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‘And to make one many (to put plural for singular) after the manner of the poets: they say, though all the while there is only one harbour, “to Achaean harbours”’. [Victorius refers to the treatise περὶ ὕψους, 23 § 2 (Spengel, Rhet. Gr. 1274), ἔσθ᾽ ὅπου προσπίπτει τὰ πληθυντικὰ μεγαλορρημονέστερα, καὶ αὐτῷ δοξοκομποῦντα τῷ ὄχλῳ τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ, which the writer illustrates by quoting Soph. Oed. Rex 1403—7, ὦ γάμοι γάμοι κ.τ.λ.] λιμένας εἰς Ἀχαϊκούς] There are five instances of λιμένες for a single harbour in Euripides, and one in Sophocles, but none of them is ‘Achaean harbours’. Victorius says that he has not been able to find the passage. ‘And again, “Here are the many-leaved folds of the tablets”’, the letter, namely, which Iphigenia was proposing to send by one of the two strangers to Orestes at Argos. Iph. Taur. 727. πολύθυροι] restored (for πολύθρηνοι) from πολύθηροι found in one MS, describes the many leaves of the tablets: this, which was less usual than the simpler form, with only two leaves, shews that it was a long letter. On δέλτος, comp. Becker's Charicles, p. 162 note [Vol. I. p. 285, of unabridged German ed.], Rich's Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Ant. s. v. cera p. 144. The leaves of the tablets, which were thin slabs or plates of wood coated with wax, were sometimes shaped like doors (a very natural form to give them), whence the name θύρα. Pollux IV 18 (ap. Herm. ad Iph. T. 715), οἱ δὲ Ἀττικοὶ γραμματεῖον δίθυρον: καὶ θύρας τὰς πτύχας, ἄχρι δύο: εἶτα πτύχας, καὶ τρίπτυχον καὶ πολύπτυχον. Hesychius, θυρίδας Ἀττικοὶ τὰς τῶν γραμμάτων πτύχας, καὶ δίθυρον λέγουσιν, οὐ τρίθυρον, ἀλλὰ τρίπυλον [τρίπτυχον?]. Paley, ad loc., well compares the δέλτος with its wooden leaves to ‘the modern ivory memorandum-book’. Becker, u.s., observes that ‘these wax tablets were only used for letters, and matters of no permanent moment’. They could be fastened with a string and sealed, Paley on Iph. Aul. 37. διαπτυχαί is interpreted by the Lexicons as equivalent to πτυχαί, and meaning ‘folds’—not of course, though the difference is not stated, folded like a modern letter, of paper, which this explanation sug gests, but in another sense of πτυχή or πτύξ, ‘a leaf, layer, slab, or plate’. It is repeated in line 793, γραμμάτων διαπτυχάς. The Commentators, who are totally silent on the subject, appear to take the same view. As it seems necessary to assign some meaning to the διά, we may suppose that it expresses the division of the leaves, whether two or more; but in the latter case, derived from the primary division into two. Hermann and Paley have both noticed, what is sufficiently apparent, that Aristotle here has mistaken Euripides' meaning. It is quite plain from the epithet πολύθυροι, that the plural is to be understood literally of the several leaves of the tablets. If Euripides had written δέλτοι he would have used the licence ascribed to him by Aristotle.
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