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136. Indefinite subject, referring to a woman, treated as masculine.

The masculine, as the more generic, is sometimes used of an indefinite subject, even when the indefinite subject is known to be a woman.

EUR. Andr. 711-2: “ στεῖρος οὖσα μόσχος οὐκ ἀνέξεται” | “τίκτοντας ἄλλους, οὐκ ἔχουσ᾽ αὐτὴ τέκνα”.

SOPH. El. 770-1: “δεινὸν τὸ τίκτειν ἐστίν: οὐδὲ γὰρ κακῶς” | “πάσχοντι μῖσος ὧν τέκῃ προσγίγνεται”, Strange is this thing of being a mother. Not even when one suffers wrong can one be brought to hate the child that one has borne. Tr. 151-2: “τότ᾽” (sc. [“ὅταν”] “τις ἀντὶ παρθένου γυνὴ” | “κληθῇ κτἑ”., vv. 148-9) “ἄν τις εἰσίδοιτο, τὴν αὑτοῦ σκοπῶν” | “πρᾶξιν, κακοῖσιν οἷς ἐγὼ βαρύνομαι”.1

1 Eur. Med. 1018, Soph. El. 145 and 1026, are sometimes unjustly cited as instances of this usage. In each of these examples a woman makes but a personal application of a rule that applies to men as well as women.

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