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 43 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 43 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

willingly to any other place of public debate *, nay, was re^

A Attemlie the five hundred.] These were, it seems, to be assembled en
dernier renort. Mitford here observes, *' that the distinction of the legis-
lative and executive powers appears in some degree implied, but h not
expressed by the historian : nor, indeed, does it seem to have been fully
and clearly conceived by any of the antient politicians."

» Pisander,] On whom see Aristophanes Lysist. 489. Certainly, what-
ever might be his vices, he was a man b;^ no means destitute of ability,
though an instrument in the hands of Antipho.

« Antipho,] The instnictor of Tbucydides, according to Suidas and
Marcellinus. Others, indeed, say that he was the pupil of Tbucydides ;
but that is very improbable. It appears from Aristoph. Vesp. 1 270. that
he was very poor; and if we may believe the same wnter, Ve«p. 1501.,
sobriety was not one of the virtues for which Tbucydides commends him.
But, indeed, virtue (ipirt)) may here be taken, in a more tpetial sense, to
denote public virtue, i. e. integrity. So in a passage of Horace Od. 3, 2,
17. (which might be placed under a picture of Antipho) *« Virtus, repulss
nescia sordidse, Intaminatis fulget honoribus : Nee suroit aut ponit secures
Arbitrio popularis aurs."

It b very probable that Tbucydides derived his fondness for aristocracy
from his tutor.

3 The ablest, too, ^c,] The sentiment is very similar to one at 1. 2, 60.
med. ** inferior to none of you, whether in knowing what is expedient to
be done, or in expressinc my conceptions in words." Perhaps, Pope had
in mind one or other of these passages in his celebrated definition of wit,^

'* What oh was thought, but ne'er so well exprest."

4 Came not forward, 4'c.] A circumstance not uncommon among the

Digitized by



garded with jealousy and suspicion ^ by the multitude on
account of his reputation for ability and eloquence ; and yet'
he was of all men most able to b^iefit by his counsel those
who had any suits in the courts of judicature, or before the as-
sembly of tiie people.® He, too, when the government of the
four hundred afterwards was on the downfall, and was
harassed by the people [or the democratical party], appears,
of all the men up to my time, to have best defended himself
when tried for his life on those matters, upon an accusation of
having contributed to set up that government^ Phrynichus,
too, showed himself, beyond all% zealously active for the
establishment of oligarchy, through fear of Alcjbiades, and
knowing him to be acquainted with all his correspondences
with Astyochus ; supposing, too, that he would, in all pro-

antient democracies, and which probably contributed to increase the aver-
sion of Antiphon to that form ot government. (Mitford.)

> Regarded with jealousy and stupicion,] Such was the fate of talent and
superiority of every kind^ under the Athenian democracy. See the oration
of Cleon, 1. 5. and especially c. 57. They would ascribe to him Sttvdrtis in
the bad sense, as diKtortig, Indeed, the low and ignorant naturally look
with suspicion and hatred at talents and knowledge, which they cannot fail
to see give power, which may, they fear, be exercised against them. Besides,
the Athenian multitude was perpetually maddened by the demagogues with
alarms of plots for the establishment of tyranny : and injuriously treated
as the higher classes were, they might well harbour thoughts of some change
in the constitution.

^ He was of all men most able, 4^.] Mitford paraphrases thus : " But in
any private cause, whether in the inferior courts of Judicature, or before
the assembled people, no man was equally capable of serving his friends,
either by his advice or by his eloquence." Here, however, as in several
other instances, the historian has been misled by Smith, There is nothing
said in the ori^nal of his servine his friends in such cases by his eloquence.
Besides, that is at variance with what went before, o^ Ic ^EXXov &y&va

7 Was on the downfal,] Smith wrongly renders, " was quite demo-
lished." In fitrafriirrut there is a metaphor taken from something which is
just toppling. As the term is neglected by the commentators, I shall sub-
join a few illustrations : Aristoph. Av. 626. Dinarch. 98, 25. /wrax«<rovaj|c
r^C Tvxni* Lycurg. C.L. 154, 14. nk r^c'EXXo^of i/c ^\tiav lurkirtetv. And
Hero(fiieui often has A-px^l or Swaertia fAtranieov^a c/c, k. t. X.

« Appears of all the men, ^c] Krueger aptly cites Cicero Brut. 12.
^ Huic Antiphontem Rhamnasium similia qucedam habuisse conscripta; quo
neminem unquam melius ullam oravisse capitis causam, quum se ipse
defenderet, se audiente, locuples auctor scripsit Thucydides."

9 Beyond all.] According to the usual custom of renegades and desert- '
ers ; for such he was, having been not, like Antipho and Theramen^, origin-
ally of the oligarchical party, but one who had passed over to it, with many
other eminent persons, from the democratical party.

Digitized by



babilily, never reluni. ta hi* country, to live under an ol'^
archy.'*' Hfe moreover, after he had once engaged in the
business^ showed himself by far the most to be depended up<Hi
at the hour of danger.^ ^ Tberamenes *S too, son of Agnon,
a man of no ordinary powers both of thought and elocution^
was a primary mover of the plan for abolishing democracy.
So that it is no wonder that the business, though difl&cult,
yet being managed by so many and able men, should have
succeeded. An arduous undertaking, however, was it ^® to put
a stt^ to the liberty of the Athenian people (at about the
' hundredth year after the expulsion of the tyrants) who had
not only known no subjectioiv but had for above the half of
that time been accustomed themselves to rule over others.

LXIX. When the assembly, after having sanctioned these
measures, no one contradicting', was dissolved, then they af-
terwards brought the four hundred into the council-hall in the
following manner : The Athenians were all continually partly
stationed at the walls, and partly drawn up in arms, because
of the enemy at Decelea. On that day, then, they suffered
such as were not in the secret to depart, as they were accus-

10 He woM never reiwm, jrc.] Such 10 the sense assigned by all the
translators. But may it not be this: " thinking that he would never be
recalled by an oligarchy ?" The true reason \Bhy Alcibiades could not be
expected to return was, that he had broken with the oligarchical party :
and having become the otyect of their aversion, could expect no recall
from tJkem,

1 > J/ter he had once engaged, ^.] On this passage the translators difl&r
in their views. The question turns upon the sense of ^(pfyyviararoc : that
which I have assigned is most agreeable to the primitive signification of
the word, and is confirmed by Dio Cass. 269, 16. o^ ^epcyyv^ irlern
^apeo<}VThnf : and so Smith, though his authority is but slender.

The following are illustrations of the expression : Soph. Elect. 942.
T£ ydp iccXevcic, wv iy« ^pkyyvoQ, .£schyl. Theb. 392. r(c — irpQ^rartU^
^tpiyyvoc; and 445* ff^kyyvov <ppovpTifia. 466. and 799. itOXcuq ^tpiyyvotg
^pddfJuBa npoer&rcuiQ.

'« Theramenei,] On this person see the references in Goeller.

13 Ab arduoui undertaJemSy <$'<?.] Such is plainly the sense of x^^'^ov ijv,
and not that asskned b^ Hobbes, ** it were sore with the people;" or
^ grievous it was,'' as Smith renders. The Latin version of rortus might
have taught them better. Thucydides does not mean to deplore their loss
of liberty, or that it was hard to lose it; he only adverts to the diiScufty
of the undertaking.

1 No one coniradicHng.] As we say, nem. con. The Latin phrase seems
borrowed firom the Greek one.

Digitized by



tomed ; but to those who were of the combinatioti it was qnietfy
ordered, not to repair to the place of arods ' 9 but t& wie^ at a
distance ^, and if any should hinder what was to be (fone; to^
take up arms, and permit no interference. There were sh6
provided some Andrtans and Tenians % as also three hundred
of Carystians, and those ^ginetes who had been sent by the
Athenians to colonise that island^ and came on purpose for
this business with their own arms. Matters being thus ar*
ranged, the four hundred going each with a small concealed
sword, and one hundred and twenty youths with them, whose
hands they employed whenever there were occanon to de*
spatch anyone ^ came upon the counsellors fy baUot who were
in the council-chamber, and bid them take their wages and be
gone. These they had brought with them, for the whole of
the time that was behind ^ and they gave them the money as
they went out.

LXX. As in this manner the council sneaked off without
the least opposition, and the rest of the citizens attempted no»
change, but kept quiet, the four hundred then entering^ into
the council-chamber, created Prytanes amongst them by lot,
and whatever were the customary observances of the Greeks,

« Place of arnii.'] Not camp, as Hobbes and Smith render. This seemt
to have been an open square in some central part of the city, where there
was room to draw up and exercise a considerable body of inmntrv, and, no
doubt, provided with places of shdter for bad weather, and for the night.

