Wednesday, July 30, 2014


The Fog of War

Thucydides 7.44.1 (tr. Charles Forster Smith):
By this time the Athenians were getting into a state of so great confusion and perplexity that it has not been easy to learn from either side just how the several events occurred. In the daytime things are clearer, of course, yet even so those who are present do not know everything that happens, but each man barely knows what happens near himself; but in a battle by night—the only one that took place in this war between large armies—how could anyone know anything clearly?

καὶ ἐνταῦθα ἤδη ἐν πολλῇ ταραχῇ καὶ ἀπορίᾳ ἐγίγνοντο οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι, ἣν οὐδὲ πυθέσθαι ῥᾴδιον ἦν οὐδ' ἀφ' ἑτέρων ὅτῳ τρόπῳ ἕκαστα ξυνηνέχθη. ἐν μὲν γὰρ ἡμέρᾳ σαφέστερα μέν, ὅμως δὲ οὐδὲ ταῦτα οἱ παραγενόμενοι πάντα πλὴν τὸ καθ' ἑαυτὸν ἕκαστος μόλις οἶδεν· ἐν δὲ νυκτομαχίᾳ, ἣ μόνη δὴ στρατοπέδων μεγάλων ἔν γε τῷδε τῷ πολέμῳ ἐγένετο, πῶς ἄν τις σαφῶς τι ᾔδει;

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