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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

δηλοι̂ δέ μοι καὶ τόδε τω̂ν παλαιω̂ν ἀσθένειαν οὐχ ʼήκιστα. πρὸ γὰρ τω̂ν Τρωικω̂ν οὐδὲν φαίνεται πρότερον κοινῃ̂ ἐργασαμένη ἡ ʽΕλλάς. δοκει̂ δέ μοι, οὐδὲ τοʼόνομα του̂το ξύμπασά πω εʼι̂χεν, ἀλλὰ τὰ μὲν πρὸ ʽΈλληνος του̂ Δευκαλίωνος καὶ πάνυ οὐδὲ εʼι̂ναι ἡ ἐπίκλησις αʽύτη. κατὰ ʼέθνη δὲ ʼάλλα τε καὶ τὸ Πελασγικὸν ἐπὶ πλει̂στον ἀφ' ἑαυτω̂ν τὴν ἐπωνυμίαν παρέχεσθαι. ʽΈλληνος δὲ καὶ τω̂ν παίδων αὐτου̂ ἐν τῃ̂ Φθιω̂τιδι ἰσχυσάντων, καὶ ἐπαγομένων αὐτοὺς ἐπ' ὠφελίᾳ ἐς τὰς ʼάλλας πόλεις, καθ' ἑκάστους μὲν ʼήδη τῃ̂ ὁμιλίᾳ μα̂λλον καλει̂σθαι ʽΈλληνας. οὐ μέντοι πολλου̂ γε χρόνου ἐδύνατο καὶ ʽάπασιν ἐκνικη̂σαι. τεκμηριοι̂ δὲ μάλιστα ʽΌμερος πολλῳ̂ γὰρ ʽύστερον ʼέτι καὶ τω̂ν Τρωικω̂ν γενόμενος οὐδαμου̂ οʽύτω τοὺς ξύμπαντας ὠνόμασεν οὐδ' ʼάλλους ʼὴ τοὺς μετὰ ʼΑχιλλέως ἐκ τη̂ς Φθιώτιδος. οʽίπερ καὶ πρω̂τοι ʽΈλληνες ʽη̂σαν, Δαναοὺς δὲ ἐν τοι̂ς ʼέπεσι καὶ ʼΑργείους καὶ ʼΑχαιοὺς ἀνακαλει̂. οὐ μὴν οὐδὲ βαρβάρους εʼίρηκε διὰ τὸ μηδὲ ʽΈλληνάς πω, ὡς ἐμοὶ δοκει̂. ἀντίπαλον ἐς ʽὲν ʼόνομα ἀποκεκρίσθαι. οἱ δ' οʼυ̂ν ὡς ʽέκαστοι ʽΈλληνες κατὰ πόλεις τε ʽόσοι ἀλλήλων ξυνίεσαν καὶ ξύμπαντες ʽύστερον κληθέντες οὐδὲν πρὸ τω̂ν Τρωικω̂ν δι' ἀσθένειαν καὶ ἀμειξίαν ἀλλήλων ἁθρόοι ʼέπραξαν. ἀλλὰ καὶ ταύτην τὴν στρατείαν θαλάσσῃ ʼήδη πλείω χρώμενοι ξυνη̂λθον.

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.