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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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 31 of 59)
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their intention, and conceiving that there was danger lest so
large an army, after retreating by land, and fixing itself at
some part or otiier of Sicily, should again make war on Syra-
cuse, went and suggested to those in office, that it would not
be proper to permit the enemy to retreat by night, but that
ail the Syracusans and allies should now go forth and block
ttp the roads, and occupy and guard the defiles* They were
of the same opinion as himself^ and it was readily granted
that the thing ought to be done ; but they conceived that the
men, now gladly resting fi'om the labours of so great a battle,
it being, too, a festival, (for it chanced that on this day ^ sacri-
fice was ofiered to Hercules, ^) would not easily be induced to
obey the order ; for that, through joy at the victory, they had
mostly betaken themselves to drinking, and it might be ex-
pected they would acquiesce in any thing sooner than, at the
present, to take up arms and go forth. Now, when, on these
considerations, the project seemed to the commanders im-
practicable, and he could not prevail upon ^ them to try it,
Hermocrates proceeded to devise the following stratagem. —
Fearing lest the Athenians should, without molestation, in the
night, anticipate them by passing over the most difficult part
of the road, he sends some of his own companions, with a party



men are once vanauished, their minds do not feel an equal alacrity towards
the same dangers."

1 Thit efay.j Not the day after, as Mitford narrates.

« To Herctdet,] A hero-sod with whom they, as being of the Dorian
race, were closely connected.

> Seemed to the commandert impracticable, ^c] Mitford narrates as if
they had consented to the measure, but had failed to induce the men
to quit the religious revel for nocturnal military enterprise.



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;hc history of thucydides. 243

tbenian camp, when it grew dark ; who riding

. they might be heard, and calling for certain

. . they had been in the interest of the Athenians

dre some who had given Nicias information^ of what

/ttbin), desired them to tell Nicias not to draw off the

ly nighty since the Sjrracusans were besetting the roads,

li to retreat ^ dcn^ after leisurely preparation. Having

delivered this message, they departed, and those who heard it

made report to the Athenian generals.

LXXIV. They, on reoeiving thb intimation, which they never
suspected to be a deceit, deferred their departure for that night.
And since, by this means, they were prevented from setting out,
it was determined to wait ^ also the day following, that the sol«
diers migbt pack up their baggage to the best advantage they
could ; also to leave behind them every thing else, and set
forward, taking nothing but what was necessary to the body,
for food and clothing.^

As to the Syracusans and Gylippus, they went forth with
the land forces, and blocked up the roads over such parts of
the country as it was probable the Athenians would go, and
stationed guards at the crossings of the brooks and rivers, and
ranged diemselves at suitable places for the reception and
hinderance of the enemy's force. With their fleet they made
sail to the Athenian ships, and dragged them from the shore;
for, except some few^ which the Athenians themselves burnt



^ Certain persons.] Namely, some who had been the medium of com-
inimication with the generals.

It will be observed that they went in the dusk, that they might not
Jbe distinctly seen.

^ Had given Nicias iiUhmiation,] Literally, ** had been intemuntii," or
the medium through whom information was conveyed.

I // was deUnnined to wait, 4^.] There were certainly advantages
resulting from thb counsel, but by no means such as to counterbalance the
disadvantages. Yet how could so miserable, wretched, and starving a set of
people take their departure without some preparation ? Had they started in
the night, or even tne next morning, the strong must have abandoned the
weak and leas prepared. As to a night-march, indeed, the generals inight
well be deterred from it by the recent calamity which had l)efallen them,
from the nocturnal rencounter. . , , , .

« Necessary to the body, *c.] Both seem to be mcluded m iioMrav, as at
1. 6, 15.

3 For except some few, ^c.] I have here followed the judicious punc-

R 2



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244 THE UI8TOET OF THUCYDIDES. BOOR VII.

(and tbey had intended to destroy att), the rest they were allowed
to take, without molestation, just as they found each stranded,
and thus they hauled them off to the city.

