The scene described above, in which Talthybius once
First mention of Electra.
1 Robert, Bild und Lied, p. 160.
2 Robert, Bild und Lied, p. 177, n. 23. One of these sarcophagi, that in the Museo Pio-Clementino in the Vatican, is reproduced (from Visconti, Mus. Pio-Clem. v. 22) in Baumeister's Denkmäler, p. 1115. The three sleeping Erinyes, with the axe, occupy the left part of a relief of which the centre represents the slaying of Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus. Michaelis (Arch. Zeit. 1875, p. 107) was the first to point out that these Erinyes form a separate scene.
4 Frag. 42 (ed. Bergk), preserved by De sera Numinis vindicta, c. 10. Robert (Bild u. Lied, p. 171) thinks that these two verses give only the first part of the dream as imagined by Stesichorus, and that the rest may be inferred from Aeschylus. When the serpent changed into Agamemnon, the offspring of his renewed union with Clytaemnestra was the serpent who, as she dreams in the Choephori, drew blood in sucking her breast. It has struck me that the missing link between the Stesichorean and the Aeschylean dream—viz., the renewed conjugal union—may be traced, as a reminiscence, in the language of Sophocles, where Chrysothemis describes her mother's vision (417 f.):— “λόγος τις αὐτήν ἐστιν εἰσιδεῖν πατρὸς” | “τοῦ σοῦ τε κἀμοῦ δευτέραν ὁμιλίαν” | “ἐλθόντος εἰς φῶς”.
5 Aelian Var. Hist. 4. 26 “Ξάνθος ὁ ποιητὴς τῶν μελῶν, ἐγένετο γὰρ οὖτος πρεσβύτερος Στησιχόρου τοῦ Ἱμεραίου, λέγει τὴν Ἠλέκτραν τοῦ Ἀγαμέμνονος οὐ τοῦτο ἔχειν τοὔνομα πρῶτον, ἀλλὰ Λαοδίκην. ἐπεὶ γὰρ Ἀγαμέμνων ἀνῃρέθη, τὴν γὰρ Κλυταιμνήστραν ὁ Αἴγισθος ἔγημε καὶ ἐβασίλευσεν, ἄλεκτρον οὖσαν καὶ καταγηρῶσαν παρθένον Ἀργεῖοι Ἠλέκτραν ἐκάλεσαν διὰ τὸ ἀμοιρεῖν ἀνδρὸς καὶ μὴ πεπειρᾶσθαι λέκτρου”.
6 Athen. 12. p. 513 A (quoting from Megacleides, who wrote “περὶ Ὁμήρου”, and was, as some think, a peripatetic): “καὶ Ξάνθος δ᾽ ὁ μελοποιός, πρεσβύτερος ὢν Στησιχόρου, ὡς καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Στησίχορος μαρτυρεῖ, ὥς φησιν ὁ Μεγακλείδης, οὐ ταύτην αὐτῷ” (Heracles) “περιτίθησι τὴν στολήν, ἀλλὰ τὴν Ὁμηρικήν, πολλὰ δὲ τῶν Ξάνθου παραπεποίηκεν ὁ Στησίχορος, ὥσπερ καὶ τὴν Ὀρεστείαν καλουμένην”. The meaning of “παραπεποίηκεν” seems to be ‘adapted.’ It certainly need not mean ‘spoiled in copying,’ as Schweighäuser takes it (‘dum mutuatus est, mutavit et corrupit’). Robert, Bild und Lied, p. 174 f. thinks that Megacleides was the source of Aelian also (see last note), and thus is our sole authority for the existence of this Xanthus. That Stesichorus mentioned some one named Xanthus cannot be doubted; but whether his debt to an earlier lyric poet of that name was such as Megacleides affirms, is (the critic thinks) very questionable. It is certainly strange that, if Xanthus was so important a source to Stesichorus, absolutely nothing should have come down to us concerning him, beyond the two meagre notices above quoted.
8 Pyth. 11. 17.
9 The relief from Melos has already been noticed, in which Talthybius and Orestes find Electra and the nurse at the tomb (p. xvii). The period indicated by the style of that work is the latter part of the sixth century B.C., when the Oresteia of Stesichorus was already well-known; and nothing is more likely than that the artist of the relief was indebted to that source.
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