1.41

Τὸ μὲν οὖν πρῶτον δύο ἢ τρεῖς ἑωρῶμεν, ὕστερον δὲ ἐφάνησαν ὅσον ἑξακόσιοι, καὶ διαστάντες ἐπολέμουν καὶ ἐναυμάχουν. πολλαὶ μὲν οὖν ἀντίπρῳροι συνηράσσοντο ἀλλήλαις, πολλαὶ δὲ καὶ ἐμβληθεῖσαι κατεδύοντο, αἱ δὲ συμπλεκόμεναι καρτερῶς διηγωνίζοντο καὶ οὐ  ῥᾳδίως ἀπελύοντο· οἱ γὰρ ἐπὶ τῆς πρῴρας τεταγμένοι πᾶσαν ἐπεδείκνυντο προθυμίαν ἐπιβαίνοντες καὶ ἀναιροῦντες· ἐζώγρει δὲ οὐδείς. ἀντὶ δὲ χειρῶν σιδηρῶν πολύποδας μεγάλους ἐκδεδεμένους ἀλλήλοις ἐπερρίπτουν, οἱ δὲ περιπλεκόμενοι τῇ ὕλῃ κατεῖχον τὴν νῆσον.  ἔβαλλον μέντοι καὶ ἐτίτρωσκον ὀστρείοις τε ἁμαξοπληθέσι καὶ σπόγγοις πλεθριαίοις.

τὸ μὲν οὖν πρῶτον: "now at first."  μὲν οὖν is used here (and also again in the beginning of the next sentence) to effect a transition as often in prose (Denniston GP 470-472). Given the relative paucity of particles in English, it is difficult to render this transitional function with a clear English equivalent.  For the adverbial τὸ πρῶτον, see S. 1611

ἑωρῶμεν: impf. of ὁράω, "we saw."

ἐφάνησαν: aor. pass. 3 pl. of φαίνομαι, "appeared."

ὅσον ἑξακόσιοι: "about 600" (for ὅσον as "about, approximately," see LSJ IV.3).

διαστάντες: aor. part. of διίστημι, "standing apart."

πολλαὶ (sc. νῆσοι)...ἀντίπρῳροι: "many islands prow to prow" (i.e. facing one another). In describing the mobile islands as boats, Lucian uses "prow" throughout this passage to describe the front-facing part of each island.

συνηράσσοντο: impf. of συναράσσω, "dashed together."

ἐμβληθεῖσαι: aor. part. pass. of ἐμβάλλω, "having been rammed." Jerram notes that this type of attack against the side of a ship was called ἐμβολή (as opposed to προσβολή which involved a frontal confrontation from one ship's prow to the other).

διηγωνίζοντο: impf. mid. of διαγωνίζομαι, "battled each other."

οἱ γὰρ ἐπὶ τῆς πρῴρας τεταγμένοι: perf. part. mid-pass. of τάσσω, "those stationed at the prow."

πᾶσαν ἐπεδείκνυντο προθυμίαν ἐπιβαίνοντες καὶ ἀναιροῦντες: "showed the utmost zeal in boarding and killing."

ἐζώγρει δὲ οὐδείς: "and no one took any captives" (i.e. they killed one another and didn't keep any hostages).

ἀντὶ χειρῶν σιδηρῶν: "instead of iron hands" (i.e. grappling hooks).

πολύποδας μεγάλους: "giant octopuses." Jerram refers the reader to Aelian's Varia Historia for more on the habits of the polypus.

ἐκδεδεμένους: perf. part. mid.-pass. of ἐκδέω, "fastened (sc. with lines)."

ἔβαλλον...καὶ ἐτίτρωσκον (sc. ἀλλήλους): "they struck and wounded (sc. each other)."

ὀστρέοις τε ἁμαξοπληθέσι: "with oysters that would fill a wagon."

VERB LIST

ὕστερον: later, afterwards

ἑξακόσιοι, -αι, -α: six hundred

διίστημι: set apart; intr. stand apart

πολεμέω: fight, do battle

ναυμαχέω: engage in a naval battle

ἀντίπρῳρος, -ον: with the prow towards

συναράσσω: dash together, dash in pieces

ἐμβάλλω: throw in, ram

καταδύω: go down, sink

συμπλέκω: twine together; in pass. be entangled, be engaged in close fight

καρτερῶς:  strongly, violently

διαγωνίζομαι: contend, struggle or fight against

ῥᾳδίως: easily, readily

ἀπολύω: loose from; in pass. be separated, part

πρῷρα, ἡ: the forepart of a ship, prow, bow

ἐπιδείκνυμι: display, exhibit

προθυμία, ἡ: readiness, willingness

ἐπιβαίνω: go upon

ζωγρέω: take alive, take captive

σιδήρεος, -η, -ον: made of iron or steel, iron

πολύπους, -ποδος, ὁ: the sea-polypus or octopus

ἐκδέω: bind so as to hang from, fasten to or on

ἐπιρριπτέω: throw oneself

περιπλέκω: twine or enfold round, grab hold of; in mid. fold oneself around, catch on to (+ dat.)

ὕλη, ἡ: a forest

κατέχω: hold fast

τιτρώσκω: wound

ὄστρεον, τό: an oyster

ἁμαξοπληθής, -ές: large enough to fill a wagon

σπόγγος, ὁ: a sponge

πλεθριαῖος, -α, -ον: the size of a πλέθρον (a measure of length equal to 100 feet)

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Suggested Citation

Eric Casey, Stephen Nimis, and Evan Hayes, Lucian: True History, Book 1. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-05-4. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/lucian-true/book-1/1-41