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ἔτι γὰρ θερμαὶκ.τ.λ.” In vv. 918 f. blood was said to be issuing from his nostrils, and from the wound. There, in the phrase “φυσῶντ᾽ ἄνω πρὸς ῥῖνας”, the context shows that “ἄνω” means ‘upward (from the lower part of the body) to the nostrils.’ Here, however, “ἄνω” seems to have a more general sense,—‘upward to the surface’ (whether through the nostrils, or from the mouth of the wound). As Ajax must now have been dead for about an hour, the thing described seems impossible.

σύριγγες, a vague term (=‘channels’), seems to mean “φλέβες”, a word which down to the time of Aristotle (and later) denoted arteries as well as veins;—“ἀρτηρίαι” meaning the bronchial tubes. (See Append. on Tr. 1054.) Now in Empedocles 344 “σύριγγες” certainly mean air-passages; “ὧδε δ᾽ ἀναπνεῖ πάντα καὶ ἐκπνεῖ: πᾶσι λίφαιμοι σαρκῶν σύριγγες πύματον κατὰ σῶμα τέτανται”,—where the epithet ‘bloodless’ points to the reason why the ancients took the arteries for air-passages,—viz. because, after death, they were found empty, while the veins were filled with blood returning from the heart. But here Sophocles cannot have meant by “σύριγγες” the bronchial tubes; the epithet “θερμαί” clearly points to “φλέβες”. In Apoll. Rhod. 4. 1647 “σῦριγξ αἱματόεσσα κατὰ σφυρόν” means ‘a vein.’ Another explanation of “σύριγγες”, viz. the ‘nostrils,’ may be rejected. Aristotle uses “σύριγγες” for the pores of the lungs: “αἴτιον τοῦ ἀναπνεῖν πνεύμων σομφὸς ὢν” (‘porous’) “καὶ συρίγγων πλήρης”, De respir. 15 (p. 478 a 13).

μέλαν μένος: cp. Aesch. Ag. 1067πρὶν αἱματηρὸν ἐξαφρίζεσθαι μένος”.


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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1067
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 1054
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