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[332] Excipit E. 3. 18. With the language of this line Henry comp. 1. 349, “ante aras . . . Clam ferro incautum superat,” observing that ‘patrias ad aras’ explains ‘incautum,’ Pyrrhus being attacked at home in his own penetralia. There is however a doubt about the reference of ‘patrias ad aras’ here, which is generally explained of an altar raised in honour of Achilles at Delphi (a fact apparently resting only on a doubtful statement of Serv.), Delphi being the place where Pyrrhus was said to have met his death (Dict. B. ‘Neoptolemus’). Virg.'s brevity will hardly allow us to decide definitely. In any case, as the language shows (comp. 2. 663), we are meant to think of Pyrrhus' death at the altar as a retribution for his murder of Priam. Heyne refers to Tryphiodorus v. 640— “σχέτλιος, μὲν ἔμελλε καὶ αὐτῷ πότμος ὁμοῖος
ἔσσεσθαι παρὰ βωμὸν ἀλαθέος Ἀπόλλωνος
ὕστερον, ὁππότε μιν ζαθέου δηλήμονα νηοῦ
Δελφὸς ἀνὴρ ἐλάσας ἱερῇ κατέπεφνε μαχαίρῃ.

Comp. also Eur. Andr. 1117 foll., where Pyrrhus is killed at the altar of Apollo by the Delphians under Orestes. But the parallel would be better if we suppose him to have been killed in his own house.

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