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Early Indo-European Texts

Classical Greek

Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Classical Greek with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Classical Greek Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Classical Greek language and its speakers' culture.

from Thucydides' History of the war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians, Book 1

dêloi de moi kai tode tôn palaiôn astheneian ouch êkista. pro gar tôn Trôikôn ouden phainetai proteron koinê ergasamenê hê Hellas. dokei de moi, oude toonoma touto xumpasa pô eichen, alla ta men pro Hellênos tou Deukaliônos kai panu oude einai hê epiklêsis hautê. kata ethnê de alla te kai to Pelasgikon epi pleiston aph' heautôn tên epônumian parechesthai. Hellênos de kai tôn paidôn autou en tê Phthiôtidi ischusantôn, kai epagomenôn autous ep' ôphelia es tas allas poleis, kath' hekastous men êdê tê homilia mallon kaleisthai Hellênas. ou mentoi pollou ge chronou edunato kai hapasin eknikêsai. tekmêrioi de malista Homeros pollô gar husteron eti kai tôn Trôikôn genomenos oudamou houtô tous xumpantas ônomasen oud' allous ê tous meta Achilleôs ek tês Phthiôtidos. hoiper kai prôtoi Hellênes hêsan, Danaous de en tois epesi kai Argeious kai Achaious anakalei. ou mên oude barbarous eirêke dia to mêde Hellênas pô, hôs emoi dokei. antipalon es hen onoma apokekristhai. hoi d' oun hôs hekastoi Hellênes kata poleis te hosoi allêlôn xuniesan kai xumpantes husteron klêthentes ouden pro tôn Trôikôn di' astheneian kai ameixian allêlôn hathrooi epraxan. alla kai tautên tên strateian thalassê êdê pleiô chrômenoi xunêlthon.

Translation

The weakness of ancient times is also clear to me, not least from the following. Before the times of Troy, Hellas appears to have carried out nothing in common. Indeed, it seems to me that it did not yet have this name; before the time of Hellen, son of Deucalion, this title did not even exist. Rather, other tribes had furnished them by their own designations, and chiefly the Pelasgians. But when Hellen and his sons had become strong in Phthiotis, and were brought in for assistance to the other cities, then all were called Hellenes more and more because of this association. It was not for a long time, however that the name would prevail for all clans. Homer especially demonstrated this. Although being much later than the times of Troy, he nowhere at all referred to them all together, nor to others than the followers of Achilles from Phthiotis. They indeed were the first Hellenes, but he designates them in the poems as Danaans and Argives and Achaeans. He did not even speak of Barbarians because, as it seems to me, the Hellenes did not yet exist. They had not yet been separated with a common name to provide a contrast. Those who came together as Hellenes by cities and as they understood one another's speech and were later classed together carried out nothing together before the times of Troy because of weakness and lack of intercourse. But even for this expedition they united only when they already made considerable use of the sea.