previous next

τοῦ δέοντος (Reiske) is indicated by the schol. in L, “τοῦ μετρίου, τοῦ ἱκανοῦ”, and is, I think, true. The phrase, ὅταν πέσῃ τις ἐς πλέον τοῦ δέοντος, means, “"when one has lapsed into excess of due limit"” in respect of prolonged life, i.e. when one has outlived those years which alone are enjoy able, and at which the line of the “μέτριον μέρος” (1212) is drawn.

πέσῃ (cp. “πίπτειν εἰς κακά”, etc.) suggests a joyless decline of life, with decay of the faculties.

The vulgate τοῦ θέλοντος would be gen. of “τὸ θέλον” (see on 267): “"when a man has lapsed into excess of wish,"i.e. of wish for prolonged life; not, of self-indulgence; for the whole gist of the passage is that joy is left behind by simply living on: the satiety of jaded appetite (which can befall the young) is not in point here. Assuredly τοῦ θέλοντος in this context is not Greek. Blaydes, reading τοῦ σθένοντος, explains, “"when a man has outlived his strength"”: but could “πέσῃ ἐς πλέον τοῦ σθ”. mean, "live to a point of time beyond τὸ σθ."?

δ᾽ ἐπίκουρος ἰσοτέλεστος, “"and the succourer (i.e., the deliverer from life's troubles) comes at the last to all alike,"”— when the doom of Hades has appeared, —“"namely, Death at the end."” The man who is to attain long life has the same end before him as the man of shorter span,— viz. death; the only difference is that the long-lived man has to go through years of suffering which the other escapes, until death comes to him as a welcome “ἐπίκουρος”. Cp.

τί γὰρ παρ᾽ ἦμαρ ἡμέρα τέρπειν ἔχει,
προσθεῖσα κἀναθεῖσα τοῦ γε κατθανεῖν;

"what joy is there in the sequence of the days,—now threatening, now delaying—death?"

ἰσοτέλεστος might be defended as act., “"making an end for all alike,"” (see examples on 1031,) but is better taken as pass., lit., “"accomplished for all alike,"i.e. forming the “τέλος” for them. The phrase “τέλος θανάτοιο” was in the poet's mind, and has blended itself with the image of a personal deliverer. (Cp. on O. T. 866, 1300.)—Whitelaw takes ἰσοτέλεστος (as pass.) with μοῖρα, a doom paid alike by all; i.e. all are “ἰσοτελεῖς” in paying the tribute of their lives to Pluto. This may be right; but the accumulation of epithets on “μοῖρα” becomes somewhat heavy, while “ἐπίκουρος” is left in a long suspense.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 475
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 866
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: