Commentary on Thucydides: Book 2

Commentary on Thucydides: Book 2
By E.C. Marchant
London MacMillan & Company 1891

Perseus Documents Collection Table of Contents

Commentary on Book 2

Appendix: Analysis of Book 2

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Book 2

Commentary on Book 2

[p. 127]

Ch. 1

*)/arxetainot historic, but primary and connected with γέγραπται below. Thuc. means to say what preceded (i.e. book I.) was an introduction: now begins (my account of) the war itself. Cf. ἀρξάμενος, I. 1, 1: Diod. XII. 37 τὴν ἱστορίαν ἐντεῦθεν ἀρξάμενος. Ullrich first rightly explained this passage.

o( po/lemosi.e. the Archidamian War, 431-421; not the whole war to 404.

e)nqe/nde h)/dhcf. Aristoph. Ach. 539 κἀντεῦθεν ἤδη πάταγος ἦν τῶν ἀσπίδων, referring to the outbreak of the war. ἐνθένδε refers back to I. 146, i.e. the account of the αἰτίαι καὶ διαφοραὶ is now concluded. (The other explanation, referring ἐνθένδε to the attack on Plataea, is less satisfactory, as ἐνθένδε is so far from the account of the attempt.)

tw=n e(kate/rois c.when ξύμμαχος is in the gen. plu., it is generally constructed as an adj., following that of ξυμμαχεῖν. Thus cacophony is avoided. Contrast I. 18 τοῖς ἑαυτῶν ξυμμάχοις, IV. 81 τοῖς Ἀθηναίων ξ. ἐν neut. Cf. c. 11, 6, 35, 2, = quo tempore. It expresses not merely time, but includes circumstances. ἐν =during which period.

ou)/te...te cf. c. 5, 5.

e)pemei/gnunto par' a)llh/lousthe ἐπι-expresses reciprocity, as in ἐπιχρῆσθαι. During the period of suspicion which preceded war, ἐπεμείγνυντο καὶ παρ' ἀλλήλους ἐφοίτων ἀκηρύκτως μέν, ἀνυπόπτως δ' οὔ, I. 146. καταστάντεςsc. ἐς πόλεμον, when once they had definitely startcd. Cf. c. 9, 1 and I. 49, 3. This refers to the interval between the attempt at Plataea and the invasion of Attica.

cunexw=sdown to the truce that preceded the Peace of Nicias. Cf. v. 24 ταῦτα τὰ δέκα ἔτη πρῶτος πόλεμος ξυνεχῶς γενόμενος, VI. 26 ἄρτι δ' ἀνειλήφει πόλις ἑαυτὴν ἀπὸ τοῦ ξυνεχοῦς πολέμου. γέγραπται sc. μοι.This resumes ἄρχεται, but γέγραπται is probably impersonal, Thuc. meaning γέγραφα. Attic prose shows a marked preference for perf. pass. over perf. act. forms in 3rd sing. Thus πέπρακταί μοι is far commoner than πέπραχα, which is quite rare. γέγραφα occurs once in Thuc., γέγραπται ἐγέγραπτο or partic. nine times.

e(ch=sexplained by κατὰ θ. καὶ χειμῶνα. Distinguish between τάξις, the arrangement of the subject matter as a whole, διαίρεσις, the divisions in which the separate events are grouped, ἐξεργασία, the treatment of [p. 128] the separate events. It is to the διαίρεσις that Thuc. refers.

w(s e(/kasta e)gi/gnetoneut. plu. is used of the several events, just as Thuc. uses αὐτὰ constantly of the details of the subject he is dealing with.

kata\ q. kai\ xeimw=naas Thuc. begins his account of each summer with the first event of the new campaign, the summer in his history does not always begin exactly at the same time. Thus in 429, the account of summer begins with the Peloponnesian expedition against Plataea, which took place ἀκμάζοντος τοῦ σίτου, i.e. 80 days after the opening of spring (II. 71, 1; 79, 1; cf. c. 19, 1 and 2, 1). In 428 the account of the summer only begins ἅμα τῷ ἦρι ἀκμάζοντι (III. 1, 1). Phormio's arrival at Piraeus did not occur till spring had opened; but, for the sake of convenience, that event is tacked on to the preceding winter (II. 103). But usually the opening of spring is reckoned with summer. Autumn also is counted with summer. Though Steup maintains that summer and winter are of equal length in Thuc., Poppo's view, that the summer consists of eight months (Elaphebolion to Pyanepsion) is probably correct. Thus the winter is from Maemacterion to Anthesterion.

