ἀθλίας … ἄσημα βοῆς, indistinct sounds, consisting in an “ἀθλία βοή”: i.e., as he drew nearer, the sounds resolved themselves into the mournful cry of a human voice. The genit. is thus a ‘defining’ one. Cp. O. C. 923 n. “φωτῶν ἀθλίων ἱκτήρια” (suppliant objects consisting in unhappy persons). Below, in 1265, the form of “ὤμοι ἐμῶν ἄνολβα βουλευμάτων” is analogous, but the gen. is there partitive (see n.). Here, “βοῆς” could, indeed, be possessive (‘sounds belonging to, i.e., forming part of, a cry’). But the perspective of the description is better kept by the other view of the genitive, which supposes that a sound, ambiguous at a distance, defines itself as we approach. περιβαίνει, with dat. instead of the normal acc.; this dat. denotes the person interested, i.e., here affected through the senses: O. C. 372 “εἰσῆλθε τοῖν τρὶς ἀθλίοιν ἔρις” (n.): Tr. 298 “ἐμοὶ γὰρ οἶκτος... εἰσέβη”. For the image, cp. O. C. 1477 “ἀμφίσταται ι διαπρύσιος ὄτοβος”: Od. 6.122 “ὥς τέ με κουράων ἀμφήλυθε θῆλυς ἀϋτή”.
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