Thucydides.

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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to abandon the siege : and moreover, as feeling a reliance, at
least on the fleet, stronger than before.^



The hands of the enemy.] The translators have not well represented
the sense of iSi^, and the commentators give no account of it« Perhaps,
the woikis TovTo Tra^tXv correspond to the vv *kdtivcdi$nf drrSXie^m, just' at
^1^ and Bfiitociq, are oflen opposed. This is confirmed by a kindred passage
of Eurip. Orest. 439. Mtv. 'Uiq, irpbc tx^p&v ^ npb^ 'Apytlae x^<Jvoc > Op.
HdvTutv vpb^ dar&v, ci>c ^auS*.

7 Wait a wMe,] Such is, I conceive, the sense of rpiJ^iv^ which is
omitted by the translators, from ignorance, it should seem, of its sense.
As the best writers (Aristophanes and Sophocles ap. Steph. Thes.) use the
phrases fiiov rpHnVf and aiwva rpi^cv, so there is no doubt but that the^
used xp^voy TpiUtVf and probably rpitfiv by itself. The sense, then, is
tempuM terere; and we may aptljr compare our own phrase to md on, which
seems to be founded on a Latinism. Doth the Greek and Latin phrases
were used, in an unfavourable sense, of tvhat is unpieasarU. So Soph.
£lect. 60'i. SvoTvx^ ^^ rpl€iiv. to rub on, in a miserable life,

Smce writing the above, 1 find that the Scholiast nearly perceived the
sense, by explaining it irapiKxiw, And so Malctus Rhetor, ap. Corp. Byz.
Paris, p. 89. A. oif Sii in rptSiw njv /tax*!^*

» Feeimg reliance, ^c] Such seems to be the true representation of th«

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€14 THE HISTORY OF THUCTDIDSS. BOOK VII.

On the other hand, Demosthenes, as to the proposal of con-
tinuing at the siege, could not by any means ^ approve of it.
If, however, it were thought proper not to withdraw the army
without the authority of a decree of the Athenians, but to wait
a while, they ought, he said, to do this after removing to
Thapsus, or to Catana, from whence they might, by going
forth with their land forces, subsist themselves ^, and annoy
their enemies, by plundering their country, and might carry
on the contest by sea, with their ships, not in^a confined spot
(which was rather in favour of the V^iiiUqO, but in a wide
space with plenty of sea-room, wherein their skill would be
serviceable to them, and they would not have to make their
retreats and advances by coming on and falling back in a
circumscribed space. Upon the whole, he by no means, he
said, approved of remaining any longer where they were, but
thought they ought now, as quickly as possible, to be gone, and
no longer delay.

The very same counsel was given by Eurymedon. But
upon Nicias making some objections, a hesitation and demur ^



vensc, if, at least, the passage be correct : but the ellipsis of fiaXkov in this
context is somewhat harsh. I am, therefore, inclined to adopt the emen-
dation, of Xjoeller, j for ^, who renders the passage thus : ** And at least he
bad now as much confidence in the fleet as before;" adding the following
explanation : " Hoc est, nondum postrema clade pugnae navalis ita animo
fractus erat, ut salutem in naribus positam desperaret, aut sese, si omnia
destituissent, iis abire posse diffideret.'' Yet I see no difficulty in the
•n-pSttpov, which must De referred to the time before the arrival of the
reinforcement.

Whichever mode be adopted, icparti^tiQ is for Kparw^dg (as Bauer takes
it); or, perhaps, for KparauMt^uCf as in Psalm 51, 7. (Sept.) IM dv^punroc Be
oIk idero tov Ociv fioti^bv airrw d\K* kiri)\irunv kiri to irXt/^of (I would read,
from two M6S., Ttf irXi7^£t) tov irXovrov oirov, kcU idwafui)&ii (Aquil.
lKpaTaiiM>^ri) iiri rg fiaTaiSTtjTi airrov.