3 Wait at a eUttance.] It is clear tliat the place of arms was situated at
no great distance from the coundl-hall.

* Temans.] These seem to have been i^povxoi of the Athenians, as
being mentioned with the Carystians and iEginetes, who were such, Hudros
had been partly settled with such, as we find from Plutarch Perid. c. 11.

s Despatch any one.] Xiipovpytlv is here used, by an Attic euphemism,
for Avcuptly,

These vouths were probably those voung men of family before men-
tioned, who were especially z^ous and active in bringing in oligarchy.

The whole of tlU time thai mat behind.} The sense of this expressicm
Tov ifiroXjoivov xp6vov is dubious. Boeckh., referred to by Goeller, takes it
to denote the pay for the rest of the year. But Krueger objects to the
great and needless expense that would suppose, and understands it of the
arrears. Goeller, however, is inclined to agree with Boeckh^. and thinks
that, perhaps, no very considerable part of the year remmned. For m%
own part, I would use the words of a well-known, prudent cbamcter,
** There is much to be sud on both sides.*'

I 3

Digitized by



by prayers and sacrifices, they used on entering into o£Gce ;
but afterwards making many alterations from that form of ad-
ministration which was pursued under the democracy, except
that they did not recall the exiles, on account of Alcibiades, in
other respects they administered the state imperiously. And
certain persons, not many in number, who seemed convenient
to be made away with, they put to death.* Others they threw
into prison, and some also they sent abroad.^ They also send
messages, by herald, to Agis, king of the Lacedaemonians, who
was at Decelea, saying that they were willing to come to terms
of peace ^, and telling him he ought to treat with them rather
than with the fickle and faithless multitude.

LXXI. But he supposing the state was not yet quiet, and
that the people would not immediately yield up their antient
freedom, and that if they should see him coming in great force,
they would never keep still ; nor, at the present, thoroughly
relying on their no longer rising in tumult ; he returned no
pacific answer to the messengers from the four hundred, but
sending for a considerable additional force from Peloponnesus,
not long after descended himself with the garrison from De-
celea, and the fresh reinforcements, to the walls of Athens,
hoping that, either through tumult, they would submit on
whatever terms he wished, or, in all probability, be subdued
at the first onset, because of the confusion both within and
without the city. For the long walls he thought he' could not
fiul of taking, by reason of the destitution of defence. But

•^ Certain pertons, not many in number^ S^c,] Upon the whole, this revo-
ludoD, considering the amazine change which it involved, and as compared
with most others of the Greeks, was mild and hloodless. << In the general
conduct of the business," sa^s Mitford, " we see something veiy different
from the tumultuous revolutions so numerous among the Urecian repub-
lics. Nowhere else, in the accounts remaining to us, can we discover such
a r^|ard for all the forms of an established constitution. None of those
public massacres took place, which were so usual in Grecian revolutions :
public executions, with the pretence of law or popular judgment, were also
avoided. Yet," adds the same historian, ** even in this revolution at
Athens, we find strong relics of barbarism (I must risk the expression), and
▼ery defective notions of policy."

2 Sent abroad,] Or, as we say, transported^ and the French used to say,

9 Come to terms <if peace*] Thu signification of (vycwpciv also occurs
at 1.9, 87.

Digitized by



when he approached close, and the Athenians within the city
fell into no commotion whatever, but had sent forth the cavalry,
and a detachment of heavy and of light-armed, and bowmen,
and, by reason of the enemy's near approach, had beaten down
certain of them, and got possession of some bodies and arms ;
then, indeed, finding how matters stood, he led his army back*
And himself and the force under him remained stationary at
Decelea ; but the new comers, after some days' stay in the
country, he sent home. Afterwards the four hundred again sent
ambassadors to Agis ; and upon his now receiving them better,
they, at his recommendation, sent an embassy to Lacedsemon
to negotiate a treaty, being desirous of coming to some ac«

LXXII. They also sent ten persons to Samos, to comfort
and encourage the army ^, and give them to understand ^^ that
the oligarchy was not establbhed to the injury of the city and
its inhabitants, but for the safety of the state at large, and that
those who had the conduct of afibirs were not four hundred
alone, but five hundred. Notwithstanding that the Athenians
had never, by reason of expeditions, and busy employments
abroad, assembled for consultation upon any affair, however
important, with five hundred present." Giving, also, directions
us to what was proper to be said, they despatched the messen-
gers, immediately after the settlement of their present consti-
tution % fearing lest (what really came to pass) the seafaring
multitude would not only not be willing to abide by the oli-
garchical constitution, but (the evil commencing firom thence)
might be the means of turning them out of their places.

