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τὸν λεύκασπιν...φῶτα, in a collective sense: so “ Πέρσης”, the Persian army, Her. 8.108, etc. Cp. Aesch. Theb. 90 λεύκασπις λεώς” (Dind. “λευκοπρεπής”): Eur. Phoen. 1099λεύκασπιν εἰσορῶμεν Ἀργείων στρατόν”. The round shield, painted white, which the Argive soldier carried on his left arm, is the “λευκῆς χιόνος πτέρυξ” of 114. The choice of white as the Argive colour may have been prompted by a popular association of “Ἄργος” with “ἀργός”.

The words “τὸν λεύκασπιν Ἀργόθεν” answer metrically to 123 “πευκάενθ᾽ Ἥφαιστον ἑλεῖν”. Instead of “Ἀργόθεν” (¯˘¯) we therefore require ¯˘˘¯. The short final of “λεύκασπιν” is legitimate, the metre being Glyconic (see Analysis Metr.). In the antistrophic verse, the H of “Ἥφαιστον” is ‘irrational,’ i.e. is a long syllable doing duty for a short: and Nauck is incorrect in saying that the metre ‘requires’ (though it admits) a choriambus beginning with a consonant. The simplest remedy is to read Ἀργόθεν ἐκ βάντα φῶτα, and to suppose that, after the loss of “ἐκ, βάντα” and “φῶτα” were accidentally transposed. Cp. O. C. 1088 where “σθένει 'πινικείῳ” is certainly the right order, but the MSS. reverse it. (See also above on v. 29.) Dindorf reads “ἐκ φῶτα βάντα”, assuming tmesis: but tmesis of “ἐκ” in Soph. occurs elsewhere only before “μέν” (Tr. 1053) or “δέ”, and there was no motive here for interposing “φῶτα”. Hermann reads “Ἀργόθεν ἔκ” as=“ἐξ Ἀργόθεν”: but elsewhere “ἐκ” comes before, not after, such forms (“ἐξ Αἰσύμηθεν”, Il. 8.304: “ἐξ ἁλόθεν, ἐξ οὐρανόθεν”, etc.). If “Ἀργόθεν” is not genuine, then it was probably a gloss on some other form in “-θεν”. Had “γᾶς Πέλοπος” (or “Δαναοῦ”) been in the text, a scholiast would have been more apt to paraphrase with “ἀπ᾽” or “ἐξ Ἄργους”. This is against such conjectures as “Ἀργέϊον, Ἀργογενῆ, Ἀργολικόν, Ἰναχίδαν, Ἰνάχιον”, as is also the fact that “βάντα” suggests a mention of ‘the place whence.’ “Ἀπιόθεν” (Ahrens) would mean ‘from “Ἄπιος”,’ but we require ‘from “Ἀπία”’ sc. (“γῆ”, the Peloponnesus, O. C. 1303 n.), i.e. “Ἀπία_θεν”: cp. “Ὀλυμπίαθεν”. I had thought of Ἰναχόθεν, which Mekler, too, has suggested, though he has not supported it by argument. The points in its favour are: (a) the order “φῶτα βάντα” can be kept: (b) after ‘Dircè's streams’ in v. 105 a reference to the Argive river would be appropriate: (c) “ἀργόθεν” might have come in either as a gloss, or a corruption of the letters “αχόθεν”, if “ιν” had dropped out after “λεύκασπιν”. But I hesitate to displace “Ἀργόθεν”, esp. when a direct mention of Argos here so naturally corresponds with the direct mention of Thebes in v. 101.

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 90
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1099
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.108
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1088
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1303
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 1053
    • Homer, Iliad, 8.304
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