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 34 of 59)
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mud and all, bloody, too, as it was ; nay, to most it was an
object of contest.^®

LXXXV, At length, after numerous corpses were now
heaped one upon another in the river, and when the army was
one scene of carnage, part being slain in the river, and pai't,
if they made their escape thence, by the horse ; Nicias sut^
renders himself to Gylippus (having more confidence in him
than in the Syracusans), and bids him and the Lacedcemo-
nians to do what they pleased with himself, but to cease slaugh-
tering the rest of his troops.^ Whereupon Gylippus gave



9 Pelopannesiatti.] LonginUs, in citing this t>a8sag^, reads Sj^ctuam,
which Diiker thinks the true reading, ** since nothing was befbre said of the
Peiop<mnesutns, add the Sj/racusatu are again mentioned : nor can it b^
seen why the Peloponnesians should be mentioned." But this criticism,
though approved by some editors, seems to be very unsound. Their not
having heed mentioned of late, is no reason why they should riot be men*
tioned here. The present service was a daneerous one (namely, attacking
men driven to despair), and, therefore, the Peloponnesians (being by far the
best arid steadiest troops) were the fittest for it : and as we before have
learned that the Syracusans be^n to be chary of their personal safety, thev
would gladly put them upon it. Besides, as Gylippus is iust afterwards
mentioned, we can hardly doubt but that he was there at the head of the
Peloponnesians : and ^hen Nicias was induced, for security, to surrender
himself to Gylipput, and not to the Syracusans, it roust have been because
Gylippus had a strong corps of Peloponnesians, who could defend the
prisoners from the fury of the Syracusans. As to the reading of Longinus^
It may very well be accounted for : the passage seems to have been cited
from memory, or, at least, with very cursory mspection ; and certainly, iti
such a case, any one would be inclined to write Syracusans rather than
Peloponnesians, And when it is added, that not a single MS. has ^vpa^
Koiifftoi, a case is made out for the common reading so strong that no
reasonable doubt can be entertained of its correctness.

>o O^ect of contest J\ It is remarkable that vipifidxtiroQ is altnost always
used in a metaphoricai sense, to denote what li highly desirable. I have,
however, noted the natural sense in Plato de Le^' SIS. trtptfidxfiroQ {v
airrotQ rf rpo^ij, Procop. de iEdif. p. 87, 17. Aristot.^th. 1. 9, 8. See Hem-
sterhus on Lucian, t.- 1, 540. and Wesseline on Dibd. Sic t. 8. 196, l.

1 Surrenders hhuelfto Oylifpus, ^c] It is stranee that Mitford should
omit to narrate the heroic and moving manner in which the surrender was
made by Nicias. Throughout, indeed, the whole of the extreme dbtresses
of the Athenians, thb general had acted a most noble part; and thoii^h
sinking under sickness and fatigue, he acquitted himself as heroically as his
colleague had ever done at any period. It is therefore surprising that the

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26S THE HISTORY OF THUCYDIDES. BOOK VII.

orders " to make prisoners." And the rest, such as had not
concealed themselves (who were many), they collected together.
They sent also a party in pursuit of those three hundred who
made their way through the guards by night, and they appre-
hended them. However, what was collected together in common
of the army was not considerable, but what was privately se-
creted ^ was great, insomuch that the whole of Sicily was filled
with them, since they were not taken on capitulation, as those
with Demosthenes. But no inconsiderable portion was slain ;
for the carnage was very great, and inferior to none in this
Sicilian ^ [or Grecian] war. No inconsiderable number had



Athenians (as appears from Pausan l, 29, 9.) should have refused to permit
hb name to be inserted on the column with those that had fallen in the
service of their country in Sicily : icoray vukt^cic, Pausanias says, oi'xfuiXwroc
l^eXovTt^g ilvai Kai oiiK Avi^p iroXkfi(i» trpkmav. Nothing, however, could be
more unjust, not to say ungrateful. From the strong expression Su^apfU*
vov Tov vTpanviiaroQ it is quite clear that the army was utterly broken and
destroyed a$ an army^ and that therefore a capitulation was out of the
question, and nothing remained but to surrender at discretion, which Nicias
effected in the most prudent manner; and his conduct shows the most
anxious interest for the safety of his countrymen. Insomuch that his
words and manner bear some faint resemblance to the ^eat model of per-
fection when (as we learn from St. John 17,8.) he exclaimed, " If, then, ye
seek me, let these fo their way."

