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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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 23 of 59)
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<of the Lacedaemonians. And first they ravaged those parts
of the country about the plain, then they fortified Decelea,
portioning out the work among the several states. Now,

mnking that the transgression, ^cJ] The same transgression, which
they thought had already brought the vengeance of the gods on them-
selves, they concluded would now bring it on the Athenians. They now
thought that justice (not simple justice, or a due consideration of the
rights of men, which Grecian religion little taught to regard, but justice
ratified by a solemn appeal to the gods) was now on their side. (Mit-

Here, I would observe, that we cannot fail to perceive the mighty force
of what may be called moral strength in war. Whether the disasters, which
the Lacedaemonians met with in their first and most unjust war, are to be
ascribed to the judgment of a just Providence, we are not warranted in pro-
nouncing : but few will hesitate to attribute roost of their ill success to the
indisposition which individuals felt to take part in so unjust a war. This
must have ever hung on their minds, and unnerved their arms. Indeed,
even those that have no religion, thus, by the force of conscience, tacitly
do homage to its truth and obligations. To turn to a case in point, to what
could the disasters, which so beset the latter years of Napoleon, be so fairly
attributed as his iniquitous aggression on the rights of nations, in attacking
allies who had deserved well of him ? Indeed, the French officers and sol-
diers have since acknowledged, that the badness of their cause ever hung a
dead weight upon them. And, in the bitterness of his heart, the mighty,
but unpnncipled, conqueror was often heard to exclaim, that the disorder
which led to his political end, was the ** gangrene of Spain,** This made
bim (to use the words of Gray)

» ^ groan,

With pangs unfelt before, unpitied and alone." . ^


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Decelea is distant from the ci^ of Athens one hundred and
twenty stadia, and about the same, or not much more, from
Boeoda. ^ The fort was built in the plain, and the best pa^ts
of the country, for the purpose of annoyance, and was visible
up to the city of Athens. This the Peloponnesians and dieir
allies in Attica occupied themselves in building ; while those
in Peloponnesus, about the same time, sent off the heavy^
armed in the transports to Sicily ; the Lacedeemoni^uis having ^
selected the best of the Helots and Neodamodes (or newly-
made dtizens) to the amount of seven hundred of both, ap-
pointing Eccritus, a Spartan, their commander. The Boeotians
sent three hundred heavy-armed, under the command of
Zeno and Nico, Thebans, and Hegesander, a Thespian.
Those, then, amongst the first ^ having set sail from Tsenarus
in Laconia, committed their ships to the sea.® Not long dft^
these, the Ck>rinthians sent five hundred heavy-armed, partly
from Corinth itself, and partly hired from the Arcadians,,
under the command of Alexarchus, a Corinthian. The Sicy-
onians, too, sent two hundred heavy-armed with the Corin-
thians, commanded by Sargeus, a Sicyonian. Now, the
twenty-five ships of the Corinthians, which had been fitted out

1 Abotd the iome^ Sfc."] I entirely approve of the reading U koX ov, in-
troduced from two MSS by Bekker. In suck an idiom the nai is for ^. So
Polysen. 1. 2, 56. ^rapairXiyWac k€u iooq KXeUa^. I cannot, however, so miiGh
commend the introduction from two MSS. of dird, which seems to be.
from the mar^n. Nor is there less reason to suspect the common reading
liri: though It appears to have arisen from another view of the con-
struction. Neither, indeed, is necestm/y; for dvo may very well be
repeated from the preceding, as also dnix^u And the construction may be
laid down as follows : ainxt*^ ^^ V A. &raiiovc fnxKtiTTiM r^c i'^ 'A^fivcuuv
xt^eoff tiKOifi Kai ktarbv, irapairkiiauiv (for •irapatrXiiffUoQf as in Polyb. 1, 4, 8.
4, 40, 10. 9,39, 17.) dk dirlx<( oif ttoXA^ wXsov (^i^ffrijffa) Koi ttiq Boi-

It is truly observed by Goeller, that '* if the above reading be correct
(which there is no ^ood reason to doubt), it will prove that most geo-
graphers are noch m error in their representations of this part of the

* Amongti the J!nt,] For Iv ro7i irpwroic Rciz, Bekker, and Qoeller edit
Iv TOis irpdroi. I prefer irpArov^ as there b no (tiffereace in sense, but
must reserve the discussion for my edition.

