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First στάσιμον. Teiresias has just denounced Oedipus. Why do not the Chorus at once express their horror? This ode is the first since v. 215, and therefore, in accordance with the conception of the Chorus as personified reflection, it must comment on all that has been most stirring in the interval. Hence it has two leading themes: (1) “Who can be the murderer?”: 1st strophe and antistrophe, referring to vv. 216-315. (2) “I will not believe that it is Oedipus”: n)d strophe and antistrophe, referring to vv. 316-462. 1st strophe (463-472). Who is the murderer at whom the Delphic oracle hints? He should fly: Apollo and the Fates are upon him. 1st antistrophe (473-482). The word has gone forth to search for him. Doubtless he is hiding in waste places, but he cannot flee his doom. 2nd strophe (483-497). Teiresias troubles me with his charge against Oedipus: but I know nothing that confirms it. 2nd antistrophe (498-512). Only gods are infallible; a mortal, though a seer, may be wrong. Oedipus has given proof of worth. Without proof, I will not believe him guilty.

[463] θεσπιέπεια giving divine oracles(ἔπη), fem. as if from θεσπιεπής (not found): cp. ἀρτιέπεια, ἡδυέπεια. Since θέ-σπ-ι-ς already involves the stem σεπ (Curt. E. sect. 632), the termination, from ϝεπ(ib. 620), is pleonastic.

δελφὶς πέτρα The town and temple of Delphi stood in a recess like an amphitheatre, on a high platform of rock which slopes out from the south face of the cliff: Strabo 9. 418 οἱ Δελφοί, πετρῶδες χωρίον, θεατροειδές, κατὰ κορυφὴν(i.e. at the upper part of the rocky platform, nearest the cliff) ἔχον τὸ μαντεῖον καὶ τὴν πόλιν, σταδίων ἑκκαίδεκα κύκλον πληροῦσαν: i.e. the whole sweep of the curve extends nearly two miles. HH Apoll. 283ὕπερθεν πέτρη ἐπικρέμαται” (the rocky platform overhangs the Crisaean plain) κοίλη δ᾽ ὑποδέδρομε βῆσσα (the valley of the Pleistus).

εἶπε τελέσαντα (for εἶπε τελέσαι) is somewhat rare, but is not “a solecism” (as Kennedy calls it): cp. Soph. OC 1580λέξας Οἰδίπουν ὀλωλότα”: Eur. Rhes. 755αὐδᾷ ξυμμάχους ὀλωλότας”: Plat. Gorg. 481cπότερόν σε φῶμεν νυνὶ σπουδάζοντα παίζοντα;

[465] ἄρρητ᾽ ἀρρήτων Blaydes cp. Soph. OC 1237πρόπαντα κακὰ κακῶν,Soph. Phil. 65ἔσχατ᾽ ἐσχάτων,Aesch. Pers. 681 πιστὰ πιστῶν ἥλικές τ᾽ ἥβης ἐμῆς, Πέρσαι γέροντες.” Cp. also 1301 μείζονα τῶν μακίστων. (But Soph. El. 849δειλαία δειλαίων [κυρεῖς],” cited by Blaydes, and by Jelf sect. 139, is not in point.)

[466] ἀελλάδων Soph. OC 1081ἀελλαία ταχύρρωστος πελειάς”: fr. 621 ἀελλάδες φωναί. Not, “daughters of the storm,” as if alluding to the mares impregnated by Boreas, Hom. Il. 20.221. For the form, cp. “θυστάδας λιτάςSoph. Ant. 1019.

[467] ἵππων instead of ἵππων ποδός: Hdt. 2.134πυραμίδα δὲ καὶ οὗτος ἀπελίπετο πολλὸν ἐλάσσω τοῦ πατρός”: Xen. Cyrop. 3.3.41χώραν ἔχετε οὐδὲν ἧττον ἔντιμον τῶν πρωτοστατῶν.

[470] στεροπαῖς The oracular Apollo is Διὸς προφήτης. As punisher of the crime which the oracle denounced, he is here armed with his father's lightnings, not merely with his own arrow (205).

γενέτας, one concerned with γένος, either passively, = “son,” as here (cp. “γηγενέτᾳEur. Phoen. 128), or actively, = “father.” Eur. has both senses. Cp. γαμβρός, sonin-law, brother-in-law, or father-in-law: and so κηδεστής or πενθερός could have any one of these three senses.

