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κυνὸς Λακαίνης. According to Aristotle, the Laconian dogs were crossbred with foxes (“ἐξ ἀλώπεκος καὶ κυνὸς οἱ Λακωνικοί”, Hist. Anim. 8. 28, p. 607 a 3). He describes them as a small breed, with long nostrils and keen scent (“ὅσων οἱ μυκτῆρες μακροί, οἷον τῶν Λακωνικῶν κυνιδίων, ὀσφραντικά”: Gener. Anim. 5. 2, p. 781 b 9). They were the best hunting dogs, as Pindar testifies, fr. 106: “ἀπὸ Ταϋγέτοιο μὲν Λάκαιναν ἐπὶ θηρσὶ κύνα τρέφειν” [v.l.τρέχειν”] “πυκινώτατον ἑρπετόν”. The Molossian dog is often associated with the Laconian ( Hor. Epod. 6. 5Molossus aut fulvus Laco: G. 3. 405 Velocis Spartae catulos acremque Molossum); but Aristotle tells us that the Molossian breed had no special merit for sporting purposes; its best product was the large sheep-dog. The chief points common to the Laconian and Molossian breeds were courage and pertinacity (“ἀνδρία” and “φιλοπονία”, Hist. An. 9. 1, p. 608 a 31).

The use of the feminine gender by Sophocles here may be illustrated by Aristotle's remark,—“αἱ Λάκαιναι κύνες αἱ θήλειαι εὐφυέστεραι τῶν ἀρρένων εἰσίν”,— i.e., ‘of a finer intelligence’ (ib. p. 608 a 27).—Cp. Shakesp. Midsummer-Night's Dream 4. 1. 124, where Theseus says, “My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind | ... A cry more tuneable | Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn, | In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly.

εὔρινος is nom., not gen. (from “εὔρις”). It is true that “εὔρις” occurs in Aesch. Ag. 1093, and “ἄρρινες” in Xen. Cyn. 3. 2; while “εὔρινος” (from “ῥίς”) occurs only in late Greek, as Babrius 43. 8 “σκύλαξιν εὐρίνοις”: Aelian N. A. 2. 15 “δίκην εὐρίνου κυνός”, etc. (In Apoll. Rh. 3. 1299ἐΰρινοι” is not from “ῥίς”, but from “ῥινός”,—‘of good leather.’) But the form is correct in itself; such alternatives were frequent (cp. “σύζυγος” by the side of “σύζυξ”, etc.); and three points here recommend the nominative. (1) The order of the words “ὥς τις εὔρινος βάσις”. (2) The idiom, consonant with tragic style, by which the epithet of the hound is transferred to “βάσις”: cp. Eur. H. F. 450γραίας ὄσσων..πηγάς”: Phoen. 1351λευκοπήχεις κτύπους χεροῖν”. (3) The fact that “βάσις”, with no epithet, would be somewhat weak. Libanius (c. 350 A.D. ) took “εὔρινος” as nom., vol. 4. p. 1065 “εὐρίνῳ βάσει τὸ λανθάνον ἀνιχνεύοντες”. The genitive was understood by the schol. on v. 7, and by Manuel Palaeologus or. 6. 331 (“λάκαιναι κύνες: εὔρινας ταύτας εἶπε Σοφοκλῆς”).

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hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (6):
    • Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1093
    • Euripides, Heracles, 450
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 1351
    • Xenophon, On Hunting, 3.2
    • Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 3.1299
    • William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, 4.1
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