Phthoros

plague of Athens

This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Ἐπίεσε δ’ αὐτοὺς μᾶλλον πρὸς τῷ ὑπάρχοντι πόνῳ καὶ ἡ ξυγκομιδὴ ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν ἐς τὸ ἄστυ, καὶ οὐχ ἧσσον τοὺς ἐπελθόντας. οἰκιῶν γὰρ οὐχ ὑπαρχουσῶν, ἀλλ’ ἐν καλύβαις πνιγηραῖς ὥρᾳ ἔτους διαιτωμένων ὁ φθόρος ἐγίγνετο οὐδενὶ κόσμῳ, ἀλλὰ καὶ νεκροὶ ἐπ’ ἀλλήλοις ἀποθνῄσκοντες ἔκειντο καὶ ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς ἐκαλινδοῦντο καὶ περὶ τὰς κρήνας ἁπάσας ἡμιθνῆτες τοῦ ὕδατος ἐπιθυμίᾳ. τά τε ἱερὰ ἐν οἷς ἐσκήνηντο νεκρῶν πλέα ἦν, αὐτοῦ ἐναποθνῃσκόντων· ὑπερβιαζομένου γὰρ τοῦ κακοῦ οἱ ἄνθρωποι, οὐκ ἔχοντες ὅτι γένωνται, ἐς ὀλιγωρίαν ἐτράποντο καὶ ἱερῶν καὶ ὁσίων ὁμοίως. νόμοι τε πάντες ξυνεταράχθησαν οἷς ἐχρῶντο πρότερον περὶ τὰς ταφάς, ἔθαπτον δὲ ὡς ἕκαστος ἐδύνατο. καὶ πολλοὶ ἐς ἀναισχύντους θήκας ἐτράποντο σπάνει τῶν ἐπιτηδείων διὰ τὸ συχνοὺς ἤδη προτεθνάναι σφίσιν· ἐπὶ πυρὰς γὰρ ἀλλοτρίας φθάσαντες τοὺς νήσαντας οἱ μὲν ἐπιθέντες τὸν ἑαυτῶν νεκρὸν ὑφῆπτον, οἱ δὲ καιομένου ἄλλου ἐπιβαλόντες ἄνωθεν ὃν φέροιεν ἀπῇσαν.
πρῶτόν τε ἦρξε καὶ ἐς τἆλλα τῇ πόλει ἐπὶ πλέον ἀνομίας τὸ νόσημα. ῥᾷον γὰρ ἐτόλμα τις ἃ πρότερον ἀπεκρύπτετο μὴ καθ’ ἡδονὴν ποιεῖν, ἀγχίστροφον τὴν μεταβολὴν ὁρῶντες τῶν τε εὐδαιμόνων καὶ αἰφνιδίως θνῃσκόντων καὶ τῶν οὐδὲν πρότερον κεκτημένων, εὐθὺς δὲ τἀκείνων ἐχόντων. ὥστε ταχείας τὰς ἐπαυρέσεις καὶ πρὸς τὸ τερπνὸν ἠξίουν ποιεῖσθαι, ἐφήμερα τά τε σώματα καὶ τὰ χρήματα ὁμοίως ἡγούμενοι. καὶ τὸ μὲν προσταλαιπωρεῖν τῷ δόξαντι καλῷ οὐδεὶς πρόθυμος ἦν, ἄδηλον νομίζων εἰ πρὶν ἐπ’ αὐτὸ ἐλθεῖν διαφθαρήσεται· ὅτι δὲ ἤδη τε ἡδὺ πανταχόθεν τε ἐς αὐτὸ κερδαλέον, τοῦτο καὶ καλὸν καὶ χρήσιμον κατέστη. θεῶν δὲ φόβος ἢ ἀνθρώπων νόμος οὐδεὶς ἀπεῖργε, τὸ μὲν κρίνοντες ἐν ὁμοίῳ καὶ σέβειν καὶ μὴ ἐκ τοῦ πάντας ὁρᾶν ἐν ἴσῳ ἀπολλυμένους, τῶν δὲ ἁμαρτημάτων οὐδεὶς ἐλπίζων μέχρι τοῦ δίκην γενέσθαι βιοὺς ἂν τὴν τιμωρίαν ἀντιδοῦναι, πολὺ δὲ μείζω τὴν ἤδη κατεψηφισμένην σφῶν ἐπικρεμασθῆναι, ἣν πρὶν ἐμπεσεῖν εἰκὸς εἶναι τοῦ βίου τι ἀπολαῦσαι.
τοιούτῳ μὲν πάθει οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι περιπεσόντες ἐπιέζοντο, ἀνθρώπων τ’ ἔνδον θνῃσκόντων καὶ γῆς ἔξω δῃουμένης. ἐν δὲ τῷ κακῷ οἷα εἰκὸς ἀνεμνήσθησαν καὶ τοῦδε τοῦ ἔπους, φάσκοντες οἱ πρεσβύτεροι πάλαι ᾁδεσθαι “ἥξει Δωριακὸς πόλεμος καὶ λοιμὸς ἅμ’ αὐτῷ.”
ἐγένετο μὲν οὖν ἔρις τοῖς ἀνθρώποις μὴ λοιμὸν ὠνομάσθαι ἐν τῷ ἔπει ὑπὸ τῶν παλαιῶν, ἀλλὰ λιμόν, ἐνίκησε δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ παρόντος εἰκότως λοιμὸν εἰρῆσθαι· οἱ γὰρ ἄνθρωποι πρὸς ἃ ἔπασχον τὴν μνήμην ἐποιοῦντο. ἢν δέ γε οἶμαί ποτε ἄλλος πόλεμος καταλάβῃ Δωρικὸς τοῦδε ὕστερος καὶ ξυμβῇ γενέσθαι λιμόν, κατὰ τὸ εἰκὸς οὕτως ᾁσονται. μνήμη δὲ ἐγένετο καὶ τοῦ Λακεδαιμονίων χρηστηρίου τοῖς εἰδόσιν, ὅτε ἐπερωτῶσιν αὐτοῖς τὸν θεὸν εἰ χρὴ πολεμεῖν ἀνεῖλε κατὰ κράτος πολεμοῦσι νίκην ἔσεσθαι, καὶ αὐτὸς ἔφη ξυλλήψεσθαι. περὶ μὲν οὖν τοῦ χρηστηρίου τὰ γιγνόμενα ᾔκαζον ὁμοῖα εἶναι· ἐσβεβληκότων δὲ τῶν Πελοποννησίων ἡ νόσος ἤρξατο εὐθύς, καὶ ἐς μὲν Πελοπόννησον οὐκ ἐσῆλθεν, ὅτι καὶ ἄξιον εἰπεῖν, ἐπενείματο δὲ Ἀθήνας μὲν μάλιστα, ἔπειτα δὲ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων χωρίων τὰ πολυανθρωπότατα. ταῦτα μὲν τὰ κατὰ τὴν νόσον γενόμενα.
(Thucydides, Hist. 2.52-2.54)

Their general misery was aggravated by people crowding into the city from the fields, and the worst affected were the new arrivals. There were no houses for them but they lived in huts that were stifling in the heat of summer and they were visited by death in conditions of total disorder. The bodies of those dying were heaped on each other, and in the streets and around the springs half-dead people reeled about in a desperate desire for water. The sanctuaries in which they had taken shelter were full of the bodies of those who had died there. Overwhelmed by the disaster people could not see what was to become of them and started losing respect for the laws of god and man alike. All the funeral customs they usually observed were cast into confusion and each buried their dead as best they could. Many people resorted to quite shameless forms of disposal through their lack of means after so many of their relatives had already died. They took advantage of the funeral pyres others had raised, and some of them would move in first, place their own dead on the pyre and set fire to it, while others threw whoever’s body they were carrying on top of one that was already burning and went away. It was the plague that first led to other forms of lawlessness in the city too. People were emboldened to indulge themselves in ways they would previously have concealed, since they saw the rapid change in fortunes – both for those who were well off and died suddenly and for those who originally had nothing but in a moment got possession of the property of these others. They therefore resolved to exploit these opportunities for enjoyment quickly, regarding their lives and their property as equally ephemeral. No one was eager to add to their own hardships for supposedly fine objectives, since they were uncertain whether they would die before achieving them. Whatever gave immediate pleasure or in any way facilitated it became the standard of what was good and useful. Neither fear of the gods nor law of man was any restraint: they judged it made no difference whether or not they showed them respect, seeing that everyone died just the same; on the contrary, no one expected to live long enough to go on trial and pay the penalty, feeling that a far worse sentence had already been passed and was hanging over their heads, and that it was only reasonable to get some enjoyment from life before it finally fell on them. Such was the burden of suffering the Athenians bore, with people dying inside the city and their land ravaged outside it. And in their distress they not surprisingly remembered the following verse, which the old men claimed had been recited long ago, ‘A Dorian war shall come and with it plague.’ There was some disagreement among them as to whether the word used by the men of old was not ‘plague’ but ‘famine’, but in the present circumstances the view naturally prevailed that it was ‘plague’, as people matched their memories to their sufferings. I fancy at any rate that if another Dorian war should visit them after this one and if that were accompanied by a famine they would probably recite the verse that way. There were those who also recalled an oracle given to the Spartans when the Spartans asked the god whether they should go to war and he answered that victory would be theirs if they fought with all their might and promised that he would himself take their side. They therefore supposed that what then happened was the fulfilment of the oracle, and indeed the plague did begin straight after the invasion of the Peloponnesians; and although it did not get into the Peloponnese to any significant extent, it invaded Athens in particular and after that other densely populated areas elsewhere. These were the occurrences relating to the plague. (tr. Jeremy Mynott)

Nosēma

Stanley Meltzoff, The plague in Athens, 1963
Stanley Meltzoff, The plague in Athens, 1963

