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τολμήστατε=“τολμηέστατε”, superl. of “τολμήεις”. Odysseus says in Od. 17. 284τολμήεις μοι θυμός, ἐπεὶ κακὰ πολλὰ πέπονθα”. The contracted form has been much suspected here; Nauck pronounces it corrupt, because (1) tragic dialogue nowhere admits adjectives in “άεις, ήεις, όεις”, and (2) the contr. “ήστατος” from “ηέστατος” is unexampled. As to (1), we may observe that in O. T. 1279 it is almost certain that Soph. used “αἱματόεις”: Porson there conjectured “αἱματοῦσς᾿” (for “αἵματος”): Heath, with greater probability, “αἱματοῦς”. As to (2), it is true that there is no other instance of this contr. in a superlative: but there are epic examples of the same contr. in the positive: Hom. Od. 7. 110τεχνῆσσαι”, restored by Bekker from “τεχνῆσαι” (schol. “τεχνήεσσαι, τεχνιτίδες”): Hom. Il. 18. 475καὶ χρυσὸν τιμῆντα καὶ ἄργυρον” (where no emend. is probable). I do not add Hom. Il. 9. 605οὐκέθ᾽ ὁμῶς τιμῇς ἔσεαι”: for, though we cannot read “ὁμῶς τιμῆς”, I would suggest that the change of one letter will restore the true reading, viz. “ὁμῆς τιμῆς”: and C. LobeckA. , while conceding that Florian Lobeck (Quaest. Ion. p. 8) used ‘too great severity’ in condemning “τολμήστατος”, agrees with him in pointing out that such a contraction as “τεχνῇς” for “τεχνήεις” cannot be safely inferred from “τεχνῆσσα” for “τεχνήεσσα” (Pathol. 1. 343). This consideration is a fresh argument against Hermann's conj. “χαλαζῇς” in O. T. 1279: and it also reminds us that “τολμήστατος” does not imply “τολμῇς”. The example of Oppian (Cyneg. 2. 140 “ἀργῆντα χαλινά”) shows that late poets did not shrink from this contraction. In Pindar we find “αἰγλάεντα” (P. 2. 10), “ἀλκάεντας” (O. 9. 77), “ἀργάεντα” (O. 13. 69), “φωνάεντα” (O. 2. 93), with synizesis of “αε”; though recent edd. no longer write “αἰγλᾶντα”, etc. On the whole, I believe that Soph. would have felt that he had sufficient poetical warrant for “τολμήστατε”. No emendation seems possible which is at once tolerable in itself, and such as to account for the tradition. “τολμίστατε” was a worthless conjecture. Such forms as “κλεπτίστατος, φαρμακίστατος” always imply a positive in “-ης” or “-ος”, and occur only in Comedy or in late prose.

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