3 Committed their thipt to the tea.] The translators take the sense to be
no more than ** put to sea." But I am inclined to think that, in this pe-
culiar phrase, tnere is a reference to the mode in which the voyage
was made, namely, not by coasting along the shores of Greece and Italy,
iwt by crossing tlie #ea, and not tm loniao gulC

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in the winter, occupied a station over against '^ the twenty
Athenian ships at Naupactus, until such time as those heavy-
armed had set sail from Peloponnesus. For which purpose,
indeed, they had been at first fitted out, namely, that the
Athenians might not have their attention fixed on the trans-
ports so much as the triremes.

XX. In the meantime, and immediately on the commence^
ment of spring, at the same time that Decelea was b^un to
be fortified, the Athenians sent thirty ships, commanded by
Charicles son of Apollodoros, to cruise around Pelopon-
nesus, with orders to go to Argos, and solicit from the
Argives, in virtue of the alliance, some troops to go on board
the ships. They also, as they had intended, sent Demosthenes
oS to Sicily with sixty Athenian and five Chian ships, and
fifteen hundred Athenian heavy-armed from the lists, also as
many of the islanders from every quarter as they could pro-
cure ; from the other subject allies, too, supplying themselves
with whatever they had which might be useful for the war.
He was, moreover, ordered, as he was sailing round Pelopon-
nesus, to first cooperate with Charicles in hostilities upon the
Laconian coast.

And Demosthenes, sailing to iEgina, there waited for such as
yet remained to join, and till Charicles should have taken on
board the Argives.

XXI. In Sicily, about the same time this summer,
Gylippus came to Sjrracuse, bringing from the cities which he
prevailed upon to join the greatest force he could muster.
And having convened the Syracusans, he told them they
ought to fit out as many ships as possible, and make trial of a
sea-fight^; for he was in hopes that they would thereby

4 Occupied a station over t^amtt.] Namely, as appears from Polysen. 6,
23., Panormiis in Acbaea. This passage of Thucyoiaes may suggest more
than one certain emendation of Polyaenus ubi supra.

> Make trial of a tea-fight,] As the phrase avdirtipav \afi€dvHv is
neglected by the commentators, the foliowmg examples may be not unac-
ceptable: Herodot. 8,9,7. Airoirtipav woh}aa<j^m. Herodian 2, 99.
dTTdiTiipav ivouiTo r^c Tutv <rr, yvw/ii;c. Arrian E. A. 2, 20, 5. aK6intpav r^c
vavfxaxiag ilaprvitrdm. Polyb. 27, 4, 2. dir67rtipav \afiUvHv. Hesych.
Milesius ap. Corp. Hyst. Byz. p. 257* I>. Airointpav IXofiGavf rov wokifwv.

N 2

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achieve something for the war which would compensate the
danger.^ Hermocrates, too, was not least instrumental in
jointly persuading them not to be alarmed at making an attack
on the Athenitos; telling them that neither those had their
naval skill hereditary, or from time immemorial, but being
landsmen, more than the Syracusans now, they were com-
pelled by the Medes to become seamen. To dai;ing persons,
he said, like the Athenians, those that counter-dared always
seemed the most formidable foes.® For by the same mode
that they attack and terrify their neighbours (though oc-
casionally not superior to them in power), by the same, namely,
by bold enterprise, they^ too, might meet tfie same fate at the
bands of an enemy/ The Syracusans, too, he said, well
knew that by thus unexpectedly venturing to oppose the
Athenian navy, they would, by their being daunted thereat,
gain more the advantage over them than the Athenians
would worst them by their superior skill.^ He bade them,
therefore, not shrink from making a trial with their navy.

At the persuasions, then, of Gylippus and Hermocrates,
and whoever else, the Syracusans were eager for a sea-fight,
and equipped their ships.

XXII. When the navy was ready, Gylippus, having led
forth by night the whole of the land forces, was prepared
himself to attack by land the forts at Plemmyrium ; while at
the same time the Syracusan triremes, thirty-five in number,
at signal, sailed forward from the great port, and forty-five
from the lesser, where was their dock ', and sailed round to

« Compensate the danger,] Literally, counterbalance ; ¥^hich is the pri-
mitive sense of AJiwQ,

9 To daring persona, 4^.] Consequently of such they would stand in awe,
and feel comparatively claunted. Tnis is a very rare sense of x<^^oc«,

* By the same mode, ^^c] Such appears to be the sense of the intricate
passage of the original, which is passed over by the commentators.

* Gam more the advantage, 4[c.] This is the closest version that I can
offer of this involved passage, in which the difficulty has arisen from the
antithesis being incorrectly drawa, and an expression employed (ry 2irt<r-
r^fiff — Amipiav pkSfmfrac) which is fitter for a Pindaric ode than an
historical passage.

I Their dock,] It is plain that this dock was in the lesser harbour, called

the Lacdus, which, by the wav, was so called from its similarity to a cistern,

being faced all round with mestone. From this dock (vcwpiov) must be

ftiogoished the vtfihwKOi mentioned furtho* on, which were undoubtedly

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form a union with those within, and, moreover, make safl
upon Plemmyrium, in order that the Athenians might be
thrown into confusion in both places. But the Athenians,
speedily manning sixty vessels, they with twenty-five of them
fought against the thirty-five Syracusan ones in the great
port, and with the remainder proceeded to meet those who
were sailing round from the dock. And immediately they
came to battle before the mouth of the great port, and for a long
time maintained an equal contest one against another, one side
being anxious to force the entrance, the other to hinder it.

XXIII. In the meantime, Gylippus, on the Athenians at
Plemmyrium having gone down to the water-side, and with
their attention turned to the sea-fight, snatches the oppor-
tunity, and suddenly, at daybreak, attacks the forts, and takes
the largest first, and then also the lesser ones afler ; the garri-
sons not daring to remain, when they saw the largest taken
with ease. And of that first taken the garrison, such as got on
board the barges and a transport, with some difficidty arrived
at the camp ; for the Syracusan ships having as yet the ad-
vantage in the battle in the great port, they were chased by one
swifl-sailing trireme. But by the time that the other two forts
were taken, the Syracusans happened then to be beaten, and
the fugitives from the forts the more easily sailed past Indeed,
those Syracusan ships which fought before the mouth of the
harbour, afier having beaten back the Athenian ships, sailed

in the great port The distinction is thus pointed out by Letronne, p. 28. :
** N£«ptov was in ports the place wholly appropriated to building or refitting
ships, or receiving thero, when drawn on shore, to keep them moist. It
may be also observed, that besides the place necessary for a certain number
of vessels, the nutpiov contained likewise the stores of sails, cordage, wood,
&c. See Demosth. Orat. in Euerget. p. 1145, 4. and in Polyclet. p. 1218,
IS, t. 2. Reiske. Yet the word viutpiov was employed in a more restricted
sense than our arsenal. The vninroiKOi comprehended in the vtufpta were a
kind of huts, where were put certain vessels, perhaps tnremes, the con-
struction or preservation of which required more attention and care, while
the merchant-vessels were left in the vcuipioi', .exposed to the weather. —
The squari of the dock at Venice, i. e. the sixty booths, where the galleys
used to be built and refitted, will very accurately represent the vtuMroiKoi of
the antients." Thus, Goeller remarks, vnapiov was the whole, viweroucoi a
part : and he compares a similar distinction between iiriviia and vaiKn-a^fia,
paralleting these and the above words by the German terms Seeplat*^
Ankerplatz, SMffswerft, Shifidocken,

N 3

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in great disorder, and being thrown into confusion, and
running foul of each other, yielded up the victory to the
Adienians. For they routed not only these^ but those in the
port by which they had been before conquered. They also
sunk eleven of the Syracusan ships, slaying most of the men
on board except those of three ships ; and them they made
prisoners.^ Having drawn to land the wrecks of the Syra-
cus^ns, and set up a trophy on the islet before Plemmyrium,
they retreated to their own camp.

XXIV. And now the Syracusans, though they thus fared
in the sea-fight, yet held the forts ^ in Plemmyrium, and set
up three trophies for them. And one of the two forts last
taken they demolished ; but the remainder they repaired and
garrisoned. At the capture of the forts many of the garrison
were slain or made prisoners ; and money and goods ^ to a
considerable amount in all ^ were taken. For as the Athe-
nians had used the forts as a magazine, great quantities of
merchants' goods and com were there deposited ; much pro-
perty, too, of the trierarchs, since there were forty masts of
triremes, besides much other tackling^ taken therein, and
three triremes which had been hauled on shore.* Indeed^ the
capture of Plemmyrium was what chiefly and principally
ruined the Athenian armament. For the entrances were no
longer safe for ® the importation of necessaries ; since the
Syracusans, moored at anchor on the watch 7, hindered their

^ They sunk, ^c] It should seem that the three ships here mentioned
were not actually sunk, but only put hors de combat. Perhaps, the rest were
not all utterly sunk ; at least, to them must apply what is said of drawing
the wrecks on shore : indeed, if the ships were all sunk, to say that they
put the crews to death, would seem to involve an absurdity. In that case,
they would only leave them to their fate.

> Fortt.] Not wallsy as Hobbes.