Ch. 2 [sect. 1]

*ga\rtakes up ἄρχεται and introduces the narrative. So c. 49, τὸ μὲν γαρ ἔτος takes up δηλώσω. ἐνέμεινανthe aor. of a single historical fact. M. T. 56, 57 (sometimes called complexive).

*eu)boi/as a(/lwsinEuboea revolted at the same time as Megara, 445 B.C. See I. 114, 115. The place of the article is taken by the gen., as often. Cf. I. 1 διὰ χρόνου πλῆθος. Comparing this phrase with c. 49, 4 μετὰ ταῦτα λωφήσαντα, VI. 3, 3 μετὰ Συρακούσας οἰκισθείσας, II 68 ἀπὸ τῶν Ἀμπρακιωτῶν ξυνοικησάντων, VI. 80, 2, and similar predicative uses of the partic. collected by Stahl, Quaest. Gram. p. 28, we might suppose that Thuc. could have written μετὰ Εὔβοιαν ἁλοῦσαν, just as below we have ἐπὶ Χρυσίδος ἱερωμένης, but, with the solitary exception of ἅμα with expressions of time, as ἄμα τῷ σίτῳ ἀκμάζοντι, it is improbable that this convenient use of the partic. was ever employed unless the expression made sense without the partic., which would not be the case here. This convenient use is of course much commoner in Latin than in Greek.

e)pi\ *xrusi/dos Argos, though humbled by Sparta, 495 B.C., was still the third state in Greece. The Argives reckoned by the number of years during which the priestess of Hera had held office. Hellanicus had written a work on the Priestesses of Argos, using them as marks for the dates.

*ai)nhsi/ousc. ἐπί: so with Πυθοδώρου. ἐφόρουi.e. the Ephor ἐπώνυμος. The omission of ὄντος, for which cf. v. 25, 1, is rare except in dates. ἐφόρου ὄντος = ἐφορεύοντος. τέσσαρας μῆναςthe archons entered on office on the 1st of Hecatombaeon, which in 431 B.C. fell on August 1st. To [p. 129] express a period of time, the pres. (or imperf.) or perf. (or pluperf.) participle is used: to supply the reference to the completion of the period, (a) ἤδη is added, in primary sequence, which becomes τότε in secondary sequence: both refer to a period past at the time of speaking: (b) ἔτι referring to the completion of a period in the future. Thus v. 112, 2 οὔτ' ἐν ὀλίγῳ χρόνῳ πόλεως ἑπτακόσια ἔτη ἤδη οἰκουμένης τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἀφαιρησόμεθα, and observe τότε ἱερωμένης and ἔτι ἄρχοντος here. The four months are Elaphebolion, Munychion, Thargelion, Scirophorion.

*)aqhnai/oiscf. 1. 93 ἀρχὴν ἄρχειν Ἀθηναίοις, but in v. 25 ἄρχοντος Ἀθήνησι. The dative is probably local. Cf. c. 86 and 92 ἀπὸ τῶν Ἀθηναίων for ἀπὸ τῶν Ἀθηνῶν. [

