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κέντρων. There is no allusion to a whip in this narrative. Leaf on Il. 23. 387, “ἄνευ κέντροιο θέοντες”, remarks that the “κέντρον” mentioned there is identical with the “μάστιγα φαεινὴν” v. 384, and refers to the Burgon amphora in the British Museum, where the chariot-driver wields a long pliant rod, with two points like arrow-heads at the end.

ὡς ὑπερβάλοι: ‘in order that each of them might pass the wheels...(of the others).’ For τις as=“ἕκαστός τις”, cp. Il. 2. 382εὖ μέν τις δόρυ θηξάσθω”: Thuc. 1. 40τοὺς...ξυμμάχους αὐτόν τινα κολάζειν”.— I formerly understood: ‘whenever anyone passed their wheels’ (“αὐτῶν” with “χνόας”). Cp. Her. 7. 119ὡς δὲ δείπνου γίνοιτο ὥρη”: and so id. 1. 17 “ὡς...ἀπίκοιτο”. But this would imply that no driver used his goad until a rival was about to pass him; whereas we require rather a picture of the eagerness which each man felt to outstrip the rest.

χνόας, the box at the centre of a wheel, in which the axle turns; the ‘nave’ (akin to navel), or ‘hub’: cp. Aesch. Th. 153ἀξόνων...χνόαι”. The Homeric word is “πλήμνη”: others are “σῦριγξ” (721 n.), and “χοῖνιξ” (n. on 505).

φρυάγμαθ᾽ ἱππικά=“ἵππους φρυασσομένους”. This is the moment after the start, and no one has yet a clear lead. Each driver seeks, first, to bring his own wheels in front of his rival's wheels; next, to bring them past the heads of his rival's horses.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 153
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.119
    • Homer, Iliad, 23.387
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.382
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.40
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