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ἀργίποδας: for the rt. ARG, denoting ‘brightness,’ and its derivatives, cp. O. C. 670 n. As Ajax purposed to flog Odysseus (110), the ram which suffers that fate here might naturally be identified with him. The first ram, which is beheaded at once, might then represent Agamemnon; and Menelaüs would here be ignored. On this view, however, there is a discrepancy with verses 97—110, since both the Atreidae are there supposed to be dead, while Odysseus has still to suffer. Here one ram (Agamemnon) is slain, and the other (Odysseus) flogged, in rapid succession.

If the two rams are the two Atreidae, then Odysseus is ignored here. This would be consistent both with vv. 97— 110 and with 298—306. The flogging of the second ram here would correspond with the words “τοὺς δὲ δεσμίους ᾐκίζεθ̓” in 299 f. Then came the colloquy of Ajax with Athena (301); after which, he slowly regained his sanity,—before he had inflicted the lash upon Odysseus. That the ‘two rams’ are here the royal brethren might be suggested by the analogy of the two eagles in Ag. 115.On the other hand, the special ferocity with which Ajax treats the second ram rather indicates that it represents Odysseus. There would be no point in so distinguishing Menelaüs from Agamemnon. On the whole, it seems most probable that the poet meant Agamemnon and Odysseus, but was careless of strict consistency with vv. 97—110.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 115
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 670
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