Finally, daparitrH is for ini ^aptftfou, or vTr6 ^apiriictutQ,

ft Noi bv any meaM.] So the translators render; but that sense cannot
be elicitea from '6viaQ o^v^ which signifies quomodocunque. For Sttmc oiv
(which indeed is, as T. Magister tells us, not Attic) I would read bintoTlovr,
which occurs elsewhere in our author, 1. 7. and L 8, 71. ovS' hwutvriovu
IvUtfCctP. Xen. Mem. 1, 6, ll. <r6pov U trt oifd" bxaHrriow (vofiiZi^*) Lucian
5, 287. oifd' hvtdTriwv ifirtfiti\dx^» Anom. ap. Suid. in dynp' o^^ oTia^rUnnf
oraKnAZ^yrac Soxti*

9 Subsist themselves,] I have here followed ^phpovroh the reading of
two MSS., edited fa^ Bekker and GoeUer, and which is required by the
sense.

4 A hesitation and demur.] Not shtk, as Hobbes renders : the words,
too, have solely a reference to Demosthenes and Enryoiedoo.



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C»AP. JU TH» KI8T0ET OV THUCYDIDE8. 21.5

arose, and moreover a sasjucion that Nicias rested his opinion
upon some further knowledge ^ than they possessed. In this
manner there was a suspension of measures, and a continu-
ance on the spot.

L. Meanwhile Gylippus and Sicanus arrived at Syracuse,
Sicanus having miscarried in his attempt on Acragas; for
while he was yet in Gela, the party which was friendly to the
Syracusans had been expelled.' Gylippus came with another
considerable army raised from Sicily, and with the heavy-
armed sent in the spring from Peloponnesus in transports,
which had come from Libya to Selinus. For being carried
out of their course to Libya, and the Cyrenaeans having sup-
plied them with two triremes, and guides for the voyage ; in
their passage along shore \ they had given assistance to the
Euesperitae^, besieged by the Libyans, and conquered the latter.
From thence having gone to Neapolis, a mart town of the
Carthaginians (distant from Sicily, by the shortest course,
only two days* sail), they arrived at Selinus. — Immediately on
their arrival the Syracusans made preparations for again at*
tacking the Athenians on both elements, both with land and
sea forces.

The Athenian commanders, however, finding that they had
received an accession of forces, and moreover that their own
affairs were not bettering, but every day growing in all re-
spects worse, especially in the sickness with which the army
was afflicted, repented that they had not before taken their



* Some greater knowledge^ 4"^.] So I. 5, 89. vofuaAvriQ irKkov n tiSSret^
lureurriivai airroifg, Pausan. 1, 18, 2. nXkov ri tlSkvm. Hence may be iliut-
trated Herod. 9, 41, 18. ro6rov fikv vvv ri ainri iyivtro kcu Bfitaikiv yvw^iy,
wc vpoidoTOQ xXcvv ri Koi roirov, and Eurip. Alceflt. 1 116. See the note
on 1. 5, S9, 5.

> The party which was, 4'C'] The sense of the original has best been
seen by Bauer ; but I 8U8|>ect that the words are not correct, and that the
true reading is ^ roic 2. ^tXca Ux,

< A/ong shore.] Namely, that of the coast of Africa.

« EuesperiUe.] A city on the verge of Cyrene ; on which see the com-
mentators on Pausan. 4, 96. WesseTing on Herod. 4, 171. It was after-
wards called Berenice, and bears now die name of Bengasi.

Singularly illustrative is it of the impediments to navigation m antient
times, and the tardiness and uncertainty with which voyages were made,
when what would have occupied a modem vessel, with any tolerably fair
wind, scarcely a week, should have extended from spring to autumn.

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216 THE HISTORY OF THUCYDIDES. BOOK YII.

departure. And as even Nicias was now not adverse to the
measure, otherwise than he desu'ed that it might not be put to
the vote in public council, they gave orders, as secretly as pos-
sible, for all to prepare themselves to put to sea from the camp,
on a signal given. And when, after every thing was ready"*,
they were about to sail away, the moon was eclipsed *, for it
happened to be full moon. And now the greater part of the
Athenian army, regarding the thing as ominous ®, urged the
generals to stop ; and Nicias (for, in truth, he was too much
addicted to superstition ^ and such sort of scruples) declared
that he would not even have it deliberated "whether or h(m
they should remove, until the expiration of the thrice nine
days ® which the soothsayers directed. And this was the
cause why the Athenians delayed and remained on the spot.



