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οὔτε δρῶσ᾽ ἐλάνθαν᾽ ἄν. Elmsley (on Eur. Med. 416 f., p. 151) remarked that the Attic poets seldom elide the “ε” of the 3rd pers. sing. before “ἄν”: e.g.ἔγραψ᾽ ἄν”, scripsissem, is easier to find than “ἔγραψ᾽ ἄν”, scripsisset. He does not add, however, that in respect to the weak (or ‘first’) aorists there was a reason for it, viz., that “ἔγραψ᾽ ἄν”, when meant as the 3rd pers., was liable to be confused with the 1st, unless the context was decisive; a reason which did not apply to the strong aorists or imperfects, e.g. to “ἔλαθ᾽ ἄν” or “ἐλάνθαν᾽ ἄν”. Yet, even in regard to the first aor., there is at least one instance where the MSS. attest the elision of “ε”, and the sense confirms it; Ar. Plut. 1011 “ΓΡ...νηττάριον ἂν καὶ φάττιον ὑπεκορίζετο”. | “ΧΡ. ἔπειτ᾽ ἴσως ᾔτησ᾽ ἂν εἰς ὑποδήματα”: where Elmsley's correction “ᾔτησεν” for “ᾔτησ᾽ ἂν”, though not impossible, is improbable. Take, again, Eur. Ion 354 “σοὶ ταὐτὸν ἥβης, εἴπερ ἦν, εἶχ᾽ ἂν μέτρον” (so the MSS.): where “εἶχεν” would be excessively harsh, while Elmsley's emendation, “σοὶ ταὔτ᾽ ἂν..εἶχεν μέτρα”, is clearly condemned by the plural.

It is quite true that such elision was rare; the “ν ἐφελκυστικόν” more usually averted it. The mistake is to deny that it was admissible. Porson's keen observation and fine instinct led him to no such rule; he found no offence (e.g.) in Eur. Hec. 1113 “φόβον παρέσχ᾽ ἂν οὐ μέσως ὅδε κτύπος” (“παρέσχεν” MSS.; “παρέσχ᾽ ἂν” Heath).

But is ἐλάνθανεν, the reading of the MSS., even tenable? Surely not. The sense required is: ‘Nor, if she had done it, would she have escaped notice.’ But the words “οὔτε δρῶσ᾽ ἐλάνθανεν” could mean only one of two things: (1) ‘nor, when she did it, was she escaping (or used she to escape) notice’: (2) ‘nor, when she did it, was she in the way to escape notice’; cp. Eur. H. F. 537 “καὶ τἄμ᾽ ἔθνῃσκε τέκν̓, ἀπωλλύμην δ᾽ ἐγώ”: ‘my children were in peril of death,’ etc. That is: whichever shade of meaning were given to “ἐλάνθανεν”, still δρῶσα, in the absence of anything to mark conditionality, would imply, not “εἰ ἔδρα”, but “ὅτε ἔδρα”. Before “δρῶσα” can mean “εἰ ἔδρα”, we must have “ἐλάνθαν᾽ ἄν”, or some equivalent (as “ἔμελλε λανθάνειν”), in the apodosis. Conversely, before the simple “ἐλάνθανεν” could have a conditional sense, we should require as protasis, not “δρῶσα”, but “εἰ ἔδρα”.

If ἐλάνθαν᾽ ἄν were incorrect (which has not been proved), I should read ἔληθεν ἄν (cp. 1359).

915 *“τἀπιτύμβια is Dindorf's certain correction of τἀπιτίμια, a word which elsewhere always means, ‘the price set’ upon a thing, and so, ‘the penalty’ of a deed: cp. 1382. It cannot be explained as denoting ‘the dues’ paid by Orestes at the grave. Cp. Ant. 901κἀπιτυμβίους” | “χοὰς ἔδωκα”.

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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 901
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1359
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1382
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