This will be no improper place to introduce and consider an anecdote
preserved to us by Pausanias, and founded, perhaps, on the authority of
Philistus, or Timaeus, or Ephonis. It occurs in 1. 7, 1 6, 5. where he records
the magnanimous conduct of KaXXitrrpa-ro^ 6 'Efiirl^ov irp^ A^ifvaiovc
roifTtft ydp rtf itv^pl lirirapxh^avTt iv ScimXi^ ot r« 'A^iyvaTo* xai 8ao« d>Xot,
TOV vr6\ov fitt(oxriK€ffaVf dnwXKvvro irpbQ rip norafiif rtji *X9ivdpifi, rort ry
KaXXiorpdrtfi Tro/oio'^^f rdXfUi BuKirkftai Bid rwv iro\€fii^JV, dyovri roi^ lirir^ag,
its Sk rb TToX'd drriaitwtv airuv ic Karaviyv, ivktrrpi^tv dvitria rrjv airri^v avdtQ
6S6v ie ^vpaieovaac, BiapvdKovra^ rrupwv rb *A^iivai*av orparbTedoVp Kara*
tdXXti Tt 8(Tov vsvTt U aOr&v, koI rpavfjutra itrixatpa airriyQ kcu 6 tiriroc Xa-
tovTic d^taat rt^v ^l/vxvv* o^to^ fUv ^i) dya^rjv doiav 'A^ifvaioi^ kcu avrif
KTbtfuvoQ^ wipuiroiriai Tt, vv ipx^f Koi IrfXtvnifftv ahrhQ IkovoUoq,

I must not omit to observe, that the estimate made by Diodorus Siculut
of the slain on the occasion, namely, eighteen thousand, seems incredibly
large. He says, besides, that seven thousand were made prisoners. But if
we take into the account the considerable number that escaped, or were
concealed by private persons, it will raise the amount of this division to
something near thirty thousand, which is inconsistent with the words of
Thucydides, that the division of Nicias was the kaif, or more. I suspect,
then, that Diodorus wrote ^crajcurxiXiouc : and that the /ivpiov^ (written
nvp,) arose from the fiiv preceding.

« Privately secreted.] Or, '^ embezsled;" namely, by the individual
captors, for the purpose of being sold as slaves.

^ Sicilian.] The Scholiast and many critics read Grecian, And there it
great reason to think this the true rending, inasmuch as it is the more diffi-



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CHAP. LXXXVI. THE HISTORY OP TUUCYDIDE8. 263

fallen in the various attacks, which were frequent, madeon them
during the march. Many, however, too, escaped, some imme-
diately, and others afterwards, when in slavery, contrived
to effect their escape. To all these Catana was constantly
a place of refuge.

LXXXVI. The Syracusans and their allies being collected
together, and having taken as many prisoners as they could,
returned with them and the spoils to the city. And the rest
of the Athenians and their allies whom they took they thrust
down into Latomia (or stone quarries ' ), considering that as
the surest custody ; but Nicias and Demosthenes they put to
death ^, though against the will of Gylippus ; for he conceived



cult one, and was more likely to be altered into the other than vice
versd,

■ LatontiOf or stone-quarries.] Namely, those Irom whence the city had
been built ; called at the present day le tagUate, Goeller de Situ, refers to
Breval. itin. 1. 1. p. 22. Cluver. S. A p. 180. seqq. L. B. Cic t. Verr. 5, 27.
Fazell. de reb. Sic. Dec. l, 1, 4. c l. p. 82. Wass on Thu^d. 7, 87. Peri-
£on. on ^lian Var. Hist. 12, 44. Letronne p. 99. Dorville Sicul. p. 178. seq.
181. seq. 194. seq. Brydone, 1. 1, p. 251. seqq.