4 AJUt every thing was ready,] Hence it is clear that some time elapsed
between the departure being resolved upon and the period at which it was
on the point of being put into execution. Now, it need not be supposed
that they were detained till the eclipse solely by the necessary preparations.
I suspect that they had waited some short time for the period when the
full moon should be patL

& The moon toas edipied,] The day is calculated to have been the 27th
of August, 413 B. C, m the fourth year of the 91st Olympiad.

^ Regarding the thing as ominous.] i. e. as a portent booing ill. 'Ev^v/iiov
irouitr^ai signifies primarily to revolve a thing m mind, and dwell upon ; a
sense very rare, but which occurs at Appian 1. 1, 602. It more frequently
signifies (as here) ominosum habere, m religione trahere, to regard as
ominous. Sometimes it merely signifies to make a scruple of, or at, any
thine.

"None," says Mitford, " had then science to foresee the regular return
of that phenomenon ; few could be persuaded that the cause was in the
order of nature." It is true that there was nothing in the omen which
showed that it boded ill to the Alhemans rather than to the Syracusans ;
but it is justly remarked by Mitford, ** that omens of undecided import,
such is the nature of superstitious fear, commonly were taken as unfavour-
able by those in adverse circumstances. On the other hand, the knowledge
that the Athenians held themselves to be the objects of the divine dis-
pleasure portended, sufficed for the Syracusans to derive encouragement
firom the portent." In fact, it was with omens as with prophecies, which
latter have in all ages almost invariably been predictive of ^.

^ Addicted to suoerstiiion.] dttaofidg denotes especially that kind of super-
stition which deals in soothsaying, &c. So Theophylact on Titus 1, 19.
BuaafjtoXs irpovixovra Kai rtjv fiavriKt)v Karop^taoavra.

8 Thrice nine days,] Wasse, Go«ller, and others suspect the iwka to
have been foisted in by the scribes. That only the three days after lunar
or solar eclipses were thought unlucky, Wesseling says, is clear from the
ExegeHcm ox Autodides, referred to fay Plutarch in his Nicias. And this,
lie thinks, is confirmed by the testimony of Diodorus, and is supported by
the factg for the Athenians remained no such time. But. 1 can hardly



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CHAP. IslU THE HISTORY OF THUCYDIOES. 217

LL But the Syracusans, having had intelligence of this,
were much more excited not to slacken in their efforts against
the Athenians, as now bearing testimony that they thought
themselves no longer superior to them either by sea or land :
for, otherwise, they would not have projected a departure*
They were, moreover, unwilling that they should fix themselves
in any other part of Sicily * ; by which they would be harder
to make war upon ; but had rather there^ and in a place ad-
vantageous to themselves, compel them to battle.

They, therefore, manned their ships, and exercised the
crews as many days as seemed sufficient. And when the pro-
per time arrived, they, on the first day, attempted to storm
the Athenian fortifications ; and, upon a small detachment of
heavy-armed and cavalry making a sally from certain posterns,
they intercepted some of the heavy-armed, and routing, held
them in chase; but the entrance being narrow, the Athenians
lost seventy horses^, and some inconsiderable number of
heavy-armed.

LII. And for this day the Syracusan army retreated ; but
on the following, they at once sailed forth with their ships,
seventy-six in number, and with their land forces marched
against the walls. On which the Athenians launched forth
against them with eighty-six ships, and, closing with each other.



consent to abandon the iyvioy as being found in all the MSS. Besides^
thrice nine was a favourite number with the soothsayers. Vide supra, 1. 5,
26. And so Soph. CEd. col. 4SJ. rptc kwka avrj iXStva/Q iK dfi^tv x^poXv
Tt^ecc iXatoc, ravi* kirtvxKf^ai Xirdc. Horat. Carm. 3, 19, 19. tribus autem
novem miscentur cyathis pocula commodis. Moreover, three is as much
too small a number as thrice nine may seem too large. And Plutarch must
have read rpl^ iwia, since he says that Nicias thought they ought to wait
another revolution of the moon.

