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ψυχῆς Ὀρέστου λοιπόν, lit., ‘remaining from the life of Orestes.’

ἀπ᾽ ἐλπίδων, far away from my hopes, contrary to them: cp. Apoll. Rh. 2. 863μάλα πολλὸν ἀπ᾽ ἐλπίδος ἔπλετο νόστος”. So “ἀπὸ δόξης”, contrary to expectation ( Il. 10. 324, Od. 11. 344): “ἀπὸ θυμοῦ”, unpleasing to one ( Il. 1. 562): “οὐκ ἀπὸ γνώμης”, not unwisely ( Tr. 389): and often “οὐκ ἀπὸ τρόπου”, not unreasonably: “οὐκ ἀπὸ καιροῦ”: “οὐκ ἀπὸ σκοποῦ”.

Then οὐχ ὧνπερ (if sound) is best explained as standing, by attraction to “ἐλπίδων”, for “οὐχ αἷσπερ”: and the sense is: —‘In a manner how contrary to my hopes—not with those hopes wherewith I sent thee forth—have I received thee back.’ The notion of contrariety is thus expressed twice over; first by “ἀπό”, then by “οὐχ”. If this is awkward in grammar, yet it has a certain pathetic emphasis.

Other possibilities are the following. (1) Keeping both “οὐχ ὧνπερ” and “ἀπ̓”, to take “ἀπ᾽ ἐλπίδων” as=‘with hopes.’ The prep. would then be used as when it denotes a resource: 1378 “ἀφ᾽ ὧν ἔχοιμι”: Thuc. 1. 91§ 7 “ἀπὸ ἀντιπάλου παρασκευῆς”. (Observe that in Soph. Tr. 667ἀπ᾽ ἐλπίδος καλῆς” is not really similar; it means, ‘as the outcome of a fair hope.’) The prevailing usage of “ἀπό” condemns this view.

(2) Still keeping “οὐχ ὧνπερ”, to change “ἀπ̓”, with Schaefer, to “ὑπ̓”. Cp. Eur. Hec. 351ἐθρέφθην ἐλπίδων καλῶν ὕπο”. This is possible; though “ὑπό”, when thus used, commonly denotes an external accompaniment ( Soph. Tr. 419 n.); as, indeed, even in Hec. l. c., the hopes are not merely Polyxena's own, but those of her friends. Further: “ὥς σ᾽ ἀπ᾽ ἐλπίδωνἀπό” meaning ‘contrary to’—strikes the note of despair more forcibly.

(3) Keeping “ἀπ̓” as=‘contrary to,’ to alter “οὐχ ὧνπερ” either to οὐχ ὅνπερ or to οὐχ ὥσπερ. Each of these occurs in one or more of the later MSS., though probably either by conjecture or by error. Of the two, “οὐχ ὥσπερ” gives the simplest sense, while “οὐχ ὅνπερ” is perhaps superior in vigour and pathos.

On the whole, I retain the traditional reading, though not without a suspicion that either “ἀπ̓” or “ὧνπερ” is unsound.


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hide References (9 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (9):
    • Euripides, Hecuba, 351
    • Homer, Iliad, 10.324
    • Homer, Iliad, 1.562
    • Homer, Odyssey, 11.344
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.91
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 389
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 419
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 667
    • Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 2.863
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