LXXV.^ After this, when Nicias and Demosthenes judged
that sufficient preparation had been made, the army took their
departure, on the third day after the sea-fight. And a
wi^tched departure it was % not only for the peculiar circum-
stances of it, as that they were retreating with die loss of all their
ships, and, instead of the lofty hopes ^ they had formed, were
both themselves and the state in peril ; nay, also, because it
happened, that, in die abandonment of the camp, many mourn-
ful objects presented themselves to the sight, and struck home
to the heart of every one. For, as the dead lay unburied,
when any one saw a fiiend st retched out , he was struck at once
with grief and fear. Nay, the living otgects, the wounded
and the sick who were left behind, were objects of greater
grief and pity than the dead^ : for by resorting to supplica-



tuation of Haack. It were as improbable that the Syractuam should, under
existing circumstances, bum the ships, as it was probable that the Athemans
would do so. Besides, Diodorus testifies that the Athenians burnt some of
them. Aristides, indeed, t. 2, 131., reckons this burning of the triremes
amonff the other misfortunes of the Athenians. But it may be supposed,
that he only considers the necessitt^ for their being burnt as* toe real
calamity.

I This whole chapter is closely imitated by Dio Cass. p. 269 and 270.

On the tlwrd </ay.] Namely, according to the usual mode of reckoning
among not only the Greeks but the Hebrews, and all the antients, who
reckoned the (uy on which any action occurred as the first day, the next
as the second, and so forth. Of this, examples are firequent in the New
Testament

< And a wretched departure U was, ^c] It is truhr remarked by Mitford,
that ''the pen of Thucydides and the lan^a^e of Athens are wanting to
describe aciequatelv the scene presenting itself upon that occasion ; when',
in die bitterness or antient warfare, every horror offered itself to expect-
ation, that the human body can suffer, or the human mind concdve." The
present recitid may, indeed, be reckoned among the most pathetic and
touching that were ever penned.

^ Instead <^ the lofty hopes, 4'^.] Mitford well paraphrases thus: ** No
light distress arose from the reflection that, instead or fulfilling the loffy
hopes of their enterprise, the whole of so powerful a fleet was destroyed;
diat, through their failure, ruin threatened their country; and that, insteiid
of returning, as they had so lately, with reason, expected, conquerors of
Sicily, an ignominious flight was their only, and that almost a hopeless, re-
source for avoiding slavery or death."

^ Objects of greater pity than the dead.] This may easily be conceived,
when we consider the peculiar bitterness and atrocity of anttent warfare.



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CHAP. LXXV. THE HISTOEY OF THUCYPID£S. «45

ttons and wailTngs ihey threw thetn into utter perplexity, en-
treating to be taken, and crying aloud to such of their friends
or acquaintances as they saw ; hanging, too, by their departing
comrades ^ or following them as £ur as their powers enabled
them; and then, just as they were deserted by strength of body,
were left behind, not without a few entreaties ^ and wailing
and moans. Insomuch that the whole army was dissolved in
tears, and thrown into such irresolution, that it could with di&
ficulty depart, though from an enemy's country; and after
having already suffered (and fearing, for the unseen future, yet
to sufier) more than tears could adequately bewail.^



How different in modem and especially recent tiroes, when war (thanks to
the spirit of His religion who came to preach peace on earth) is stripped of
half Its horrors I

Mitford depicts the present scene in the following words : '' Yet the
voices and actions of the man^ living, whom wounds or sickness disabled
for the march — their complaints, their expostulations, their prayers, thdr
embraces, and the painful yet fruitless endeavours of some to foflow their
friends, were still more distressing than the compunction which arose from
the neglect, impious as it was deemed, but so tar excusable as it was un-
avoidable, of the still and silent dead."

^ Hanpngf too, by, ^c] I know not why the translators should under-
stand this of hanging by their necks, " throwing their arms about their
necks," as Smith renders. It may be understood in a far more general
sense, that of dining by their vestments.

This passage is imitated by Dio Cass. 270, 36-89. and Appian, 1. 1, 201,
10. And hence may be emended Athensus, p. 257. rov vtavlmcov ri^v
X^H^ iraptiKOTos'^ iKKptfidfuvo^ Tavry^ KaTh(nfxt» yf^^Te read ravr^^ and
Karhl/flXe.

