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σιτονόμουἐλπίδος. As “σιτονόμος” (found only here)=“σῖτον νέμων”, affording food, “σιτονόμος ἐλπίς”=‘a hope concerning the provision of food.’ Hence the phrase is not really parallel with “ἀστυνόμοι ὀργαί” ( Ant. 355), ‘dispositions which regulate cities.’ It is more like “αὐδὰ τρυσάνωρ” in 208 (n.).

τοῦπόθεν: for the double question, cp. 243, and n. on 220.

1092 ff. A discussion of this passage, and a notice of conjectures, will be found in the Appendix. Here I briefly give the results.

πέλειαι δ᾽ ἄνω is my emendation of the corrupt “εἴθ αἰθέροςἄνω”. The word εἴθ̓ would be possible only if, in 1094, we read μ᾽ ἕλοιεν for the MS. ἕλωσί μ̓. But the general sense of the passage forbids this. ἐλῶσιν (conjectured by Erfurdt and others, and found (as “ἐλῶσί μ̓”) in one MS.) is a certain correction of ἕλωσί μ̓: as ἴσχω (Heath) is of ἰσχύω. He is not here praying to be caught up by winds, or slain by birds, but saying—in continuation of “τοῦ ποτε τεύξομαι” | “σιτονόμου πόθεν ἐλπίδος”—that now the birds will fly unharmed over his head. That αἰθέρος, no less than εἴθ̓, is spurious, is made almost certain by two distinct considerations. (1) The antistrophic v., 1113, “ι^<01>δοι_ μα_ν δε^” | “νι_ν”, is a dochmiac. “αἰθέρος” resolves the second long syll. of the bacchius (= the final syll. of “ἰδοίμαν”); not an unexampled licence, but still a most rare one. (2) πτωκάδες is sound, but could not be used, without art. or subst., to denote ‘timid birds.αἰθίρος has probably supplanted that subst.

But if so, the corruption has been a deep one; i.e., εἴθ᾽ αἰθέρος was an attempt to supply, from the context, words which had been wholly or partly lost. Now suppose that the words “ΠΕΑΕΙΑΙ Δ ΑΝΩ” had been partly obliterated, so as to leave only “ΕΙΑΙ ΑΝΩ”. The words “ἄνω” and “ὀξυτόνου πνεύματος” would readily suggest that AI was a vestige of “αἰθέρος”. And the very fact that the schol. accepts “εἴθε ἕλωσί με” as possible shows how, in post-classical times, “ἕλωσι” might have elicited “εἴθ̓” from the letters EI. The birds which will now fly harmless over his head are such as those which his bow used to slay,—“τὰς ὑποπτέρους” | “βάλλον πελείας” (288).

ὀξυτόνουπνεύματος, shrill-sounding breeze: cp. Il. 14. 17λιγέων ἀνέμων αἰψηρὰ κέλευθα”. The epithet is perh. intended to suggest also the “πτερῶν ῥοῖβδος” ( Ant. 1004).

οὐκέτ᾽ ἴσχω, I do not restrain them, i.e., do not arrest their career (“ἐλῶσιν”) by my arrows. Cp. 1153 ff. For this sense of “ἴσχω” cp. El. 242ἐκτίμους ἴσχουσα πτέρυγας” | “ὀξυτόνων γόων”,—where L has “ἰσχύουσα”, by the same error as here. The MS. οὐ γὰρ ἔτ᾽ ἰσχύω raises the question whether we should read ἐλῶς᾿: ἔτ᾽ οὐ γὰρ ἴσχω. For “ἔτ᾽ οὐ”, cp. 1217: Tr. 161ὡς ἔτ᾽ οὐκ ὤν”. But the MS. “ἕλωσί μ̓” would have arisen from “ἐλῶσιν” more easily than from “ἐλῶσ᾽ ἔτ̓”. It is more probable that γὰρ was an interpolation here, as it is in L's text of O. C. 1766 and Ai. 706.

hide References (10 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (10):
    • Homer, Iliad, 14.17
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 706
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1004
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 355
    • Sophocles, Electra, 242
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1766
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 1153
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 1217
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 243
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 161
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