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Καὶ ἡ ἀπορία τοῦ μὴ ἡσυχάζειν καὶ ἡ ἀγρυπνία ἐπέκειτο διὰ παντός. καὶ τὸ σῶμα, ὅσονπερ χρόνον καὶ ἡ νόσος ἀκμάζοι, οὐκ ἐμαραίνετο, ἀλλ’ ἀντεῖχε παρὰ δόξαν τῇ ταλαιπωρίᾳ, ὥστε ἢ διεφθείροντο οἱ πλεῖστοι ἐναταῖοι καὶ ἑβδομαῖοι ὑπὸ τοῦ ἐντὸς καύματος, ἔτι ἔχοντές τι δυνάμεως, ἢ εἰ διαφύγοιεν, ἐπικατιόντος τοῦ νοσήματος ἐς τὴν κοιλίαν καὶ ἑλκώσεώς τε αὐτῇ ἰσχυρᾶς ἐγγιγνομένης καὶ διαρροίας ἅμα ἀκράτου ἐπιπιπτούσης οἱ πολλοὶ ὕστερον δι’ αὐτὴν ἀσθενείᾳ διεφθείροντο. διεξῄει γὰρ διὰ παντὸς τοῦ σώματος ἄνωθεν ἀρξάμενον τὸ ἐν τῇ κεφαλῇ πρῶτον ἱδρυθὲν κακόν, καὶ εἴ τις ἐκ τῶν μεγίστων περιγένοιτο, τῶν γε ἀκρωτηρίων ἀντίληψις αὐτοῦ ἐπεσήμαινεν. κατέσκηπτε γὰρ ἐς αἰδοῖα καὶ ἐς ἄκρας χεῖρας καὶ πόδας, καὶ πολλοὶ στερισκόμενοι τούτων διέφευγον, εἰσὶ δ’ οἳ καὶ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν. τοὺς δὲ καὶ λήθη ἐλάμβανε παραυτίκα ἀναστάντας τῶν πάντων ὁμοίως, καὶ ἠγνόησαν σφᾶς τε αὐτοὺς καὶ τοὺς ἐπιτηδείους. γενόμενον γὰρ κρεῖσσον λόγου τὸ εἶδος τῆς νόσου τά τε ἄλλα χαλεπωτέρως ἢ κατὰ τὴν ἀνθρωπείαν φύσιν προσέπιπτεν ἑκάστῳ καὶ ἐν τῷδε ἐδήλωσε μάλιστα ἄλλο τι ὂν ἢ τῶν ξυντρόφων τι· τὰ γὰρ ὄρνεα καὶ τετράποδα ὅσα ἀνθρώπων ἅπτεται, πολλῶν ἀτάφων γιγνομένων ἢ οὐ προσῄει ἢ γευσάμενα διεφθείρετο. τεκμήριον δέ· τῶν μὲν τοιούτων ὀρνίθων ἐπίλειψις σαφὴς ἐγένετο, καὶ οὐχ ἑωρῶντο οὔτε ἄλλως οὔτε περὶ τοιοῦτον οὐδέν· οἱ δὲ κύνες μᾶλλον αἴσθησιν παρεῖχον τοῦ ἀποβαίνοντος διὰ τὸ ξυνδιαιτᾶσθαι. τὸ μὲν οὖν νόσημα, πολλὰ καὶ ἄλλα παραλιπόντι ἀτοπίας, ὡς ἑκάστῳ ἐτύγχανέ τι διαφερόντως ἑτέρῳ πρὸς ἕτερον γιγνόμενον, τοιοῦτον ἦν ἐπὶ πᾶν τὴν ἰδέαν. καὶ ἄλλο παρελύπει κατ’ ἐκεῖνον τὸν χρόνον οὐδὲν τῶν εἰωθότων· ὃ δὲ καὶ γένοιτο, ἐς τοῦτο ἐτελεύτα. ἔθνῃσκον δὲ οἱ μὲν ἀμελείᾳ, οἱ δὲ καὶ πάνυ θεραπευόμενοι. ἕν τε οὐδὲ ἓν κατέστη ἴαμα ὡς εἰπεῖν ὅτι χρῆν προσφέροντας ὠφελεῖν· τὸ γάρ τῳ ξυνενεγκὸν ἄλλον τοῦτο ἔβλαπτεν. σῶμά τε αὔταρκες ὂν οὐδὲν διεφάνη πρὸς αὐτὸ ἰσχύος πέρι ἢ ἀσθενείας, ἀλλὰ πάντα ξυνῄρει καὶ τὰ πάσῃ διαίτῃ θεραπευόμενα. δεινότατον δὲ παντὸς ἦν τοῦ κακοῦ ἥ τε ἀθυμία ὁπότε τις αἴσθοιτο κάμνων (πρὸς γὰρ τὸ ἀνέλπιστον εὐθὺς τραπόμενοι τῇ γνώμῃ πολλῷ μᾶλλον προΐεντο σφᾶς αὐτοὺς καὶ οὐκ ἀντεῖχον), καὶ ὅτι ἕτερος ἀφ’ ἑτέρου θεραπείας ἀναπιμπλάμενοι ὥσπερ τὰ πρόβατα ἔθνῃσκον· καὶ τὸν πλεῖστον φθόρον τοῦτο ἐνεποίει.  εἴτε γὰρ μὴ ‘θέλοιεν δεδιότες ἀλλήλοις προσιέναι, ἀπώλλυντο ἐρῆμοι, καὶ οἰκίαι πολλαὶ ἐκενώθησαν ἀπορίᾳ τοῦ θεραπεύσοντος· εἴτε προσίοιεν, διεφθείροντο, καὶ μάλιστα οἱ ἀρετῆς τι μεταποιούμενοι· αἰσχύνῃ γὰρ ἠφείδουν σφῶν αὐτῶν ἐσιόντες παρὰ τοὺς φίλους, ἐπεὶ καὶ τὰς ὀλοφύρσεις τῶν ἀπογιγνομένων τελευτῶντες καὶ οἱ οἰκεῖοι ἐξέκαμνον ὑπὸ τοῦ πολλοῦ κακοῦ νικώμενοι. ἐπὶ πλέον δ’ ὅμως οἱ διαπεφευγότες τόν τε θνῄσκοντα καὶ τὸν πονούμενον ᾠκτίζοντο διὰ τὸ προειδέναι τε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἤδη ἐν τῷ θαρσαλέῳ εἶναι· δὶς γὰρ τὸν αὐτόν, ὥστε καὶ κτείνειν, οὐκ ἐπελάμβανεν. καὶ ἐμακαρίζοντό τε ὑπὸ τῶν ἄλλων, καὶ αὐτοὶ τῷ παραχρῆμα περιχαρεῖ καὶ ἐς τὸν ἔπειτα χρόνον ἐλπίδος τι εἶχον κούφης μηδ’ ἂν ὑπ’ ἄλλου νοσήματός ποτε ἔτι διαφθαρῆναι.
(Thucydides, Hist. 2.49.6-2.51.6)

