and Pythen, after having refitted their
ships, coasted along from Taras to Locri Epizephyrii ; and
having now learnt, on more accurate intelligence, that Syracuse
was not yet completely circumvallated, but that it was still
possible for any coming with an army to gain entrance by the
way of Epipolae, they consulted whether, keeping Sicily on
the right, they should adventure to enter the place by sea, or
'whether, with Sicily on the left, they should first sail to
Himera, and having added the people there and such other
forces as they should prevail on to join them, should go by
land. And it was resolved to sail to Himera, especially as
the four Attic ships, which Nicias, however he might despise
them S yet, on hearing that they were at Locri, despatched,
had not arrived at Rhegium. Having thus been beforehand
with this guard-force, they make their passage through the
strait, and only touching at Rhegium and Messene, arrive at
Himera. Being there, they prevailed on the Himerseans to
join them, and both themselves to follow, and also to supply
arms and armour ^ to such of the sailors as had them not (for
the ships they drew on shore and laid up) ; and sent to desire
the Selinuntians to meet them in full force at a certain place
by the way. The Geloans, also, and some tribes of Siculi,
promised them some inconsiderable force ; the latter of whom
were the more disposed to join, Archimedes being lately dead
(who reigning over the Siculi in those parts, and possessing
no little power, was attached to the Athenians), and since
Gylippus seemed to have come firom Lacedsemon with zeal for
the business.^ Gylippus, then, having taken of the sailors

I However he might despise them,] This (as the Scholiast points out) b
implied in the hfita^, which has reference to a clause omitted.

« Arms and armour.] Both are meant by StrXa.

s WUh zeal for the business.] Or, with alacrity in the cause. Thucy-
dides hints that thejpeople more readily came over to the cause, on seeine
the Lacedaemonians lay aside their usual sluggishness and hesitation, and
engage heartily in the a£^.

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and marines those that liad been provided with arms, to the
amount of seven hundred \ also Himerseans, of heavy and
light-armed together, about one thousand, with one hundred
horse and some SeUnontian light-armed, and a few Geloan
horse, together with Sicoii in all one thousand, he marched
for Syracuse.

II. And now the Corinthian and other ships set forward
from Leucas with all possible speed ^ and Gongylus, one of
the Corinthian commanders, though he set off with a single
ship the last of all, yet arrived first at Syracuse, and a little
before Gylippus ^ ; and having found them about to hold an
assembly, in order to form measures for bringing the war to a
termination, he put a stop to this, and reanimated their droop*
ing courage, telling them that the rest of the fleet were now
coming up, with Gylippus son of Cleandridas, sent as com-
mander by the LacedsBmonians. At these assurances the Sy-
racusans were much encouraged, and immediately went forth
in full force to meet Gylippus, for they had learnt that he was

* Seven hundred.] This was probably not the fiill complement of the
crews ; for the air of the expression dvoXa^iov (U) r&v vavrStv roi^, &c.
suggests that for tome arms could not be provided; and others misht
not be fit to act as hoplites, from sickness or other causes; and a tew
would necessarily be left to take care of the ships. Thus there is nothing
to negative the opinion that two hundred was the regular number of the
crew of a trireme.

Mitford, indeed, estimates the total number, with the attendant slaves, at
five thousand. But that appears far above the mark. Nor does it seem
likely that t/aves (who, indeed, were not much used for war by these nap
tions) would be taken on such an expedition as this. «

1 And now the Corinthians, <$•<?.] Smith has here strangely missed the
sense, which, it must be confessed, is not rerv perspicuous. We may gather
from what is implied rather than emretsed, that the fleet did not set out all
together, but that some ships whicn had not arrived at I^eucas when it de*
pitted, sailed after it, and of these the last was the vessel of Gongylus.

« Though he tet pffy ^c^ arrivedfirtt at Syraome,] That Gongylus made
the passage in less time than the rest would, at first si^ht, seem to be a
fanct scarcely worth noticing. But it was really of great importance ; for
time was then very precious ; and Gfongylus, by arriving with one ship
earlier than the rest, not only saved so much time, but was enabled to
enter the harbour unobserved, probably by night : whereas, the whole Jieet
must hare been observed, and would have been prevented firom entering.
There is no doubt but that the celerity of Qongylus's passage was, as Mit-
ford (though without any authority) relates, effected by pushing aeroM the
gulf, and not, as usual, coasting the Italian shore. Thus, too, he arrired in
the only dicectioQ wliere tiie Athenian ships were not on the watch.

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now near ^ ; and» in fact» Gylippus, having by the way taken
legce ^f a fort of the Skruli, and putting his troops in order of
battle, then arrives at Epipolse ^ ; and having ascended by
Euryelus (wh^^ the Athenians at first gained access) he
marched witli the Syracusans against the wall of the Athenians.
Now it chanced that at the time of his arrival the Athenians
had completed eight or nine stadia of a double wall to the

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 20 of 59)