From Aristid. t. 5, 381. A. it appears that the place was aderwards con-
verted into the public prison. See also Polysn. 5, 37. and Athen. p. 7. A.
It appears, too, from Livy, 1. 32, 26. that the word Latomia came to be a
common name for a prison.

Much to the present purpose is the following passage of Cicero on the
Lautumise, cited by Goeller : Lautumias Syracusanas omnes audistis, pie-
rique n6stis. Opus est ineens, magnificum regum ac tyrannorum. Totum
est ex saxo in mu*andam lutitudinem depresso et multorum operls penitus
exdso, ideoque quanquam currsyaffrov nihil tarn dausum ad exitus, nihil
tam septum undique, nihil tam tutum ad custodies nee fieri, nee cogitari
potest. In has lautumias, si qui publice custodiendi sunt, edam ex ceteris
oppidis Sicilian deduci imperantur.

* Nicias and Demosthenes thetf put to death,] This was certainlv one of
the most atrocious deeds ever perpetrated, of which the base violation of
faith was equal to the ingratitude. From Diodorus and Plutarch it appears
to have been done bv a decree of the sovereign people, at the suggestion^
Diodorus tells us, of Diocles, the leader of a democratical party and the
perpetual opponent of Hermocrates ; for, though Timaeus charges it upon
Hermocrates, yet that is justly supposed to have been a mere calumnv
arising from the party politics of his time. It may seem strange that such
an atrocity should be sanctioned by the people at large; but, doubtless,
their indignation was excited and their fears worked upon by artful dema-
gogues. Thus at the time of the surrender of Napoleon Buonaparte to the
£nglkAi people, no inconsiderable part of the multitude of this kingdom
demanded that he should be put to death. It is, too, well observed by Mit.
ford, that, " in the antient democracies, the most worthless individual,
touching at any time a chord in consonance with popular passion, could

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THE HISTORY OF THUCYDIDE8. BOOK VII.

it would be a glorious distinction for him, if, in addition to his
other achievements, he should bring home to Lacedsemon the
enemy's commanders.® Now it so happened that one (Demos-
thenes) was the most hostUe to them by reason of the occur-
rences at the island and at Pylus ; while the other was in that
very respect their greatest friend. For Nicias had zealously
promoted the liberation of the men from the island, by persuad-
ing the Athenians to make a treaty. On which account the
Lacedaemonians were very kindly disposed towards him.* In-
deed for this reason he had been especially induced to surrender
himself to Gylippus. But certain of the Syracusans (so it was
said), part of them as being in fear ^ lest, as they had held cor-
respondence with him, he might, on beuig put to torture on
that account, throw the city into disorder amidst the pre-
sent success ; othei-s of them, and likewise the Corinthians,
apprehensive, lest by bribery somehow or other (as he was
rich), he should effect his escape, and then some harm might
befall them from him ^ — prevailed upon their allies, and had



procure the sanction of sovereign authority for any villainy. For where
neittier one person nor a select body was responsible, but the whole people,
trul^ despotic, were the coinmon authors of every public act, the shame of
flagitious measures w'as so divided that it was disregarded."

It is, indeed^ affirmed by Justin that Demosthenes tlevt himself: but this
u so contrary to the testimony of Thucydides, that it cannot bi^ admitted.
Th6 report seems to have arisen from the /<ic/ mentioned by Plutarch Nic.
( 27. and Philistus ap. Pausanias p. 29, 4. (though omitted by Thucydides)
that afler concluding the unfortunate capitulation which he Was obliged 16
make, he attempteato kill himself, but the wound did not prove hiortal.

3 Bring home, 4-c.] In antient times, the capture 6t an Enemy's com*
manders was always thought a glorious exploit, as seemibg to imply the
amiihilaiion o£ the army.

