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θεῶν χοροποἴ ἄναξ: the gen. “θεῶν” seems to be possessive rather than partitive; i.e. the precise sense seems to be, ‘divine dance-maker of the gods,’ rather than, ‘among the gods, that god who makes dances.’ For such a partitive gen., we may, indeed, compare O. C. 868θεῶν πάντα λεύσσων Ἥλιος” (unless “θεὸς” should be read there). But here the meaning seems to be that Pan represents the gods in this function. Pan was to rustic “χοροί”, those of nymphs and satyrs, what Apollo “Μουσαγέτης” was to the Olympians; and the province denoted by “χοροποιός” here is thus limited by the context. So Pindar fr. 75 calls Pan “χορευτὰν τελεώτατον θεῶν”: and an Attic “σκολιόν” greets him as “ὀρχηστά, βρομίαις ὀπαδὲ νύμφαις”.

Νύσια: such dances as the worshippers of Dionysus—with whom Pan is closely associated through the satyrs—hold in his honour at Nysa. As to the various places so called, see on Ant. 1131.

Κνώσια: such dances as the Cretan Corybantes hold at Cnosus in honour of Zeus and Apollo. Both the epithets “Νύσια” and “Κνώσια” denote a character of wild enthusiasm.—Cnosus, the chief city of Crete, was situated in the north of the island, in one of the plains at the foot of Ida. The form “Κνωσός” has older and better authority than “Κνωσσός”. It was there that Daedalus was said to have made the “χορός” (dancing-place) for Ariadnè ( Il. 18. 590 ff.). Crete was the part of Hellas in which an art of “ὀρχηστική” was first elaborately cultivated. The hyporcheme itself was originally Cretan (schol. on Pind. P. 2. 127).

αὐτοδαῆ is best explained, with the schol. in L, “αὐτομαθῆ, σὺ σαυτὸν ἐδίδαξας”. Pan is the inspired and inspiring “χοροποιός”. The dances will be joyous as those of Nysa or Cnosus, but due to his prompting alone. So the minstrel Phemius says, “αὐτοδίδακτος δ᾽ εἰμί, θεὸς δέ μοι ἐν φρεσὶν οἴμας παντοίας ἐνέφυσεν”, Od. 22. 347.

ἰάψῃς (cp. 501) here denotes properly the act of putting forth the feet or the arms in lively movement; so that “ἰάπτειν ὀρχήματα” means strictly, ‘to dance with lively gestures.’ The musician Aristoxenus (c. 300 B.C.) mentioned the “Κρητικαὶ ὀρχήσεις” among those which he admired “διὰ τὴν τῶν χειρῶν κίνησιν” (Athen. I. p. 22 B). How “ἰάπτω” could be associated with swift motion, appears from the intrans. use in Suppl. 547 “ἰάπτει δ᾽ Ἀσίδος δἰ αἴας” (‘rushes’).—Pan might possibly be said “ἰάπτειν ὀρχήματα” as ‘impelling’ the dance, i.e., ‘setting it in movement’; but this seems less probable.

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hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (6):
    • Homer, Iliad, 18.590
    • Homer, Odyssey, 22.347
    • Pindar, Pythian, 2
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 501
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1131
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 868
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