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ὡς τἄλλα πάντακ.τ.λ.” The ground for the precept (“εὐσεβεῖν”) is given by ὡς,—viz., that Zeus deems ‘all other things,’—such as conquest, or glory—of secondary moment (δεύτερ᾽ ἡγεῖται: cp. O. C. 351). Then the sentence introduced by γάρ explains why Zeus so deems; viz., because the effect of “εὐσέβεια” does not cease with man's life on earth, but is imperishable. That is, it brings happiness to the “εὐσεβής” in the life beyond the grave; and it is also of good example to the men who come after. Heracles can fitly say this; he is himself enjoying the reward of “εὐσέβεια”, and he comes from the presence of Zeus.

In v. 1443 the old emendation οὐ, for , seems an almost certain one: but the case in favour of it has not yet, perhaps, been adequately stated. It is not merely, or even chiefly, a verbal question; we must consider the whole passage. If we retain the MS. reading, γὰρ εὐσέβεια συνθνῄσκει βροτοῖς, ‘piety dies with mortals,’ the meaning is, ‘piety passes with men into the other life,’ there to find a reward. (Cp. Rev. xiv. 13, “τὰ γὰρ ἔργα αὐτῶν ἀκολουθεῖ μετ᾽ αὐτῶν”.) Now, this narrows the scope of the thought in an arbitrary way: for then “εὐσέβεια” is regarded only in its influence on the happiness of the departed. If, however, we read οὐ γὰρ ηὑσέβεια συνθνῄσκει βροτοῖς, this allows us to think also of the abiding influence upon human conduct; and the more comprehensive view is certainly the more fitting one in an exposition of the reason why Zeus attributes a paramount importance to “εὐσέβεια”.

A further objection to the MS. reading arises from the sense given to συνθνῄσκει, which, though intelligible (in the light of v. 1444), would be forced. The regular meaning of “θνῄσκω” and its compounds, when used figuratively, is ‘to become inoperative’ or ‘extinct,’ in contrast with “ζῆν”: e.g., O. C. 611θνῄσκει δὲ πίστις”. Aesch. Cho. 846(“λόγοι”)...“θνῄσκοντες μάτην”. Eur. fr. 734 “ἀρετὴ δέ, κἂν θάνῃ τις, οὐκ ἀπόλλυται”, | “ζῇ δ᾽ οὐκέτ᾽ ὄντος σώματος: κακοῖσι δὲ” | “ἅπαντα φροῦδα συνθανόνθ᾽ ὑπὸ χθονός”: where it is immaterial that the reference is to fame living or perishing on earth: the point is that “συνθανόνθ̓” is opposed to “ζῇ”. In Ar. Ran. 868, too—“ὅτι ποίησις οὐχὶ συντέθνηκέ μοι”, | “κείνῳ δὲ συντέθνηκεν”—the jest turns on the fact that the verb would naturally mean, ‘has perished’ with the author.

Two objections have been made to the emendation οὐ for . (1) The position of “οὐ”. But “οὐ” is rightly so placed, because, as τἄλλα πάντα indicates, there is an implied contrast between “εὐσέβεια” and other things which do perish with men. Cp. Soph. fr. incert. 841 “οὐ τοῖς ἀθύμοις τύχη ξυλλαμβάνει” (though it does aid the brave). (2) The thought, οὐσυνθνῄσκει, is repeated by οὐκ ἀπόλλυται. But v. 1444 is not a mere repetition; it is a re-statement in more forcible language, and, as such, it is rhetorically appropriate here.

Dindorf rejects all three verses (1442— 1444). But the conclusion, at v. 1441, would then be too abrupt. Schneidewin formerly spared v. 1442, rejecting only the two next vv. He supposed (a) that Ζεύς was a gloss on πατήρ: (b) that some one had written vv. 1443 f. in the margin, the original form of 1443 having been, “ἀλλ᾽ γὰρ εὐσέβεια συγγηρᾷ” (or “συνναίει”) “βροτοῖς”: then a scribe evolved our text. This hypothesis is too complex: besides, the speech would not end well with v. 1442. One of Hermann's views (see cr. n.) was that v. 1444 only should be rejected (“οὐ” being read in 1443): but this, too, would be ineffective.

hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers, 846
    • Aristophanes, Frogs, 868
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 351
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 611
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