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διεσπάρησαν εἰς μέσον δρόμον, ‘were scattered into the middle of the course’; i.e., left the track in which the race was being run (the ‘course’ in the narrower sense), and rushed on to the open ground between this track and the spectators. “διεσπάρησαν” cannot be satisfactorily explained on the assumption that all four horses remained harnessed to the car. But we need not assume that Orestes was entangled in the reins of all four. We may suppose, then, that, when the left wheel came off, the left tracehorse, plunging wildly, broke his traces, and freed himself. No mishap to the “ζυγόν” is noticed, and the two yokehorses, at any rate, probably remained together. Unless they broke the pole, they would still drag the disabled car. [Assuming that the four horses continued together, I formerly rendered, ‘broke off’—i.e., from the line of the race.]— Campbell thinks that “διεσπάρησαν” ‘is used inaccurately to denote aimless movement,’ and renders, ‘plunged wildly about the course.’

Cp. Il. 23. 467ἔνθα μιν ἐκπεσέειν ὀΐω σύν θ᾽ ἅρματα ἆξαι”, | “αἱ δ̓” [sc.ἵπποι”] “ἐξηρώησαν, ἐπεὶ μένος ἔλλαβε θυμόν” (‘rushed out of the course’).

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