< Enireaiies,] Literally, ** obtestations," conjuring them by the gods.
The iiri^ciaoyurfv is wrongly rendered by Hobbes, mprecoHont; and by
Smith, ** a shower of curses." Such a sense is neither supported by usage
nor BfreeMe to what follows. Though the expression was so understood
by Dio Cass. 270, 57. seqq. Goeller has well discerned the sense ; and he
appeals to Suidas iiri&cia<r/iOi irpbc Btbv Ixtciaiy who, after citing these words
of Thucydides, adds Tovrkari Qtliav itriKXriffiutv*

I have not thought proper to adopt the conjecture of the critics, voXXmv
for 6\iyiav : it is both destitute of authority, and unnecessary. The sense
is "a tew;" namely, such as their strength would allow, and the time
permit.

7 St^er more than, ^c] This elegance (a kindred one to another in
Herodotus, cited by Wasse) has been imitated by several writers, very
many passages from whom I shall adduce in my edition. Suffice it for the
present to advert to the Shakspearian diet, •* Lisht sorrows speak, great
grief is dumb," which seems founded on that of Seneca, ** Cur» leves lo«
quuntur, ingentes stupent."



• It is straage that GoeUer should not have perceived thai in that Lexicogri^
pber, for Ot^ should be ec«r, and probably for e€W,e€«r.

B 3



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846 THS HISTORY OF THUCTDIDE8. BOOK VII.

There was, moreover, a deep dejection ^ and extreme sdf-
reproach. Indeed, they were like nought else bat the popn*
lation (and that not small) of a city reduced by siege, and
making their escape ^ ; for the whole multitude ihat went on
the march '^ amounted to not less than forty thousand.^ ^ And
of these not only the great bulk carried what each was able
that would be useful, but the heavy*armed and cavalry, con-
trary to custom, themselves carried their provisions under their
armour, partly through want of servants, partly through dis-
trust; for some had before deserted to the enemy, and at present
the greater part left them. However, even thus, they carried
scarcely sufficient for their supply ; for there were no longer
any stores of provisions '^ in the camp. No, nor was the cir-
cumstance that others were suffering also ^% and that there was
an equal participation of evil ^^ (which however brings some
alleviation, namely, that it is borne with many ^^), even tkusy at

' J^eep deieclion,'] Hobbes and Smith render Korii^ia, *^ a hanging
down of the head : '* but that is beine needlessly literal. Indeed, the word
properly denotes a casting down of the eyes. So Hippocrates sajrs Karit'
fttc b^oKnoiy and Kat^^ia rd HfinaTo. See Foesii (Ec. Hippocr. So also
Eurip. Heracl. 635. ri xp^t^ kCuku^ koX Karti^kg 6\iii ix^iv. But it is used
in a metaphorical sense by Homer U. ir, 498. coi vdp lyiu — Karti^itfi Kal
6vtiSoc iffffofiai. as also by many of the hbtorians, as Dionys. Hal., Josephus^
and Procopius, who have imitated this fine passage. ^

9 Like naught else, d-c] Of this passage Goeller has noticed imitadoqs
in Nicol. Damasc. andf others. To whicn may be added closer ones in
Joseph. 129, 31. oif^tvi yAp ^cXX^ ^ ttSXh litTavurrafiivnKol ca^c^poulvif
iMccf. Dio Cass. 970, 46. Dionys. Hal. 376, 15. Plutarch Phoc c. 88. Uvy
!• 5, 3. ^ cursus clamorque baud multura a parore capts urbis abesse.**

10 That went on the march.] This is said in exclusion of such as were
left behind in the fortifications.

>i Forty thousand,] The historian has been so careful to state this as
the number of the whole multitude (fix^A indudinff the very numerous
camp-followers of every kind, that it b strange that^lian Var. Hist, should
be so n^digent as to narrate that forty thousand heavy-armed perished in
Sicily. The same error, indeed, has been committed by Isocrates de Pace,
§ 29. p. S80. Lang, and Libanius Orat. p. 399. B., in both which cases the
speakers caught at the number in Thucydides, and founded on it an ora-
torical exaggeration.