Mitford, too, (1 find) rejects the conjecture of Wesseling and Dodwell.
<* The latter has (he thmks) given either not due attention, or not due cre-
dit, to the narrative of Thucydides, which, without such minute accuracy^
is consistent and clear."

• Fix themselves in some other part of Sicilt/,] Either Naxus, or Catana ;
for the Syracusans had, perhaps, heard of what was mentioned in coundl,
or had anticipated the measure in their minds.

« Horses.] l^ot horsemen^ as Hobbes renders ; a sense not permitted by
Iwovc: for though in the singuhur the word signifies cavalry, yet never, I
think, in the pluru.

The horses were lost by the narrowness of the entrance, though the
riders, it seems, contrived to get in.



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SIS THE HISTORY OF THUCTDIDE8.' BOOK VII.'

they came to battle : and as Eurymedon ^ was leading on the
right wing of the Athenians, and being desirous to surround
the enemy's ships, had therefore drawn out his line too near
the shore, the Syracusans and their allies, who had then first
defeated the centre of the Athenians, also cut off and inter-
cepted him in the bottom and inmost recess of the port, and
destroyed both him and the ships that followed him. Then
the Syracusans made chase after all the Athenian ships, and
drove them on shore.

LIIL And now Gylippus, on seeing the enemy's ships de-
feated, and carried farther than the piles (or stockade) and their
camp, went with intent to kill such as disembarked, and in
order that the Syracusans should more easily drag off the ene->
lily's ships from the part of the shore which was theirs, led a
detachment of the army down to the jetty.*-* Seeing these, the

» And as Eurymedon, <$•<?.] Eurymedon, who commanded the right, to
use. that advantage which superioritv of numbers gave, stretched away ^A'ith
•a view to surround the left of the enemy. Ihe centre spreading, to
obviate the danger of too great an interval between the divbions, weakened
kself by making the intervals too ^cat between ship and ship. In this
state it was attacked by the enem^ m close order, and presently defeated.
The Syracusans then directing their principal effort against the division of
Eurymedon, now cut off from the rest of the fleet, took, destroyed, or
'drove aground every ship, and Eurymedon himself was killed. The left
wing, thus wholly without support, fled pursued to the shore. (Mitford.)

8 The jetty.] Or, according to Goeller, a promontory^ namely, that
jutting out below Olympieuro, in the way from the mouth of the Anapuf
to the bottom or inmost recess of the port called Dascon. Thus (he adds)
the name is applied to the horns of a bay or port in Dio Cass. p. 845. A.,
wid perhaps in Thucyd. 1. 8, 90. To this inteiprctation, however, of rijv
xriXijv I must take exception ; for, as no such x^^M has been before men*
doDed, or could be supposed known to the reader, thus there would be an
unparalleled harshness. I must, therefore, still regard it as denoting that
end of the Athenian stockade forming their naval station, which was oppo«>
site Syracuse, and which, from jutting out like a pier, is called by that
name. The article at ttjv x^^ff^ ^^^ reference to the r&v ffravputfidTiav
just before, where the plural number is used, because the kind of port for
the Athenian ships was formed by two hooked stockades, each terminating
in a jetty. The x^M cannot apply to the promontory mentioned by Goel-
Jer, for thus the marsh Lysimelia would be much too far ofl^ and they would
have to cross the Anapus ; which, as the bridge was broken down, would
be impossible, for, as Swinburne tells us, the river is very deep. In .fact,
what Goeller here writes is inconsistent with his own plan, where he makes
the Athenian naval station to have been still a little below the Plemmyrium :
f whereas, it it clear that their present station was on the other side of the
porty somewhere between the mouth of the Anapus and the end of th«



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eHAP. LIT. THE HISTOBY OF THUCYDIDES. 319

