I'm having trouble with this short passage from Thucydides:

παραστήτω δέ τινι καὶ τόδε, πολύ τε ἀπὸ τῆς ἡμετέρας αὐτῶν εἶναι καὶ πρὸς γῇ οὐδεμιᾷ φιλίᾳ, ἥντινα μὴ αὐτοὶ μαχόμενοι κτήσεσθε.

Peloponnesian War, 6.68.3

Here's what I have so far.

Consider this, we are both much away from our own land and near no friendly land, except what you yourselves will win from fighting.

I think this might be more or less correct, but it's really the details that stump me. On these details I have a few questions.

  1. What are the syntactic functions of τινι καὶ in the first clause?
  2. How should I translate εἶναι? I assume that it's an infinitive according to indirect speech, but how should I decide what person and number to give in my translation? I arbitrarily chose "we".
  3. I parsed πολύ as an adverb, meaning "much". Now, I thought that Greek adverbs are typically placed next to the word they modify. Accordingly, I would expect it to be placed next to the infinitive εἶναι. But since this is not the case, I'm not entirely sure what πολύ modifies. Is it possible that it modifies the entire phrase, ἀπὸ τῆς ἡμετέρας αὐτῶν εἶναι?

1 Answer 1


You're right that there are some tricky sections in this passage, but your translation captures the sense very well. Concerning your questions:

1. What are the syntactic functions of τινι καὶ in the first clause?

τινι and καὶ should not be construed together. We rather have two separate parts here: παραστήτω δέ τινι and καὶ τόδε.

παρίστημι + X (dat.) + Y (acc.) means "I set Y before X's mind." In this case, παραστήτω is a 3rd person singular aorist imperative, and τις is an (enclitic) indefinite pronoun that uses a special usage (II.2 in the LSJ): "any one concerned, every one," like Latin quisque. Consider the following phrase from the Iliad:

εὖ μέν τις δόρυ θηξάσθω (Il.2.382) = "Let everyone sharpen his spear well."

παραστήτω δέ τινι thus means "Let it be present in everyone's mind."

As for καὶ τόδε, καὶ is used adverbially to mean "also." A translation of this whole part would be: "Let this also be present in everyone's mind...." (Of course, τόδε is not the subject in Greek, but this is a more fluid English translation.)

2. How should I translate εἶναι?

As you note, the subject of the infinitive is understood as the "everyone" to whom he is addressing himself. The prior ἡμετέρας αὐτῶν (where the genitive plural "αὐτῶν" is added to the possessive adjective to emphasize the fact that it is reflexive) justifies the choice of ἡμᾶς as the understood accusative subject, i.e. "Let each of us remember that we..."

3. The function of πολύ

πολύ is indeed an adverb: it is paired with the prepositional phrase that follows: ἀπὸ τῆς ἡμετέρας αὐτῶν, and thus means "far from our own land."

A complete translation, very similar to yours and a little more literal, would be:

And let each man bear in mind that we are far from our own land and close to no friendly territory, unless you yourselves make it so by fighting.

  • 1
    I think I have just one minor question about this answer. In the last section, you say that πολύ is paired with the prepositional phrase. In grammatical terms, would you say that πολύ modifies the prepositional phrase, i.e, ἀπὸ τῆς ἡμετέρας [γῆς] αὐτῶν? Or would you instead say that πολύ modifies the clause, namely, ἀπὸ τῆς ἡμετέρας [γῆς] αὐτῶν εἶναι. I ask because I am mostly familiar with adverbs modifying verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Having an adverb modify a prepositional phrase would seem strange to me, although having one modify a clause would seem more natural.
    – ktm5124
    Dec 7, 2016 at 1:22
  • 2
    Downvoter care to comment? @ktm5124, I believe that πολύ modifies the subsequent preposition, not εἶναι. Here's a similar example from Aristotle's Metaphysics: "εἰσὶ δέ τινες οἳ καὶ τοὺς παμπαλαίους καὶ πολὺ πρὸ τῆς νῦν γενέσεως...οἴονται": "There are some who think that men of ancient times, born long before the present etc."
    – brianpck
    Dec 7, 2016 at 15:30

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