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πανσύρτῳαἰῶνι. The traditional text is “πανσύρτῳ παμμήνῳ πολλῶν” | “δεινῶν στυγνῶν τ᾽ ἀχέων” (or “ἀχαίων”). Hermann substitutes αἰῶνι for “ἀχέων”, regarding the latter as a gloss upon the adjectives. Dindorf, accepting “αἰῶνι”, rejects “πολλῶν”, reading “πανσύρτῳ παμμήνῳ δεινῶν” | “στυγνῶν τ᾽ ἀχέων αἰῶνι”. But the antistrophic verse (863), “τμητοῖς ὁλκοῖς ἐγκῦρσαι”, makes “ἀχέων” less metrically probable; on Dindorf's view, we might rather suggest “ἀχθῶν” (cp. 204ἔκπαγλ᾽ ἄχθη”). And “πολλῶν”, as Hermann saw, is not likely to have been interpolated (‘“πολλῶν”, si quidquam, sanum est’). For other conjectures, see Appendix.

The literal sense then is:—‘(I know this) by a life which, through all the months, is a turbid torrent of many things dread and horrible.’ “πανσύρτῳ” seems rightly explained in one scholium as “πάντα σύροντι τὰ κακά”: i.e., it has an active sense, like “χαλκόπλακτος” (484 n.), “ἀμφίπλακτος” ( Ph. 688), “πανάλωτος” (“ἄτη”, Aesch. Ag. 361). The genitive, “πολλῶν δεινῶν στυγνῶν τ̓”, may depend upon it, as in Soph. Ant. 1184 f. “θεᾶς..προσήγορος”=“θεὰν προσηγοροῦσα”. But we might also join the genitive with “αἰῶνι”, as=‘a life of’ (made up of) these things. For the verb “σύρω” in ref. to a torrent, cp. Ar. Eq. 527διὰ τῶν ἀφελῶν πεδίων ἔρρει, καὶ τῆς στάσεως παρασύρων” | “ἐφόρει τὰς δρῦς”: Plut. Mor.p. 5 F “πόλεμος χειμάρρου δίκην πάντα σύρων”. Thus παμμήνῳ has a special point. The literal “χειμάρρους” flows only in winter.

This view gives “πανσύρτῳ” a more forcible and more poetical sense than if it be taken as=‘swept together from every side.’ The meaning then would be, ‘a life, through all the months, of many dread horrors, accumulated from every quarter,’—the epithet “πανσύρτῳ” being transferred from the troubles to the life itself. It would still, indeed, be possible to make “πανσύρτῳ” active; ‘a life which draws troubles together from all sides’; but such an active sense would be somewhat harsher, on this interpretation, than on that which supposes the image of a torrent.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 361
    • Aristophanes, Knights, 527
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1184
    • Sophocles, Electra, 204
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 688
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