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 25 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 25 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

length, of the Corinthians three ships were destroyed ; of the
Athenians, not one was wholly sunk, but seven were rendered
unfit for service, being struck with the opposite beak, and
broken up ^ at the part b^ween tbe prow and the oars, by tbe

I Erineus, 4^.] These were towos of Achsea, situated near the mouth
of the rifer Meganistas, but on contrary sides, and opposite to Nau-

« 0/ the farm of a crescent, 4^.] Mitford observes, ** that he chose his
station judiciously ; for in case of being overpowered, his retreat would be
^ort, and protection ready.'*

^ Thiriy»three ships.] Goeller notices the inconsistency of the numbers
at c. 31. and this passage. From c. 31. it would appear that there could
now be but twenty-d^t : but, as I observed at c. 31 ., the two ships having
gone on some expedition, so now, it should seem, had returned. How to
ftccouot for tbe other I know not, any more than for the change of com-
mander from CoDon to Diphilus, unless that, perhaps, three ships might have
bc«n sent, under Diphilus, to reinforce the squadron at Naupactus, since it
was known to be very inferior to the enemy's fleet ; and it could not be
contemplated that Demosthenes would send any detachment for that pur-

* Broken up,] So c. 59. ivaP(ffrYW<Tav. Theocrit. Id. 23, IS. tig roiXav
ifipi^l^, dwafiptiKmv i' dpm Toixov^ 'Afi^ori^^- Pollux, 1, 24.

O 2

Digitized by



Corinthian ships, which had thicker beaks ^ for this very
purpose. And a drawn battle having taken place, so that
each party claimed the victory (though the Adienians were
masters of the wrecks % both by the wind wafting them ^ to
seaward, and by the Corinthians no longer making any ad-
vance), they parted from each other. There was no pursuit,
nor were any prisoners made on either side ; for the Corin-
thians and Peloponnesians fighting near the land, easily se-
cured their safety ; while on the Athenians' side no ship was
sunk. However, on the Athenians sailing off to Naupactus,
the Corinthians immediately set up a trophy in quality of
victors, because they had disabled more ships of the enemy ;
conceiving that they were not beaten, because the other party
did not claim the victory.® For the Corinthians reckon
themselves to have the victory unless they be utterly beaten ;
and the Athenians account themselves worsted when they are
not decidedly the victors.^ On the Peloponnesians having
sailed away, and the land forces being dispersed to their

« Benks.] The learned French translator of Strabo, cited by Goeller,
explains the Ivorriiag thus : ** Les SpoHdes (parotides a un sens difTc^rent)
^toient dans les vaisseaux de guerre des anciens deux solives, plus ou moins
saillantet, plus ou moins larges, qui s'avan^oient de chaque cot^ de la
proue. Du milieu de ces ^potides partoit I'^peron, en Grec lfi€o\ov, et
en Latin rostrutn, dont I'extr^mit^ ^toit garni ae fer ou de cuivre. Scheffer
milit. naval. 2, 5. p. 1S4. Pline 7, 57. attrifoue I'invention des ipotides k
un pirate d'£trune nomm^ Piseus. C'est vraisemblablement craprb ce
rostruMy qui signifie un bee, et ^u'on pourroit regarder comme un sort de
. nez ou de^museau, qui ceux qui lui ajout^rent les deux solives laterales,
ont ^t^ pbrt^ h. leur donner» par suite de la m^me mdtaphore, le nom
^hotidetj qui cependant signifieroit couvre-oreilles plutdt qu'oreilles/'

it may be added, that in some cases there were two of these iiruiTtSig, as
appears from the following passages: Eurip. Iph. Taur. 1561. Matth.
jcovroi^ di irpufpai dxov. ^<^ lirwriiitv dyicvpac iKat^irrov. Philostr. Imag.
792. J| fikv XijffrMfi) vavQ rbv fidxtfu>v trXu rp6irov, ivuiritn rt ydp KareaKivaa*
rot, Kai iiiiSXtft, Kal aidripdi avry y(t|>ec> i^^^ <><X/^'» '^^'^ Spkirava Ini Sopdriav,

Matters of the wrecks.] Which was usually thought to constitute

7 Wafting them,] The word dirwrn^ is very rare, nor have I remarked it

8 Conceiving that, 4^.] Hobbes renders, ** thought themselves not to have
had the worse, for the same reason that the others thought themselves not
to have had the better."