1' Stores of provisions,] Such seems to be the sense of triroc {v: for
provisions, it is clear, there were. Hobbes renders : ** for not a jot more of
provisions was left remaining in the camp."

>9 Others were steering also.] 'AXKn is here used in a manner, I con-
ceive, unprecedent^.

i« Particwation of eviL] Dionys. Hal. p. 433. has kok&v rt ical Aya^^
imfiotpia. He, indeed, often nses the word ho/totpia.

*^ Brings some alleviaiion, 4rc.] This is imitated by Dio Cass. p. 32^ 64.
y fuv ydp wpbt ro^ ^^fr«^c evvovvia f^f pi rtva aiiroit Kovftetv, So also



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'4CVI. THE HISTORY OF THUCYDfDES. £4f7

^ thought to be tolerable ; especially when they con-
A from how great an original splendour and glory t^
^t a catastrophe and lowly estate they were reduced* For
His, truly, was the greatest reverse that ever happened to a
Grecian army, inasmuch as they had to depart^ instead of en-«
slaving^others (for which they cam^},. with the fear rather them*
selves tosuffer Uie same ^^; and instead of the prayers and paeans
with which they sailed, to set out in return with omens and
presages ^^ the very contrary; that they were going as lands*
men instead of seamen, and relied, not on their navy, but their
land forces. However, through the greatness of the danger ^^
yet suspended over their heads, even all these afflictive circum-
stances seemed to be tolerable.

LXXVI. And now Nicias, perceiving the army to be ex-
ceedingly dispirited, and considering the reverse of fortune in
which it was situated ^ went up to them, heartening and com-
forting them as far as circumstances would permit ^ ; and as he
advanced along the line, through zeaLand earnestness, used a
louder tone of voice than usual, desirous that the sound of his
words might produce the most extensive benefit*



Joseph. 766,51. ^pccv KoX Koi^unv. With the sentiment I would coropare
Soph. Aj. 6S4. vapafivdla yAp rtff iirri rb fuiixttv rivd t&v to^ yivov£ rwv

10 Inasmuch at they had to depart, 4-c.] I know not whether it be pos*
sible to come nearer to the original. Hobbes renders thus : ^ For whereas
they came with a purpose to enslave others, they departed in greater fear
of being made slaves themselves."

n Omens and presages.] Not nuUediciions, ps Hobbes renders. Duker
aptly cites the Hesychian gloss, oUaviaiuun. It may be added, that Ix-c^^
liuriM is used in a good sense by Dio Cass. 210, 10. 764, 30. Joseph. 1305,
87. irovroioic Int^tifUfffuuri xpdtiuvot, and Liban. Orat. 509. B.

»» However, through the, 4«.] The passage is imitated by Dio Cass. 56,
tS* oif firiv ofXXd Utiva Kcdvip xakentSn-aTa 6vTa — olvra iiSxtu There 18
also a similar one in Dionys. Hal. Ant. 585, 8. 6 iroXt^to^ koItoi /ilyoc koI
XoXcv^c XPI*""^ INVITO iropd rbv (I read r<i) Ivrbt rov rtixovc iUraKSfUvoc.

> Considering the reverse of fortune, 4"^.] Such is, I conceive, the sense
€/[ Kal iv fuydKy furatoXy 6v, though a different one is assigned by the
translators. .

« Went up to them, *c.] It is truly observed by Mitford, that ** Niciat
here wonderfully supported the dignity of his character and ntuation.
Individually, the distress of the existing circumstances appeared not to
affect him ; his only anxiety seemed to be to relieve that of others, and to
diffuse encouragement among all."

n if



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248 THE HISTOEY OF THUCYDIDES. BOOK VII.

LXXVII. « Even yetj Athenians and allies, even in our
'present situation, we may nourish hope — for some have been
saved under still more perilous circumstances.^ Nor should
you too much blame yourselves, either for your calamitous
condition, or for the miseries which you now undeservedly *
suffer. For my own part, I, who have as little bodily strengtii
to bear up as any of you (nay, ye see to what a condition sick-
ness has reduced me ! ^), I, who was once thought fortu-
nate * and in prosperity, both in private life and otherwise,
inferior to none, am now exposed to ^ the same danger as the
meanest of you!