* Kindlv disposed towards Atm.^ But knowing this, it was so much the
basdr in Grvlippiis to permit his pnsojners to be touched ; and as this mea-
sure was clearlv brought about by the coalition of the ultra democrats and
the party which had before held correspondence with Nicias, so, as Gylip-
pus was afterwards convicted of the basest dishonesty in eknbe^zling the
treasure committed to his chaise by the Peloponnesians, there is little
doubt but that his avarice was in this affair woriced upon by those who were
prepared to carrv the thing through, per/as et nefas.

» In fear.] ISamelv, lest Nicias should, on torture, disclose the names
of the persons with whom he had held correspondence.

s And then some harm, ^c] It should seem by this thftt Nicias had
always been ill disposed towards the Corinthians ; and, probably, he had
been the promoter of the expedition sent against the Connthian territory^
recorded in 1. iv.



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CHAP. LXXXVII. THE HISTORY OF THUCYDIDES. 265

bim put to death.^ On ibis account, then, or something very
like it, was Nicias put to death, the least deserving of all the
Grecians of my time to have fallen into such a calamity,
inasmuch as his whole conduct was regulated by the rules
of approved virtue.®

LXXXVII. Those in the stone-quarries, the Syracusans
at the first treated very harshly.^ For being in a hollow
place, and many crowded within a small compass, the suffo-
cating heats ^ at first annoyed them, unsheltered as they were j -^
from the sun ; and then, on the contra ry, the nights coming on ui^vJlr'?
autumnal and cold, by that change, soon brought them into . — ^- —
a sickly condition^; especially as, by want of room, being



^ Prevailed upon, <S*c.] These words must be understood in two different
ways, as applied to. the Syradusans or the Cdrinthmns. In the former case,
they will denote that the Syracusans prevailed upon their allies (namely,
the Lacedaemonians) to permit them to put to death Nicins and Demos-
thenes. In the latter, that the Corinthians persuaded the Lacedemonians
to permit the Syracusans to put them to death.

^ Hit whole conduct, 4*<^J Such is, I conceive, the sense of the passage,
following the reading of Bekker and Goeller, which seems well founded.
VEvofiiiTfuvtjv is to be taken with dptrr^Vf and the phrase denotes ** what was
accounted such.'* The apirt^v seems to have a reference as well to the
duties towards God as those towards man. The vtvofiujukvriv, however,
appears to be meant chiefly for the former of these ; by which it seems to
be implied that the religion of Greece rested merely on human opinion
and institutions.

' Treated very harshly.'] Their whole conduct was, indeed, marked
with a spirit of deliberate cruelty, the general vice, it must be confessed, of
the fau'est days of Greece ; which yet ought not to be attributed to the dis-
position of the people, since it was the unavoidable result of the political
state of the country. (Mitford.^

« HeatsJ] Literally, *'sufu;^* i. e. rays of the sUn. A rare use of the
word, of which Duker gives an example from ^lian V. H. 1. 15, 1. It may
be added that Sophocles (Ed. Col. 350. has riXiov re kavfiaat fwx^owra, and
elsewhere we have Kavfia without i^Xiov: as Genes, c. 31,40. in a passage
very similar to the present. Polysenus 8, 10, 2. uses i^Xtov to denote tne heat
of the sun; as also Euthymius Zle. U 1, 249. ov ^dxru^ mrbv oifdk i^Xtov, oifH
wvodc Avkfiitfv. And so Cowper, Task 3. p. 82. speaks of " wholesome airs
— clear tuns**

3 Brought them into a sickly condition.] Literally, *' altered them into;**
i. e. operated such a change in the body as produced sickness. A use of
vtmrtpiCia of very rare occurrence, and which may be illustrated from the
note on 1. 2, 49, 7., to which may be added the following passages: Philo
Jud. de Vit. Mos. 1. 1. vi^aripiaavTOQ tog obvia vporepov rod dipoQ, Arrian
E. A. 4, 8, 3. vcw. Iq rb Bapiapueutripov, and 7, 13, S, vtw. it iJft)iv. So
also Hippocrates cited by Foesius in v. fUTatAXXuv. where the body is said
fura^dKKuv U r&v iivkmav iv ryvi fUTaXKdyy<nv,