9 For the Corinthians reckon, 4^.] The aorist here denotes what it

This trait of the Athenian character is similar to that ascribed to them
by the Corinthians, 1. 1, 70. ** as to whatever they may devise, and not
accomplish, they regard themselves as deprived of what was their own***

Digitized by



liomes, the Athenians themselyes erected a trophy in Achsea,
as victors, at about twenty stadia distant from Erineus, where
the Corinthians had their station. Such was the event of the

XXXV. And now Demosthenes and Eurymedon, after
the Thurians had put themselves in readiness to join the ex-
pedition, with seven hundred heavy-armed, and three hundred
darters, directed that the ships should coast along to the
territory of Croton, while they themselves, having just re-
viewed the whole of the land forces at the river Sybaris, led
them through the territory of Thuria. And as they were at
the river Hylias, on the Crotoniates sending, and telling
them it would not be with their consent that the army should
pass through their territory, they descended and encamped
at the sea-side and the mouth of the Hylias, where their
ships met them. On the day following they embarked, and
coasted along, touching at the cities (except Locri), untU they
arrived at Petra ^ in the territory of Rhegium.

XXXVI. Meanwhile, the Syracusans, hearing of their
approach, were again desirous to make another trial with their
fleet, and their late accessions of land forces, which they had
collected for the very purpose of striking a blow before the
reinforcement arrived. They equipped their navy according
as, from the experience of the former sea-fight, they thought
they should have the advantage; and especially they cut
shorter the prows of the ships, and made them stouter, fixing
thick beaks to the prows ; and stretched props and stays from
them, of about six cubits long, to the ribs or sides of the
vessels, both inwards and outwards '^ i in the same way as the

» Peira,] i. e. the promontory of Leucopetra; where, too, there might
be a town.

3 Props ami stays, 4rc,] Hoc ita factum esse intelligit Heilmann, ut fulcra
ista per prorae murum in navem immitterentur, ibique ad pilam in angulum
concurrerent cujus anguli que? eminebant extra navem crura alligabEintur
iwl epotidas, ab utroque latere prorse in obliquum prominentes, in fronte
autem angularem in formam et ipsas concurrentes; quo facto opus erat, ut
dvrn/oi^ec epotidibus pro fulcris essent. Longitudiiiem autem istorum ful-
crorum statuit virtus fuisse tenum cubitorum, totidemque extra navem.

O 5 Thow

Digitized by



Corinthian ships had been equipped at the prows, when Aesf
engaged with the fleet from Naupactus. For the Syracusans
conceived, that against the Atbeman ships, which were not
built with an equal defence, but having the parts about the
prow slight (because they made their charges not so much
4it prow as on the side of the vessel^ and after manceuvring
round), their own could not but have the advantage; also,
that lo engage in the great harbour, with many ships, and in
no great space, woukl be in their favour^ for making the
charges prow to prow, they^ould break up the parts about
the head, striking ^ with stiff and thick beaks on their hollow
and weak foreparts. Whereas the Athenians, in so narrow a
space, would haVe no means to use the manceworhig rounds
or the cutting through the line^ on their skill in which they
especially relied : for they themselves, to the utmost of their
power, would not allow tliem to break through the line, and
the narrowness of space would hinder them from manoeuvring
round. That mode of fighting, too, with opposite prows, which
formerly had been thought to have arisen from the unskil-
fulness of the steersmen, they ought themselves especially
to ase, as they would thus gain most advantage; for, if
pushed out of the line, the Athenians would have no place for
recoil, or tacking, nor any place of retreat, except to the land,
and that at but a short distance, and for a very small extent^
opposite their camp. The rest of the port they should themselves
occupy ; whereas the enemy, being thronged together in a
little room, and all in the same space, could not fail to rua
foul of each other, and fall into disorder, which, indeed, was
what proved most prejudicial to the Athenians in all their sea-

Those who are better acquainted with naval ardiitecture than myself
will judge whether the above be a correct view. To me it seems that none
of the props were, properly speaking, wUhin the vessel, but that two were
inwards, as compared to two others which stood further out, and touched
the ship's rot'xot further on. The outer ones might be called prop$^ the
inner ones itoyi.

^ Strtking,"] I have here followed Bekker and Goeller in adopting, from
two^ MSS., vaiovracy for the perplexing irapkxovrtQ : which, formerly fol-
lowing, I laid the construction down as follows : {iv6fLi9av) ydp^ xp<6/if voc
trrXc lfi£o\a7c AvTlirpiapoi, AvappiiXuv r<l irpupa^tv (fdpjj) aifTOiQ (for air&v)
raepitpotg Kai -trax^fn roTf IfitSXoig, irapixoyrfg {airoic) irp6Q icoiXa Kai da^tvfi^
Nec prorsus pcenttet.

