Man's conquests over the animal world are here taken in two groups. First, those of which the primary aim is to kill or to capture. Here the means is netting (“ἀμφιβαλὼνσπείραισιδικτυοκλώστοις”), in its threefold sporting use, as applied to fowling (“ὀρνίθων”), hunting (“θηρῶν”), and fishing (“πόντουφύσιν”). Secondly, those conquests which aim at reducing wild animals to man's service. These are effected by “μηχαναί” (349),— arts of taming and training. And their result is aptly expressed by the word
“κρατεῖ”: here, man is not merely the slayer or captor; he becomes the master of docile toilers. The horse and the bull are types.
Thus, in this ode, the scale of achievement ever ascends: man (1) conquers inanimate nature: (2) makes animals his captives: (3) trains them to be his servants: (4) develops his own social and intellectual life.
κουφονόων is merely a general epithet, ‘light-hearted,’ ‘blithe and careless’; Theognis 580 “σμικρῆςὄρνιθοςκοῦφονἔχουσανόον”: cp. the proverbial phraseology of Athens, “ἄνθρωποςὄρνις, ἀστάθμητος, πετόμενος, ιἀτέκμαρτος, οὺδὲνοὐδέποτ᾽ἐνταὐτῷμένων” ( Au. 169). The epithet is given to “ἔρωτες” below (617), and to “εὐηθία” in Aesch. PV 383.— Not, ‘quick-witted’ (and therefore harder to catch).
ἀμφιβαλὼν with “σπείραισιδ”.: it can precede the dat. by so much, because its meaning is already clear, and the dat. is merely a poet. amplification.
Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments, with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose. Part III: The Antigone. Sir Richard C. Jebb. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 1900.
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