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Cleopatra is the third example. Her father was the wind-god, Boreas: her mother, the Athenian Oreithyia, whom he carried off to his wild home in Thrace. Cleopatra married Phineus, king of the Thracian Salmydessus, on the W. coast of the Euxine, not far from the entrance to the Bosporus. She bore him two sons. He afterwards put her away, and imprisoned her. Her imprisonment is not directly mentioned here: but cp. Diod. 4. 44, who says of Heracles, when serving with the Argonauts, “τὴν Κλεοπάτραν ἐκ τῆς φυλακῆς προαγαγεῖν”. Phineus then married Eidothea, sister of Cadmus. Eidothea put out the eyes of Cleopatra's two sons, and caused them also to be imprisoned.

It is the fate of Cleopatra herself which Soph. means to compare with Antigone's: this is plain from 986. The fate of the sons is made so prominent only because nothing else could give us so strong a sense of the savage hatred which pursued the mother.

Soph. supposes the outline of the story to be familiar. Cleopatra has already been divorced and imprisoned. The poet chooses the moment at which Cleopatra's sons are being blinded by Eidothea, with the sharp shuttle in her blood-stained hands. Ares, the god of cruel bloodshed, beholds with joy a deed so worthy of his Thracian realm.

The name of Cleopatra (like that of Capaneus, 133) is not mentioned. Two strophes are given to this theme, partly, perh., as having an Attic interest (982). Soph. wrote two plays called “Φινεύς”. We know only that Cleopatra's sons were there called “Ὄαρθος” (?“Παρθένιος” H. Weil) and “Κράμβος”: and that the subsequent blindness of Phineus was represented as a punishment of his cruelty (schol. Apoll. Rhod. 2. 178). Eidothea was mentioned by Soph. in his “Τυμπανισταί” (schol. on 980),—a play which perh. concerned the Dionysiac worship, since the “τύμπανον” (kettle-drum) was used in his “ὄργια” as well as in those of Cybelè. Another version called her Idaea, daughter of Dardanus.

παρὰ δὲ Κυανεᾶν πελάγει δ. ἁλός. For the double possessive gen., cp.795,929. “πελάγει...ἁλός”, as Eur. Tro. 88πέλαγος Αἰγαίας ἁλός”, the Homeric “ἁλὸς ἐν πελάγεσσιν”, etc. The rocky islets on the N. side of the entrance from the Euxine to the Bosporus were regularly called “Κυάνεαι” simply (without “νῆσοι” or “πέτραι”, Her. 4.85). L's πετρῶν has long been recognised as a gloss. But Wieseler's change

of “πελαγέων” into “σπιλάδων” is also erroneous.

L's accent, πελάγεων, points to the truth,—as similar small hints in that MS. have been found to do elsewhere also (cp. O. C. 1113 n.). The correction, πελάγει, is so easy that it may well have occurred to others; but I have not met with it. It removes the difficulty (insuperable, to my mind) of παρά with the genitive here. Those who read “κυανεᾶν σπιλάδων”, or “κυανέων πελαγέων”, are forced to take “παρά” as=‘extending from the dark rocks (etc.) are the coasts.’ But such a use is wholly unparalleled. As to 1123, see n. there. In Pind. P. 1. 75ἀρέομαι πὰρ μὲν Σαλαμῖνος Ἀθαναίων χάριν”=‘from Salamis’ (i.e., by celebrating it). In Aristoph. Ach. 68 the Ravenna has “ἐτρυχόμεσθα παρὰ Καΰστρίων πεδίων ὁδοιπλανοῦντες”, while other MSS. have “διὰ” (also with gen. plur.); but there “παρὰ Καΰστριον πεδίον” (Dindorf) is certain. In Pind. P. 3. 60γνόντα τὸ πὰρ ποδός”, ‘having learned one's nearest business’ (cp. Pind. P. 10. 63), “παρά” has its normal sense,—‘that which begins from one's foot,’=which is directly before one in one's path. The corruption of πελάγει into “πελαγέων” naturally followed that of Κυανεᾶν into “κυανέων”.


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hide References (8 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (8):
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 68
    • Euripides, Trojan Women, 88
    • Herodotus, Histories, 4.85
    • Pindar, Pythian, 1
    • Pindar, Pythian, 10
    • Pindar, Pythian, 3
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 1113
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 4.44
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