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Π̔ιπᾶν. Arist. Meteor. 1.13 (Berl. ed. 350 b 6) “ὑπ᾽ αὐτὴν δὲ τὴν ἄρκτον ὑπὲρ τῆς ἐσχάτης Σκυθίας αἱ καλούμεναι Π̔ῖπαι, περὶ ὧν τοῦ μεγέθους λίαν εἰσὶν οἱ λεγόμενοι λόγοι μυθώδεις”. It is fortunate that this passage is extant, showing, as I think it does beyond all reasonable doubt, that Soph. here named the Rhipaean mountains, “"beyond utmost Scythia,"” as representing the North. Aristotle's words prove that the name “Π̔ῖπαι” for these mountains was thoroughly familiar. Cp. Alcman of Sparta (660 B.C.) fr. 51 (Bergk), “Π̔ίπας, ὄρος ἔνθεον” (“ἀνθέον” Lobeck) “ὕλᾳ, Νυκτὸς μελαίνας στέρνον”. Hellanicus (circ. 450 B.C.) fr. 96 (Müller) “τοὺς δὲ Ὑπερβορέους ὑπὲρτὰ Ῥίπαια ὄρη οἰκεῖν ἱστορεῖ”. Damastes of Sigeum (his younger contemporary) fr. 1 “ἄνω δ᾽ Ἀριμασπῶν τὰ Π̔ίπαια ὄρη, ἐξ ὦν τὸν βορέαν πνεῖν, χιόνα δ᾽ αὐτὰ μήποτε ἐλλείπειν: ὑπὲρ δὲ τὰ ὄρη ταῦτα Ὑπερβορέους καθήκειν εἰς τὴν ἑτέραν θάλασσαν”. For the age of Sophocles, these mountains belonged wholly to the region of myth, and so were all the more suitable for his purpose here. The Roman poets, too, used the “"Rhipaei montes"” to denote the uttermost North (Verg. Geo. 1. 240, etc.). The name “Ῥῖπαι” was only “ῥιπαί”,—the “"blasts"” of Boreas coming thence.

ἐννυχιᾶν, wrapped in gloom and storm: cp. 1558.

Others, not taking ῥιπᾶν as a name, render: (1) “"From the nocturnal blasts,"”— but this would not sufficiently indicate the north. (2) “"From the vibrating starrays of night,"” like El. 105παμφεγγεῖς ἄστρων ῥιπάς”. But there would be no point in saying that troubles come on Oedipus from the West, the East, the South, and—the stars. There is, indeed, a secondary contrast between the brightness of the South and the gloom of the North; but the primary contrast is between the regions.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Sophocles, Electra, 105
    • Vergil, Georgics, 1.240
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