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The MS. words τὸν ἀεὶ (or αἰεὶ) certainly conceal a fault, which is perhaps very old. We cannot supply “χρόνον” (“"for ever"”). Nor do I see how τὸν ἀεὶ βίοτον could mean, “"the life of all his days"” (“"What life, life-long, was his,"” Whitelaw). The schol. gives nothing better than a fatuous interpretation of “τὸν ἀεὶ βίοτον” as “τὸ μακρὸν γῆρας”. The first question is whether the fault is confined to ἀεί. (1) If so, τόν being sound, ἀεί (a) may conceal another adv., or an adj.: as “ἄρτι, ἄβιον, αἰνόν, ἀλαόν, ἀτυχῆ”. Of these “ἀλαόν” is perh. least unsatisfactory. It should not be too hastily assumed that the poet would have shunned a fourfold “-ον”. Or (b) ἀεί may have arisen from some ancient mutilation of ἄνδρα. The very simplicity of κεῖνον τὸν ἄνδρα has a solemnity which is not unfitting here; and to my mind this solution has greater probability than perhaps many would concede to it at first sight. (2) If τόν is corrupt, then there are these possibilities. (a) τὸν ἀεί may conceal one word, such (e.g.) as “πάνοιζυν”, “"all-wretched,"Aesch. Cho. 49. (b) τόν may have been inserted to supply a lost syllable: though against this is the fact that our MSS. often tolerate lame trimeters. This view suits (e.g.) ἐκεῖνον ἄρτι, or Hermann's κεῖνόν γ᾽ ἐσαιεί (to which, however, the γ᾽ is fatal). (3) It is vain to speculate on the possibility of corruptions extending beyond τὸν ἀεί. The words βίοτον ἐξεπίστασο and κεῖνον (or “ἐκεῖνον”) are prima facie sound. Thus (e.g.) to suggest “ἐκεῖνον ἐξεπίστασ᾽ εἰσαεὶ βίον” would be unwarrantable. We seek to amend, not to re-write.

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    • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers, 49
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