δημοῦχοι (cp. 1087 “γᾶς τᾶσδε δαμούχοις”), the reading of the first hand in L, is clearly preferable to δημοῦχος. For the latter, Herm. urged that (1) Oed. is too angry to be so polite, and (2) the mere name of Theseus is not enough here, without a title. Both these arguments might with more justice be inverted: for (1) it is precisely in the formal “ἄνδρες τῆσδε δημοῦχοι χθονός” that we catch the note of suppressed passion; (2) “Θησεύς”, so emphatic as the first word in 1350, would be weakened by “δημοῦχος” in 1348: and (3) with “δημοῦχος” we should here need the article. The elders of Colonus are addressed as “"guardians of this land"” because, in the temporary absence of Theseus, they represent him. So 145 (to the Chorus) “ὦ τῆσδ᾽ ἔφοροι χώρας”.
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