[472] Κῆρες avenging spirits, identified with the Furies in Aesch. Seven 1055Κῆρες Ἐρινύες, αἵ τ᾽ Οἰδιπόδα γένος ὠλέσατε.Hes. Th. 217Νὺξκαὶ Μοίρας καὶ Κῆρας ἐγείνατο νηλεοποίνους ... αἵ τ᾽ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε παραιβασίας ἐφέπουσαι οὐδέποτε λήγουσι θεαὶ δεινοῖο χόλοιο, πρίν γ᾽ ἀπὸ τῷ δώωσι κακὴν ὄπιν, ὅστις ἁμάρτῃ.” The Μοῖραι decree, the Κῆρες execute. In Soph. Trach. 133κῆρες” = calamities.

ἀναπλάκητοι not erring or failing in pursuit: cp. Soph. Trach. 120ἀλλά τις θεῶν αἰὲν ἀναμπλάκητον Ἅιδα σφε δόμων ἐρύκει,” some god suffers not Heracles to fail, but keeps him from death. Metre requires here the form without μ. ἀμπλακεῖν is prob. a cognate of πλάζω (from stem πλαγ for “πλακ,Curt. Etym. 367), strengthened with an inserted μ; cp. ἄβροτος, ἄμβροτος.

[473] ἔλαμψε see on 186.

τοῦ νιφόεντος the message flashed forth like a beacon from that snow-crowned range which the Thebans see to the west. I have elsewhere noted some features of the view from the Dryoscephalae pass over Mount Cithaeron:—“At a turn of the road the whole plain of Boeotia bursts upon the sight, stretched out far below us. There to the north-west soars up Helicon, and beyond it, Parnassus; and though this is the middle of May, their higher cliffs are still crowned with dazzling snow. Just opposite, nearly due north, is Thebes, on a low eminence with a range of hills behind it, and the waters of Lake Copais to the north-west, gleaming in the afternoon sun.” (Modern Greece, p. 75.)

[475] Join τὸν ἄδηλον ἄνδρα, and take πάντα as neut. plur., “by all means.” The adverbial πάντα is very freq. in Soph., esp. with adj., as Soph. Aj. 911 πάντα κωφός, πάντ᾽ ἄϊδρις:” but also occurs with verb, as Soph. Trach. 338τούτων ἔχω γὰρ πάντ᾽ ἐπιστήμην ἐγώ”: Here, the emphasis on πάντα would partly warrant us in taking it as acc. sing. masc., subject to ἰχνεύειν. But, though the masc. nominative πᾶς sometimes = πᾶς τις, it may be doubted whether Soph. would have thus used the ambiguous πάντα alone for the acc. sing. masc. Ellendt compares 226, but there πάντα is acc. plur. neut.

[478] πέτρας ἰσόταυρος is J. F. Martin's and E. L. Lushington's brilliant emendation of πετραῖος ταῦρος, the reading of the first hand in L. It is at once closer to the letters, and more poetical, than πέτρας ἅτε ταῦρος (Dorville, —where the use of ἅτε is un-Attic), πέτρας ἴσα ταύροις (M. Schmidt), or πέτρας ὡς ταῦρος, which last looks like a prosaic correction. I suppose the corruption to have arisen thus. A transcriber who had before him ΠΕΤΡΑΣΙΣΟΤΑΥΡΟΣ took the first O for the art., and then amended ΠΕΤΡΑΣΙΣ into the familiar word ΠΕΤΡΑΙΟΣ. With a cursive MS. this would have been still easier, since in πετρασισοταυρος the first ς might have been taken for ο (not a rare mistake), and then a simple transposition of ι and the supposed ο would have given πετραιος. It is true that such compounds with ἰσο usu. mean, not merely “like,” but “as good as” or “no better than”: e.g. ἰσοδαίμων, ἰσόθεος, ἰσόνεκυς, ἰσόνειρος, ἰσόπαις, ἰσόπρεσβυς. Here, however, ἰσόταυρος can well mean “wild” or “fierce of heart” as a bull. And we know that in the lost Κρέουσα Soph. used ἰσοθάνατος in a way which seemed too bold to Pollux (6. 174 οὐ πάνυ ἀνεκτόν), —probably in the sense of “dread as death” (cp. Soph. Aj. 215θανάτῳ γὰρ ἴσον πάθος ἐκπεύσει).” The bull is the type of a savage wanderer who avoids his fellows. Soph. in a lost play spoke of a bull “that shuns the herd,” Bekk. Anecd. 459.31 ἀτιμαγέλης: ἀποστάτης τῆς ἀγέλης ταῦρος: οὕτω Σοφοκλῆς. Verg. Georg. 3.225 (taurus) Victus abit, longeque ignotis exulat oris. Theocr. 14.43αἶνός θην λέγεταί τις, ἔβα καὶ ταῦρος ἀν᾽ ὕλαν”: a proverb ἐπὶ τῶν μὴ ἀναστρεφόντων(schol.). The image also suggests the fierce despair of the wretched outlaw: Aesch. Lib. 275ἀποχρημάτοισι ζημίαις ταυρούμενον,” “stung to fury by the wrongs that keep me from my heritage”: Eur. Med. 92ὄμμα ταυρουμένην”: Aristoph. Frogs 804ἔβλεψε γοῦν ταυρηδὸν ἐγκύψας κάτω”: Plat. Phaedo 117bταυρηδὸν ὑποβλέψας πρὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον.” With regard to the reading πετραῖος ταῦρος, see Appendix.

[479] χηρεύων solitary, as one who is ἀφρήτωρ, ἀθέμιστος, ἀνέστιοςHom. Il. 9.63): he knows the doom which cuts him off from all human fellowship (236 f.). Aesch. Eum. 656ποία δὲ χέρνιψ φρατέρων προσδέξεται;

[480] τὰ μεσόμφαλα γᾶς μαντεῖα = τὰ ἀπὸ μέσου ὀμφαλοῦ γᾶς: Soph. El. 1386δωμάτων ὑπόστεγοι” = ὑπὸ στέγῃ δωμάτων: Eur. Phoen. 1351λευκοπήχεις κτύπους χεροῖν.” The ὀμφαλός in the Delphian temple (Aesch. Eum. 40), a large white stone in the form of a half globe, was held to mark the spot at which the eagles from east and west had met: hence Pindar calls Delphi itself μέγαν ὀμφαλὸν εὐρυκόλπου ... χθονόςPind. N. 7.33): Liv. 38.48 Delphos, umbilicum orbis terrarum.

ἀπονοσφίζων trying to put away (from himself): the midd. (cp. 691) would be more usual, but poetry admits the active: 894 ψυχᾶς ἀμύνειν: Eur. Orest. 294ἀνακάλυπτε ... κάρα”: Pind. P. 4.106κομίζων” = κομιζόμενος (seeking to recover): Soph. OC 6φέροντα” = φερόμενον. In Soph. Phil. 979ἀπονοσφίζειν τινά τινος”= to rob one of a thing: but here we cannot render “frustrating.”

[482] ζῶντα “ living,” i.e. operative, effectual; see on 45 ζώσας.

περιποτᾶται the doom pronounced by Apollo hovers around the murderer as the οἷστρος around some tormented animal: he cannot shake off its pursuit. The haunting thoughts of guilt are objectively imaged as terrible words ever sounding in the wanderer's ears.

[532] The Chorus have described the unknown murderer as they imagine him—a fugitive in remote places. They now touch on the charge laid against Oedipus, —but only to say that it lacks all evidence. δεινὰ μὲν οὖν. οὖν marks the turning to a new topic, with something of concessive force: “ it is true that the murderer is said to be here”: μὲν is answered by δὲ after λέξω. For μὲν οὖν with this distributed force, cp. Soph. OC 664, Soph. Ant. 65: for the composite μὲν οὖν( = “nay rather”), below, 705.

δεινὰ is adverbial: for (1) ταράσσει could not mean κινεῖ, stirs up, raises, dread questions: (2) δοκοῦντα, ἀποφάσκοντα are acc. sing. masc., referring to με understood. The schol., οὔτε πιστὰ οὔτε ἄπιστα, has favoured the attempt to take the participles as acc. neut. plur., ἀποφάσκοντα being explained as “negative” in the sense of “admitting of negation,” ἀπόφασιν καὶ ἀπιστίαν δεχόμενα (Triclinius). This is fruitless torture of language. Nor will the conj. ἀπαρέσκοντ᾽ (Blaydes) serve: for, even if the Chorus found the charge credible, they would not find it pleasing. δοκοῦντα is not “believing,” but “approving.” Cp. Soph. Ant. 1102καὶ ταῦτ᾽ ἐπαινεῖς καὶ δοκεῖς παρεικαθεῖν;” “and you recommend this course, and approve of yielding?” The pregnant force of δοκοῦντα is here brought out by the direct contrast with ἀποφάσκοντα. In gauging the rarer uses of particular words by an artist in language so subtle and so bold as Soph. we must never neglect the context.

[485] λέξω probably deliberative aor. subj.: though it might be fut. indic. (cp. 1419, and n. on Soph. OC 310).

ἐνθάδε the actual situation, implies the known facts of the past; ὀπίσω refers to the seer's hint of the future (v. 453 φανήσεται κ.τ.λ.): cp. Hom. Od. 2.482σεῖο δ᾽, Ἀχιλλεῦ, οὔτις ἀνὴρ προπάροιθε μακάρτατος, οὔτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὀπίσσω” (nor will be hereafter).

[487] Λαβδακίδαις τῷ Πολύβου A quarrel might have originated with either house. This is what the disjunctive statement marks: since ἔκειτο, “had been made,” implies “had been provoked.” But we see the same Greek tendency as in the use of τε καί where καί alone would be more natural: Aesch. PB 927τό τ᾽ ἄρχειν καὶ τὸ δουλεύειν δίχα” : cp. Hor. Ep. 1.2.12 Inter Hectora Priamiden animosum atque inter Achillen.

[493] πρὸς ὅτου In the antistr., 509, the words γὰρ ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ are undoubtedly sound: here then we need to supply ¯¯ ˘˘ or ˘ ¯¯ ˘. I incline to believe that the loss has been that of a participle going with βασάνῳ. Had this been βασανίζων, the iteration would help to account for the loss. Reading πρὸς ὅτου δὴ βασανίζων βασάνῳ, I should take πρὸς with βασάνῳ: “testing on the touchstone whereof” —“using which(νεῖκος) as a test.” [Receiving my βασανίζων, Kennedy (ed. 1885) replaces the word βασάνῳ by πιθανῶς.] To Brunck's βασάνῳ χρησάμενοςPlat. Laws 946cβασάνοις χρώμενοι”) the objections are (1) the aorist part. where we need the pres., (2) the tame and prosaic phrase. Wolff writes, πρὸς ὅτου δή, βασάνῳ <πίστιν ἔχων>: Wecklein and Mekler (in his recension of Dindorf's ed., Teubner, 1885) indicate a lacuna, ¯˘˘¯, after βασάνῳ. Two other courses of emendation are possible: (i) To supply after ἔμαθον something to express the informant, as τινος ἀστῶν or, προφέροντος, when πρὸς ὅτου would mean “at whose suggestion.” This remedy seems to me improbable. (ii) To supply σύν and an adj. for βασάνῳ, as σὺν ἀληθεῖ β., or β. σὺν φανερᾷ. As the mutilated verse stands in the MSS., it cannot, I think, be translated without some violence to Greek idiom. The most tolerable version would be this: —“setting out from which(πρὸς ὅτου neut., referring to νεῖκος), I can with good warrant(βασάνῳ) assail the public fame of Oed.” Then βασάνῳ would be an instrumental dative equivalent to βάσανον ἔχων: and πρὸς ὅτου would be like 1236 πρὸς τίνος ποτ᾽ αἰτίας; Soph. Ant. 51πρὸς αὐτοφώρων ἀμπλακημάτων: πρός” denoting the source back to which the act can be traced.

[495] ἐπὶ φάτιν εἶμι a phrase from war: it is unnecessary to suppose tmesis: Hdt. 1.157στρατὸν ἐπ᾽ ἑωυτὸν ἰόντα”: Eur. IA 349ταῦτα μέν σε πρῶτ᾽ ἐπῆλθον, ἵνα σε πρῶθ᾽ ηὗρον κακόν,censured thee: Eur. Andr. 688ταῦτ᾽ εὖ φρονῶν σ᾽ ἐπῆλθον, οὐκ ὀργῆς χάριν.

[497] The gen. θανάτων after ἐπίκουρος is not objective, “against” (as Xen. Mem. 4.3.7πῦρ ... ἐπίκουρον ... ψύχους”), but causal, “on account of”; being softened by the approximation of ἐπίκουρος to the sense of τιμωρός: Eur. El. 135ἔλθοις τῶνδε πόνων ἐμοὶ τᾷ μελέᾳ λυτήρ, ... πατρί θ᾽ αἱμάτων ἐχθίστων ἐπίκουρος”(= “avenger”). The allusive plur. Θανάτων is like αἱμάτων there, and “δεσποτῶν θανάτοισιAesch. Lib. 52: cp. above 366, τοῖς φιλτάτοις.

[498] It is true (οὖν, cp. 483) that gods indeed (μέν) have perfect knowledge. But there is no way of deciding in a strict sense (ἀληθής) that any mortal who essays to read the future attains to more than I do— i.e. to more than conjecture: though I admit that one man may excel another in the art of interpreting omens according to the general rules of augural lore (σοφίᾳ: cp. σοφὸς οἰωνοθέτας 484). The disquieted speaker clings to the negative argument: “Teiresias is more likely to be right than a common man: still it is not certain that he is right.”

[500] πλέον φέρεται achieves a better result, —deserves to be ranked above me: Hdt. 1.31δοκέων πάγχυ δευτερεῖα γῶν οἴσεσθαι,” “thinking that he was sure of the second place at least.”

[504] παραμείψειεν Eur. IA 145μή τίς σε λάθῃ τροχαλοῖσιν ὅχοις παραμειψαμένη ... ἀπήνη.

[506] πρὶν ἴδοιμ᾽ After an optative of wish or hypothesis in the principal clause, πρίν regularly takes optat.: Soph. Phil. 961ὄλοιο μήπω πρὶν μάθοιμ᾽ εἰ καὶ πάλιν γνώμην μετοίσεις.” So after ὅπως, ὅστις, ἵνα, etc.: Aesch. Eum. 297ἕλθοι ... ὅπως γένοιτο”: Eur. Hel. 435τίς ἂν ... μόλοι ὄστις διαγγείλειε ... ;

ὀρθὀν the notion is not “upright,” established, but “straight,” — justified by proof, as by the application of a rule: cp. Aristoph. Birds 1004ὀρθῷ μετρήσω κανόνι προστιθείς”: so below, 853, Soph. Ant. 1178τοὔπος ὡς ἄρ᾽ ὀρθὸν ἤνυσας.” Hartung (whom Wolff follows) places the comma ofter ὀρθόν, not after ἔπος: “ until I see (it) established, I will not approve the word of censurers”: but the acc. ἔπος could not be governed by καταφαίην in this sense.

[507] καταφαίην Aristot. Met. 3.6ἀδύνατον ἅμα καταφάναι καὶ ἀποφάναι ἀληθῶς.Plat. Def. 413cἀλήθεια ἕξις ἐν καταφάσει καὶ ἀποφάσει.

[508] ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ against him: cp. Soph. OC 1472.

πτερόεσσα ... κόρα the Sphinx having the face of a maiden, and the winged body of a lion: Eur. Phoen. 1042 πτεροῦσσα παρθένος.” See Appendix, n. on v. 508.

[510] Βασάνῳ with ἁδύπολις only, which, as a dat. of manner, it qualifies with nearly adverbial force: commending himself to the city under a practical test. — i.e. ἔργῳ καὶ οὐ λόγῳ. Pind. P. 10.67πειρῶντι δὲ καὶ χρυσὸς ἐν βασάνῳ πρέπει καὶ νόος ὀρθός”: “an upright mind, like gold, is shown by the touchstone, when one assays it”: as base metal “τρίβῳ τε καὶ προσβολαῖς μελαμπαγὴς πέλει δικαιωθείςAesch. Ag. 391.

ἁδύπολις in the sense of ἁνδάνων τῇ πόλει (cp. Pind. N. 8.38ἀστοῖς ἀδών”): boldly formed on the analogy of compounds in which the adj. represents a verb governing the accus., as φιλόπολις = φιλῶν τὴν πόλιν, ὀρθόπολις (epithet of a good dynasty) = ὀρθῶν τὴν πόλινPind. O. 2.7). In Soph. Ant. 370ὑψίπολις” is analogous, though not exactly similar, if it means ὑψηλὸς ἐν πόλει, and not ὑψηλὴν πόλιν ἔχων (like δικαιόπολις = δικαίας πόλεις ἔχουσα, of Aegina, Pind. P. 8.22).

[511] τῷ “therefore,” as Hom. Il. 1.418 etc.; joined with “νύ,Hom. Il. 7.352 etc.: Plat. Theaet. 179dτῷ τοι, φλἜ Θεόδωρε, μᾶλλον σκεπτέον ἐξ ἀρχῆς.

ἀπ᾽ on the part of: Soph. Trach. 471κἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ κτήσει χάριν.” The hiatus after τῷ is an epic trait, occasionally allowed in tragic lyrics, as in the case of interjections (cp. Soph. Phil. 832 n.). Here the stress on τῷ, and the caesura, both excuse it. Cp. Soph. Aj. 194ἀλλ᾽ ἄνα ἐξ ἑδράνων”: Soph. El. 148 Ἴτυν”: Soph. El. 157οἵα Χρυσόθεμις ζώει καὶ Ἰφιάνασσα” (cp. Hom. Il. 9.145). Neither πρὸς (Elmsley) nor παρ᾽ (Wolff) is desirable.

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