^^ And yet my life has been habitually occupied in all
accustomed devout observances towards the gods, and actions
just and irreproachable towards men.® Hence, however, I



» For some have been aaved, 4"^.] Hence may be seen the sense of a
passage of Euripides, which has been wrongly treated by the commentators^
Hippol. 702. AXX' IffTi rajc T&vit &(m (ra*&^vat. The rAvBi is emphatical.

< Undetervedfy,] Perhaps this passage was had in view hf Synebius
p. 141. B. al n wop' A^iav KoXovfuvai evfi^opaL Indeed, it grew into a sort
of proverb.

This, indeed, would not seem to be a good topic of consolation; for
P&usanias 4, 11, 2. has truly said, ireAvraot ck irwc ol dv^p<itwm fidXiara ^x^n^
oKparioQ irpit rrl wop ^iav. But, m fact, the orator only adverts to it
indirectly, and does not make it a topic, or argument.

^ ^oy,ye tee, ^c] With the sentiment I would compare Soph. Trach.
1081. 2^0 V dtoff^t ir&vnc ^Xiov iifutCi 6pari rbv ivonivov, itc olKvpOc ^X^*
Eurip. Hippol. 1393 hpl^ fit wc tx^'f ^^ d^Xiov. Eurip. Troad. 113*
ivifTfivoQ iyta Ttjc fiapvdwfiovoc'Ap^pw cXtffioc, ^ itdKlifiau Herodian I. 1,
4, 2. ^x^str^oi 1/ olc opart fu duucii/uvov,

^ Foriunaie,] Nicias was always esteemed fortunate. So Alcibiadei
1* 6f 1 7. says, hoq jyw rt in <U/uS(a» fitr ainriic, koI 6 "Suciag cvrv^^C ^occi
fivai.

' Exposed io.] Or, toss^ out. So, in a phyucal sense, Eurip. Cyd.
v6\iv d6iKaa<j<f xp^ov Iv.tiupoi/fiivov, The passage is imitated by Dio Class.
1348, 49. o2 vdw iL irparrovrtQ IK ivov rdig dfXXoic cd*apwyrau

^ And 1/et my life, <$-c.] He might have truly added, ** and liberally
charitable." To his devotional exerases we have the testimony of Aristoph.
Eq. 30, Nuccoc — icpArurra roivvv r&v vapdvnav itni vtfv, Otiv iSvrt irpoo^
TFtfttiv voi irpbc /3pirac. Aij^i. Bplrac; iroTov Ppkrac; Irtbv rrffi y&p ^tolfQi
Huc'Eyiayt, Aiip, HoUp xfx^M'*^ rtKfitipUp ; No:. 'Orci) ^toiaiv ix^p6Q (l/i ovk

It is well observed by Mitford, *< that this passa^ is highly interesdog,
as mariung the opinion entertained of the Divine Provkience by a man of
«caked Twk, of extensive informatiou and experience, just, and religiously
cty ga ed , b«t neper taught to consider this life as a state of probation, and
to expect, in Aitarity, toe reward of good or the punishaient of evil deeds.""
Siidi, it OH^ h& addled, was the general spirit and sentiment of the heathens.
Thus Vii^. iEn. 2, 689. Jupiter omnipotens — hoc tantum — et, sipietatc.



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CHAP. LXXVII. THE HISTOEY OF THUCTDIDEB. 249

entertain a confident hope of the future - ^thoug)!, indeed,
misfortunes so unmerited may well cast us down. ^ But, per-
haps, they may even cease ; for our enemies have had sufficient
good fortune; and if by this expedition we have incurred the
displeasure ^ of any of the gods, w^ have been already sufficiently
punished. Thus others ® elsewhere have heretofore attacked
their neighbours, and, having done what men are accustomed
to do, have suffered what' men are «ble to biear.^* We there-
fore may justly hope that we shall receive milder treatment at
the hands of the gods ; for surely we are objects rather of
their pity, than their wrath, or envy.'^ And truly, when you

vieremur, Da deinde auxiliuro, &c. Doryille Charit. p. 492. remarks : ** Non
raro sacrificia et alia meriia dn» quasi exprobrant. We cannot, there-
fore, expect that Nicias should have risen above hb age ; thoueh, at the
tame time, his words need not be too rigorously interpreted.* We ought
not surely, as Mitford seems inclined to do, to account the sentiment as
one of Thnetfdidet^s,

