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Ἠλέκτρα, †τὸν ἀεὶ πατρὸς. The traditional interpretation, preserved in the scholia, took “πατρὸς” with “στενάχους᾿”, as=‘mourning for her sire,’ and “τὸν ἀεὶ” as=“τὸν ἀεὶ χρόνον”. The gen. in this sense is quite tenable: cp. Il. 22. 424(quoted by schol.) “τῶν πάντων οὐ τόσσον ὀδύρομαι, ἀχνύμενός περ”, | “ὡς ἑνός”: Od. 14. 40ἀντιθέου γὰρ ἄνακτος ὀδυρόμενος καὶ ἀχεύων” | “ἧμαι”: I. A. 370 “Ἑλλάδος μάλιστ᾽ ἔγωγε τῆς ταλαιπώρου στένω”. The phrase “τὸν ἀεὶ χρόνον” is also frequent ( Soph. Ph. 1520 f., Plat. Gorg. 525C, E): cp. Soph. Ai. 342τὸν εἰσαεὶ” | ...“χρόνον”. But there is nothing to show that “τὸν ἀεὶ” could be used, without “χρόνον”, as=‘for ever’: in Soph. O. C. 1584 the words “τὸν ἀεὶ” conceal some corruption: in Soph. Tr. 80 we should read “εἰς τό γ̓” (not “τὸν”) “ὔστερον”.

Hence it is now generally held that this verse is corrupt. But no certain correction has yet been proposed. The word ἀεὶ is clearly genuine: hence “θάνατον πατρὸς” (Fröhlich) is improbable. πατρὸς must also be right: since the comparison with the “ἀηδών” (used by Electra herself, 147) at once indicates— as, indeed, the whole context does—that the doom which she mourns is not her own. This excludes Dindorf's conjecture, “τὸν ἑὸν πότμον”. Schneidewin proposed “Ἠλέκτρα, πότμον ἀεὶ πατρὸς”, retaining “μὰ” after “ἀλλ᾽ οὐ” in 1063: but this is metrically wrong, since “μὰ” is always short.

Far the best conjecture is Heath's, παῖς, οἶτον ἀεὶ πατρὸς. A marginal gloss on “ παῖς”, namely “Ἠλέκτρα”, would easily cause the corruption, especially since the words “τὸν ἀεὶ” so often stand together.

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Homer, Iliad, 22.424
    • Homer, Odyssey, 14.40
    • Plato, Gorgias, 525c
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 342
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1584
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 1520
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 80
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