Tyrsenians (who were then on guard for the Athenians) hur-
ried forwar^ in di!JUI'du7and falling upon the first that came
up, routed and drove them into the marsh called the Lysimelia*
But, afterwards, a greater force of the Syracusans and their
allies having come up, the Athenians, also alarnjed for their
ships, went to give assistance, and, engaging with the enemy,
defeated and chased them off, killing some inconsiderable
number ^ ; and also saved the greater part of the ships, and
brought them to the camp. Eighteen, however, the Syrap
cusans and their allies captured, putting to death all the men.^
They also proceeded against the rest of the ships, intending to
bum them ; for which purpose they filled an old merchant-
ship with faggots and torch- wood ^ ; and, setting fire to the
combustibles, let her drive against the Athenians, the wind
setting right that way. . The Athenians, on the contrary,
alarmed for their ships, contrived all sorts of means for check-*
iiig and quenching the flame ; having effected which, and hin-
dered the further approach of the fire-ship, they were thus de-
livered from the danger.

LIV. After this, the Syracusans erected a trophy for the
sea-fight, and for the interception of the heavy-armed at the
wall above ^ where also they took the horses. The Athe-



wall of circumvallation. This, indeed, seems to have heen their station
ever since the capture of the forts of Plemmyrium ; and, probably, imme-
diately afler that event the stockades and jetties were formed.

^ Some incotuiderable number.] I have here followed the reading of some
of the best MSS., adopted in the editions of Bekker and Goeller, by which
a negative is inserted before xoXXov^. This, as Goeller observes^ is con-
firmed by Diodonis.

* AUthemenJ] Namely, all the men found on board the ships when
captured ; for two hundred, the number stated by Diodonis as the amount
of the Athenian loss, could not be near that of the crews of eighteen tri*
remes. Indeed, for SioKommv, I suspect we should read rpi^tXiW. The
two numbers are perpetually confounded.

> Faggots and torch»woo<L\ ILXtifiariSiav Kai i^Ug, Of these terms the
former occurs in Aristoph. Thesm. 728. Appian 2, 72, 87. and Eustath. ap*
Biset. in Arist. 854. T. ^avbc. ri U KkrjfiaTidutv XofivdQ. and KkrifiaTa m
Polyaen. 7, 21, 4. By /cXi^ftartc is denoted fi^e-wood^ and by ^alc what we
calf Artnd/tiig.

• The wall above,"] It should seem that the walls of the Athenians, of
which we have lately had frequent mention, were the lower end of the line
of cireumvallation and contravallation, some time before finished. When
the reH of the wall in question became useless, and was abandosni, thm



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220: THE HISTORY OF THUCYDIDES* BOOK YlU

nians, on their part, erected one, for the roiit of those in-
&ntry whom the Tyrsenians drove into the marsh, and for
such other advantages as they obtained with the rest of the
army.

LV. On the Syracusans having now obtained a decided
victory even at sea (for before they had stood in awe of the
ships that had come with Demosthenes), the Athenians were
in utter dejection of spirits, as the reverse was both unexpected
and heavy. But far greater was their repentance for having
undertaken the expedition; for, having come against these
states ^ the only ones hitherto witli similar institutions and
manners, under a democratical form of government like them-
selves, and possessing shipping, horses, and power % without
being able to introduce any dissension among them about
change of polity, whereby they might have been brought over,
nor could bring them to submit ^ by means of their forces,
though therein much superior; but being mostly defeated, they
were, even before the last affair, in great straits as to what course
to take ; and since they had been mastered also at sea (which
they would never have thought), they were much more at a
loss what course to take.

LVI. And now the Syracusans immediately went around



lower end, it should seem, was still retained aud fitted up as a fortification
to defend their camp.

