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ὤμοι: κακὸν τὸ χρῆμα. Philoctetes, in the recesses of his cave, did not recognise the voice that called to him, and expected to see only the sailors, —who were still in front of the cave when he entered it (1217), and whom he regards as friends (1171). It is when he comes to the mouth of the cave, and sees Neoptolemus—the stealer of his bow— —that he exclaims “ὤμοι, κακὸν τὸ χρῆμα”. (For this use of χρῆμα, familiar in Attic, cp. Vesp. 799 “ὅρα τὸ χρῆμα”: ib. 834 “τί ποτε τὸ χρῆμ̓”;)

μῶν τί μοι ϝέακακά; Bergk's correction ϝέα is confirmed by the “κακα” in the text of L. Probably “κακόν” was merely a conjecture made to suit μέγα,—a corruption which doubtless arose from the τι (‘perchance,’ O. C. 969) just before it.

πέμποντες, ‘ushering in,’ ‘heralding’: cp. Ant. 1286 κακάγγελτά μοι” | “προπέμψας ἄχη”, ‘O thou herald of evil, bitter tidings.’ (The use of “προπέμψατε” in 1205 is different.) His fear is that Neoptolemus has come to execute the threat of taking him to Troy by force (983). That is, indeed, the only evil that could now be added to his lot.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1286
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 969
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