meta\ th\n mhni\ e(/ktw|]. Reasons for regarding these words as a later addition to the text are 1. Nearly a year (I. 125) intervened between the day on which the allies of Sparta decided to go to war and the first invasion of Attica (c. 19). Between the battle of Potidaea and the decision came the events recorded in I. 63-88, 118-125. The invasion was 80 days after the attempt on Plataea (c. 19). So for the period between the battleat Potidaea and the attempt on Plataea we get nearly a year minus 80 days and the time occ<*>pied by the events of I. 63-88, 118-125. The result must clearly be more than six months But Lipsius' ἕκτῳ καὶ δεκάτῳ probably gives too much time: thus, from battle at Potidaea to attempt on Plataea = 15 months; from attempt on Plataea to invasion of Attica = 80 days. Total about 171/2 months. Deducting nearly a year for the time between the decision of the allies and the invasion, we get about 61/2 months, at least, for the events of I. 63-88, 118-125. These events were as follows: the Athenians built a wall on the north side of Potidaea and garrisoned it. After a considerable interval (χρόνῳ ὕστερον) Phormio was sent from Athens with 1600 hoplites. He spent some time on the road (κατὰ βραχὺ προιών). On arriving, he built a wall south of Potidaea. The Corinthians called a meeting of allies at Sparta. The Spartans sent to Delphi. Then a general meeting of allies was held at Sparta. at which the decision was come to. It is not clear whether the Corinthians proposed the first meeting after the north wall was built, or only after the south wall was finished. It is however highly improbable that they waited to take action till Potidaea was completely shut in; for they were most anxious about Potidaea, and were anxious to force on war. The Athenians would occupy about a month in building the north wall. Thus the Corinthians probably suggested the meeting about 40 days after the battle. Thus, the whole time would only be about 40 days + the time taken in the mission to Delphi and the calling of the second meeting. 2. The [p. 130] bracketed words give no additional indication of the date of the attempt on Plataea. Thuc. wishes to be precise here, but he has given no definite indication of the date of the battle at Potidaea, nor was it necessary to do so. He says (1) the decision of the allies was some 11 months before the invasion, (2) the invasion was 80 days after the attempt. All that could be found from μηνὶ ἕκτῳ would be the date of the battle of Potidaea. If any event were here referred to it would rather be the decision of the allies.

a/ma h)=ri a)rxome/nw|the last day of Anthesterion, in 431 April 4th. See c. 4, 2

boiwtarxou=ntesthe 11 chiefs of the Boeotian confederacy, of whom Thebes elected two, the other cities one each.

peri\ prw=ton u(/pnoncf. VII. 43 ἀπὸ πρώτου ὕπνου. When the article is omitted with expressions of time, a preposition is usually present, except with ἡμέρας and νυκτός. See Rutherford, Syntax, p. 4. There were three watches, the first beginning about 10 o'clock.

cu\n o(/ploisin later Attic, except Xenophon, σὺν has only two uses; (1) the old phrase σὺν (τοῖς) θεοῖς, (2) in enumerating things which are thrown together in a sum total; so that σὺν is very rare with persons, and it never implies a willing connection. Andoc. II. 7 τὸν πατέρα σὺν ἐμαυτῷ ἀποκτεῖναι. Of (1) Thuc. has 1 example, II. 86; of (2) 11 examples, e.g. (a) with thingsc. 13, 77,; v. 26 ξὺν τῷ πρώτῳ πολέμῳ τοσαῦτα ἔτη. Cf. VII. 42; VIII. 90, 95: (b) with persons, comparatively common in Thuc., I. 12; II. 6, 13; IV. 124; v. 74. Besides these, Thuc. has the old military phrase, ξὺν (τοῖς) ὅπλοις, 8 times. Cf. Eur. Hec. 112. Aristoph. Nub, 560. In the same class fall ξὺν ἑνὶ ἱματίῳ, II. 70, ψιλοὶ ξὺν ξιφιδίῳ and ξὺν δορατίοις III. 22. Cf. the Homeric σὺν τεύχεσι. Further, 6 cases of verbal nouns which modify the meaning of a verb, viz.: ξὺν ἐπαίνῳ ἐξοτρύνειν I. 84, ξὺν κατηγορίᾳ παροξύνειν ib., ξὺν χαλεπότητι παιδεύεσθαι ib., ξὺν φόβῳ ἔχειν τι I. 141, ξὺν ἀνάγκῃ τι παθεῖν III. 40, ξὺν προφάσει κακῶς ποιεῖν ib. The absence of this archaic idiom from the later books is remarkable. Lastly, 3 cases of a connection willingly formed, viz.: II. 58; III. 90; VII. 57. This is common in Tragedy and Xenophon. In inscriptions of the classical period only the Attic use marked (2) above is found, and that never with persons.