previous next


The grove of the Eumenides may have been on the N.
Probable site of the grove.
or N.E. side of the Colonus Hippius. But the only condition fixed by the play fails to be precise, viz. that a road, passing by Colonus to Athens, skirted the grove,—the inner or most sacred part of the grove being on the side furthest from the road. The
A suggestion.
roads marked on our map are the ancient roads1. It will be observed that one of them passes between Colonus Hippius and the hill of Demeter Euchloüs, going in the direction of Athens. There is no reason why the wandering Oedipus should not be conceived as entering Attica from the N.W.; i.e., as having passed into the Attic plain round the N. end of Aegaleos. And, in that case, the road in question might well represent the route by which Sophocles, familiar with the local details of Colonus in his own day, imagined Oedipus as arriving. Then Oedipus, moving towards Athens, would have the grove of the Eumenides on his right hand2, if, as we were supposing, this grove was on the N. side of the Colonus Hippius. The part of the grove furthest from him (“τοὐκεῖθεν ἄλσους505) would thus be near the remains of the ancient building at the N.W. edge. When Ismene is sent to that part of the grove, she is told that there is a guardian of the place (“ἔποικος506), who can supply her with anything needful for the rites.

In this play the sanctities of Colonus are closely associated with those of the neighbouring Academy. To the latter belonged the altar of Prometheus (56, see map), the altar of the Muses (691), and the altar of Zeus Morios (705). The sidechannel of Cephisus shown in the map may serve to illustrate the word νομάδες in v. 687,—which alludes to a system of irrigation, practised in ancient as in modern times, by artificial canals.


1 On these, see the letter-press by Prof. Curtius to the Atlas von Athen, pp. 14 f.

2 It is scarcely necessary to say that no objection, or topographical inference of any kind, can be drawn from the conventional arrangement of the Greek stage by which Oedipus (as coming from the country) would enter on the spectator's left, and therefore have the scenic grove on his left.

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 (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 505
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 56
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 687
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 506
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 691
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 705
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: