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πνειόντων, Brunck's simple correction of “πνεόντων”, heals the metre. The MS. reading in 1137 f. is above all reasonable suspicion; and these verses now agree with them. It is a sin against all critical method to make violent changes in 1137 f.—as Dindorf (followed by Wecklein) does—in order to keep the short syllable of “πνεόντων” here. Hermann's argument against πνειόντων, which has deterred editors from admitting it, was strangely weal. He said that the first syllable of the epic “πνείω” never occurs with ictus (i.e., in arsis); and that, if the tragic poets had used that form, they would at least not have put an ictus on the “πνει”. But Homer repeatedly has “πνοιῇ” with ictus on the 1st syll. (as first word of the verse): and as “πνοιή” to “πνοή”, so is “πνείω” to “πνέω”. It is plain, therefore, that the Homeric absence of ictus from the “πνει” of “πνείω” was purely an accident of convenience in composition, —the phrases being “μένεα πνείοντες, ζεφυρίη πνείουσα, ἡδὺ μάλα πνείουσαν, πνείει τε καὶ ἕρπει”, etc. We need not dwell, then, on the fact which makes a second fallacy in the argument,—viz. that the ictus on “πνει” here is only equal to that which falls on “οντ” (see Anal.). Tragic lyrics teem with epic forms and phrases. “ζάω” was at least as familiar a word as “πνέω”. Yet twice in lyrics Soph. has ventured to use the epic “ζώω”: El. 157οἵα Χρυσόθεμις ζώει”: O.C. 1213 “ζώειν”. Is it, then, reasonable to suppose that the poet, requiring ¯¯¯ instead of ˘¯¯, would have hesitated to use the familiar epic form “πνειόντων”? Nor is this all. In Aesch. Cho. 621 the MSS. give “πνέονθ᾽ κυνόφρων ὕπνῳ”: where “πνέονθ᾽ σύμμετρον” in the strophe (610), and the 1st syllable is (pace Hermanni) necessarily long, being that of a spondee (or trochee): Heath's correction, “πνείονθ᾽”, is therefore certain.

Other conjectures are: (1) ἰὼ πύρπνων ἄστρων χοραγὲ καὶ νυχίων (G. Wolff). The objection is that the contracted “πύρπνους” and “πύρπνουν” do not justify “πύρπνων” for “πυρπνόων”: cp. Eur. Med. 478ταύρων πυρπνόων ἐπιστάτην”. (2) “” (for “ἰὼ”) πῦρ πνεόντων χοραγὲ καὶ νυχίων (Campbell). Here “πνεόντων” is a spondee. But such a synizesis seems very improbable. Remark, too, that L's χοραγὲ ἄστρων does not warrant us in supposing that “ἄστρων

originally preceded “χοραγέ”. Neglect of elision is frequent in L: thus, to take one play only, the O. C. supplies these examples: 266 “τἀμά: ἐπεὶ”: 694 “ἔστιν δὲ οἶον”: 883 “τάδε. ὕβρις”: 915 “κύρια ὦδε”: 1026 “θηρῶντα τύχη”: 1210 “ἴσθι, ἐάνπερ”. The deletion of καί before νυχίων is also varranted by instances in which “καί” has been thrust into L. Here, the “καί” would decidedly enfeeble the passage.

χοράγ᾽ ἄστρων. The sympathetic joy of the elemental powers—stars, moon, and sea—was especially associated with those night-festivals in which Dionysus bore his mystic character, as the young “Ἴακχος” of the Eleusinian ritual, the companion of Demeter and Cora (n. on O. C. 682 ff.). See Eur. Ion 1078 ff., where the reference is to the Dionysus of the Great Mysteries at Eleusis: “ὅτε καὶ Διὸς ἀστερωπὸς ἀνεχόρευσεν αἰθήρ, χορεύει δὲ Σελάνα καὶ πεντήκοντα κόραι Νηρέος”. Hence this crowning strain, which begins by greeting him as “χοραγὸς ἄστρων”, fitly closes with his Eleusinian name.

νυχίων φθεγμάτων, the songs, or wild cries, of his worshippers. Eur. Bacch. 485 (Pentheus) “τὰ δ᾽ ἱερὰ νύκτωρ μεθ᾽ ἡμέραν τελεῖς;— ΔΙ. νύκτωρ τὰ πολλά: σεμνότητ᾽ ἔχει σκότος”. Plut. Mor. 291A mentions, as Boeotian festivals of Dionysus, the “Ἀγριώνια” and “Νυκτέλια,—ὧν τὰ πολλὰ διὰ σκότους δρᾶται”. Aristoph. Ran. 340 (the Chorus of the Initiated) “ἔγειρε φλογέας λαμπάδας ἐν χερσὶ τινάσσων, Ἴακχ᾽, Ἴακχε, νυκτέρου τελετῆς φωσφόρος ἀστήρ”.

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hide References (8 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (8):
    • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers, 621
    • Aristophanes, Frogs, 340
    • Euripides, Bacchae, 485
    • Euripides, Ion, 1078
    • Euripides, Medea, 478
    • Sophocles, Electra, 157
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 682
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