ἐκνάπτετ̓: cp. Aesch. Pers. 576“κναπτόμενοι..δίνᾳ” (bodies mangled by the waves dashing them against rocks). “κνάπτω, κναφεύς, κναφεῖον” were the older Attic forms: “γνάπτω”, etc., with softening of “κ” to “γ”, came later. “κναφεύς” appears in an Attic inscr. of the 6th cent. B.C. (C. I. A. IV. 373 f.): the first trace of the “γ” form seems to be “γναφεῖον”, in an Attic inscr. of 358 B.C. (C. I. A. II. 817 A, 28): Meisterhans, Gramm. d. Att. Inschr. § 23. ἔστ᾽ ἀπέψυξεν βίον. The Homeric Achilles slays Hector in fight, and then drags the corpse ( Il. 22. 395 ff.). Hermann sought to reconcile this verse with Homer by writing, “αἰῶν̓ εὖτ̓ ἀπέψυξεν βίου”: quoting, for “αἰῶνα βίου”, the author of a “Μελαμποδία” ap. Tzetzes on Lycophron 682, “Ζεῦ πάτερ, εἴθ᾽ ἥσσω μὲν ἐμοὶ αἰῶνα βίοιο ι ὤφελλες δοῦναι”. There, however, “αἰῶνα βίου” means ‘term of life.’ Euripides could say, “ἀπέπνευσεν αἰῶνα” (fr. 801); but “ἀπέψυξεν αἰῶνα βίου” is surely impossible. It would have been better, for Hermann's purpose, to keep “αἰέν” and “βίον”, merely changing “ἔστ̓” to “εὖτ̓”. As a matter of verbal criticism, it might be observed that “αἰέν” and “ἔστ̓” confirm each other. But the defence of the text rests on broader ground. Evidently we must either reject the whole passage 1028 —1039, as Morstadt and Nauck do, or else leave this verse unaltered. For the parallel between the sword and the girdle, as fatal to their respective recipients, would fail altogether, if the girdle had not been an agent of death to Hector, but merely of insult to his corpse. It is not known whence Sophocles derived this version, which so strangely mars the very climax of the Iliad; possibly from one of the two Cyclic epics, the Aethiopis of Arctînus or the Little Iliad of Lesches, which related the “ὅπλων κρίσις” (see Introd. §§ 2, 3). One thing, at least, seems hardly doubtful. The original motive of this version must have been the same which prompts its use by Sophocles here, —viz., to point the fatal character of Hector's gift to Ajax by connecting a like result with the gift of Ajax to Hector. Two epigrams, attributed to Leontius Scholasticus (circ. 550 A.D. ), turn on the same legend (Anthol. 7. 151, 152): see Appendix.
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