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καθήμεθ᾽ is better taken as plpf. than pf., for, though “ἥκομεν” is ambiguous, we have a series of historical tenses in 415—421. Ar. sometimes uses and sometimes omits the augment, as Ar. Ach. 638ἐκάθησθε”, Ar. Eccl. 304καθῆντο” (both proved by metre); and if our MSS. can be trusted, classical prose, too, admitted both forms, as Aeschin. or. 2 § 89 “ἐκαθήμην”, Dem. or. 18 § 169καθῆτο”. In the five pluperfects furnished by Attic inscriptions of 428— 325 B.C. the syllabic augment is always added, but there is no epigraphic evidence in the particular case of “ἐκαθήμην” (see Meisterhans, p. 77).

ἄκρων ἐκ πάγων, with “καθήμεθα”, ‘on the hill-top.’ The corpse lay on the highest part of the Theban plain (1110, 1197), with rising ground (“πάγοι”) behind or around it. The guards post themselves on this rising ground, facing the corpse, and with their backs to the wind. The use of “ἐκ” (or “ἀπό”), with a verb denoting position, occurs only in a few places of poetry; but it is certainly genuine, and deserves attention, for its true force has not (I think) been observed. (1) Il. 14.153Ἥρη δ᾽ εἰσεῖδε χρυσόθρονος ὀφθαλμοῖσιν στᾶς”'

ἐξ Οὐλύμποιο ἀπὸ ῥίου”. Here, “ἀπὸ ῥίου” goes with “εἰσεῖδε”: but “ἐξ Οὐλύμποιο”, however much “εἰσεῖδε” may have influenced it, at least cannot be disjoined from “στᾶσ᾽”. (2) Eur. Phoen. 1009ἀλλ᾽ εἶμι καὶ στὰς ἐξ ἐπάλξεων ἄκρων σφάξας ἐμαυτὸν σηκὸν εἰς μελαμβαθῆ δράκοντος, ἔνθ᾽ μάντις ἐξηγήσατο, ἐλευθερώσω γαῖαν”. It is impossible to sever “στάς” from “ἐξ ἐπ.”, even if we partly explain “ἐξ” by “σφάξας”. (3) ib. 1224Ἐτεοκλέης δ᾽ ὑπῆρξ᾽ ἀπ᾽ ὀρθίου σταθεὶς πύργου κελεύσας σῖγα κηρῦξαι στρατῷ”. The position of “σταθείς” forbids us to sever it from “ἀπ᾽ ὀρθ. π.”, even though “ὑπῆρξε” or “κελεύσας” is used to explain “ἀπό”. (4) Eur. Tro. 522ἀνὰ δ᾽ ἐβόασεν λεὼς Τρῳάδος ἀπὸ πέτρας σταθείς”. A similar case. In all these passages, a picture is presented, and we have to glance from a remoter to a nearer object. The mental eye is required to measure the space between Hera on the peak of Olympus, and Poseidon on the plain of Troy; between Megareus on the walls of Thebes, and the cavern into which his corpse is to fall. And, in each case, “ἐκ” or “ἀπό” denotes the quarter in which the remoter object is to be looked for. This, which might be called the ‘surveying’ use, is distinct from that in which the prep. has a pregnant force, as being directly suggestive of motion (“οἱ ἐκ Σικελίας ἥξουσι”); but it springs from the same mental tendency,—viz., to take a rapid glance over the dividing interval. Cp. “ἵστασθαι πρός τινος” (‘on his side’). So here: in the foreground of the picture is the corpse, which they have just laid bare. Now look to the hillocks behind it; in that quarter you will see the guards at their post.—I have not cited Od. 21.419τόν ῥ᾽ ἐπὶ πήχει ἑλὼν ἕλκεν νευρὴν γλυφίδας τε αὐτόθεν ἐκ δίφροιο καθήμενος”, because there “ἐκ δίφροιο” goes with “ἕλκεν”, not with “καθήμενος” (he drew the bow, just from the chair, where he sat).

ὑπήνεμοι, under the wind, i.e., so that it blew from behind them, not in their faces, as the next v. explains. (At v. 421 the dust is blown in their faces, but that is by the sudden, gusty “σκηπτός”.) The idea of ‘sheltered,’ which “ὑπήνεμος” usu. implies, is less prominent here, yet quite admissible, if we suppose them to sit just below the summits of the “πάγοι”. Cp. Xen. Oec. 18. 6ἐκ τοῦ προσηνέμου μέρους”, on the side towards which the wind blows, opp. to “ἐκ τοῦ ὑπηνέμου”, to windward. Theophr. Causs. Plantt. 3.6.9 opposes “πνευματώδης καὶ προσήνεμος τόπος” to “τὰ ὑπήνεμα”: and Hist. An. 9. 15 “ἐν προσηνέμῳ” to “ἐν ἐπισκεπεῖ”.

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hide References (9 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (9):
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 638
    • Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae, 304
    • Demosthenes, On the Crown, 169
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1009
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1224
    • Euripides, Trojan Women, 522
    • Homer, Odyssey, 21.419
    • Xenophon, Economics, 18.6
    • Homer, Iliad, 14.153
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