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πλάθει. The aor. “ἐπλα?θην” is used by Aesch. and Eur. ; and πλάθη (Bergk) is tempting here: but the historic pres. seems confirmed by such examples as Soph. O. T. 113(“συμπίπτει”), ib. 560 (“ἔρρει”). Heracles was burned alive, by his own command, on the top of Mount Oeta. As the flames rose, a storm broke forth; and, amid thunder and lightning, the hero was taken up to heaven. Apollod. 2. 7. 14καιομένης δὲ τῆς πυρᾶς λέγεται” “νέφος ὑποστὰν μετὰ βροντῆς αὐτὸν εἰς οὐρανὸν ἀναπέμψαι”. Diod. 4. 38. 4κεραυνῶν ἐκ τοῦ περιέχοντος πεσόντων πυρὰ πᾶσα κατεφλέχθη”. By θείῳ πυρὶ παμφαής the poet probably meant to suggest both the flaming pyre and the splendour of the lightnings.

*“πατρὸς is my emendation of the corrupt πᾶσι. In the str., 716, ὅπου is clearly sound; and a long syllable is metrically impossible here. Nor can we save πᾶσι by transposition: both πλάθει and θείῳ are plainly genuine. Hermann's conjecture, “θεοῖς” | “πλάθει θεὸς”, presupposes that πᾶσι was either a gloss, or an arbitrary substitute for a lost word; but it was more probably a corruption of the true word. Now we might certainly expect here some reference to Zeus. Oeta was sacred to him; his were the lightnings (cp. Tr. 436τοῦ κατ᾽ ἄκρον Οἰταῖον πάγον” | “Ζηνὸς καταστράπτοντος”); and it was as his son that Heracles entered Olympus. At this moment, above all others, there is a poetical fitness in some allusion to the hero's divine parentage, which is elsewhere made so prominent in the play (802, Tr. 943, Tr. 1415). πατρὸς supplies this touch.

The burning of Heracles, and his apotheosis, are combined in some vase paintings. (1) A bowl (“κρατήρ”) of the 4th cent. B.C., now in the Collegio Rainone at Agata S. dei Goti: Milani, Mito di Filottete, p. 65: Baumeister, Denkm., p. 307, fig. 322. In the lower part of the picture is the still burning pyre, which a Nymph on the left is trying to quench by pouring water from a jug. The trunk of the hero's mortal body lies on the pyre. On the right, a bearded figure in a peaked cap is hastily receding. This is either Poeas or Philoctetes: at his side is the quiver given him by the hero for kindling the pyre. Above, a Doric portal represents the entrance to Olympus. Apollo, laurel-crowned, sits on the left of it; a four-horse chariot approaches him, preceded by Hermes. It is driven by a winged goddess (a “Νίκη”): on her left sits Heracles, crowned with laurel, his club in his left hand; a light garment (a sort of chlamys) floats round his shoulders. (2) A Lucanian vase, now at Munich: Baumeister, p. 669, fig. 734. Below is the pyre, with the trunk of Heracles on it: the fire is being quenched by two Nymphs on the right “ΑΠΕΘΟΣΑ” and “ΠΡΕΜΝΟΣΙΑ” (an Attic fountain). On the left are two Satyr figures. Above, Athena Nikè, with helmet, lance, and chequered aegis worn as a corslet, is driving Heracles to Olympus; his left hand holds the club, and round his left arm is wound his chlamys.—We notice how the participation of Nymphs in these scenes illustrates the poet's “Μαλιάδων νυμφᾶν” (v. 725).


hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (6):
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 2.7
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 113
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 1415
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 436
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 943
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 4.38.4
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