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διπλοῦς κνώδοντας ξίφους, his cross-hilted sword. “κνώδοντες” are the two projecting cross-pieces at the point where the hilt joins the blade. The hilt (“κώπη”) of the Greek sword had no guard, nor had it always the cross-pieces; but these, when used, served partly to protect the hand. The “κνώδοντες”, or cross-hilt, can be seen on some of the swords given by Guhl and Koner, p. 244, fig. 277 (a, d). The cross-hilt was sometimes simply a straight cross-bar; sometimes the side next the hand was rounded. Cp. Silius Italicus Pun. 1. 515pressumque ira simul exigit ensem, | Qua capuli statuere morae.” —“κνώδων” (“κνάω, ὀδούς”) meant properly any tooth-like prong or spike: see Cyneg. 10. 3, where boar-spears (“προβόλια”) have “κνώδοντας ἀποκεχαλκευμένους στιφρούς”, stout teeth forged of bronze, projecting from the shaft a little below the head (“λόγχη”). In Ai. 1025, “τοῦδ᾽ αἰόλου κνώδοντος”, ‘this gleaming spike,’ is the end of the sword-blade projecting through the body of Ajax. So in Kaibel Epigr. 549. 11 (an epitaph of the 1st cent. A.D. ) “φασγάνου κνώδοντι”=‘with the point (not, ‘edge’) of the sword’: the ref. is to thrusting, not cutting.—The Scholiast wrongly explains διπλοῦς κνώδοντας by “διπλᾶς ἀκμάς”, ‘double edge.’ This interpretation was obviously suggested by “διπλοῦς” (since a sword is often called “δίστομον” or “ἄμφηκες”), while the true sense of “κνώδων” was not accurately remembered: thus the Schol. vaguely calls it “τὸ ὀξὺ τοῦ ξίφους”.

ἐκ δ᾽ ὁρμ., tmesis: cp. 427.

φυγαῖσιν, dat. of manner (620 n.). The poet. plur. of “φυγή”, when it does not mean ‘remedies’ (364), usu. means ‘exile’ (Eur. El. 233). The gen. might be absol., but is more simply taken with ἤμπλακ᾽.

Haemon, in his madness, meant to kill his father. He had harboured no such purpose before (see on 752); and his frantic impulse is instantly followed by violent remorse. Arist. ( Arist. Poet. 14) observes that it is not conducive to a properly tragic effect (“οὐ τραγικόν, ἀπαθές”) if a person contemplates a dreadful act, and then desists from it, in the light of sober thought or fuller knowledge: “διόπερ οὐδεὶς ποιεῖ ὁμοίως εἰ μὴ ὀλιγάκις” (such incidents in Tragedy are rare), “οἷον ἐν Ἀντιγόνῃ Κρέοντα Αἵμων”. It need not be assumed that Arist. meant to censure Sophocles; it is more natural to suppose that he cited the exception as one justified by the circumstances. But it should further be noticed that Aristotle was not accurate in taking this incident as the exception which illustrated his rule. For Haemon did not abandon his dreadful purpose; he was simply foiled by his father's flight. And then, in swift remorse, he actually did “τῶν ἀνηκέστων τι”.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Aristotle, Poetics, 1453b
    • Euripides, Electra, 233
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 1025
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 427
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