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966 THE HISTORY OP THUCYDIDE8. BOOK VII.

obliged to do every thing ^ in the same place ; and moreover,
the corpses of such as died (some of their wounds, others by
the change of diet and living, or the like) being all piled to-
gether in heaps, the stench was intolerable. And, besides
their other miseries, they laboured under hunger and thirst ;
for during eight months *, they had each of them only a cotyl ®
of water, and two cotyls of corn. Indeed of whatever else
would be likely to befall men thrown into such a place,
there was nothing that they did not suffer. And for some
seventy days they fared thus, huddled together. Afterwards
the Syracusans sold all, except the Athenians and such of the
Siceliots or Italiots as had joined them in the expedition.
The total number of prisoners, though it is hard to say exactly,
yet could not be less than seven thousand.

Such were the circumstances of this most momentous of all
the events that happened in Greece during this war ; nay, as
it seems to me, the greatest of all on record respecting Greece,



By the change here spoken of is meant the change of season. On which
it is truly observed by Herodotus 2, 77. iv y^p ryai niratoKyci roiffi dv^pup*
iroiffi (d vovffoi fidkivra yivovrai — r&v utpiwv lioKitrra, where Valckn. cites
Hippocrat. Aphor. 3, 1. p. 18. to which may be added Damoxenus ap.
Athen. 108. Cf.

* Do evert/ iMng.] This, the commentators observe, is said honest e.
To the examples adduced by Duker may be added Plutarch Artax. 1. 16.

s Eight months.] Namely, it seeitts, the whole time that they were, at
least €Ul of them, confined in this place.

^ Coti/L] Said by Hobbes to be equal to our half^a-pint. But Schneider,
in his Lexicon, more correctly fixes the cotyl of liquid at our third of a pint^
and that of com at about eight ounces. But, of course, the weight woul4
vary according to the kind and the quality of the com. Matthias and
Boeckh, cited by Goeller, offer a different calculation ; the former of whom
says that the cotyl was half a choenix, or the one hundred and ninety-
second part of a medimnus or bushel. The latter says, the medimnus
contained six hacts, forty-eight choenizes, and one hundred and ninety-two
cotyls ; and consisted of two thousand six hundred and two cubic inches.
(Matthise says two thousand five hundred and eighty-one.) Consequently,
the cotyl contained one hundred and thirty cubic inches.

How scanty this portion was, we may conceive from the fact attested by
Diogenes Laert. 8, 1 8. and Athen. 3, 29. (cited by Wesseling on Diodorus)
that the choenix was the regular quantity for a day's food. And from Plu-
tarch Camill. it appears that the cotyl of wine was the regular allowance
for a day. In Egypt, indeed, it was your cotyls. See Herod. 2, 168.

It must be observed that those who thus suffered were of the division
under Demosthenes. Those taken with Nicias were sold for slaves, but ex-
perienced a much happier fiite.



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CHAP. LXXXVIT. THE HISTORY OP THUCYDIDES. 267

both as being to the victors the most glorious, and to the
tolall}' discomfited party the most disastrous. For they were
wholly and in every respect defeated, and in nothing sufiPered
a trifling loss, but both fleet and army were (so to speak)
root and branch destroyed^ nor was there aught that did not
come to utter ruin ; few out of so many returning home !
Such were the events in Sicily.



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OeS THE niSTOEY OF THUCYOIDES. BOOK VIII.



BOOK VIII.

