Thucydides - Vol. 1

By Thucydides; Benjamin Jowett | Go to book overview

NOTE ON THE
GEOGRAPHY OF THUCYDIDES

VARIOUS difficulties have been found in the geography of thucydides; his accounts of places are at variance sometimes (1) with facts, sometimes (2) with the statements of later writers. It may be said of his descriptions generally, as of most early descriptions, that they are graphic rather than accurate. When we try to reproduce them in the mind something is wanting. For example, we do not gather from his narrative where the Euryelus was situated by which the Athenians, and also Gylippus, ascended the heights of Epipolae (vi. 97; vii. 2, 43), or how the Syracusan defences lay after the completion of the third counter-wall (vii. 7), or, without some consideration, how the dolphins were placed for the protection of the Athenian ships in the great Syracusan harbour (vii. 38). The topography of battles is often imperfect, and sometimes leads to a difficulty in the explanation of them. The narrative of the battle of Amphipolis leads to the inference (see Arnold's Appendix) that the city was not at the top but on the slope of the hill which Cleon ascended with his army, but this can only be inferred with some uncertainty and is not definitely expressed. Perhaps without maps and plans a better delineation was impossible. The narrative of the second sea-fight in the Crisaean gulf (ii. 90 ff.) is incoherent; for we are not told what happened to that portion of the Peloponnesian fleet which was originally victorious. The manner of the attack which ended in the

-cvi-

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Thucydides - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Note v
  • The Greatness of Thucydides vi
  • Contents vii
  • On Inscriptions of the Age of Thucydides viii
  • On Inscriptions of the Age of Thucydides ix
  • Note on the Geography of Thucydides cvi
  • Thucydides 1
  • Book II 102
  • Book III 184
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