I The§esUUei.] Namely, those of Sicily.
' ^ Pousiting shippmgy ^c] Diiker would read koL vavoi xai lirwois koX
^e/ldci iVxvov(raic* And this conjecture he confirms and illustrates from
L 1, S,. 7, 46 and 104. To which may be added Eurip.Orest. 901. ^pd<ni
((Txv€(v. Philostr.V. Ap. I. 8, 9. i) ^oXtf oifx Wirai ^vpiacroi dk dv^pwinav lo-xvei*
A similar emendation was made by Reiske on Uinarchus p. 95, 23. There is
also a kindred passage in Lucian, t. 5, 518,41. wc ti tovtov rov Av^punrov
87rX<i»v ank^yvav xal vi&Vy kcu 9rparonidutv, Koi Kaiputp, xai xpfifidriav KVpiov^
where, for KcupCav, I would conjecture x^^v, forces; a signification of fre-
quent occurrence in Polybius.

After all, however, the common reading may be defended, and was, per*
haps, read by Dio Cassius, since at p. 619. we have the following imitauon
of this passage : oicrxi^rov Toirovrove koI roiovrovc Svrac, koi ^irXa Koi xph"
fiara koX vovq koX 'imrovg Ix^^vrac. Whichever reading be adopted, there
will be nearly the same difficulty in phraseology.

3 Nor covid bring them to tubmii,'] For (though the commentators omit
to notice it) wpocnyov is to be taken from the preceding 7r^<rqyovro»



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CHAP. LVII. THE HISTORY OF THUCYDIDES. 221

the harbour without fear S and began to meditate blocking
up its mouth, that the Athenians should no longer, even if
they wished it, be able to steal oiF. For it was no longer their
{Study and aim only how to save themselves^ but also how they
might hinder the enemy from being saved, since they conceived
(as was really the case) that as to present power they were far
superior to them ; and thought, that if they should conquer
the Athenians and their allies, both by land and by sea, it
would appear to the Greeks a glorious achievement, as the
rest of the Greeks would be part of them immediately restored
to freedom, and part liberated from fear of enslavement*
For it would no longer be possible for the remaining strength
of the Athenians to sustain the war that should be brought
upon them. And themselves being accounted the authors of
it, would bd held in great admiration both by men now living,
and by those that should come afler. Indeed, it was a contest
worthy of their labour both on those accounts, and because they
had not gained the mastery over the Athenians only^ but also
of the many other allies; nor, again, had they alone achieved
it % but jointly with those that combined to succour them, being
leaders in conjunction with the Corinthians and Lacedaemo^
nians, exposing their city to peril ^ for the rest, and contri-
buting chiefly to the amount of the naval force.* Never, indeed,
were so many nations brought together to one city, with the
exception of the comprehensive roll of those who, in this war,
were collected either at Athens or at Lacedsemon.

LVII. For thus many (as will now be shown) were, on
either side, engaged against Sicily, and for its defence ; the



» Went around ike harbour without fear ] Which they had never before
done, being always in awe of the Athenian fleet.

< Nor again, had (hey alone achieved it, Sfc^ This would not seem much
to the present purpose ; but it must be taken in conjunction with what fol-
lows; and the argument is, that though it was done with the cooperation .
of allies, yet they thcmsetves held the command at least in conjunction with
the two principal states of Greece.

s Exposing ttieir city to peril for the rest.] Namely, as something to rua
danger. Such is the sense of ifiirapdaxovrti rii/v ir<$Xiv vpotrKtvdvvtvaat,
which words are imitated by Dionys. Hal. Ant. 14?, 44. rAg iavr&v ypvxd^
•vpoKiv^vvtvaai Tutp Kowdv vapktrxov,

* ContrihuHng chiejly, ^c] 1 agree with the Scholiast and Qoeller, that
vpoKd'KTkt must nere be taken in an active sense.



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233 THE HISTORY OF THUCTDIDES. BOOK VIT.

former helpincr to acquire its dominion, the latter aiding to
preserve its liberty. These (I say) came to the war at Syra-
cuse, and took their side ^ not so much from a regard for
justice, nor through affinity, but as each happened to stand
affected, either in respect of interest or necessity.^

The Athenians themselves, as lonians, willingly went against
the Syracusans, as Dorians. With them, using the same



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 27 of 59)