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[758] The poet has neglected clearness on a minor point. The οἰκεύς sole survivor of the four attendants—had fled back to Thebes with the news that Laius had been slain by robbers (118-123). This news came before the trouble with the Sphinx began: 126-131. And the play supposes an interval of at least several days between the death of Laius and the election of Oedipus: see on 736. Hence κεῖθεν ἦλθε καὶ ... εἶδε cannot mean that the οἰκεύς, on reaching Thebes, found Oedipus already reigning. Nor can we suggest that he may have fled from the scene of the slaughter before he was sure that Laius had been killed: that is excluded by 123 and 737. Therefore we must understand:— “when he had come thence, and [afterwards] found that not only was Laius dead, but you were his successor.” (For the parataxis σέ τε ... Λάϊόν τε see on 673.) I incline to suspect, however, that Sophocles was here thinking of the man as coming back to find Oedipus already on the throne, and had overlooked the inconsistency. The conjecture Λαΐου τε δώματα for Λάϊόν τ᾽ ὀλωλότα (Wolff) would remove the difficulty, but seems very improbable.

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