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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

Thucydides Bilingual Anthology : DEMOCRACY OF THE BEST

from Thucydides' History, 2.65, * Translated by R. Crawley, * Greek Fonts


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Page 3

Whenever he saw them unseasonably and insolently elated, he would with a word reduce them to alarm; on the other hand, if they fell victims to a panic, he could at once restore them to confidence. In short, what was nominally a democracy became in his hands government by the first citizen. With his successors it was different. More on a level with one another, and each grasping at supremacy, they ended by committing even the conduct of state affairs to the whims of the multitude. This, as might have been expected in a great and sovereign state, produced a host of blunders, and amongst them the Sicilian expedition; though this failed not so much through a miscalculation of the power of those against whom it was sent, as through a fault in the senders in not taking the best measures afterwards to assist those who had gone out, but choosing rather to occupy themselves with private cabals for the leadership of the commons, by which they not only paralysed operations in the field, but also first introduced civil discord at home.

 ὁπότε γοῦν αἴσθοιτό τι αὐτοὺς παρὰ καιρὸν ὕβρει θαρσοῦντας͵ λέγων κατέπλησσεν ἐπὶ τὸ φοβεῖσθαι͵ καὶ δεδιότας αὖ ἀλόγως ἀντικαθίστη πάλιν ἐπὶ τὸ θαρσεῖν. ἐγίγνετό τε λόγῳ μὲν δημοκρατία͵ ἔργῳ δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ πρώτου ἀνδρὸς ἀρχή. οἱ δὲ ὕστερον ἴσοι μᾶλλον αὐτοὶ πρὸς ἀλλήλους ὄντες καὶ ὀρεγόμενοι τοῦ πρῶτος ἕκαστος γίγνεσθαι ἐτράποντο καθ΄ ἡδονὰς τῷ δήμῳ καὶ τὰ πράγματα ἐνδιδόναι. ἐξ ὧν ἄλλα τε πολλά͵ ὡς ἐν μεγάλῃ πόλει καὶ ἀρχὴν ἐχούσῃ͵ ἡμαρτήθη καὶ ὁ ἐς Σικελίαν πλοῦς͵ ὃς οὐ τοσοῦτον γνώμης ἁμάρτημα ἦν πρὸς οὓς ἐπῇσαν͵ ὅσον οἱ ἐκπέμψαντες οὐ τὰ πρόσφορα τοῖς οἰχομένοις ἐπιγιγνώσκοντες͵ ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὰς ἰδίας διαβολὰς περὶ τῆς τοῦ δήμου προστασίας τά τε ἐν τῷ στρατοπέδῳ ἀμβλύτερα ἐποίουν καὶ τὰ περὶ τὴν πόλιν πρῶτον ἐν ἀλλήλοις ἐταράχθησαν.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/thucydides-democracy.asp?pg=3