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μήτ᾽ ἐπιφωνεῖνθήκην must be carefully distinguished from “ἐπιφωνεῖν θήκῃ”. The former must mean strictly (not, “"to utter over the grave,"” but) “"to approach the grave with utterance,"”—the notion being that of invading the secret silence around it. Invocations and prayers to the dead were often made aloud at a grave:

λέξω τάδ᾽ ἀμφὶ μνῆμα σοῦ πατρὸς πόθῳ:
γέρον, ὃς οἰκεῖς τόνδε λάϊνον τάφον

, etc.—The alternative is to take “ἐπιφωνεῖν” as=“"mention to another"”: but this is unfitting, since Theseus alone knows the place.

If μηδενὶ were substituted for μηδένα, this would give a much easier sense; but then Theseus must be the subject to both infinitives:—“"he forbade me to approach, ...or to tell."” According to Greek ideas, however, Theseus, at least, ought occasionally to visit the grave with “ἐναγίσματα”: and in fact the rendering of such honours is implied by the provision that the place of the grave should always be known to one person (1531). I therefore keep μηδένα.

θήκην ἱεράν: cp. 1545. Thuc. 1.8τῶν θηκῶν ἀναιρεθεισῶν ὅσαι ἦσαν τῶν τεθνεώτων ἐν τῇ νήσῳ”.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Euripides, Helen, 961
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.8
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