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ὃς οὐκ ἂν εἵλετ̓κ.τ.λ.” This sentence deserves study as an example of Attic expression. (1) “οὐκ ἂν εἵλετο”= ‘never used to choose.’ Xen. Cyr. 7. 1. 10ὁπότε προσβλέψειέ τινας...εἶπεν ἄν”. In this use the aor. differs from the impf. by marking a moment; as “εἵλετο” expresses the making of the choice, while “ἡρεῖτο” would express the sentiment of preference. (2) ὅπου μηδεὶς ἐῴη, ‘in a case where no one was for allowing him to speak’: the optat. denotes indefinite frequency (as 289 “ μοι βάλοι”). Cp. “προσβλέψειε” in the example just cited. “μηδείς” is ‘generic,’ i.e. marks the occasion as being one of a class: cp. 170 n. And since “οὐκ ἐῶ”= ‘dissuade,’ ‘remonstrate,’ “ὅπου μηδεὶς ἐῴη” =“ὅπου πάντες μὴ-ἐῷεν”, ‘where all were protesting.’ Cp. Ai. 1184τάφου μεληθεὶς τῷδε, κἂν μηδεὶς ἐᾷ”,=“κἂν πάντες μὴ-ἐῷσιν”, ‘though all the world forbid.’ (3) ‘He would never choose to speak (only) once’ = ‘he would always choose to speak often’; —a “μείωσις” of the same order as “οὐχ ἥκιστα” for “μάλιστα”. Thus the whole sense is—“ἀεὶ ἂν εἵλετο πολλάκις λέγειν, ὅπου πάντες σιγᾶν κελεύοιεν”. Remark that, in the negative form actually used, the aor. inf. (“εἰπεῖν”) suits “εἰσάπαξ” better than a pres. inf. (“λέγειν”) would have done.

Sophocles here reproduces the two salient traits of the Homeric Thersites: (1) he is irrepressible: Il. 2. 212Θερσίτης δ᾽ ἔτι μοῦνος ἀμετροεπὴς ἐκολῴα”, | “ὅς ῤ̔ ἔπεα φρεσὶν ᾗσιν ἄκοσμά τε πολλά τε ᾔδη”: (2) he disgusts those whom his bluster was intended to amuse or flatter; ib. 222 “τῷ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ Ἀχαιοὶ” | “ἐκπάγλως κοτέοντο”.— τοῦτον οἶσθ̓: for the construction, cp. 534, 544, 549, 573: O. C. 1197 f., Ant. 1242 f.

hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.212
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 1184
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1242
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1197
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 170
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 534
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 7.1.10
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