A Commentary on HerodotusMachine readable text

A Commentary on Herodotus
By W. W. How

Perseus Documents Collection Table of Contents










Funded by The Annenberg CPB/Project


Book 6


Ch. 1-5

The intrigues of Histiaeus in Ionia.

It is worth noticing that H., who elsewhere insists on the part played by Aristagoras (v. 28, 30 f., 98), here seems to regard the intrigues of Histiaeus as not merely the occasion (v. 35, 124 n.) but the cause of the revolt. Histiaeus was a man of wide ambitions (v. 23 n., 106), but his aims are obscure. Anxious to escape from his gilded captivity (v. 35), he has no policy but opportunist selfseeking. His earlier loyalty to Darius was interested (iv. 137 f.), and apparently he would even now have been willing to re-establish himself in Miletus (v. 106) as the great king's viceroy of Ionia. Hampered by the opposition of Artaphrenes and by his exclusion from Miletus, he escaped captivity or death in Chios by claiming to be the author of the national revolt. Eventually distrusted by both sides, he became a mere free-lance and perished miserably. For a more favourable view of him, resting largely on conjecture, cf. Klio ix. 341-51.

Ch. 3

kako\n tosou=ton. No Ionian would at the time have thus described their great struggle for freedom, undertaken of their own free will, but H., after the event, endorsed the shallow view that the revolt was a blunder, if not a crime (v. 28, 97 n., 124).

au)toi=si grammatically goes with ἐξέφαινε, but, as is shown by its position, also qualifies τὴν . . . αἰτίην, what was the true cause that brought the revolt on them.

This tale of intended transportation was a happy invention in view of the Persians' dealings with Barca (iv. 204), the Paeonians (v. 12 n., 14), and subsequently with the Eretrians (vi. 119) and the Milesians themselves (vi. 20), and of the hatred felt for the Ionians [p. 67] by the Phoenician traders, whom they had supplanted in the Levant and threatened in the West (i. 163; iv. 152). For Greek proposals to transplant the Ionians cf. i. 170; ix. 10 f.

Ch. 4

These Persian traitors in Sardis are a puzzle. Could they be Lydians who still nourished national aspirations?

Ch. 5 [sect. 1]

kath=gon: reducebant (i. 60. 5); imperfect, because they failed; cf. 2 ἔπειθε and ἔπεισε.

Chios and Miletus were old friends (i. 18. 3), hence the former will not use force but only persuasion in favour of Histiaeus.