They were beset by a constant restlessness and by insomnia. The body did not waste away while their illness was at its height but was surprisingly resistant to the ordeal, so that most people died from the internal fever in six to eight days with some strength still left in them, but if they survived that and the disease descended to the bowels, simultaneously causing serious ulceration and acute diarrhoea, then many died later from the weakness so caused. For the illness spread through the whole body after starting at the top and establishing itself in the head, and even if anyone survived the most serious stages the assault on the extremities still left its mark. It struck the genitals and the fingers and toes, and many people escaped its clutches only with the loss of these parts—and in some cases their eyes too. Some suffered a total loss of memory straight after their recovery and no longer knew who they themselves or their friends were. Indeed the form the plague took defied all reason. When it attacked anyone it was beyond all human endurance and in one respect in particular it showed itself quite different from any of the more familiar diseases. Despite there being many unburied bodies the birds and animals which feed on human flesh either kept away from the corpses or if they started eating them died themselves. The evidence for this is that there was a marked absence of such birds, which were not to be seen at the bodies or anywhere else at all. The dogs on the other hand offered a better chance for one to observe the effects since they live alongside man. This, then, was the general character of the plague, leaving aside its many peculiarities in the different ways it affected different people.While it lasted there were none of the usual complaints, or if they did occur they ended up turning into this one. Some people died from neglect, others despite devoted care. Not a single remedy was found, one has to say, whose application guaranteed relief, since what helped one person harmed another. No one’s constitution was proof against it, regardless of their strength or weakness, but it swept them all away, whatever kind of care and treatment they had received. The most terrible thing of all in this affliction, however, was the sense of despair when someone realised that they were suffering from it; for then they immediately decided in their own minds that the outcome was hopeless and they were much more likely to give themselves up to it rather than resist. There was also the fact that one person would get infected as a result of caring for another so that they died in their droves like sheep, and this caused more deaths than anything else. If in their fear they were unwilling to go near each other they died alone (and many homes were emptied through the lack of someone to give care); but if they did make contact they lost their lives anyway, particularly those with pretensions to virtue, who were ashamed to spare themselves from visiting friends at a time when even the relatives were finally wearied of lamenting the dying, so overcome were they by the sheer weight of the disaster. Yet it was those who had survived the disease that showed most compassion for the sufferers, both because they knew from experience what it was like and because they were now feeling more confident about themselves—since the plague did not strike the same person twice, at least not fatally. These people were congratulated by others on their good fortune and in the exhilaration of the moment entertained the blithe hope that at no time in the future would they ever be killed by any other disease. (tr. Jeremy Mynott)

Nosēsas

Michiel Sweerts, De pest in Athene, ca. 1652-54
Michiel Sweerts, De pest in Athene, ca. 1652-54

