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ἐπέγνω τὸν θεόν, μανίαις ψαύων (“αὐτοῦ”) “ἐν κ. γλώσσαις”: he came to know the god, when in madness he assailed him with taunts. He had mistaken Dionysus for an effeminate mortal (see on 955 f.). Cp. Od. 24.216πατρὸς πειρήσομαι... αἴ κέ μ᾽ ἐπιγνώῃ” (recognise). “ψαύω” nowhere else takes an acc. in class. Greek (see on 546, 859), and it is unnecessary to regard this passage as a solitary example. Poetry, esp. lyric, allowed occasional boldness, and even harshness, in the arrangement of words (cp. 944: O. T. 1251 n.: O. C. 1428). Even in prose we could have (e.g.) “ἐνίκησαν ἄφνω ἐπιπεσόντες τοὺς πολεμίους”, though the partic. could not govern an acc. Here the order is only so far bolder, that “τὸν θεόν” divides “ψαύων” from “ἐν κ. γλώσσαις”: as if, in our example, a second qualification of “ἐπιπεσόντες” (such as “νύκτωρ”) followed “τοὺς πολεμίους”. But, since the meaning of “ψαύων” is already indicated by “μανίαις”, we are not mentally straining forward for a clue to be given by “ἐν κερτ. γλώσσαις”. That is, we are not forced to bind the words, “ψαύων τὸν θεόν”, closely together in our thought, but can easily take the sentence as though it were pointed thus:— ἐπέγνω, μανίαις ψαύων, τὸν θεόν, έν κερτ. γλώσσαις.

μανίαις, modal (rather than causal) dat.

ψαύων like “καθαπτόμενος” (“ἀντιβίοις ἐπέεσσι”, Od. 18.415), but also suggesting profanation,—“ἀθίκτου θιγγάνων.

ἐν=‘with’ (764 n.).

γλώσσαις, a bold use of the plur., due to the fact that the sing., with an adj., could so easily be fig., e.g. “κακὴ γλῶσσα”=‘slander’: so “κερτόμιοι γλῶσσαι”=‘taunts.’


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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Homer, Odyssey, 18.415
    • Homer, Odyssey, 24.216
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 944
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1428
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 1251
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