3 Money and ^oods.] Both these senses (the latter of which is not unfre-
quent in 1 hucydides) seem to be inherent in xpnf^ara,

3 In all,] Or, upon the whole. Hobbes has mistaken the force of the
rd ^vfiiravra,

^ Tackling.] See my note on Acts 27, 19.

5 Hauled on thore,] Namely, to be careened.

^ Safe for.] At ri/c iiraytayrii 1 WOuld subaud HviKa,

7 Moored at anchor on the watch,] For there was, probably, a sort of
harbour between the island of Plemmyrium, at that time possessed by the

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entrance^ and thas the importations had bow to be made by
fighting their way in. In other respects, too, the circumstanoo
threw a consternation and dejection over the army.

XXV. After this, the Syracusans sent out twdve ships
under the command of Agatharchiis, a Syracusan ; one of
which went to Peloponnesus, conveying ambassadors to make
known that ^^ they are in hopes," and to urge the prosecution
of the war there with yet greater vigour. The other eleven
ships stood over for Italy, having learnt that some Athenian
vessels laden with stores were on their voyage. ^And having
met with the vessels, they destroyed the greater part, and
burnt some timber for ship-building in the territory of Caulon^
which had been laid up there for the Athenians. After this,
they went to Locri, and as they were at anchor there, one of
the transports arrived from Peloponnesus, bringing some
heavy*armed of the Thespians. And taking them on board
their ships, the Syracusans coasted along homewards.

But the Athenians watching for them off Megara, with
twenty ships captured one vessel with the men on board ; the
rest they could not come up with, they effecting their flight
to Syracuse. There aros^ too, a skirmish in the port, near
the piles which the Syracusans had driven down ' in the sea»
in the front of the old docks, in order that their ships might
anchor within them, and the Athenians not make sail upon
them and damage them by charging with the beak. For the
Athenians bringing up against them a vessel of vast burthen ^,
fitted up with wooden towers and parapets ^ and some of

Syracusans, and the continent, or proraontory, of Plemmyrium. Smith
wrongly renders ii^pfiovvrtg ** rushed upon them.'*

I Caulon.] A town about twenty miles north-east of Locri Epixaphyrii.
The place where the wood was deposited was probably at the mouth of the
river Segras.

s Piles which the Syracmant had driv^ down, 4^.1 This was done in
order that their station in the great harbour might thus be more private,
and like a separate harbour. ^

3 Of vast burthen,] Namely, of a tti ousand amphorffi. v

* Fitted tip with, (Jr.] The towers and parapets (accompanied, no doubt,
with stages) were meant to cover the attempts of the men in the long
boats by a galling shower of missiles launched aaainst any that should
attempt to cfefend the piles. It is well observed by Mitford, " that the

N 4

Digitized by



them fastening cables from certain long-boats to the pilesy
wrenched them up witli a windlass ^ ; while others dived, and
cut them off with saws. And now the Syracusans assailed
them from the docks with missiles, while those stationed in
the transports returned their volleys, until at last the Athe-
nians had torn up the greater part of the piles. The most
formidable difficulty was with the piling which was hidden.
For the Sjrracusans had driven down some piles so that they
did not rise above the sui*face of the water ; insomuch that it
was perilous to approach, lest by not seeing them, they should
run the ship foul of them, as upon a rock.° But these, too,'
the divers descended and sawed off for a reward. However,
the Syracusans again fixed piles, and they also (as was likely
with armies lying near and ranged opposite to each other)
used many contrivances against each other, and resorted to
various attempts.

The Syracusans also sent ambassadors of the Corinthians,
Ambraciots, and Lacedaemonians to the cities ^, to notify the
capture of the Plemmyrium ; and, respecting the sea-fight, to
say that they had been defeated not by the power of the
enemy, but by their own disorder. For the rest, they were to
announce ^^ that they are in hopes," and to entreat them to
rally around them, both with sea and land forces ; and ^* that
the Athenians are expected with another army, and if they

merchant-ships of the antients, capacious, deep, and firm in the water, like
modem vessels for ocean navigation, were much fitter for some purposes of
stationary fight than their galleys of war."

4 Wrenched them up with a wind/^tt, ^c] We must suppose that the
long-boats were strongly moored and fastened to the ship, by which the
machines would have the sreater force. By those the piles (which seem
not to have been near so thick as those used in our ports) would be first
dragged on one side, and then gradually pulled up. The machines of the
antients, it is to be remembered, were some of tnem more powerful than
any of those used by the modems.