This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Τοῦ δὲ θέρους εὐθὺς ἀρχομένου Πελοποννήσιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι τὰ δύο μέρη ὥσπερ καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ἐσέβαλον ἐς τὴν Ἀττικήν (ἡγεῖτο δὲ Ἀρχίδαμος ὁ Ζευξιδάμου Λακεδαιμονίων βασιλεύς), καὶ καθεζόμενοι ἐδῄουν τὴν γῆν. καὶ ὄντων αὐτῶν οὐ πολλάς πω ἡμέρας ἐν τῇ Ἀττικῇ ἡ νόσος πρῶτον ἤρξατο γενέσθαι τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις, λεγόμενον μὲν καὶ πρότερον πολλαχόσε ἐγκατασκῆψαι καὶ περὶ Λῆμνον καὶ ἐν ἄλλοις χωρίοις, οὐ μέντοι τοσοῦτός γε λοιμὸς οὐδὲ φθορὰ οὕτως ἀνθρώπων οὐδαμοῦ ἐμνημονεύετο γενέσθαι. οὔτε γὰρ ἰατροὶ ἤρκουν τὸ πρῶτον θεραπεύοντες ἀγνοίᾳ, ἀλλ’ αὐτοὶ μάλιστα ἔθνῃσκον ὅσῳ καὶ μάλιστα προσῇσαν, οὔτε ἄλλη ἀνθρωπεία τέχνη οὐδεμία· ὅσα τε πρὸς ἱεροῖς ἱκέτευσαν ἢ μαντείοις καὶ τοῖς τοιούτοις ἐχρήσαντο, πάντα ἀνωφελῆ ἦν, τελευτῶντές τε αὐτῶν ἀπέστησαν ὑπὸ τοῦ κακοῦ νικώμενοι.
ἤρξατο δὲ τὸ μὲν πρῶτον, ὡς λέγεται, ἐξ Αἰθιοπίας τῆς ὑπὲρ Αἰγύπτου, ἔπειτα δὲ καὶ ἐς Αἴγυπτον καὶ Λιβύην κατέβη καὶ ἐς τὴν βασιλέως γῆν τὴν πολλήν.  ἐς δὲ τὴν Ἀθηναίων πόλιν ἐξαπιναίως ἐσέπεσε, καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ἐν τῷ Πειραιεῖ ἥψατο τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὥστε καὶ ἐλέχθη ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν ὡς οἱ Πελοποννήσιοι φάρμακα ἐσβεβλήκοιεν ἐς τὰ φρέατα· κρῆναι γὰρ οὔπω ἦσαν αὐτόθι. ὕστερον δὲ καὶ ἐς τὴν ἄνω πόλιν ἀφίκετο, καὶ ἔθνῃσκον πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἤδη. λεγέτω μὲν οὖν περὶ αὐτοῦ ὡς ἕκαστος γιγνώσκει καὶ ἰατρὸς καὶ ἰδιώτης, ἀφ’ ὅτου εἰκὸς ἦν γενέσθαι αὐτό, καὶ τὰς αἰτίας ἅστινας νομίζει τοσαύτης μεταβολῆς ἱκανὰς εἶναι δύναμιν ἐς τὸ μεταστῆσαι σχεῖν· ἐγὼ δὲ οἷόν τε ἐγίγνετο λέξω, καὶ ἀφ’ ὧν ἄν τις σκοπῶν, εἴ ποτε καὶ αὖθις ἐπιπέσοι, μάλιστ’ ἂν ἔχοι τι προειδὼς μὴ ἀγνοεῖν, ταῦτα δηλώσω αὐτός τε νοσήσας καὶ αὐτὸς ἰδὼν ἄλλους πάσχοντας. τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἔτος, ὡς ὡμολογεῖτο, ἐκ πάντων μάλιστα δὴ ἐκεῖνο ἄνοσον ἐς τὰς ἄλλας ἀσθενείας ἐτύγχανεν ὄν· εἰ δέ τις καὶ προύκαμνέ τι, ἐς τοῦτο πάντα ἀπεκρίθη. τοὺς δὲ ἄλλους ἀπ’ οὐδεμιᾶς προφάσεως, ἀλλ’ ἐξαίφνης ὑγιεῖς ὄντας πρῶτον μὲν τῆς κεφαλῆς θέρμαι ἰσχυραὶ καὶ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν ἐρυθήματα καὶ φλόγωσις ἐλάμβανε, καὶ τὰ ἐντός, ἥ τε φάρυγξ καὶ ἡ γλῶσσα, εὐθὺς αἱματώδη ἦν καὶ πνεῦμα ἄτοπον καὶ δυσῶδες ἠφίει· ἔπειτα ἐξ αὐτῶν πταρμὸς καὶ βράγχος ἐπεγίγνετο, καὶ ἐν οὐ πολλῷ χρόνῳ κατέβαινεν ἐς τὰ στήθη ὁ πόνος μετὰ βηχὸς ἰσχυροῦ· καὶ ὁπότε ἐς τὴν καρδίαν στηρίξειεν, ἀνέστρεφέ τε αὐτὴν καὶ ἀποκαθάρσεις χολῆς πᾶσαι ὅσαι ὑπὸ ἰατρῶν ὠνομασμέναι εἰσὶν ἐπῇσαν, καὶ αὗται μετὰ ταλαιπωρίας μεγάλης. λύγξ τε τοῖς πλέοσιν ἐνέπιπτε κενή, σπασμὸν ἐνδιδοῦσα ἰσχυρόν, τοῖς μὲν μετὰ ταῦτα λωφήσαντα, τοῖς δὲ καὶ πολλῷ ὕστερον. καὶ τὸ μὲν ἔξωθεν ἁπτομένῳ σῶμα οὔτ᾽ ἄγαν θερμὸν ἦν οὔτε χλωρόν, ἀλλ’ ὑπέρυθρον, πελιτνόν, φλυκταίναις μικραῖς καὶ ἕλκεσιν ἐξηνθηκός· τὰ δὲ ἐντὸς οὕτως ἐκάετο ὥστε μήτε τῶν πάνυ λεπτῶν ἱματίων καὶ σινδόνων τὰς ἐπιβολὰς μηδ’ ἄλλο τι ἢ γυμνοὶ ἀνέχεσθαι, ἥδιστά τε ἂν ἐς ὕδωρ ψυχρὸν σφᾶς αὐτοὺς ῥίπτειν. καὶ πολλοὶ τοῦτο τῶν ἠμελημένων ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἔδρασαν ἐς φρέατα, τῇ δίψῃ ἀπαύστῳ ξυνεχόμενοι· καὶ ἐν τῷ ὁμοίῳ καθειστήκει τό τε πλέον καὶ ἔλασσον ποτόν.
(Thucydides, Hist. 2.47.2-2.49.5)

