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ἀσφαδάστῳ, ‘without convulsion.’ “σφαδάζω” is from rt. “σφαδ”, denoting sudden, violent movement: whence “σφεδανός, σφοδρός, σφενδόνη” (a sling): Curt. Etym. § 296. The verb was often used with ref. to a convulsive death- struggle; Eur. fr. 1020 “ δ᾽ ἐσφάδαζεν, οὐκ ἔχων ἀπαλλαγάς”: Anton. 76 “σφαδάζοντος” (cp. “δυσθανατῶνib.). Aesch. Ag. 1292ἐπεύχομαι δὲ καιρίας πληγῆς τυχεῖν”, | “ὡς ἀσφάδαστος, αἱμάτων εὐθνησίμων ἀπορρυέντων, ὄμμα συμβάλω τόδε”.

The precept to write “σφαδᾴζω” (and therefore, as Nauck does, “ἀσφάδᾳστος”) dates from Herodian (c. 160 A.D. ), but is not confirmed by any such independent evidence as exists in the case of “ματᾴζω” ( Soph. O. T. 891). Ellendt writes “σφαδᾴζω”, yet “ἀσφάδαστος”.

πηδήματι, the act of throwing himself upon the sword; Helen. 96 (of Ajax) “οἰκεῖον αὐτὸν ὤλεσ᾽ ἅλμ᾽ επὶξίφος”. This swift act, followed by no “σφαδασμός”, is to be the means (ξὺν) by which Hermes is to lay him to rest.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1292
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 891
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