ἦ κάρτα: these words begin the reply to a question in El.312, Aesch. Suppl.452: they are the first words of a speaker also in Soph. Ai.1359, Soph. El.1279. The conject. ὄνομα for ὄμμα not only removes a difficulty, but is made almost certain by the question, ἆρ᾽ ἀνώνυμος πέφυκεν; The words were easily confused: thus in Ai.447“ὄμμα” has been made in L from “ὄνομα”. By ὄνομα, as dist. from φύσιν, is meant partly the nobleness of the name itself (akin to Iolaüs, etc.), partly her personal renown for beauty. On the other hand, κατ᾽ ὄμμα, ‘in regard to her appearance,’ is a phrase for which there is no real parallel: it cannot be justified by the use of “ὄψις” ( Il.24. 632) in that sense. In Ai.1004“δυσθέατον ὄμμα” is not similar. φύσιν birth, as Ai.1301“φύσει μὲν ἦν” | “βασίλεια” (and ib. 1259). In some ancient texts this verse was given to Deianeira. Among recent editors, Paley shares that view. But: (1) If Deianeira has already answered her own question, the Messenger's speech opens weakly with v. 380. (2) It agrees best with the practice of Sophocles to suppose that ἦ κάρτα are a speaker's first words. —Some, indeed, of the MSS. (as B, K, T), which give v. 379 to Deianeira, have ἢ instead of ἦ, with the mark of interrogation after φύσιν, and only a comma after διώμνυτο. Thus D. asks, ‘Is she obscure, or illustrious?’ But this is weak.
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