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[1348] ἂν with ἠθέλησα: γε emphasises μηδέ. Oedipus had been the all-admired (8), the “saviour of the land ” (48). But now the Theban elders wish that they had never so much as heard his name or looked upon his face. That bitter cry is drawn from them by the very strength of their sympathy: for his ruin was the result of his coming to Thebes. The objections to the reading of the MSS., ὥς σ᾽ ἠθέλησα μηδ᾽ ἀναγνῶναί ποτε, are these: (1) Eur. Hel. 290 has the 1st aor. pass., ἀνεγνώσθημεν ἄν, “we should have been recognised ”: but ἀναγιγνώσκειν occurs nowhere else in tragedy; and in Attic its regular sense was “to read,” or in the 1st aor. act., “to persuade.” I have not found a single example of ἀναγιγνώσκω as = ἀναγνωρίζω ( “to recognise ”) in Thuc., Plato, Xen., or the Orators. (2) But the 2nd aor. has that sense in Homer, in Pind. I. 2.23 and in Hdt. 2.91: may not an Attic poet have followed them? Granted. The sense required here, however, after μηδέ, is to know, not to recognise: the latter would be pointless. (3) The ellipse of ἄν with the aor. ἠθέλησα would be strangely harsh. Such an ellipse with the imperf. sometimes occurs: as Antiph. 5.1ἐβουλόμην” (and so Aristoph. Frogs 866), Antiph. 5.86ἠξίουν.” But if, as seems clear, ἄν is required here, then the probability is strengthened that ἀναγνῶναι arose from ἂν γνῶναι. Between Dindorf's ὡς ἠθέλησα μηδέ σ᾽ ἂν γνῶναι and Hermann's ὥς σ᾽ ἠθέλησα μηδέ γ᾽ ἂν γνῶναι the question is: Which is more likely to have passed into the reading of the MSS.? Now they have ὥς σ᾽, and the loss of γ᾽ through a confusion with the same letter in γνῶναι is slightly more probable than the double error of omitting σ᾽ before ἂν and inserting it afterὡς.

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