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The words λαμπρᾶς ἄτερ στεροπῆς go with λήγει, not with ᾁξας: they stand first, because they express the foremost thought,—viz., that the violence of his frenzy is past. ‘Attended by the lightning-flash no more, the storm in his soul is subsiding, after a sharp outburst (“ᾁξας ὀξύς”), like the wind of the south.’ A key to these much-discussed verses may be found, I think, in a passage which seems to have been overlooked. The Greeks had observed that, when the “Νότος” was a stormy wind, it was accompanied by clouds; but, when gentler, by a clear sky: Problem. 26. 20 (p. 942 a 34) “ νότος, ὅταν μὲν ἐλάττων , αἴθριός ἐστιν, ὅταν δὲ μέγας, νεφώδης”. The mood of Ajax is now once more becoming “αἴθριος”, like the milder south-wind; lately it was like a fierce storm from the south, and “νεφώδης”, dark with the clouds from which the “στεροπή” of his madness was flashing. Compare the description of the mad Ajax by Arctînus in the Iliupersis (ap. Eustath. p. 859. 47), “ὄμματά τ᾽ ἀστράπτοντα βαρυνόμενόν τε νόημα”.— For other views of this passage, and the attempts to amend it, see Appendix.


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