πρωτογόνων: schol. εὐγενῶν. Elsewhere “πρωτόγονος” always = ‘firstborn.’ But as “ἀρχαιόγονος” can mean ‘of ancient race’ ( Ant. 981), so “πρωτόγονος” ‘of foremost race.’ Cp. Thuc. 3. 65§ 2 “ἄνδρες ὑμῶν οἱ πρῶτοι καὶ χρήμασι καὶ γένει.” ἴσως does not imply a doubt as to whether Philoctetes is of noble birth, but merely gives a certain vagueness to the surmise that no one else was nobler. Yet Nauck (following Burges) changes ἴσως to γεγὼς because the Chorus must have known the hero to be noble. Cp. Tr. 301(Deianeira is pitying the captives sent to her by Heracles), “αἳ πρὶν μὲν ἦσαν ἐξ ἐλευθέρων ἴσως” | “ἀνδρῶν”: where “ἴσως” does not mean that she doubts their former freedom, but merely that she does not know their fathers' names. Cp. “που” in Thuc. 7. 77§ 2 (Nicias speaking of himself), “οὔτ᾽ εὐτυχίᾳ δοκῶν που ὕστερός του εἶναι”. So we sometimes guard a statement by saying, ‘perhaps’ the greatest, etc. οὐδενὸς sc. “ἀνδρός. οὐδεὶς οἴκων πρωτογόνων” could mean either (a) no house of those houses, or (b) no man belonging to them; cp. Plat. Prot. 316B “Ἀπολλοδώρου υἱός, οἰκίας μεγάλης”. Here it is possible, indeed, to supply “οἴκου” (‘a man inferior to no house,’ i.e., ‘to no member of a house’). But in compressed Greek comparison the type “τὸ ἐκείνου γένος οὐχ ὕστερόν ἐστι τῶν βασιλέων” (sc. “τοῦ γένους”), is commoner than “ἐκεῖνος” (for “τὸ ἐκείνου γένος”) “οὐχ ὕστερός ἐστι τοῦ τῶν βασιλέων γένους”,—which latter would be the type here. Further, the fact that “οὐδενὸς” (“οἴκου”) depends on “οἴκων” would increase the awkwardness. The reading ἥκων for οἴκων is specious; cp. Soph. Ai. 636“δς ἐκ πατρῴας ἥκων γενεᾶς <ἄριστος”>: though “ἄριστος” is there doubtful. But οἴκων is confirmed (a) by Eur. Ion 1073“ἁ τῶν εὐπατριδᾶν γεγῶσ᾽ οἴκων”: and (b) by the bold use of “πρωτογόνων”, which “οἴκων” helps to interpret.— οὐδενὸς ὕστερος, as Plat. Tim.p. 20 A “οὐσίᾳ καὶ γένει οὐδενὸς ὕστερος ὢν τῶν ἐκεῖ”.
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