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Headword: *)/aratos
Adler number: alpha,3744
Translated headword: Aratos, Aratus
Vetting Status: high
A general, as Polybios says,[1] who 'was in other respects a perfect man in statesmanlike character. For [he was] certainly proficient in speaking and understanding and concealing what had been decided, and, moreover, amiable in dealing with political differences,[2] and in binding friends to himself and acquiring allies [he was] second to none. Again, in concocting operations, deceits, and plots against the enemy and in bringing these to a conclusion through his own endurance and daring, he was tremendous.[3] Yet this same man, whenever[4] he wished to contend for [success] in the field,[5] was sluggish in thoughts, irresolute in applications, and in person unable to face danger. For this reason he filled the Peloponnese with battle monuments referring to [victories over] him, and in this respect he was almost always easy for the enemy to deal with. Thus men's natures not only have in their bodies a certain diversity, but even more in their souls, so that the same man will not only be, in those actions that are disparate, well endowed in respect of some and the opposite in respect of others, but concerning closely similar [actions] the same man will be both very intelligent and very slow, likewise both very daring and very cowardly. Well, these things are not paradoxical, but are familiar and well known to those willing to pay attention.[6] For in hunts, some men are bold in the face of the wrenchings[7] of wild animals, but the same men are despicable in the face of weapons and enemies; and they may be adept and practical both[8] in military service on a man-against-man basis and individually, but collectively inefficient and when in military formation of a number of men.'[9]
Greek Original:
*)/aratos: strathgo\s, w(/s fhsi *polu/bios, o(\s h)=n ta\ me\n a)/lla te/leios a)nh\r ei)s to\n pragmatiko\n tro/pon: kai\ ga\r ei)pei=n kai\ dianohqh=nai kai\ ste/cai to\ kriqe\n dunato/s, kai\ mh\n e)negkei=n ta\s politika\s diafora\s pra=os kai\ fi/lous e)ndh/sasqai kai\ summa/xous proslabei=n ou)deno\s deu/teros, e)/ti de\ pra/ceis, a)pa/tas, e)piboula\s susth/sasqai kata\ tw=n polemi/wn, kai\ tau/tas e)pi\ te/los a)gagei=n dia\ th=s au(tou= kakopaqei/as kai\ to/lmhs deino/tatos. o( d' au)to\s ou(=tos, o(po/te tw=n u(pai/qrwn a)ntipoih/sasqai boulhqei/h, nwqro\s me\n e)n tai=s e)pinoi/ais, a)/tolmos de\ e)n tai=s e)piboulai=s, e)n o)/yei d' ou) me/nwn to\ deino/n. dio\ kai\ tropai/wn e)p' au)to\n blepo/ntwn e)plh/rwse th\n *pelopo/nnhson, kai\ th=|de/ ph| toi=s polemi/ois a)ei/ pot' h)=n eu)xei/rwtos. ou(/tws ai( tw=n a)nqrw/pwn fu/seis ou) mo/non toi=s sw/masin e)/xousi/ ti polueide\s, e)/ti de\ ma=llon tai=s yuxai=s, w(/ste to\n au)to\n a)/ndra mh\ mo/non e)n toi=s diafe/rousi tw=n e)nerghma/twn pro\s a(\ me\n eu)fuw=s e)/xein, pro\s a(\ de\ e)nanti/ws, a)lla\ peri/ tina tw=n o(moeidw=n polla/kis to\n au)to\n kai\ sunetw/taton ei)=nai kai\ bradu/taton, o(moi/ws de\ kai\ tolmhro/taton kai\ deilo/taton. ou) para/doca tau=ta/ ge, sunh/qh de\ kai\ gnw/rima toi=s boulome/nois sunefista/nein. tine\s me\n ga\r e)n tai=s kunhgi/ais ei)si\ tolmhroi\ pro\s ta\s tw=n qhri/wn sugkataspa/seis, oi( d' au)toi\ pro\s o(/pla kai\ polemi/ous a)gennei=s, kai\ th=s te polemikh=s xrei/as th=s kat' a)/ndra me\n kai\ kat' i)di/an eu)xerei=s kai\ praktikoi/, koinh=| de\ kai\ meta\ polemikh=s e)ni/wn sunta/cews a)/praktoi.
On Aratus of Sicyon, 271-213 BCE, see generally Peter Derow in OCD(3) 137 [= OCD(4) 132-3], under Aratus(2).
[1] The Suda here quotes verbatim from Polybios 4.8.1-9, with a few minor deviations. See text at web address 1.
[2] For pra=os, 'amiable', the text of Polybios reads pra/ws, 'amiably', so that the sentence should read 'in dealing amiably with political differences and in binding . . . he was second to none'.
[3] Section 4.8.4 of Polybios is omitted.
[4] The text of Polybios reads simply o(/te, 'when'.
[5] Literally 'for open-air things'. (Its application to military matters, though especially evident in Polybios, goes back at least as early as Herodotos: see LSJ s.v.)
[6] For the translation of the final phrase here (again in 6.32.2), see Walbank (below) 457. That the career of Aratos does show contradictory features is the ostensible point of this "didactic interlude" (Walbank) as a whole: see 4.8.12.
[7] 'Wrenchings' translates the sugkataspa/seis, a form otherwise unattested but deriving from sugkataspa/w, 'I drag down with myself'. The text of Polybios, however, reads sugkatasta/seis, 'onsets', 'confrontations'.
[8] 'Both', te, is a mistake for the ge, 'at least', of Polybios.
[9] The phrase 'of a number of men' translates e)ni/wn, 'of some'; the word is probably intrusive, and is deleted by editors of Polybios.
Walbank, F. W. (1957), A Historical Commentary on Polybius, i. Oxford: Clarendon Press
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; ethics; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; politics; zoology
Translated by: D. Graham J. Shipley on 31 December 2000@04:52:02.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes, bibliography and keywords; cosmetics; raised status) on 1 January 2001@06:22:58.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 20 November 2005@10:00:39.
Catharine Roth (betacode cosmetics, link, keyword) on 29 December 2009@12:18:34.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 10 April 2012@05:39:12.


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