ἀλλὰ … θανοῦσαν. The Chorus desire to console Antigone. There is no element of reproof in their words here. She has likened herself to Niobe. ‘And yet Niobe’—the Chorus say—‘was a goddess, while thou art a mortal. But (καίτοι) it will be a great glory for thy memory that thy fate was as the fate of a goddess, in life and in death.’ ‘In life’ (ζῶσαν), and not only in death (θανοῦσαν), because Niobe, like Antigone, was in the fulness of her vitality when she met her doom. The moments of life through which Antigone is now passing are like the moments through which Niobe passed as she felt the beginning of the change into stone.—Why does Antigone rejoin, οἴμοιγελῶμαι? Because her thought had been, ‘my doom is terrible and miserable as Niobe's’; but the Chorus had answered, ‘It is indeed glorious for thee to be as Niobe.’ She had looked for present pity. They had comforted her with the hope of posthumous fame. —See Appendix.
θεός, sc. “ἐκείνημένἐστι” (cp. 948). The absence of a pron., to balance “ἡμεῖς”, is unusual, but it is easy to carry on the subject of “τέγγει” in 831. Niobe is of divine race, since her father was the son of Zeus, and her mother the Pleiad Taygetè (or Dionè, one of the Hyades). So in “αεσξη. Νιόβη” (fr. 157) her family is described as “οἱθεῶνἀγχίσποροι” (near kin), ...“κοὔπωνινἐξίτηλοναἷμαδαιμόνων.”
θεογεννής, god-begotten. The peculiarity is that the word is formed directly from “γέννα”, and not from the stem of the pass. aor. in use: i.e., we should expect “θεογέννητος”. But Pindar could coin “θεότιμος” (I. 5. 13) as=“θεοτίμητος”. Why, then, should not a poet coin “θεογεννής” as=“θεογέννητος”? It is of little moment that the extant classical literature happens to present no strictly parallel compound with “γέννα” (“ποντογεννής” and “πρωτογεννής” being late Byzantine). θειογενής occurs in Orac. Sibyll. (5. 261), but is not classical. The Schol.'s paraphrase, “θειοτέρουγένουςτυγχάνουσα”, is no token (as some fancy) that he read a gen., such as “θείουτεγένους”.
Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments, with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose. Part III: The Antigone. Sir Richard C. Jebb. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 1900.
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