Digitized by



£ghts, there not bong to them, as to the Syracusans, a space
tor recoil or retreat to any part of the port, but to manoeuvre
round into a wider space, the enemy* occupying the ap-
proaches from the sea; and retreat^ they would never be
able to do^ e^;>ecially as the Plemmyrium was in the posses-
sion of the enemy, and the mouth of the port not wide^

XXXVII. Having devised such additional expedients, in
aid of their skill and power, and being, moreover, more
courageous since their former battle, they made dieir attack
with both their land and sea forces. And Gylippus, leading
forth the land forces a little before, brought them against
the wall of the Athenians, at the part where it looked towards
the city. Then those from Olympieum (both the heavy^
armed who were there, and the cavalry and light-armed of the
Syracusans) advanced against the wall on the other side;
and immediately afler this, the fleet of the Syracusans and
their allies sailed forth. ^

The Atlienians supposed at first that the enemy would try
their attacks with the land forces only ; but on seeing the ships
suddenly bearing down, they were thrown into confusion;
whereupon some ranged themselves upon and before the walls,
to oppose the assailants; while others advanced against the
troops, marching with speed from Olympieum and the parts
beyond, both cavalry, in great numbers, and darters ; others,
again, manned the ships, and also went to give assistance at
the beach. And when they were manned, the ships put ofF%
in number seventy-five, while those of the Syracusans were
about eighty*

4 The enemy occupying the approaches from the sea, 4*0.] Mitibrd para-
phrases thus: " They could not press out to sea, through the narrow
mouth of the hcurbour, without exposing a part of their fleet to certain

' Thefleetof the Syractuans and their allies sailed forth.] The attack of
the land forces is supposed by Mitford to have been a false attack, or feint.

*« The ships put off.] Plutarch, Nic. 20., ascribes the determination of
hazarding a battle to Menander and Euthydenius. See also Diod. Sie.
But it d&es not appear that even Nicias could have been of any other
opinion. The Athenians had nothing that could be called a separate station
for their ships, and therefore they could not well refuse battle whenever
it was offered by the enemy.

o 4b

Digitized by



XXXVIIL Having for a considerable part of th^ day
charged and retreated, and tried their attacks on each other,
and neither party being able to achieve any thing worthy of
mention (except that the Syracusans sunk a ship or two of
die Athenians)) they separated ; and at the same time the land
forces retired from before the walls» On the day following^
the Syracusans kept still, giving no indication of what they
meant to do. Nicias, however, sensible that the engagement
had heen a drawn battle \ and expecting that the enemy
would again attack him, made the captains refit their ships,
such as had suffered injury ; and moored some transports
before the stockade which he had fixed down in the sea before
his ships, to serve the purpose of a shut up port.^ He
stationed the ships about two plethra (or two hundred feet)
tipart from each other, that if any ship should be hard pressed,
it might find a safe refuge, and the means of again sallying
forth at his leisure. On these preparations the Athenians
continued occupied until night.

XXXIX. On the following day, the Syracusans at an earlier
liour than before engaged with the Athenians in the same
attack, both of land and sea force ; and being opposed fleet
to fleet in the same manner, they again passed most of the day
in trying their attacks on each other, until at length Aristo
son of Pyrrhicus, a Corinthian, who was the best steersman
the Syracusans had, persuaded the commanders^ of the
fleet to send to those in the city who had the care of such

> Had been a drawn baitle.] i. e. that the Athenians had lost the supe^
rtorky. Nay, they would seem to have come off with the worst, having
had two ships sunk. The enemy, however, had probably more ships disabled.
At all events, it had quite the effect of a defeat.

< Mbored some transports, 4rC'] Something very similar is rdated in
Appian, t. 1, 33S. rbv koirXovv lfA^p63iai &rpoyyv\ois irXoioiQ Iw iyKvp&v Ik
iuzarfiftarog^-^iid^kovffai re ^wi rwv ^caffrif/taroiV, Kai iJrf /3«a2^ocvro, v9rox<tfpo0-
ffai, and Livy 1. 50, 10. Intervalla fecit, qua procurrere speculatoriai naves
in hostem, ac tuto recipi possent.

' JristOf Sfc. persuaded the commanders^ S^v.l The following device &
inserted by Polyaenus in his Strateg. 1. 5, 15, 3. He lilsb has something
extremely similar at 1. 5, 52, I., but attributes it to Telesinicus. In both
passages several emendations may be suggested by this of Thucydides.

Onosander, in his StrategicUs, 6r Directions to a General, has a whole
-chapter irepi dpurronoiag, in which he points out the proper time and mode
of supplying dinner.

