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ἵν᾽ ἀξιῶτον. The thought is, “"I call the Curses (to destroy you twain), that ye may deign to revere parents,"” etc.: a Greek way of saying, “"that ye may rue your neglect to revere them."” The irony consists in the lesson being learned only when it is too late to practise it. Cp.

προσμόλοι μόνον,
ἵν᾽ ἐκδιδαχθῇ πᾶσιν ἀγγέλλειν ὅτι
καὶ ζῶν κακούς γε καὶ θανὼν ἐτισάμην

: Ant. 310 (ye shall die), “ἵν᾽ εἰδότες τὸ κέρδος ἔνθεν οἰστέον
τὸ λοιπὸν ἁρπάζητε

” (cp. the form of threat, “"I'll teach thee to do such things"”): cp. also ib. 715, O. T. 1273, Ai. 100.

τοὺς φυτεύσαντας σέβειν. Attic law imposed the penalty of disfranchisement on a son convicted of neglecting to support a parent in sickness or old age (“γηροβοσκεῖν”), or of other grave failure in filial duty. When such a case of “κάκωσις γονέων” came before a court, the accuser could speak at any length (“ἄνευ ὕδατος”, Harpocr. 161), and was not liable to the “ἐπωβελία”, or fine in 1/6th of the damages laid, if he failed to gain a fifth of the votes. Diog. L. 1. 2. 55δοκεῖ δὲ” (Solon) “κάλλιστα νομοθετῆσαι: ἐάν τις μὴ τρέφῃ τοὺς γονέας, ἄτιμος ἔστω”. Aeschin. or. 1 § 28ἐάν τις λέγῃ ἐν τῷ δήμῳ, τὸν πάτερα τύπτων τὴν μητέρα, μὴ τρέφων, μὴ παρέχων οἴκησιν, τοῦτον οὐκ ἐᾷ λέγειν” (“ νόμος”). Xen. Mem. 2.2.14 (beware) “εἴ τι παρημέληκας τῆς μητρὸς...μή σε αἰσθόμενοι τῶν γονέων ἀμελοῦντα πάντες ἀτιμάσωσιν, εἶτα ἐν ἐρημίᾳ φίλων ἀναφανῇς”. The example of the birds is quoted (El. 1058), esp. of the stork (Aristoph. Av. 1355).

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hide References (9 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (9):
    • Aeschines, Against Timarchus, 28
    • Aristophanes, Birds, 1355
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 100
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 310
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1058
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 1273
    • Sophocles, Trachiniae, 1109
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 2.2.14
    • Diogenes Laertius, Vitae philosophorum, 1.2
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