7 Displeasure.] Or, ** envy and displeasure ;" for M^ovoi denotes as
much. It is well known that the antients cUd not scruple to ascribe to
their gods, among other human passions, tliat of envy, and even envy of
men and their too great success. Of this Homer, Herodotus, and Virgil
supply abundant examples.

It IS probable, however, thouffh Nicias so spok^ that he did not believe
any such envious vkfutrtQ of the gods existed in this case; but really
thoughtthat the injustice of their cause had provoked the wrath and drawn
down the judgments of the gods : and we may suppose he only uses the
words he does to avoid giving offence to his Athenian hearers. That such
was his real meaning is clear from what follows.

• 7%us others, 4-c.] Mitford ably paraphrases thus : ** We are not the
first who have drawn our swords in the attempt, unjustifiable be it con-
fessed, to subjugate and reduce to slavery our (sllow-creatures, and saze to
ourselves their possessions. In doinjg thus, doing only what is. ordinary
among men, others have suffered for it only what men may bear."

9 What men are able to bear.] Thus in Genesis 4, 15. ** my pimishment is
greater than I can bear/'

'0 We are obiects ratjter, ^c] These and the words following, « ye need
not feel utter despondency," may, perhaps, justly be thought to savour too
much of that drooping spirit which it was the professed object of the orator
to raise. Such language it was especially injudicious to use, since it was,

rie superstition of de antients, regarded as onunout. It has been truly
rved by iEschylus Suppl. 530. S^utz. ii%l ^ dvaxTW icrri iufi iiaUno^
{m/austumj,

* Especially the S^paffua iKiils of the recent editors ; dpoa-Cia being for ^ayNrcio.
And indeed Goeller, though be adopts ^patrtta (from Bekker), eeeros to iocUae to
S^apirua. But though neither he nor Bekker has adduced any **?"*?"** *•
preference of^pturua, yet it is undoubtedly more Attic : thus Mtchjh Choepb.
1409. H' iLMais ^(HxtrtTd 4\irlf. Eurip. Androm. 444. obimhf ^pf^rua y o^r^ir
4XirU iu^ofidvu, iEschyl. 965. oi rh itai^ ^X^ AiriJof ^(Xw »pd^os^ and 1412 ;
so also ^jfdffos for »dpaos occurs frequently in the Tragedians.



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244 THE HI8TOEY OF THUCYDIDES. BOOK VII.

(and they had intended to destroy aU)^ the rest they were allowed
to take, without molestation, just as they found each stranded,
and thus they hauled them <^ to the city.

LXX v.* After Ais, when Nicias and Demosthenes judged
that sufficient preparation had been made, the army took their
departure, on the third day after the sea-fight. And a
wretched departure it was % not only for the peculiar circum-
stances of it, as that they were retreating with the loss of all their
ships, and, instead of the lofty hopes ^ they had formed, were
both themselves and the state in peril ; nay, also, because it
happened, that, in die abandonment of the camp, many mourn-
ful objects presented themselves to the sight, and struck home
to the heart of every one. For, as the dead lay unburied,
when any one .saw a fneud st retched out , he was struck at once
with grief and fear. Nay, the living otgects, the wounded
and the sick who were left behind, were objects of greater
grief and pity than the dead^ : for by resorting to supplica-



tuation of Haack. It were as improbable that the Syracutam should, under
existing circumstances, bum the ships, as it was probable that the Atkemans
would do so. Besides, Diodorus testifies that the Athenians burnt some of
them. Aristides, indeed, t. 2, 131^ reckons this burning of the triremes
amonff the other misfortunes of the Athenians. But it may be supposed,
that he only considers the necetnty for their being burnt as. toe real
calamity.

I This whole chapter is closely imitated by Dio Cass. p. 269 and 270.



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 31 of 59)