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Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, 2.8.4-5

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ἡ δὲ εὔνοια παρὰ πολὺ ἐποίει τῶν ἀνθρώπων μᾶλλον ἐς τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους, ἄλλως τε καὶ προειπόντων ὅτι τὴν Ἑλλάδα ἐλευθεροῦσιν. ἔρρωτό τε πᾶς καὶ ἰδιώτης καὶ πόλις εἴ τι δύναιτο καὶ λόγῳ καὶ ἔργῳ ξυνεπιλαμβάνειν αὐτοῖς· ἐν τούτῳ τε κεκωλῦσθαι ἐδὸκει ἑκάστῳ τὰ πράγματα ᾧ μή τις αὐτὸς παρέσται. οὑτῶς ἐν ὀργῇ εἶχον οἱ πλείους τοὺς Ἀθηναίους, οἱ μὲν τῆς ἀρχῆς ἀπολυθῆναι βουλόμενοι, οἱ δὲ μὴ ἀρχθῶσι φοβούμενοι.

People’s goodwill was far more on the Spartans’ side, especially as they had proclaimed that they were liberating Greece. Every person and every city was resolved to assist them, in word and deed, in any way possible; each man thought that wherever he could not be present himself, there affairs were being hindered. In such a fashion did the majority feel anger towards the  Athenians: some wished to be freed from their control, while others feared that they might come under their control.

Written by aleatorclassicus

July 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

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Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War 4.17.2-3

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Spartan envoys apologise in advance for not living up to the national stereotype of ‘laconic’ speech.

τοὺς δὲ λόγους μακροτέρους οὐ παρὰ τὸ εἰωθὸς μηκυνοῦμεν, ἀλλ’ ἐπιχώριον ὂν ἡμῖν οὗ μὲν βραχεῖς ἀρκῶσι μὴ πολλοῖς χρῆσθαι, πλέοσι δὲ ἐν ᾧ ἂν καιρὸς ᾖ διδάσκοντάς τι τῶν προύργου λόγοις τὸ δέον πράσσειν.

We shall prolong our words at some length, and this is not contrary to our custom; rather, it is way of our country not to use many words when few would suffice, but, whenever the occasion requires us, to use more words for something of consequence, to explain what needs doing. 

I hope my attempt at wrestling Thucydides’ Greek into English has been reasonably successful; Jowett was in two minds about the second half and even Grote misunderstood it…

Written by aleatorclassicus

July 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM

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Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War 2.43.2

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These words from Pericles’ speech in memory of the Athenian war-dead are on the war memorial in the library of my Oxford college, placed there in an age when all undergraduates might have been expected to recognise and translate them effortlessly!

κοινῇ γὰρ τὰ σώματα διδόντες ἰδίᾳ τὸν ἀγήρων ἔπαινον ἐλάμβανον.

For they gave their bodies for the common good and won for themselves the praise which does not grow old.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 7, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Thucydides