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ἐπὶκυκλοῦσιν=“ἐπικυκλοῦσι”, by tmesis: ‘come round in turn’ to all. Others prefer to join ἐπὶ πᾶσι, ‘over the heads of all,’ thinking that this suits the imagery (from stars) better; but the first view seems more in accord with idiom. There is no other sound instance of an intrans. “κυκλεῖν” in a writer of the 5th cent. B.C.; for in El.1365κυκλοῦνται” is certainly right; it was so written by the first hand in L, and then altered by another to “κυκλοῦσι”. But Arist. uses “ἀνακυκλεῖν” intransitively: De Gen. et Corr. 2. 11 (p. 338 a 4) “ἀνάγκη” (“τὴν γένεσιν”) “ἀνακυκλεῖν καὶ ἀνακάμπτειν”: and so again in Meteor. 1. 3 (p. 339 b 28). In later Greek, too, this usage was current, as appears from Plut. Mor.160F (“δελφῖνες...κυκλοῦντες”) There is no reason, then, for doubting that Soph. admitted the use here; cp. the intrans. “ἐπινωμᾶν” and “προσενώμα” in Soph. Ph.168Soph. Ph., 717.Nauck, holding with Herm. that κυκλοῦσιν must be transitive, adopts his χαρὰν for χαρὰ, and further changes οἷον to αἰὲν, thus destroying the beautiful simile, and reducing “ἄρκτου...κέλευθοι” to an equivalent for “περιτελλόμεναι ὧραι”.

ἄρκτου στροφάδες κέλευθοι. As the Great Bear moves ever round the pole, so joy and sorrow come round in unceasing rotation. The peculiar fitness of the comparison is in the fact that the Bear never disappears below the horizon: Il.18. 487ἄρκτον τ̓... τ᾽ αὐτοῦ στρέφεται”, ‘that revolves in its place,’—‘having no share in the baths of Ocean.’ Ov. Met. 13. 293immunemque aequoris arcton.” Cf. Soph. fr. 399 “ἄρκτου στροφάς τε καὶ κυνὸς ψυχρὰν δύσιν”.

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hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (6):
    • Homer, Iliad, 18.487
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1365
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 168
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 717
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 13.293
    • Plutarch, Septem sapientium convivium, 160f
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