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Various theories of interpolation have been held with regard to this passage: see Appendix. Most of them are founded on the assumption that Tecmessa's former speech of ten lines (915—924) must be balanced by a speech of the same length here, and that therefore three of the thirteen verses (961— 973) must be struck out. (Nauck, who rejects 918 f., strikes out five verses here, 966—970.)

As several objections arise from the alleged incoherence of the speech, it is well to observe the train of thought in 961—973.

‘Let them mock, if they will, at the fate of Ajax; they will perhaps find out, in time of need, what they have lost; foolish men never know their own good fortune till they have thrown it away (961—965). No, his death is no gain for them—though it is anguish for me: for him, it is the release which he desired (966—968). Why should they mock at him, then? They cannot even claim that his death was their work; it is the affair of the gods (969 f.). So Odysseus may exult, if he pleases, but it is an empty triumph. He and his friends have merely suffered a loss; Ajax is gone, —and has left nothing behind him but the sorrow which is mine’ (971—973).

ἐμοὶ πικρὸςκ.τ.λ.” Schol. in L: “μᾶλλον ἐμοὶ πικρὸς τέθνηκεν ἤπερ ἐκείνοις γλυκύς”. This is the only tenable explanation of the words. For the omission of “μᾶλλον”, cp. Il. 1. 117βούλομ᾽ ἐγὼ λαὸν σόον ἔμμεναι ἀπολέσθαι”: Her. 3. 40βούλομαι...οὕτω διαφέρε<*>ν τὸν αἰῶνα ἐναλλὰξ πρήσσων εὐτυχέειν τὰ πάντα”. No proposed substitute for (, εἰ, ὡς, καὶ) really fits the sense. Her point throughout is that the death of Ajax is no triumph for the Greeks—only a loss. The sole positive result is her own wretchedness. γλυκύς means, a cause of rejoicing for them—if they knew their own interest. Instead of “οὐ κείνοις γλυκύς, ἀλλ᾽ ἐμοὶ πικρός”, we have “ἐμοὶ πικρὸς” (“μᾶλλον”) “ κείνοις γλυκύς”: cp. Thuc. 1. 34§ 2 “πολέμῳ μᾶλλον τῷ ἴσῳ ἐβουλήθησαν τὰ ἐγκλήματα μετελθεῖν” (= “οὐ τῷ ἴσῳ, ἀλλὰ πολέμῳ”).

θάνατον is in appos. with the “ταῦτα” implied (as antecedent) by ὧν: as we could say,—‘all that he desired he has found,—the death of his choice.’

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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.40
    • Homer, Iliad, 1.117
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.34
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