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κόσμῳ τεκαὶ στολῇ=“κοσμίᾳ στολῇ”. So in Eur. Med.1165Glauce puts on the deadly gifts of Medea, “δώροις ὑπερχαίρουσα.—κατηύχετο”: as Chryses “μεγάλ᾽ εὔχετο χεῖρας ἀνασχών”, at the sacrifice described in Il.1. 447—466; and as Nestor “πολλὰ...Ἀθήνῃ” | “εὔχετ̓” on the like occasion in Od.3. 430—463. Those two passages explain the ritual imagined here (vv. 756—766). (1) Heracles, having put on the robe, brings his victims to the altar. (2) The next act would be to sprinkle the “χέρνιψ” on the sacrificers; who would then take barleymeal (“οὐλοχύται”) in the hands from the basket, “κανοῦν”. (3) Then Heracles offers his prayer to Zeus. (4) The actual immolation follows; the barley-meal is sprinkled on the heads of victims; hair, cut from one or more of them, is thrown on the altar-fire; and they are slain. (5) The “μηρία” ( Ant.1011), doubly wrapped in fat, are burnt on the altar. This act was in progress, when the agonies of Heracles began.

Several critics alter κατηύχετο to κατήρχετο. The latter, if used in its larger sense, would refer to no. 2 of the stages described above (cp. Od.3. 445χέρνιβά τ᾽ οὐλοχύτας τε κατήρχετο”); if in its narrower sense, to no. 4 (cp. Ar. Av.959, Her.2. 45). The larger sense would be best here.

But κατηύχετο is an immeasurably finer reading. Heracles, standing before the altar as he prays with uplifted hands to Zeus, is thrown into stronger relief than if imagined merely in the brief act denoted by “κατήρχετο”. The “ἵλεως φρήν”, too, would be more apparent in the “εὐχή” than in the rite.

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Aristophanes, Birds, 959
    • Euripides, Medea, 1165
    • Herodotus, Histories, 2.45
    • Homer, Iliad, 1.447
    • Homer, Odyssey, 3.430
    • Homer, Odyssey, 3.445
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1011
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