Thursday, January 13, 2022


A Mixed Crowd Without a Common Purpose

Thucydides 6.17.2-4 (speech of Alcibiades; tr. Jeremy Mynott):
[2] Do not change your minds about the Sicilian expedition on the grounds that we shall be encountering a great power. Their cities swarm with people but they are a very mixed crowd and they have a constantly changing citizen body. [3] For that reason no one is equipped with arms for his personal protection or has established a proper stake in the land, as they would have if it were their own country; instead each person provides himself with whatever public funds he thinks he can extract by special pleading or intrigue, expecting that he will move on elsewhere if things don't work out. [4] It is unlikely that a rabble of this kind will be of one mind in responding to any proposal or will act with a common purpose.

[2] καὶ τὸν ἐς τὴν Σικελίαν πλοῦν μὴ μεταγιγνώσκετε ὡς ἐπὶ μεγάλην δύναμιν ἐσόμενον. ὄχλοις τε γὰρ ξυμμείκτοις πολυανδροῦσιν αἱ πόλεις καὶ ῥᾳδίας ἔχουσι τῶν πολιτῶν τὰς μεταβολὰς καὶ ἐπιδοχάς. [3] καὶ οὐδεὶς δι' αὐτὸ ὡς περὶ οἰκείας πατρίδος οὔτε τὰ περὶ τὸ σῶμα ὅπλοις ἐξήρτυται οὔτε τὰ ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ νομίμοις κατασκευαῖς· ὅτι δὲ ἕκαστος ἢ ἐκ τοῦ λέγων πείθειν οἴεται ἢ στασιάζων ἀπὸ τοῦ κοινοῦ λαβὼν ἄλλην γῆν, μὴ κατορθώσας, οἰκήσειν, ταῦτα ἑτοιμάζεται. [4] καὶ οὐκ εἰκὸς τὸν τοιοῦτον ὅμιλον οὔτε λόγου μιᾷ γνώμῃ ἀκροᾶσθαι οὔτε ἐς τὰ ἔργα κοινῶς τρέπεσθαι.

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