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πάρεδρος ἐν ἀρχαῖς. I leave these words in the text, without marking them as corrupt, because the case against them is not decisive, while no emendation is certain. But I strongly suspect them. If sound, they mean that the love inspired by the maiden's eyes is a power ‘enthroned in sway by the side of the great laws.’ The great laws are those ‘unwritten’ moral laws which most men feel and acknowledge (cp. on 454 f.); here, especially, the law of loyalty to country, the law of obedience to parents. In Haemon's case, love has shown that it is at least of equal force with these “θεσμοί”. For πάρεδρος, cp. O. C. 1267Ζηνὶ σύνθακος θρόνων Αἰδώς”: ib. 1382Δίκη ξύνεδρος Ζηνὸς ἀρχαίοις νόμοις”. Pind. O. 8. 21Διὸς ξενίου πάρεδρος ...Θέμις”. For ἐν ἀρχαῖς, Eur. Andr. 699σεμνοὶ δ᾽ ἐν ἀρχαῖς ἥμενοι κατὰ πτόλιν”: Or. 897ὃς ἂν δύνηται πόλεος ἔν τ᾽ ἀρχαῖσιν ”. Cp. also on 744.

The words answer metrically to “φύξιμος οὐδείς” (788). The first two syllables of “πάρεδρος” therefore represent a resolved long syllable. Pindar affords some instances of such resolution (see Appendix), and there is a probable example below (970 “ἀγχίπολις Ἄρης”, where see n.). But it is rare, and certainly unpleasing. As

a whole, too, the phrase “πάρεδρος ἐν ἀρχαῖς” is suspicious. A yet stronger objection is the strangeness of describing the power which is in conflict with the “θεσμοί” as their assessor, or peer, in sway; an expression which would seem appropriate only if that power was working in harmony with them; as when Eur. ( Eur. Med. 843) speaks of “σοφίᾳ παρέδρους...ἔρωτας, παντοίας ἀρετᾶς ξυνεργούς”,—‘the loves that sit with wisdom, co-workers of all excellence,’—those aspirations of the soul which assist intellectual effort.

The best line of emendation yet suggested is that of Semitelos, who writes ὥστε πέρα δρᾶν. He supposes that “πέρα δρᾶν” became, first, “πάρεδρον” (“ΠΕΡΑΔΡΑΝΠΑΡΕΔΡΟΝ”). Then, “πάρεδρον θεσμῶν” seeming obscure, a marginal gloss “ἐν ἀρχαῖς” was added. This gloss came into the text, dislodging “ὥστε”: and “πάρεδρον” became “πάρεδρος”, to agree with “ἵμερος”. The original sense, then, was: ‘the “ἵμερος” prevails, so that one transgresses the great “θεσμοί”.’ Cp. El. 1506ὅστις πέρα πράσσειν γε τῶν νόμων θέλει”. This suits, too, the following lines, where the Chorus says, “καὐτὸς” (i.e., like Haemon) “θεσμῶν ἔξω φέρομαι”.—See Appendix.

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Euripides, Andromache, 699
    • Euripides, Medea, 843
    • Euripides, Orestes, 897
    • Pindar, Olympian, 8
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1506
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1267
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1382
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