Digitized by



matters, ordering them as quickly as possible to remove, and
bring down the market for the sale of provisions to the sea
side, and whatever eatables any one had, to compel all to
bring them thither for sale ; in order that on disembarking the
sailors, they might immediately supply them with dinner * by
the sides of the vessels, so that, after a short space, they might
attack the Athenians unexpectedly*

XL. Induced by this representation, they sent a mes-
senger, and ihe market was prepared ; while the Syracusana
suddenly beating to prow ^ retired to the city, and, imme-
diately on disembarking, took their dinner on the spot. As
to the Athenians, they supposing them to have rowed back as
beaten, landed and leisurely attended both to other affairs, and
to the preparation of their dinner, since for this day at least
they thought there would be no further engagement When
suddenly theSyracusans manned their ships, and again made
sail upon them. They, in much confusion, and most of
them without refreshment % embarked in great dborder and
with some delay, and at length stood out to meet them. For
some time both parties remained on their guard, and abstained
from charging each other; until the Athenians, thinking it
not expedient to dally any longer, and be self- beaten by mere
fatigue ®, but to attack with all speed, and, cheering onward,
they charged and came to action. The Syracusans met
their attack, and keeping their ships, as they had contrived,

4 Supply than toUh dinner,] I hefe read, from several of the best MSS^
&punov voitiaovrai. The avroii, as referred to the tailors, I would retain,
notwithstanding that Goeller conjectures avrov.

> Beating to prow,] i. e. retiring backwai'd. See the explanation of
this phrase at 1. 1, 51.

^ Without rtfrethmeni.] It may be thought that ivdpurroi would have
been better than dmrot : but dairoQ is oflen so ased by Xenophon. Besides,
it may be observed, that none had time for a complete dinner.

3 Self-beaten by mere faiieue,] Which was, perhaps, what the Syracusans
chiefly aimed at; knoWmg that thdr men, who had dined, could hold out
much longer thAn the Athenians.

It is remarkable that the antienb should never, when it was possible to
avoid it, have encumbered their ships with even a single meal s provision.
This, indeed, may be traced back even to the time of the Trojan war.
Thus, Homer Odyss. 12, 282., Ulysses addresses the sailoirs as follows c
oiK i&4}Q yairic iiriSrifiivat, iv^a Ktv adrt N^cry &fA<^tp{fTy \apbv rti^xolful^a

Digitized by



with beaks foremost, broke down the Athenian vessels for a
eoDRiderable way of the forecastles ; whilst those from the
decks much annoyed the Athenians by galling volleys of
darts ; but yet more those in the light boats, by sailing round
them, and falling foul of the blades of the rows of oars % and
sailing by them at flank ^, and thence annoying the sailors
with darts.

XLI. Having fouglit the battle in this manner with all
energy, the Syracusans at length gained the victory ; while the
Athenians, passing between the transports, sought refbge in
their own station. And the Syracusan ships chaeed them as
&r as the transports ; but there long beams ^ armed with

* Failing ford of ike blades of th» rows of oars,] 'Eg rove rapco^c
vfToviirTQVTf^, So Dio Cas)}. 627, 52. Iq tovq rapffoi^ rutv vtHv virotritrroifrfi,
Herod. 8, 1 2. xai kTdpanaov ro^c rapaoxjg tS)v KutTrkw, Hence may be illus-
trated JEschyl. Pers. 421. Also Polyan. 5, 22. p. 506. where for in^dfuvoQ
1 oofiiecture ir* dp^/ikvoc,

» Sailing by them at^nk.] Such is the usual sense of vKaytov^ and that,
it should seem, here intended. Mitford, however, renders, *' under the
lateral galleriet of the Athenian vessels ; a mode of understanding the
words," he says, ** suggested by an attentive examination of an antique piece
of sculpture in the Vatican museum at Rome. These lateral galleries of the
vessels," he supposes, " to have been open at bottom, or, at most, to have
had only grathigs, their purpose (he thinks) having been only to give pro*
jection and purchase to the upper oars. A paraj)et, raised on them,
protected the rowers in a great degree against missile weapons from the
decks of the enemy's galleys ; but the open or grated bottom gave passage
for weapons from boats underneath." This is not dissimilar to the manner
in which I myself long ago understood the passage, taking the raoaoi to
denote the wooden frame-work fitted to the sides of the ship, through
which orifices were made for the oars ; without which frame-work the oars
could never have been used to any purpose.

