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κοίλης τ᾽ ἀχέρδου: schol. “τῆς τὸν πυθμένα ἐχούσης ὑπόκενον, σαπέντα”. The wild pear gave its name to the Attic deme “Ἀχερδοῦς” (“Ἀχερδούσιοι”); as in its other form, “ἀχράς”, to “Ἀχραδίνη”, the E. quarter of Syracuse. If, as the schol. states (n. 1593), the local myth placed the rape of Persephone here, this old tree may have been pointed out as the spot whence she was snatched. An “ἐρινεός” (wild figtree) by the Cephisus was connected with a like legend (Paus. 1.38.5). A wild olive-tree (“κότινος”) at Troezen was associated with the disaster of Hippolytus (2. 32. 10), as the “στρεπτὴ ἐλαία” at Epidaurus (see on 694) with Heracles.

κἀπὸ λαΐνου τάφου. Dobree's καὐτολαΐνου (“"of natural rock,"” cp. on 192) is more ingenious than probable. Cp. Eur. Helen 962τόνδε λάϊνον τάφον”: El. 328μνῆμα λάϊνον πατρός”. The “λάϊνος τάφος” is opposed to a “τύμβος” of earth or a “λάρναξ” of wood (Thuc. 2.34): it would commonly denote an oblong monument with a flat slab (“τράπεζα”) on top, the sides being sometimes sculptured.

The power and beauty of this passage are in no way lessened for us because we know nothing of the basin or the stone, the tree or the tomb. Rather it might be said that the very fact of our ignorance illustrates the spirit in which these details are introduced. Their significance is essentially local: “ταῦτα γνώριμα τοῖς ἐγχωρίοις” (schol.). They show us how the blind man, who had never been at Colonus before, placed himself at precisely the due point in the midst of its complex sanctities. The god made him as one who had the most intimate and minute knowledge of the ground.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Euripides, Helen, 962
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.38.5
    • Sophocles, Electra, 328
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.34
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