As soon as summer began the Peloponnesians and their allies, under the leadership of Archidamus, son of Zeuxidamus and king of the Spartans, invaded Attica with two-thirds of their forces just as they had done the year before. They established themselves and set about wasting the land. They had not been there many days when the plague first broke out among the Athenians, and although it is said to have struck in many places before, particularly at Lemnos but also elsewhere, there is no previous record anywhere of a pestilence so severe and so destructive to human life. The physicians were not able to help at its outset since they were treating it in ignorance, and indeed they themselves suffered the highest mortality since they were the ones most exposed to it. Nor were other human arts of any avail. Whatever supplications people made at sanctuaries and whatever oracles or the like they consulted, all were useless and in the end they abandoned them, defeated by the affliction. It first came, so it is said, out of Ethiopia beyond Egypt, and then spread into Egypt and Libya and into most of the territory of the Persian King.When it got to Athens it struck the city suddenly, taking hold first in the Peiraeus, so that it was even suggested by the people there that the Peloponnesians had put poison in the rain-water tanks (there being no wells yet in the Peiraeus). Later on it reached the upper city too and then the mortality became much greater. I leave it to others—whether physicians or lay people—to speak from their own knowledge about it and say what its likely origins were and what factors could be powerful enough to generate such disruptive effects. For my part I will say what it was like as it happened and will describe the facts that would enable anyone investigating any future outbreak to have some prior knowledge and recognise it. I speak as someone who had the disease myself and witnessed others suffering from it. This particular year, it was generally agreed, happened to be exceptionally free from other forms of illness; but if anyone did suffer anything at all it always turned into this disease. In other cases there was no apparent reason for it, but suddenly people who were previously healthy were affected by sensations of violent fever in the head and a redness and inflammation of the eyes; internally, both the throat and the tongue immediately became bloody and emitted an unnatural and foul-smelling breath. At the next stage the victims suffered an onset of sneezing and hoarseness, and soon afterwards the affliction went to the chest, accompanied by violent coughing; when it took hold in the stomach it caused severe upset there, and every kind of bile that has been named by physicians was discharged, attended by extreme distress. In most cases an empty retching ensued, producing violent spasms, in some cases straight after the emissions had ceased, in others much later. Externally, the body was not particularly hot to the touch nor pale but was reddish and livid, breaking out in small blisters and sores; internally, however, sufferers were on fire and could not bear contact with the lightest of clothing and linens or anything other than going naked, and what they most felt like was throwing themselves into cold water. Indeed many who were not being looked after actually did so, jumping into rain-tanks, possessed by a thirst that could not be quenched—since it made no difference whether they drank much or little. (tr. Jeremy Mynott)

Orgai

thucydides

Φαίνεται δὲ ἐπὶ τῶν Ἡροδότου χρόνων γενόμενος, εἴ γε ὁ μὲν Ἡρόδοτος μέμνηται τῆς Θηβαίων ἐσβολῆς ἐς τὴν Πλάταιαν, περὶ ἧς ἱστορεῖ Θουκυδίδης ἐν τῇ δευτέρᾳ. λέγεται δέ τι καὶ τοιοῦτον, ὥς ποτε τοῦ Ἡροδότου τὰς ἰδίας ἱστορίας ἐπιδεικνυμένου παρὼν τῇ ἀκροάσει Θουκυδίδης καὶ ἀκούσας ἐδάκρυσεν· ἔπειτά φασι τὸν Ἡρόδοτον τοῦτο θεασάμενον εἰπεῖν αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα τὸν Ὄλορον· “ὦ Ὄλορε, ὀργᾷ ἡ φύσις τοῦ υἱοῦ σου πρὸς μαθήματα.”
(Marcellinus, Bios Thoukudidou 54)

He seems to have come to be in the time of Herodotus, if indeed Herodotus makes mention of the attack of the Thebans into Plataea, concerning which history Thucydides narrates in the second book. And so it is said, that once when Herodotus was making a display of his own history, Thucydides was present at the recital and, hearing it, wept. Thereupon, they say, Herodotus noticing, said to Olorus the father of Thucydides, “O Olorus, truly the nature of your son is violently bent toward learning.” (tr. Timothy Burns)

Baktērian

Stick

Ὄντων δ’ αὐτῶν ἐν τοιούτῳ ἀναλογισμῷ ξυνηνέχθη καὶ τοιόσδε τις θόρυβος περὶ τὸν Ἀστύοχον. τῶν γὰρ Συρακοσίων καὶ Θουρίων ὅσῳ μάλιστα καὶ ἐλεύθεροι ἦσαν τὸ πλῆθος οἱ ναῦται, τοσούτῳ καὶ θρασύτατα προσπεσόντες τὸν μισθὸν ἀπῄτουν. ὁ δὲ αὐθαδέστερόν τέ τι ἀπεκρίνατο καὶ ἠπείλησε καὶ τῷ γε Δωριεῖ ξυναγορεύοντι τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ ναύταις καὶ ἐπανήρατο τὴν βακτηρίαν. τὸ δὲ πλῆθος τῶν στρατιωτῶν ὡς εἶδον, οἷα δὴ ναῦται, ὥρμησαν ἐκραγέντες ἐπὶ τὸν Ἀστύοχον ὥστε βάλλειν· ὁ δὲ προϊδὼν καταφεύγει ἐπὶ βωμόν τινα. οὐ μέντοι ἐβλήθη γε, ἀλλὰ διελύθησαν ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων. ἔλαβον δὲ καὶ τὸ ἐν τῇ Μιλήτῳ ἐνῳκοδομημένον τοῦ Τισσαφέρνους φρούριον οἱ Μιλήσιοι λάθρᾳ ἐπιπεσόντες, καὶ τοὺς ἐνόντας φύλακας αὐτοῦ ἐκβάλλουσιν· ξυνεδόκει δὲ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ξυμμάχοις ταῦτα καὶ οὐχ ἥκιστα τοῖς Συρακοσίοις. ὁ μέντοι Λίχας οὔτε ἠρέσκετο αὐτοῖς ἔφη τε χρῆναι Τισσαφέρνει καὶ δουλεύειν Μιλησίους καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους τοὺς ἐν τῇ βασιλέως τὰ μέτρια καὶ ἐπιθεραπεύειν, ἕως ἂν τὸν πόλεμον εὖ θῶνται. οἱ δὲ Μιλήσιοι ὠργίζοντό τε αὐτῷ καὶ διὰ ταῦτα καὶ δι’ ἄλλα τοιουτότροπα καὶ νόσῳ ὕστερον ἀποθανόντα αὐτὸν οὐκ εἴασαν θάψαι οὗ ἐβούλοντο οἱ παρόντες τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων.
(Thucydides, Hist. 8.84)

