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ἐκάθηραν—doubtless in gratitude for the cessation of the plague. The oracle perhaps gave directions how the plague might be kept away. It has been pointed out that Nicias had much to do with this ceremony of purification. His great interest in the event and his benefactions to Delos are known from Plutarch. δή—explanatory. The “purification” by Pisistratus is noticed by Herodotus (I. 64).
θῆκαι—‘coffins.’ Notice the not very common attraction of the antecedent into the case of the rel., though the antecedent is not placed in the rel. clause. Thompson2 § 50 D. In Latin this eonstr., familiar from urbem quam statuo vestra est, is an old colloquialism. Πολυκράτης—he ruled 532-521 B.C. According to Herod. III. 164 Samos was πολίων πασέων πρώτη in his time. Νήσων—the Cyclades. ἄρξας is ‘making himself master of,’ ingressive. τῷ Ἀπόλλωνι—Apollo was worshipped much earlier than the time of Polycrates in the rocky island of Rhenea; Hymn to Apollo 44—see on § 4—written not later than 600 B.C. Cf. Theocritus XVII. 70 ἶσον καὶ Ῥήναιαν ἄναξ ἐφίλησεν Ἀπόλλων. τὴν πεντετηρίδα—the first celebration probably took place in March (Anthesterion) 425 B.C. τὰ Δήλια—‘(namely) the Delia.’ The words are bracketed by some edd., but Diodorus, whose account is derived from Thuc. (through Ephorus), says ἑποίησαν πανήγυριν τὴν τῶν Δηλίων.
ξύνοδος—in celebration of the god's birth. ἐθεώρουν—‘attended the festival.’ ἐς τὰ Ἐφέσια—in honour of Artemis (ἡ Ἐφεσία θεός). χορούς τε ἀνῆγον—from the meaning ‘lift up’ a cry, etc, ἀνάγω comes to mean ‘set going,’ ‘start’; Eur. Tro. 325 ἄναγ᾽ ἄναγε χορόν. Notice the metrical χορούς τ᾽ ἀνῆγον αἱ πόλεις.
Ὅμηρος—the blind bard “of Chios,” who wrote this prize poem, was, according to a scholiast on Pindar, Cynaethus of Chios. ἐκ προοιμίου—the quotations are from the famous “Homeric hymn” to Apollo; it was actually sung at the festival, where it received a prize. ἀλλ᾽ ὅτε. = Hymn to Apollo 146-150, with important variations from the version of the hymn as found in the extant MSS. ‘But when your heart rejoices most in Delos.’ ἑλκεχίτωνες—alluding to the long robes of the Ionians in early times, almost obsolete in the days of Thuc. σὴν ἐς ἀγυιάν—meaning uncertain; the square before the temple of Apollo, where the ἀγών was held, is the suggestion of Sikes ad loc. The I. in the MSS. of the hymn stands αὐτοῖς σὺν παίδεσσι καὶ αἰδοίῃς ἀλόχοισιν. καθέσωσιν ἀγῶνα—‘have made the assembly sit down,’ to start the contests. ἀγών is ‘an assembly at games’. see Leaf on Iliad XV. 428. The MSS. of the hymn have στήσωνται ἀγῶνα.
τὸν γὰρ Δηλιακὸν χορὸν τῶν γυναικῶν—the enlogy of the κοῦραι Δηλιάδες, Delian women who sang the chorus, immediately precedes the passage about to be quoted. τοῦ ἐπαίνου—viz. of the Delian women. For the gen. cf. c. 59, 4. ἀλλ᾽ ἄγεθ᾽.=H. to Apollo 165-172. ὑποκρίνασθαι ἀφήμως—‘answer with one accord,’ i.e. ὁμοφήμως. The scholiast gives ἁθρόως. The reading ἀφήμως is supported by that of the MSS. of the hymn, ἀφ᾽ ἡμέων (or similar). Inferior MSS. of Thuc. give εὐφήμως. τυφλὸς ἀνήρ—“this line,” says Sikes, “was at least partly the origin of the tradition that Homer was blind, and lived in Chios.”
καὶ τὰ πλεῖστα—‘and most parts’ of the ξύνοδος. ὑπὸ ξυμφορῶν—when Persia set her heel on the necks of the Ionians. πρὶν δή—see on c. 29, 1.
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