τῶνδ᾽ Οὑκ μελάθρων. For “ἐκ” I read “οὑκ”. Wakefield and Hermann were right in feeling that the sense required “τῶνδ᾽ ἐκ μελάθρων” to be connected with ὁδίτης (‘metuendus vir qui ex hoc antro abiit’), and not with μόλῃ. Then, however, the article “ὁ” becomes indispensable. Let it be granted that we could say, “ὁρῶ ὁδίτην ἐκ τῶν μελάθρων”, ‘I see one leaving the abode,’—“ὁδίτην” having the constr. of “ὁδεύω”: as, in “τὰς...κινήσεις τῷ σώματι” ( Legg. 631 C), the dat. after “κινήσεις” is that which might follow “κινεῖσθαι”. But no Greek could have written “ὁπόταν μόλῃ ὁδίτης ἐκ τῶν μελάθρων” in the sense, ‘when he who has left the abode shall return to it,’—the movement denoted by “ἐκ τῶν μελάθρων” being opposite to that denoted by “μόλη”. For the order of words, τῶνδε ὁ ἐκ μελάθρων, instead of “ὁ τῶνδε ἐκ μ”., cp. O. T. 735“καὶ τίς χρόνος τοῖσδ᾽ ἐστὶν οὑξεληλυθώς”=“ὁ τοῖσδε ἐξεληλυθώς”. For other examples of this crasis in Soph. , cp. below, Soph. 639“πνεῦμα τοὐκ πρῴρας”: Soph. O. C. 1540“τοὐκ θεοῦ παρόν”: Soph. El. 731“γνοὺς δ᾽ οὑξ Ἀθηνῶν δεινὸς ἡνιοστρόφος”.—With the simple ἐκ, only two versions are possible. (1) Taking ἐκ with μόλῃ: ‘when he shall come forth from this abode.’ But N. knows that Ph. is not now in the cave, and he cannot assume that, on returning, Ph. will enter it from the landward side, to emerge at the other. Philoctetes is, in fact, outside of the cave from his first appearance at v. 219 up to v. 675. (2) Taking ἐκ with προχωρῶν, as referring to the Chorus: ‘moving forth from this abode.’ But the Chorus never enter the cave,—they only look into it: and, in any case, a gradual retreat from it (“πρὸς ἐμὴν αἰεὶ χεῖρα”) would be unsuitable. — Seyffert refers “τῶνδ᾽ ἐκ μελάθρων” to the Chorus, but does not connect it with “προχωρῶν”, taking “ἐκ” in the pregnant sense of “ἔξω ὤν”: i.e., ‘having quitted the cave (=“ἐκ”), advance ever at my beck,’ etc. This seems impossible.
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