LXXIII. For in Samos there had been already a commo-
tion respecting a change to oligarchy, and the following oc-
currences took place about the same time that the four hundred
were establbhed at Athens. Those Samians that had risen
upon the powerfiil, and were of the popular party, changing

» To comfort and encourage the armi/,] So the expression •* s^ak com-
fortably to/' in 2 Sam. 19, 7. 3 Chron. 30, 22. 3, 26. Is. 40, 2. Hos. 2, 14.

« Settlement of, *c.l Acacius and Hobbes render, " after the change id
government." But this is rather an exposition than a version.

z S

Digitized by



ggaioy fmd being persuaded by Pisander when he went, and
Iw tki^ Athenians of the association, became also members of
tiaH cabalf to the number of three hundred, and were ready to
jfk9is» an attack on the rest of the people, as being of the de-
ipocniticaJ party. And Hyperbolus S a certain Athenian, a
m^an person, ostracized not from any fear <^ his power or
fX>QS6(juenoe, but for his villany and the disgrace he was to the
city ; hiiB they put to death, with the countenance of Char-
mimi^ one of the generals, and certain of the Athenians there ^,
haviAg given them their laith. Other such actions, too, they
CQBEiinitted by their connivance, and were bent on making an
attack on the many (L e. the popular par^). But they having
had intelligence of their design, make known what was in agi-
tation to Leon and Diomedon (for they, by reason of their
fevour with the people, bore the oligarchy but unwillingly),
and to Thrasybulus and Thrasyllus, one a commander of a
trireme, the other an officer of heavy-armed, also to others
wh^ were supposed to have been ever most opposed to the
^^1. These they intreated not to look on and see themselves
d/estrpyed, and Samos alienated from the Athenians, by which
alone their doqunion had been kept together as it was. On
hearing this, they went to the soldiery, and urged them, one by
oi^ not to suffer it; and especially they canvassed the Para-
lians, who wefe Athenians, and all the crew freemen ^, such
hi^ving ever before been opposed to oligarchy. And Leon
and Diomedon, when they went on any cruize, left them some
ships as a gu^d. So that on the three hundred making their
attack on them, ^11 those crews going to their help, and espe-
cially th^ Paralians % the popular party of the Samians got the

i IfyperMtiM,] On this person Goellar refers to Pbotius, Harpocrat.»
Suidas, Schol. on Lucian. Tim. 1. 1. p. 100. Plutarch Vit. Alcib. c. 13.
Nice. 11. Scholiasts on Aristoph. Eq. 851. 1301. 1360. Acham. 846.
Vcsp. 1001. Pac. 680. 691.1319. Thesm. 847. Plut 1038. Nub. 619, 873.
Plutarch de Herod. maUsn. 3. He was the last that suffered banishment
by ostracism, on which Goeller refers to Meier and Schoemann.

« WUh the courUenance of, 4rc.] Mitford takes the sense to be, that
** they killed Charminus and others." But no translator has assigned such
a sense, as beine at variance with what follows. The signification of fitrd,
by which it implies countenance and abeUmg, has been illustrated by Duker.

* AU the crew freemen,] Not, as in the case of the other ships (except,
perhaps, the Salaminia\ composed partly of slaves, who worked in chains.

« ParaiUnu.] i. e. those of the snip Paralus.

Digitized by



better, and killed some thirty of the three hundred^ and thirty-
eight of the ringleaders they banished. For the rest they de*
dared an amnesty, and afterwards they were governed by m

LXXIV. Bnt the Paralus, and on board of it Cbesreatf
son of Archestratas, an Athenian, who had been active
for the late change, the Samians sent in haste to Athens^
to annoance what had happened; for they knew not m
yet of the ftnir hundred archons.^ Immediately on their
making the harbour, the four hundred threw intx) prison
some two or three of the Paraltans, and taking away the
ship from the rest, removed them into another vessel, made to
receive soldiers ^, and appointed them to keep guard aboii^
Eubcea. But Chaereas, immediately on seeing what hap-
pened, contrived to secrete himself, and going back to Euboeai
tells the soldiery what had been done by the Athenians, ex-
aggerating and painting every thing in dreadful colours; as
that '^ they punished all with stripes ^, and that no opposition
could be made to those that held the government ; and diat
their wives and children at home are insulted^ ; also, that it is
their intention to apprehend and put in confinement the rela-
tions of such of the soldiery on service at Samos as are not of
their party, in order, if they would submit to their authority,
to put the hostages to death.'' And many stories he told, add-
ing £Edsities of his own.

