ἰὼ calls on the goddess to note the wrong: μάκαιρα, i.e. “θεά”, as Sappho fr. 1. 13 “τὺ δ̓, ὦ μάκαιρα”, | “μειδιάσαισ᾽ ἀθανάτῳ προσώπῳ.” ταυροκτόνων, a general epithet, marking the fierceness of the creatures whom the goddess subdues: cp. Il. 18. 579“σμερδαλέω δὲ λέοντε δὔ ἐν πρώτῃσι βόεσσιν” | “ταῦρον ἐρύγμηλον ἐχέτην.” λεόντων ἔφεδρε is best taken literally, of riding on lions. Cybele riding sideways on a lion was often represented in works of art (statues, reliefs, coins). Pliny 35. 109 says that Nicomachus painted deum...matrem in leone sedentem. This painter belonged to the Thebano-Attic school, and flourished c. 360 B.C.: we may well suppose, then, that the lion-riding Cybele was familiar in the time of Sophocles. Cp. Eur. Ion 202“πτεροῦντος ἔφεδρον ἵππου” (Bellerophon).—But, as the Homeric “ἵππων” “ἐπιβάς” ( Il. 5. 328) refers to chariot-driving, so here “λεόντων ἔφεδρε” might also mean, in a car drawn by lions. An altarrelief of the Roman age, reproduced by Baumeister (Denkm. p. 801), from Zoega's Bassiril. (1. 13), shows her thus: two lions draw her car; she wears a shortsleeved chiton, while the long veil attached to the back of her mural crown flows down like a mantle; in her right hand is a laurel branch; her left rests on the rim of the tympanon, holding it upright on her left knee.—It is less likely that “λεόντων ἔφεδρε” means, ‘seated above lions’; i.e., on a throne with lions crouching below at each side. Arrian (Periplous 9) mentions such a representation, which, like the other two, seems to have been frequent.
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