While they were still taking stock there was an actual fracas involving Astyochus. The Syracusan and Thurian sailors were for the most part free men (more so than in other contingents), and so were particularly forthright in besieging Astyochus with demands for pay. He gave them a somewhat dismissive answer accompanied by threats, and even raised his stick against Dorieus when he supported the claims of his own men. At this the crowd of troops saw red, as sailors will, and surged forward to strike Astyochus down. He saw it coming and ran for refuge at a nearby altar. In the end he was not hurt, and the confrontation was dissipated. Another incident was a surprise assault made by the Milesians on the fort which Tissaphernes had built in Miletus: they captured it and expelled the guards he had posted there. This action met with the approval of the other allies, especially the Syracusans. Lichas, though, was not pleased. He said that the Milesians and the others living in the King’s territory should pay all reasonable deference to Tissaphernes and keep on good terms with him until they brought the war to a successful conclusion. This and other similar pronouncements caused much resentment among the Milesians, and when Lichas subsequently died of disease they refused to allow the Spartans present at the time to bury him where they wanted. (tr. Martin Hammond)

Logismōi

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Ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ἀδύνατον ἀμύνεσθαι οὕτω πόλιν ἐρχόμεθα, ἀλλὰ τοῖς πᾶσιν ἄριστα παρεσκευασμένην, ὥστε χρὴ καὶ πάνυ ἐλπίζειν διὰ μάχης ἰέναι αὐτούς, εἰ μὴ καὶ νῦν ὥρμηνται ἐν ᾧ οὔπω πάρεσμεν, ἀλλ’ ὅταν ἐν τῇ γῇ ὁρῶσιν ἡμᾶς δῃοῦντάς τε καὶ τἀκείνων φθείροντας. πᾶσι γὰρ ἐν τοῖς ὄμμασι καὶ ἐν τῷ παραυτίκα ὁρᾶν πάσχοντάς τι ἄηθες ὀργὴ προσπίπτει· καὶ οἱ λογισμῷ ἐλάχιστα χρώμενοι θυμῷ πλεῖστα ἐς ἔργον καθίστανται. Ἀθηναίους δὲ καὶ πλέον τι τῶν ἄλλων εἰκὸς τοῦτο δρᾶσαι, οἳ ἄρχειν τε τῶν
ἄλλων ἀξιοῦσι καὶ ἐπιόντες τὴν τῶν πέλας δῃοῦν μᾶλλον ἢ τὴν αὑτῶν ὁρᾶν. ὡς οὖν ἐπὶ τοσαύτην πόλιν στρατεύοντες καὶ μεγίστην δόξαν οἰσόμενοι τοῖς τε προγόνοις καὶ ἡμῖν
αὐτοῖς ἐπ’ ἀμφότερα ἐκ τῶν ἀποβαινόντων, ἕπεσθ’ ὅπῃ ἄν τις ἡγῆται, κόσμον καὶ φυλακὴν περὶ παντὸς ποιούμενοι καὶ τὰ παραγγελλόμενα ὀξέως δεχόμενοι· κάλλιστον γὰρ τόδε καὶ ἀσφαλέστατον, πολλοὺς ὄντας ἑνὶ κόσμῳ χρωμένους φαίνεσθαι.
(Thucydides, Hist. 2.11.6-9)

The city we are coming against is far from incapable of defending itself. It is supremely equipped in every way, so we must have every expectation that they will engage us in battle. Even if they are not already deployed pending our arrival, they will surely deploy when they see us in their territory, ravaging their land and destroying their property. Anger enters all men when they have in front of their own eyes the immediate sight of damage they have never seen before: and when reason retreats passion advances as the determinant of action. This is more likely to happen with the Athenians than with any others, since they presume the right to empire and expect to invade and ravage others’ territory rather than see it done to their own. Remember, then, that we are fighting a great city; and remember that on the result depends, for good or ill, the ultimate reputation we shall bring on our ancestors and ourselves. So follow your leaders; make discipline and security your absolute priorities; and be quick to respond to orders. Best and safest is when a large army is seen as a single disciplined body. (tr. Martin Hammond)

