οὐ δραπέτην “κ.τ.λ.” The ordinary “κλῆρος” was a stone or a potsherd, which its owner marked ( Il. 7. 175“κλῆρον ἐσημήναντο ἕκαστος”). Ajax did not seek to avoid being drawn by putting in, as his “κλῆρος”, a piece of damp earth, which would stick to the bottom of the helmet or fall to pieces. Such a “κλῆρος” is called “δραπέτης”, ‘a runaway,’ because it eludes the ordeal. The allusion is to the story of Cresphontes. After the Dorian conquest of the Peloponnesus, he, Temenus, and the heirs of Aristodemus agreed to cast lots. The first was to have Argos; the second, Lacedaemon; the third, Messenia. Cresphontes wished to have Messenia. He therefore put a lump of earth, as his “κλῆρος”, into the voting urn. It broke to pieces, so that only the two other “κλῆροι” came out. ( Apollod. 2. 8. 4“γῆς ἐνέβαλε βῶλον, ταύτης δὲ διαλυθείσης ἔδει τοὺς δύο κλήρους ἀναφανῆναι”.) The scholiast remarks on the anachronism (“ἀνῆκται τοῖς χρόνοις ἡ ἱστορία ἡ περὶ Κρεσφόντου”): so, too, does Eustathius (p. 361. 26). “ἐς μέσον καθείς. μέσον” has been suspected; Nauck writes “κρωσσὸν” (‘urn’). But the literal sense is simply, ‘having cast down into the midst’—the competitors being imagined as standing round the “κυνῆ”. Cp. the phrases “εἰς μέσον τιθέναι, εἰς τὸ μέσον φέρειν”, etc. κυνῆς: Il. 7. 182“ἐκ δ᾽ ἔθορεν κλῆρος κυνέης, ὃν ἄρ᾽ ἤθελον αὐτοί”, | “Αἴαντος.— ἅλμα κουφιεῖν”=“ἅλμα κοῦφον ἁλεῖσθαι”. Cp. Eur. El. 860“οὐράνιον ι πήδημα κουφίζουσα”.
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