I. iV^HEN the news reached Athens, the people for a long
time discredited ^ even the most respectable of the soldiery
who had made tlieir escape from the very scene of action, and
gave the most accurate intelh'gence; nor would believe that so
total a destruction had befallen them. When, however, they
had ascertained the fact, they were exasperated against such
of the orators ^ as had zealously promoted the expedition^ as if
they had not themselves decreed it.^ They were enraged, toOj
with the oracle-mongers * and soothsayers, and whoever, un-
der a professed divine impulse, had inspired them with hopes ^
of subduing jSicily. Moreover, the state of all afiPairs on all



I Ditcredifed, ^c] Plutarch relates that a foreigner, landing at Piraeus,
went into a barbers shop, which, like the modem coffeerhouse, was the
usual resort of idle newsmonffers in the Grecian cities (as we find after-
wards in Rome), and spoke of the event as what be supposed would, of
course, be well known there. The barber, with more zeal than discretion,
went immediately into the city, and communicated the intelligence to the
archons ; who, with the natural anxiety of magistrates under the tyranny of
a despotic multitude, summoned an assembly of the people, and produced
the barber to declare his news. The people, in extreme agitation, demanded
his authority. The incautious man could produce none ; he had no pre-
vious acquamtance with the person from whom he received the information,
and knew not where to find him. The indignant multitude immediately
ordered the barber to the torture of the wheel (a mode of punishment
nowhere exactly described to us, but which, it seems^ might be borne long%
and he was not released till some of the more fortunate few, who had
escaped from the scene of war, arriving, confirmed the uncertain intelli-
gence. (Mitford.)

9 Orators.] Krueger thinks that these were Dinostratus, Pisander, and
Andocides.

^ At if they had not Ihemtelvet decreed t/.] i. e. been the authors of the
measure. For, indeed, as Mitford observes, the people in assembly holding
the executive as well as the legislative government, every one being free to
propose, and sometimes a majority, with tumultuous clamour, commanding
measures, there could be no duly responsible minister.

4 Orade-mongeri.] It was, Krueger observes, from being deceived by
oracles, that the people formed such magnificent hopes. He refers to
Aristoph.Ea. 961, 1010. 1086. Av. 978. Plut. Nic. IS., and says, on the au-
thority of Philochorus and Plutarch Nic. S3, that Sdlbides, a famous augur,
accompanied the expedition.

& Inspired them with hopes.] Literally, '' put them on hoping ; '* for,
hwiK-KV^ia figoifies Iw* iXnUat dynv.



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CHAP. I. THE HISTORY OF THUCYOIDES. 269

sides filled them with grief ^ ; and at the present conjuncture,
they were beset with fear and consternation the most extreme.
For they were not only suffering extreme grief at the depri-
vation which each individually and tlie state at large sus-
tained by the loss of such numbers of heavy-armed and cavalry,
and such a mass of the flower of their youth as they were
conscious they had not left the like ; but seeing that there was
no sufficient number of ships in their docks, nor stores and
equipments for a navy, nor funds in the treasury [to send
forth such another fleet ^], they were at this crisis in despair
of their safety ; and thought that their enemies in Sicily would
presently proceed with their fleet to the Piraeus (especially
as having been so completely successful) ; and that their foes at
home would now, as being doubly provided with every requi-
site, assail them in full force, both by land and by sea, with
the aid, too, of their own revolted allies. Nevertheless, it was
judged expedient not to give way, but bear up ^ to the utmost
of their power, and especially (procuring timber and money
from every possible quarter ^) to prepare a fleet ; also to put
affairs in a state of security among the allies, and especially
Euboea ; to curtail, too, the state expenses to something more
of moderation and frugality '°; finally, to collect a certain



FUIed them with grief.] Our historian shows the most intimate know-
ledge of the human heart, by noticing the first expressions o£ the popular
feding venting themselves in anger and rage ; and then those violent pas-
sions bubsiding into deeply 'Settled grief at the past, and extreme alarm for
the future.

7 Sufficient — to tend forth such another Jtect.] These last words are im-
plied in the rest of the sentence.

^ It wat judged expeiUent, ^c] One cannot but admire the magnanimity
of this resolution, as well as the judgment shown in carrying it into effect.
It seems that the danger of the crisis gave the able and discreet that power
to take the lead, of which they had been long deprived by the cabals of
crafty and rash demagogues.

» Procuring timber and money from every potsihle quarter,] Literally^
** 8cra|Hng together timber," &c. It is strange that Uoeller should jom



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 34 of 59)