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[14] As for epithets, they may be applied from what is vile or disgraceful, for instance, “the matricide,” or from what is more honorable, for instance, “the avenger of his father.”1 When the winner in a mule-race offered Simonides a small sum, he refused to write an ode, as if he thought it beneath him to write on half-asses; but when he gave him a sufficient amount, he wrote, “ Hail, daughters of storm-footed steeds!2

” and yet they were also the daughters of asses. Further, the use of diminutives amounts to the same.

1 Eur. Orest. 1588. In the preceding line Menelaus accuses Orestes as a matricide and ready to heap murder on murder, to which Orestes replies, you should rather call me the avenger of my father Agamemnon, who had been murdered by his wife Clytaemnestra, the mother of Orestes. “Matricide” and “avenger of his father” show the good and bad sides of the deed of Orestes.

2 Frag. 7 (P.L.G. 3, p. 39O). The winner of the mule race was Anaxilaus of Rhegium.

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