The whole passage
Cyclic epics. The Aethiopis.
2 As Carl Robert has pointed out in Bild und Lied (‘Arktinos und Lesches,’ pp. 222 ff.), the claim of Lesches is subject to much doubt. Hellanicus, himself a Lesbian, attributed the Little Iliad to Cinaethon of Lacedaemon, according to the scholiast on Eur. Tro. 821; where Thestorides of Phocis and Diodorus of Erythrae are mentioned as other writers to whom the poem had been attributed—while Lesches is not even named. The scholiast probably derived this statement from the Alexandrian Lysimachus, a learned mythographer, whose work entitled “Νόστοι” is often quoted.
3 Schol. Il. 11. 515(referring to the skill of Machaon in surgery): “τοῦτο ἔοικε καὶ Ἀρκτῖνος ἐν Ἰλίου πορθήσει νομίζειν ἐν οἷς φησιν” [here he quotes eight verses from Arctînus, on the skill of Machaon and Podaleirius respectively, ending with the two verses given above]. Arctînus was the author of two poems: (1) the “Αἰθιοπίς”, which ended with the contest between Ajax and Odysseus for the arms: (2) the “Ἰλίου πέρσις”, which (like the Little Iliad) probably included the healing of Philoctetes. The scholiast quotes these verses as being “ἐν Ἰλίου πορθήσει”. It has been supposed that they occurred in connection with the contest for the arms, and that therefore the scholiast ought to have said “ἐν Αἰθιοπίδι”. But it is also possible that the scholiast is right—that the verses came from the Iliupersis, and had to do with the healing of Philoctetes. Certainly, as Mr Monro has remarked (Journ. Hellen. Stud. vol. v. p. 29), ‘the two lines about Ajax have rather the appearance of a parenthesis.’ If, however, the skill of Podaleirius was thus illustrated by a glance backward at the insight which he had formerly shown with regard to Ajax, we can scarcely avoid supposing that in the Aethiopis, when the contest for the arms was being related, this observation by Podaleirius had already been mentioned. The parenthesis would be clumsy and out of place, if the fact was being noticed for the first time. Indeed, such an allusion might well suggest the inference that in the Aethiopis the contest for the arms, and the effect of his defeat upon Ajax, were described with some fulness.
5 We have just seen that, according to Arctînus, it was the acute physician Podaleirius who ‘first’ detected the symptoms of anger and deep mental trouble in Ajax. This clearly implies that Ajax, though with rage in his soul, retained his self-command. What the physician was ‘the first’ to see, others saw only in the light of the tragic event—the hero's suicide, which so quickly ensued. So, at least, I understand the force of “πρῶτος μάθε”. The antithesis might be, of course, with the later perception caused in others by an outbreak of fury on the part of Ajax: but, in connection with the fact that he was here represented as dying almost immediately after the award, this seems less probable.
6 Od. 11. 543 ff.: not merely because it is silent respecting madness and outrage, but because it implies (556 f.) that Ajax had died, like Achilles, in unclouded renown —without having done anything to offend the Greeks, who in the play of Sophocles (v. 726) threaten to stone Teucer, as ‘the kinsman of the maniac, the plotter against the host.’
. Eustathius (p. 1698. 51), in commenting on Od. 11. 543 ff., thus closes his paraphrase of the account given by some ‘others’ (who probably include Arctînus)—“καὶ εὐθὺς Ὀδυσσεὺς μὲν ἔλαβε τὰ ὅπλα, Αἴας δὲ ἀπῆλθε” [“ἀπέθανε”?] “ξίφει πεσών”.
9 Schol. H on Od. 11. 547.Eustathius (p. 1698) cannot, I think, be regarded as a witness of independent authority on this point, though that has sometimes been assumed. Commenting on “παῖδες δὲ Τρώων δίκασαν”, he says:—“ἰστέον δὲ ὅτι” (1) “οἱ μὲν ἁπλοϊκώτερόν φασι Τρῶας καὶ Ἀθηνᾶν δικάσαι Ὀδυσσεῖ καὶ Αἴαντι περὶ τῶν Ἀχιλλέως ὅπλων ἐρίζουσι, καὶ δὴ καὶ Κόϊντος” [ Quint. Smyrn. 5. 128 ff.] “διασκευάζει ἐν τοῖς αὑτοῦ τὴν δίκην ῥητορικῶς”. (2) “ἕτεροι δέ φασιν ὅτι ἐπίτηδες Ἀγαμέμνων φυλαττόμενος τὸ δόξαι θατέρῳ τῶν ἡρώων χαρίσασθαι, αἰχμαλώτους τῶν Τρώων συναγαγών, ἤρετο κ.τ.λ.” Here he is repeating, partly verbatim, Schol. H on Hom. Od. 11. 547, to which he adds nothing new. Thus he distinguishes two versions. (1) That in which the judges are simply ‘the Trojans,’ with Athena—as in the Odyssey. He names Quintus Smyrnaeus in connection with this version—and for a reason which can, I think, be perceived; Quintus makes Nestor say, “τοὔνεκα Τρωσὶν ἐφῶμεν ἐΰφροσι τήνδε δικάσσαι κ.τ.λ.” (5. 157). Eustathius noticed or remembered this,—but not that, by “Τρωσίν”, the Nestor of Quintus meant the Trojan prisoners in the camp (as he presently explains, v. 160). (2) The version given by ‘others’ (“ἕτεροι”）—in which the Trojan prisoners judged— was manifestly known to Eustathius only from the scholium on the Odyssey, which he reproduces.
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