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This lively ‘dance-song’ (“ὑπόρχημα”) is the direct response of the Chorus to Deianeira's appeal (202 “φωνήσατ̓”),—expressing their delight at the good news. As Dr. W. Christ, who calls it ‘a paean to Artemis and Apollo,’ justly remarks (Metrik § 443), its contents clearly point to a distribution of the verses between different singers. (1) The first part, down to v. 215 (“Νύμφας”), is an invitation to song and dance; this would be given either by the coryphaeus, or by the leader of one semichorus. (2) The second part, vv. 216—220 (“ἀείρομ̓...ἅμιλλαν”), is the response, delivered by the leader of the other semichorus. (3) Then, at v. 221, the whole Chorus joins in with the refrain of the paean, “ἰὼ ἰὼ Παιάν”. (4) The coryphaeus then gives the last three verses, which introduce the next scene.—For the metres, see Metrical Analysis.

ἀνολολυξάτω has been recognised by almost all recent critics and metrists as a certain correction of “ἀνολολύξετε” (L) or “-ατε”. But I should keep the MS. δόμοις, merely reading for with Erfurdt. The clue to a right interpretation here depends on two points in the context. (1) Deianeira has called for a joyous cry from the women in the house, and from those outside of it (203 f.). The first words of the Chorus accordingly appeal to the women in the house,—as is marked, not only by δόμοις, but by ἐφεστίοις, adding that the men of the household are to join in. Then, at v. 210, “ὁμοῦ δὲ...παιᾶν̓... παρθένοι”, the maidens of the Chorus are invited to raise the paean. (2) The words ἐν δὲ κοινὸς ἀρσένων κ.τ.λ. could not have been used unless a reference to women had preceded; it is not enough that it should follow, in “ παρθένοι”, at v. 210.

Hence we have to choose between these views, of which I prefer the first. (1) μελλόνυμφος, ‘she whose nuptials are soon to come,’ is a poetical phrase for virgo nubilis, and denotes the maidens of the household generally. Nauck, reading “δόμοις... μελλόνυμφος”, gives this sense to it, but admits that the masc. (‘quisquis nubilis est’) is awkward: rather it is impossible. (2) μελλόνυμφος=‘she who is soon to be (re-)united to a husband,’ i.e. Deianeira. This is a forcing of the Greek word which can easily be smoothed over in an English paraphrase, but which would probably have seemed very strange to a Greek. (3) Reading δόμος μελλόνυμφος, ‘the household of maidens,’ i.e. ‘the maidens of the household.’ This seems an untenable usage: moreover the metre condemns “δόμος”.—Another version of this reading, ‘the house which is soon to receive the husband,’ not only strains “μελλόνυμφος”, but fails to supply the necessary antithesis to “ἀρσένων”.

ἀνολολυξάτω: the “ὀλολυγή” or “ὀλολυγμός” was a cry to the gods, usually expressive of joy or hope, in prayer or sacrifice: and it is especially said of women (e.g. Il.6. 301, Od.3. 450: Aesch. Theb.268 etc.). But this verb denotes a cry of horror in Soph. El.750.

δόμοις, rather ‘for the house’ (dat. of interest) than merely ‘in it’; cp. Aesch. Ag.27δόμοις” | “ὀλολυγμὸν εὐφημοῦντα τῇδε λαμπάδι” | “ἐπορθιάζειν.—ἀλαλαγαῖς”, probably due to Triclinius, has been received instead of ἀλαλαῖς by many recent edd., in order that the first foot of the verse may be a tribrach (see Analysis Metr.). “ἀλαλή” was the more frequent form; but the other occurs as a v. l. in Eur. Phoen.335, as “ἀλαλαλαί” is a v. l. for “ἀλαλαί” in Ar. Av.1761: and a loss of “αλ” or “αγ” would of course have been easy. The “ἀλαλή” was a cry of triumph ( Soph. Ant.133 n.).

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hide References (8 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (8):
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 27
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 268
    • Aristophanes, Birds, 1761
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 335
    • Homer, Iliad, 6.301
    • Homer, Odyssey, 3.450
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 133
    • Sophocles, Electra, 750
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