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The Erxadieis inscription

SEG xxvi 461; Meiggs-Lewis, 1988 reissue, 67 bis; Nomima i 55

Author: P. Rhodes

This inscription recording an unequal alliance between the Spartans and the Erxadieis has been given dates ranging over almost the whole of the Peloponnesian League’s existence: recent arguments for a late date on the grounds of the formulations used are not cogent; the “exiles” mentioned are probably the Messenians settled at Naupactus between c. 455 and c. 400, and the lettering favours either c. 450 or c. 426.

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This paper considers when and on what subjects Thucydides supplies background information (of geographical and other kinds) to help his readers, and concludes that, although he was inconsistent, he did try to grapple with the problem and to realise that there were some matters with which his readers might not be familiar.

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Thucydides claims to have narrated each event in chronological sequence only in the Peloponnesian War, and even there he sometimes departs from that principle for narrative convenience. In the account of the Pentecontaetia in I 89–118. 2 events have likewise been grouped for narrative convenience, but in 103. 4–111 alternation between Greece and Egypt suggests events occurring about the same time, and Egyptian documents and the narrative dates of Diodorus Siculus do not disprove that.

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