τῶν ἐχθρῶν κακά, ‘that evils belonging to (proper for) our enemies are coming upon our friends’; i.e. that our brother Polyneices is to share the doom of the Argive dead, by being left unburied. As appears from vv. 1081 ff., Soph. supposes that burial was denied to the slain foemen generally, and not to Polyneices alone. No legend was more familiar at Athens than that of Theseus recovering the Argive corpses from Creon ( Suppl.). Cp. 1162, where, as here, “ἐχθρῶν” are the Argives,—the “πολέμιοι” in their relation to individuals. Ismene, too, seems to understand the Argives; in her reply verses 11—14 refer to “φίλους”, and vv. 15—17 to “ἐχθρῶν”. It is rare that “ἐχθρῶν” should have the art., while “κακά” has none; but cp. 365: O. T. 1530 “τέρμα τοῦ βίου”.—We might take “τῶν ὲχθρῶν κακά” as ‘evils planned by our foes’ (i.e. by Creon): cp. Ph. 422“τά γε ι κείνων κάκ᾽ ἐξήρυκε”: ib. 512 “τὸ κείνων κακόν”. So schol., “τὰ τῶν ἐχθρῶν μηχανήματα ἐπὶ τοὺς φίλους ἰόντα”. But (a) the authorship of the decree having been already named, we now expect a hint of its purport: and (b) “ἐχθροί” being the natural persons to hurt “φίλοι”, the antithesis loses point. Some join “στείχοντα τῶν ἐχθρῶν”, ‘coming from foes’; which is open to the objections just mentioned, and also to this, that, after such a verb as “στείχειν”, the simple gen. ought to denote place ( O. T. 152 “Πυθῶνος ἔβας”), not agent.
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