Seismos

tsunami

Τοῦ δ᾿ ἐπιγιγνομένου θέρους Πελοποννήσιοι καὶ οἱ ξύμμαχοι μέχρι μὲν τοῦ Ἰσθμοῦ ἦλθον ὡς ἐς τὴν Ἀττικὴν ἐσβαλοῦντες Ἄγιδος τοῦ Ἀρχιδάμου ἡγουμένου Λακεδαιμονίων βασιλέως, σεισμῶν δὲ γενομένων πολλῶν ἀπετράποντο πάλιν καὶ οὐκ ἐγένετο ἐσβολή. καὶ περὶ τούτους τοὺς χρόνους, τῶν σεισμῶν κατεχόντων, τῆς Εὐβοίας ἐν Ὀροβίαις ἡ θάλασσα ἐπανελθοῦσα ἀπὸ τῆς τότε οὔσης γῆς καὶ κυματωθεῖσα ἐπῆλθε τῆς πόλεως μέρος τι, καὶ τὸ μὲν κατέκλυσε, τὸ δ’ ὑπενόστησε, καὶ θάλασσα νῦν ἐστὶ πρότερον οὖσα γῆ· καὶ ἀνθρώπους διέφθειρεν ὅσοι μὴ ἐδύναντο φθῆναι πρὸς τὰ μετέωρα ἀναδραμόντες. καὶ περὶ Ἀταλάντην τὴν ἐπὶ Λοκροῖς τοῖς Ὀπουντίοις νῆσον παραπλησία γίγνεται ἐπίκλυσις, καὶ τοῦ τε φρουρίου τῶν Ἀθηναίων παρεῖλε καὶ δύο νεῶν ἀνειλκυσμένων τὴν ἑτέραν κατέαξεν. ἐγένετο δὲ καὶ ἐν Πεπαρήθῳ κύματος ἐπαναχώρησίς τις, οὐ μέντοι ἐπέκλυσέ γε· καὶ σεισμὸς τοῦ τείχους τι κατέβαλε καὶ τὸ πρυτανεῖον καὶ ἄλλας οἰκίας ὀλίγας. αἴτιον δ’ ἔγωγε νομίζω τοῦ τοιούτου, ᾗ ἰσχυρότατος ὁ σεισμὸς ἐγένετο, κατὰ τοῦτο ἀποστέλλειν τε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ ἐξαπίνης πάλιν ἐπισπωμένην βιαιότερον τὴν ἐπίκλυσιν ποιεῖν· ἄνευ δὲ σεισμοῦ οὐκ ἄν μοι δοκεῖ τὸ τοιοῦτο ξυμβῆναι γενέσθαι.
(Thucydides, Hist. 3.89)

In the following summer the Peloponnesians and their allies, under the command of Agis, the son of Archidamus and king of Sparta, went as far as the Isthmus with the intention of invading Attica, but the occurrence of several earthquakes turned them back and no invasion took place. At around this time when the earthquakes were prevalent, the sea at Orobiae in Euboea retreated from what was then the coastline and returned in a tidal wave which hit one part of the town, and as a result of flooding combined with subsidence what was once land is now sea: the tidal wave killed the people who could not escape to higher ground in time. There was a similar inundation at Atalante, the island off Opuntian Locris, which carried away part of the Athenian fort and smashed one of the two ships laid up there. At Peparethus there was also a withdrawal of the sea, but not in this case followed by a surge: and an earthquake demolished part of the wall, the town hall, and a few other buildings. I believe the cause of this phenomenon to be that the sea retires at the point where the seismic shock is strongest, and is then suddenly flung back with all the greater violence, creating the inundation. I do not think that tidal waves could occur without an earthquake. (tr. Martin Hammond)

Prodiagnōte

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Βουλεύεσθε οὖν βραδέως ὡς οὐ περὶ βραχέων, καὶ μὴ ἀλλοτρίαις γνώμαις καὶ ἐγκλήμασι πεισθέντες οἰκεῖον πόνον πρόσθησθε. τοῦ δὲ πολέμου τὸν παράλογον ὅσος ἐστί, πρὶν ἐν αὐτῷ γενέσθαι προδιάγνωτε· μηκυνόμενος γὰρ φιλεῖ ἐς τύχας τὰ πολλὰ περιίστασθαι, ὧν ἴσον τε ἀπέχομεν καὶ ὁποτέρως ἔσται ἐν ἀδήλῳ κινδυνεύεται.
(Thucydides, Hist. 1.78.1-2)

Be slow, then, in reaching a decision: these are matters of great importance. And do not let other people’s opinions and complaints persuade you to incur troubles of your own. Give thought now to all the incalculable elements of war before you find yourselves in it. When war is prolonged it tends to become largely a matter of chance, in which we are both equally far from control and both face the danger of an uncertain outcome. And as they enter on their wars men take to action first, which should come later, and only have recourse to words when things go badly for them. (tr. Martin Hammond)

Xunchōrousin

thucydides1

ΑΘ. Ἡμεῖς τοίνυν οὔτε αὐτοὶ μετ’ ὀνομάτων καλῶν, ὡς ἢ δικαίως τὸν Μῆδον καταλύσαντες ἄρχομεν ἢ ἀδικούμενοι νῦν ἐπεξερχόμεθα, λόγων μῆκος ἄπιστον παρέξομεν, οὔθ’ ὑμᾶς ἀξιοῦμεν ἢ ὅτι Λακεδαιμονίων ἄποικοι ὄντες οὐ ξυνεστρατεύσατε ἢ ὡς ἡμᾶς οὐδὲν ἠδικήκατε λέγοντας οἴεσθαι πείσειν, τὰ δυνατὰ δ’ ἐξ ὧν ἑκάτεροι ἀληθῶς φρονοῦμεν διαπράσσεσθαι, ἐπισταμένους πρὸς εἰδότας ὅτι δίκαια μὲν ἐν τῷ ἀνθρωπείῳ λόγῳ ἀπὸ τῆς ἴσης ἀνάγκης κρίνεται, δυνατὰ δὲ οἱ προύχοντες πράσσουσι καὶ οἱ ἀσθενεῖς ξυγχωροῦσιν.
(Thucydides, Hist. 5.89)

Athenians: ’Well, we shall not bulk out our argument with lofty language, claiming that our defeat of the Persians gives us the right to rule or that we are now seeking retribution for some wrong done to us. That would not convince you. Similarly we do not expect you to think there is any persuasive power in protestations that though you are a Spartan colony you have never joined their campaigns, or that you have not done us any harm. So keep this discussion practical, within the limits of what we both really think. You know as well as we do that when we are talking on the human plane questions of justice only arise when there is equal power to compel: in terms of practicality the dominant exact what they can and the weak concede what they must.’ (tr. Martin Hammond)