War (1) – causes

War (1) – causes

Thucydides explains what he considers to be the ‘truest reason’ for the Peloponnesian War: the growing power of Athens and Spartan fear

διότι δ᾽ ἔλυσαν [τας σπονδας], τὰς αἰτίας πρῶτον προύγραψα καὶ τὰς διαφοράς, τοῦ μή τινα ζητῆσαί ποτε ἐξ ὅτου τοσοῦτος πόλεμος τοῖς Ἕλλησι κατέστη. τὴν μὲν γὰρ ἀληθεστάτην πρόφασιν, ἀφανεστάτην δὲ λόγῳ, ἡγοῦμαι τοὺς Ἀθηναίους μεγάλους γιγνομένους καὶ φόβον παρέχοντας τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις ἀναγκάσαι ἐς τὸ πολεμεῖν: αἱ δ᾽ ἐς τὸ φανερὸν λεγόμεναι αἰτίαι αἵδ᾽ ἦσαν ἑκατέρων, ἀφ᾽ ὧν λύσαντες τὰς σπονδὰς ἐς τὸν πόλεμον κατέστησαν. (1. 23 adapted)
διοτι – for what reason
‛η αιτια – cause
προύγραψα – have written first
‛η διαφορα – disagreement
ζητῆσαί – to seek
ἐξ ὅτου – for what reason
κατέστη – came about
‛η προφασις – reason
αφανης – hidden
ἡγοῦμαι – consider
‛ο φοβος – fear
ἀναγκάσαι – compel, force
τὸ πολεμεῖν – war-making
ἐς τὸ φανερὸν – openly
‛εκατερος – each (side)

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