στόμιον. Having passed through the gap, they will find themselves in a narrow passage. They are to go along this passage to the very mouth (“στόμιον”) of the sepulchral chamber into which it opens. The kind of tomb which the poet here imagines is perhaps best represented, in Greece, by the rock-tombs of Nauplia, and of Spata in Attica. These consist of chambers worked horizontally into the rock, and approached by a passage or “δρόμος”, answering to that which Creon's men have to traverse before they reach the “στόμιον” of the tomb. The general type seems to have been determined by that of the more elaborate domed tombs, such as the so-called ‘Treasury of Atreus’ at Mycenae, which, like these ruder copies, were entered by a “δρόμος”. Indeed, the Nauplia tombs indicate a rough attempt to reproduce the dome (“θόλος”). [See Helbig, Das Homer. Epos aus den Denkm. erläutert, p. 53, with the sources quoted there in nn. 5, 6.] The phrase “λοίσθιον τύμβευμα” (1220) might suggest a recess within the principal chamber, like that in the ‘Treasury of Atreus’; but it is simpler to take it as merely ‘the furthest part of the tomb.’ We may observe that the words “κατῶρυξ” (774) and “κατασκαφής” (891) are sufficiently explained if we suppose that the “δρόμος” leading to the chamber sloped downwards from the entrance.
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