LXXV. On hearing this, the men at first were going to
throw their missiles at those who had had most hand in the

» Knew not oi yet of the Jour hundred mrehons.]' Or, governors. In this
there is something sarcastic ; q. d. there had been before ten archons, now
there were four hundred.

3 Made to receive toldieri.] And, consequently, of a larger wad stronger
mak^ The difference I ha?e before pointed out.

3 Punished ail with stripe*.] I e. sJi that disobeyed them. Smith well
renders (or rather paraphrases), " every citizen was kept in awe by whips
and scourges.''

* InsuUed,] Smith strangely undersUads this of the "insolence of
whips and scourges;" a piece of judgment much on a par with the school,
master's interpretation of the Horatian " SubUmi Jtagetto Tange Cmoen
semel arrogantem."

Z 4

Digitized by



oligarchy^ and at such others as had taken part in it; when,
however, being hindered by some who were of neither party ^,
and being admonbhed not to ruin affiiirs, the enemy's ships
lying so near in hostile array, they desisted. After this,
Thrasyhulus son of Lycus, and Thrasyllus (for those were
the principal authors of the change), bdng earnestly bent on
turning the government into a democracy, swore all the sol-
diers (especially those of the oligarchy), by the most solemn
oaths, ^^ that verily they would be governed by democracy,
and would preserve concord, and actively carry on the war
against the Peloponnesians, and would be^n emies ^to the four
hundred, and hold no correspondence with them." All the
Samians, too, who were of military age took the same oath ;
and the soldiery communicated the whole matter, and the pro-
bable results of the dangers, to the Samians, conceiving that
neither those nor themselves had any other refuge of safety \
but that whether the four hundred should gain the upper
hand, or the enemies at Miletus, perish they must.

LXX VI. To such an eagerness of contention had they at
this time arrived; the one party compelling the city to be
under democracy, the other forcing the army to be under

1 Of neither parfy.] L e. neutrals, or mod^^ So I, with Goeller,
understand the oid fiktrov. The translators take it to mean " interpoted to
part them;" but that sense would require ytvofdvuw, I must not omit
to observe that the fidXXtiv just before seems not riffhtly to be confined to
darti, but may be extended to missiles of every kino^ such as rage is likely
to resort to, stones, sticks, &c.

* Had any other refuge of safety,] Namely, but in their assistance. The
phrase d^o^po^i) ewrripias (whicn also occurs at 1. 4, 76.) b very rare, nor
nave I met with any other example. Josephus, however. Bell. Jud. 1. 2,
11,4., has dwocTpo^ijif eurtiptov, by which he seems to have here taken the
genitive for an adjective. 'Airocrpo^r^ xaxuv occurs in Eurip. Med. 795.
Soph. frag, incert. 27. and Liban. Or. 501. B. and 509. B. The term is
used with Znf^las by Eurip. Med. 1220., and with Tvxne by .£schyl. Prom.
794. It, however, more frequently occurs without any genitive, in the
sense refuge, where ewrtipiaQ is understood. Herodotus 2, 13. has the
strange phrase 6 ydp ^ a^l ieri ^aro^ oit^miii iXKii dwoerpo^ii, where at ^d»
I wovdd subaud irtpL

The whole passage is well paraphrased bv Mitford thus : ** Henceforward
the Samians were admitted to all councils, as men engaged in the same
cause with the Athenians, and bound by the same interest, whose assistance
was necessary- to their welfare, and whose welfare depended upon their

Digitized by



oligarchy. And presently the arlny held an assembly',
wherein they deposed the former commanders^, and chose
others, and also trierarchs, of- whom were Thrasybulus and
Thrasyllus* They also rose up, one among another, and
addressed, among other counsels and exhortations, the follow-
ing : — that ^< there was no need to be dispirited because the city
had revolted from them; for that the lesser number had
seceded from the greater, and that in all respects better pro-
vided.^ For themselves having the whole of the navy, could
compel the rest of the subject states to contribute money,
equally as if they set out for that purpose from Athens.^
For they had in their possession Samos, a state of no de-
spicable strength, but which came within a little of depriving
the Athenians, when it was with them, of the empire of the
sea. That they were resisting the enemy from the same
place as before * ; and that they were better able, by the pos-
session of the fleet, to provide themselves with necessaries
than those in the city. That it was through their being
stationed to oppose the enemy at Samos, that they (i. e. the

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 43 of 59)