The Chorus being now drawn up in the orchestra (134 n.), the lyric part of the Parodos begins. Strophe 172—182=antistr. 183—193: epode 194 —200. For metres, see Metrical Analysis.
ἦῥάσε..; The Homeric “ἦῥα” is sometimes interrogative ( Il. 7. 446), but occurs also where there is no question (12. 164 “ἦῥάνυ”). “ἦῥα” is interrogative in Pind. P. 9. 40, Pind. I. 7. 3: but not in Pind. P. 11. 38.This ἦ is not the contracted form of the disjunctiveἠέ ( Il. 6. 378 f. “ἠέ ...ἦ”), which was not used in direct question.
The sailors ask whether Artemis or Ares can have driven Ajax to such a deed. In connection with their chief, the deities of hunting and war naturally occur to them. They do not think of Athena.
Ταυροπόλα=“Ταυροπόλος”: for the form, cp. Pind. O. 3. 26“Λατοῦςἱπποσόαθυγάτηρ”: Eur. Ion 1478“Γοργοφόνα”. There were two cults of Artemis, originally quite distinct. (1) The “Ταυροπόλος” was a goddess who rules over bulls,—one of the numerous attributes of Artemis in her relation to wild animals: cp. “αἰπόλος, ἱπποπόλος, οἰοπόλος”. A Macedonian silver coin (from Amphipolis) shows her riding on a prancing bull, and carrying a torch in either hand. On another coin she appears (with the inscr. “ΤΑΥΡΟΠΟΛΟΣ”) carrying two torches, and with the horns of a bull growing out of her shoulders: these horns were meant to suggest the crescent moon. The cult of the Tauropolos was purely Greek, and had nothing fierce or cruel about it. (2) The cult of Artemis “Ταυρική” (or “Ταυρώ”) had orgiastic elements; it was of Asiatic origin, and belonged to a primitive stage of natureworship. The ritual was a bloody one, and in early times involved human sacrifice. This was the Artemis whose cult was said to have been brought to Brauron in Attica, from the Tauric Chersonese, by Iphigeneia and Orestes.
It is possible that Sophocles here was thinking only of the “Ταυροπόλος” proper, and names her simply because bulls had been among the victims of Ajax. On the other hand, the savage nature of the bloody onslaught might suggest that she was associated in his thought with the “Ταυρική”. Such an association occurs as early as I. T. 1457 where the Brauronian Artemis (“ἐπώνυμονγῆςΤαυρικῆς”, 1454) is called “Ταυροπόλος”. The dithyrambic poet Timotheus of Miletus (c. 400 B.C.) addressed the Ephesian Artemis as “μαινάδα, θυιάδα, φοιβάδα, λυσσάδα” (Bergk fr. 1). See Appendix.
Διὸς, (daughter) of Zeus: cp. 1302 “Λαομέδοντος”. But the art. (“ἡ”) is prefixed to “Διὸς” in 401, 450.
Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments, with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose. Part VII: The Ajax. Sir Richard C. Jebb. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 1907.
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