Long beams.] Called iclpatat, from being somewhat of the form of
yard'Ornu or ship-booms. It should seem, however, that these Kkpatai were
not only so formed as to let the ponderous weights down upon any passinff
vebsel, but, as the distance between the vessels was about two hundred
fiset, were also provided with some sort of machinery to project the
dolphin to some little distance from the end of the beams. How formid*
able they were, we may imagine from a line of Pherecrates cited by our
Scholiast, and thus emended by Meineck. ap. Goeller: AuucS^ei yovv
ro^dafog aitTtHv ifiTrtTrrwv, xai KaraSvatv, The ida^g, it may be observed,
was tne bottom of the hold. Besides, we find from what just follows, that
two ships of the Syracusans that approached were destroyed.

Aristophanes Exjuit. 762. has a witty allusion to these dolphins, sayine, in
B metaphorical sense : 'AXXd ^vXdrrovy icai roifg tiXfivag /icrcwpi^ov. wnere
the Scholiast observes that such w^re made of lead, or hron.

Digitized by



dolphins ^, suspended over the entrances from the transports ^,
hindered them from proceeding further. Nevertheless two
ships ^ of the Syracusans, elate with victory, approached dose
up to them, and were destroyed ^^, one of which was ci^ured
together with the crew. The Syracusans, however, having
sunk seven ships of die Athenians, and damaged many, killing
some of the men, and taking others prisoners, retreated, and
set up two trophies for both victories. And now they had
not only an assured hope of being &r superior by sea, but
thought that they should also defeat the land forces. Thus
they set about preparations for again attacking them on both

XLII. In the meantime ^ Demosthenes and Eurymedon
arrive with the reinforcements from Athens, being upwards of
seventy-three ^ ships (including the foreign ones ^), and with
about five thousand * heavy-armed, of themselves *and the

^ 7 J}olphmi,] These were certain p^ of lead or iron (as we say, by a
similar metaphor), so called from beanng a rude resemblance to the form
of a dolphin.

» Trantporli,'] Here, and before, Hobbes, without any authority from
his author, or any ground of probability, understands two ships, though it
n plmn that there were several of these entrances.

9 Two sfnpt,'\ Mitford, by a strange inaccuracy, says three, of which, he
adds, two were sunk, and the other taken with her crew.

10 Destroyed.^ i. e. one utterly sunk, and the other so disabled that it
could not get away.

j Meantime,} Namely (as Mitford well paraphrases), the short and
critical interval between the resolution taken, and the proposed execution.

« Seventy^three.] Isocrates de Pace says two hundred and forty, refer-
ring to the total number employed in both expeditions, the former of
which had one hundred and fifty, the other seventy-three. So that in
what he says there is little or no exaggeration, only he uses a round num-
ber. In the same way, Aristides speaks of two hundred; also usine a
round number, which, however, is fur more below the mark than the other
above it. Diodoms sajrs, vXtiove tCjv rpuiKOffiotv Uk&, where there is,
doubtless, some corruption. I suspect we should read trXdovQ rStv i€dofi.
The error may be supposed to have arisen fipom a confusion of DQAiS, 70,
and HHH, 300.

3 Foreign ones.] Namely, those which Demosthenes bad procured from
the Italian allies.

* About Jive thotaandy ^c] Mitford thinks that, including the attendant
slaves, the land force alone would approach to two thousand men. An
estimate to which I must demur, as seeming overrated. The question is,
whether they brought a force of light-armed and middle-armed from
Greece, in proportion to their heavy-armed. 1 suspect fiot. For the Thra-
ciun merceilanes, as we have seen, arrived too late. They seem to hav«

Digitized by



allies ; also of darters. Barbarian and Grecian, a small number,
besides slingers and bowmen, and other forces to a consider^
able amount^

And now the Syracusans and their allies were for the mo-
ment thrown into no little fear, wondering if there were thus
to be no end of their toils, nor any deliverance from peril ^;
seeing that, notwithstanding the fortifying of Decelea, another
armament equal, or nearly so, to the former one, should have
come over, and that the power of the Athenians should in all
quarters seem so vast* On the other hand, to the former
armament of the Athenians, this was as it were a strengthen-
ing out of weakness and calamity.^

And now Demosthenes, seeing how affairs stood, conceived .,
that if would not be expedient to dally, nor fall into the error ^^j^
which Nicias had committed ® ; . for whereas ^, on his first

depended much, for that kind of force, on their allies in Italy and Sicily.
As to the number of attending slaves (on which Mitford freauently dwells),
it does not seem to me that many were ever taken by Athenian troop.
And surely, in a service like the present, where it was so difficult to fiimish
the troops with regular supplies of provisions, it is not likely that very
many slaves would be allowed to be taken.

5 DarUrt, 4*0., a small number — sUngers and bowmen, and other forces to a

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 25 of 59)