previous next



ἐπιστρατεύειἄνακτα πατέρα. I keep the traditional text, only with τόνδ̓ (B) instead of τῶνδ̓ (L) in 363: in the poet's time either would have been written “ΤΟΝΔ”. If the text be sound, it means:—‘he makes war upon her country, that in which (Lichas) said that this Eurytus was master of the throne.’ But there are three difficulties:

(1) It was needless to say that the girl's “πατρίς” was also the realm of Eurytus: cp. 244 f.: 283 ff.: 315. The excuse must be that the Messenger himself had not yet said so; he is wordy, and anxious, in his own fashion, to be lucid. The reading τόνδ̓, it may be noted, suits this view of him. And τῶνδ̓ (“θρόνων”) would be very awkward.

(2) Heracles is subject to ἐπιστρατεύει and κτείνει: but Lichas to εἶπε. (Heracles cannot be the subject to “εἶπε”: he needed not to tell his warriors that Eurytus reigned there; and, on the other hand, δεσπόζειν could not mean, ‘usurped.’) Such a change of subject is very harsh: still, it is not impossible; and, as the narrative of Lichas has been the foremost topic so far, εἶπε would at once suggest him. An example almost as bold occurs in Thuc.2. 3: “οἱ δὲ Πλαταιῆς... λόγους δεξάμενοι ἡσύχαζον, ἄλλως τε καὶ ἐπειδὴ ἐς οὐδένα οὐδὲν ἐνεωτέριζον. πράσσοντες δέ πως ταῦτα κατενόησαν κ.τ.λ.”: where the Plataeans are the subject of “ἡσύχαζον” and “κατενόησαν”, but the Thebans of “ἐνεωτέριζον”.

(3) At v. 377 Deianeira asks, “ἆρ᾽ ἀνώνυμος” | “πέφυκεν; i.e., ‘is she of obscure birth?’—and then, for the first time, learns that the girl's father is Eurytus. So she must have understood ἄνακτα in 364 to mean, not ‘the king,’ but some (minor) ‘prince’ or ‘chief.’ Yet, even so, her question at v. 377 is strange. (At v. 342 we saw that she ignored a hint given in v. 336: but on this question—the girl's birth—we should have expected her to be attentive.)

The only course which removes all these three difficulties is Hartung's,—who brackets the words τὴν ταύτηςπατέρα, so that three verses shrink into one,— “ἐπιστρατεύει πατρίδα τῆσδε, καὶ πόλιν κ.τ.λ.” This would certainly improve the passage. And it is conceivable that the interpolation should have been due to actors.

Others read τῶν Εὐρύτου τόνδ᾽, rendering: ‘in which (Lichas) said that Heracles (“τόνδ̓”) holds’ [or ‘wishes to hold’] the throne of Eurytus.’ But Heracles simply laid Oechalia waste; there was no question of his reigning there.—Wecklein ingeniously reads τὸν ἐργάτην (for “Εὔρυτον”) τῶνδ̓: ‘where Heracles said (to his warriors) that the author of these wrongs was king.’

For the change of tenses, cp. Ant.406 n.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 406
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.3
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 244
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: