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τὸν ἀκαλυφῆ σηκὸν = “τὸ ὑπαίθριον τέμενος”, the sacred precinct, open to the sky. This form “ἀκαλυφής” is similarly used by De Anim. 2. 9 (Berl. ed. 422 a 1), “τὸ ὀσφραντικὸν αἰσθητήριον ἀκάλυφες” (better “ἀκαλυφὲς”) “εἶναι”,— opp. to “ἔχειν ἐπικάλυμμα”. Here it is opposed to “ὑπόστεγος” or “στεγανός”. The word “σηκός”, in ref. to sacred places, properly means, as here, an enclosure without any roofed building (cp. Her. 4. 62), though poets sometimes use it as a general term for ‘shrine’: Eur. Ion 300σηκοὺς...Τροφωνίου” (his cave): [Eur. ] Rhes. 501 “εἰς Ἀθάνας σηκόν”. For “ἀκαλυφῆ” at the end of the v., cp. 1302 n.

κρύφιος οἰκουρῶν ὄφις. The epic version speaks merely of an “ὀλοόφρων ὕδρος” ( Il. 2. 723). But the Attic poet feels that the mysterious significance of the event is enhanced, if the serpent which inflicted the bite is conceived as the “φύλαξ” of the shrine. Clearly Sophocles does not identify Chrysè with any form of Athena; Chrysè is, for him, a lesser deity: yet the associations of the Erechtheum have suggested the word οἰκουρῶν. The sacred serpent in that temple,—representative of Erichthonius, and guardian of Athena Polias,—was regularly called “οἰκουρὸς ὄφις”. Hesych. “οἰκουρὸν ὄφιν: τὸν τῆς Πολιάδος φύλακα δράκοντα”. Ar. Lys. 758ἀλλ᾽ οὐ δύναμαι ᾿γωγ᾽ οὐδὲ κοιμᾶσθ᾽ ἐν πόλει” (in the acropolis), | “ἐξ οὗ τὸν ὄφιν εἶδον τὸν οἰκουρόν ποτε”. Her. 8. 41λέγουσι Ἀθηναῖοι ὄφιν μέγαν φύλακα τῆς ἀκροπόλιος ἐνδιαιτᾶσθαι ἐν τῷ ἱρῷ”.—For the verb “οἰκουρεῖν”, cp. Soph. O. C. 343.

The sacred precinct of Chrysè, with the serpent, is depicted on a “στάμνος” (wine-jar) of about 400 C.B. , now in the Campana collection at the Louvre. The image of Chrysè stands in the open air on a low pedestal; just in front of it is a low and rude altar, with fire burning on it; close to this is the serpent, at which Agamemnon is striking with his sceptre, while the wounded Philoctetes lies on the ground, with Achilles and others around him. See Introd. § 21.


hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Euripides, Ion, 300
    • Herodotus, Histories, 4.62
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.41
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.723
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 343
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 1302
    • Aristophanes, Lysistrata, 758
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