Run the ship foul of them, 4-c.] So Herod. 7, 185. iEschyl. Eumen.
561. Schulz. rbv TTpiv o\€ov ipfum vpoa^aXwv Skac, Uenc6 may be emended
Dio Cass. 672, 55. firjTt TrtpUpfia vtftpiyayijvai i&<ryg scil. nr/v oXxaSa, where
read irtpi Ipiia, Also a most cormpt passage of iEschyl. Agam. 977. dvSpog
Ivaictv •♦*♦•• d<i>avTov tpfia. where the lacuna is filled up by critics in
various ways. I would propose ewca^c with some adjective, irpbg or irtpi
atpavT, ip.

7 The cities.] Namely, in Sicily, as appears from what follows. The
ambassadors of the Corinthians, 8cc, were doubtless sent with their own, in
order to strengthen the business.

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should first destroy their present forces, the war would be
decided.** These afiairs, then, they transacted in Sicily.

XXVI. As to Demosthenes, when all his forces were
assembled which he was to take to the succour of those in
Sicily, weighing from iEgina, and standing over to the
Peloponnesian coast, he formed a junction with Charicles and
the thirty Athenian ships there. And having taken on board
some Argive heavy-armed, they made sail to the Laconian
coast ; and first they ravaged a part of the territory of Epi-
daurus Limera \ and from thence having touched at that
part of Laconia which is opposite to Cythera, where is situated
the temple of Apollo, they devastated certain parts of the
territory, and carried a wall across a kind of isthmus, in .
order that the Helots might desert thither, and that from them
freebooters might make their incursions, as from Pylus. Im-
mediately after having occupied the place, Demosthenes
coasted along to Corcyra, in order, after taking on board there
some of the allies \ he might make the best of his way to
Sicily ; while Charicles stayed until he had fortified the place,
and then, leaving a garrison there, made sail home with the
thirty ships, and the Argives with him.

XXVII. Tliis same summer there arrived at Athens
thirteen hundred Tliracians of those called Machcerophori
(or sword-bearers ^) and of the tribe of Dii *, who were to
have gone with Demosthenes to Sicily ; but, since they came
too late, the Athenians determined to send them back again
into Thrace. For, as their pay was a drachma a day, it
seemed to be too expensive to keep them for the war carried
on from Decelea ; which, being first fortified this summer by
the whole army, and afterwards occupied by garrisons going
thither by turn from all the cities, exceedingly annoyed the

« Eptdaurut Limera,] See 4, 56, and 6, 105. Mitford erroneously
makes^ Demosthenes turn back to Epidaunis, namely, in Argolis.

« The aUies,'] Namely, we may suppose, the Zacynthians, Cephalleniaus,
Acamanians, Naupactians, Anactorians, and Corcyreans.

3 Sword-bearing.] Namely, armed with long swords, like the Scottish
Highlanders of old. See note on 1. 2, 96,

* Dii,] See note on 1. 2, 96.

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Athenians, and was among the chief circumstances that
brought affairs to ruin, both by the destruction of property
and the loss of men.^ For before^ the invasions, being of
short duration, did not hinder them from enjoying the use of
the ground for the rest of the time; but now, the enemy being
continually stationed there, and sometimes a greater force
arriving, at others the ordinary garrison^ from necessity, over-
running the country, and making ravages ; Agis, too, king of
the Lacedaemonians, being present ^ (and not carrying on the
war as a secondary concern 7), the Athenians were exceedingly
distressed. Thus were they deprived of the whole country,
and more than twenty thousand slaves deserted, of whom the
greater part were mechanics and artificers ; the whole, too, of
their sheep, cattle, and beasts of burden were destroyed, as
also the horses, of which (as the cavalry were every day riding
to Decelea, and making attacks, or keeping guard over the
country), some were lamed ® by the rough ground ^, or worn
down by incessant toil, others were disabled by wounds.

XXVIII. And the importation of necessaries from Euboea,
which had before taken place with greater speed over land by
Decelea, was now, as being by sea round Sunium, very ex-
pensive.^ The city needed every thing alike to be imported.

5 Lots of men,'] Namely, either by death, or by desertion.

Agu, too, 4*^.] Mitford incorrectly explains, <* remained as governor
of the garrison."

1 As a secondary concern^ Literally, " a ^e concern." He made it a
principal point, and attended to it entirely. See note on 1. 1, H2.

* Were lamed.] Literally, " were lamed and knocked up ; " for that is
the sense of the aw6. This term cfcircvwXoOvro (neglected by the commen-
tators) may be illustrated from the following passages: Fausan. lo, 42.
Airix^y^owTO 01 iTTTTOi. Xen. Hipp. 7, 15. ^!XXto»f « Kqv air6Kp0T0v »/ 6\idi}pbv

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 23 of 59)