The Philoctetes of Euripides was produced in 431 B.C.1,
The Philoctetes of Euripides.
1 Argum. The Medea, Philoctetes and Dictys formed a trilogy, with the Theristae as satyric drama.
2 Dion's 59th discourse bears the title “ΦΙΛΟΚΤΗΤΗΣ. ΕΣΤΙ ΔΕ ΠΑΡΑΦΡΑΣΙΣ”. It is simply a prose paraphrase—without preface or comment—of the soliloquy and the subsequent dialogue, down to the point at which Philoctetes invites Odysseus to enter his cave. Although it would be easy to turn Dion's prose into iambics (as Bothe and others have done), it is evident that, at least in several places, the paraphrase has been a free one. The whole passage, in its original form, cannot have been much shorter than the “πρόλογος” in the play of Sophocles.
3 In the Ajax, Athena makes Odysseus invisible to the hero (v. 85); but Ajax is already frenzied; and the scene is short.
6 By this reference to his own base crime, the cynicism of the Euripidean Odysseus is made needlessly odious. The Sophoclean Odysseus merely authorises his young friend to abuse him (64 f.).
7 Dion or. 52 § 8 “ὁ Εὐριπίδης τὸν Ἄκτορα” [MSS. “Ἕκτορα”] “εἰσάγει ἕνα Λημνίων ὡς γνώριμον τῷ Φιλοκτήτῃ προσιόντα καὶ πολλάκις συμβεβληκότα”. Hyginus Fab. 102(in an outline of the story, taken from Euripides) says:—“quem expositum pastor regis Actoris nomine Iphimachus Dolopionis filius nutrivit.” Schneidewin, supposing that Hyginus had accidentally interchanged the names, proposed to read, “pastor regis Iphimachi Dolopionis filii nomine Actor.” Milani (Mito di Filottete p. 34) obtains the same result in a more probable way when he conjectures, “pastor regis Iphimachi nomine Actor Dolopionis filius.” As he remarks, Euphorion, in his “Φιλοκτήτης” (on which see below, § 18), introduced a “Δολοπιονίδης” (Stobaeus Flor. 59. 16). And Dion's description of Actor as “ἕνα Λημνίων” would apply to a shepherd better than to a king. Ovid, however, seems to make Actor king of Lemnos (Trist. 1. 10. 17): Fleximus in laevum cursus, et ab Actoris urbe | Venimus ad portus, Imbria terra, tuos. The best MSS. there have Actoris: others, Hectoris.
8 The first of these two verses is preserved by Plut. Mor. 1108B, who from the second v. quotes only “αἰσχρὸν σιωπᾶν”. The second v. was made proverbial by Aristotle's parody (“αἰσχρὸν σιωπᾶν Ἰσοκράτην δ᾽ ἐᾶν λέγειν”). That the original word was “βαρβάρους” appears from Cic. de orat. 3. 35. 141; where, as in Quintil. 3. 1. 14, it is called ‘a verse from the Philoctetes.’ That this was the play of Euripides, is a certain inference from the fact of the Trojan embassy.
9 Or. 52§ 11 “ὥσπερ ἀντίστροφός ἐστι τῇ τοῦ Αἰσχύλου, πολιτικωτάτη καὶ ῥητορικωτάτη οὖσα κ.τ.λ.” So, again, he speaks of the “ἐνθυμήματα πολιτικά” used by Odysseus: of the “ἰαμβεῖα σαφῶς καὶ κατὰ φύσιν καὶ πολιτικῶς ἔχοντα”: and of the whole play as marked by “τὸ ἀκριβὲς καὶ δριμὺ καὶ πολιτικόν”. The word “πολιτικός” is here used in the special sense which Greek writers on rhetoric had given to it. By “πολιτικὸς λόγος” they meant public speaking as distinguished from scholastic exercises,—especially speaking in a deliberative assembly or a law-court. See Attic Orators, vol. I. p. 90. Dion's reiteration of the word marks his feeling that the rhetorical dialectic of Euripides in this play would have been telling in the contests of real life. And hence the play is described by him as “τοῖς ἐντυγχάνουσι πλείστην ὠφέλειαν παρασχεῖν δυναμένη”,—‘to those who engage in discussion.’ For this use of “ἐντυγχάνειν”, cp. Arist. Top. 1. 2, where dialectic is said to be profitable “πρὸς τὰς ἐντεύξεις”: and Arist. Rhet. 1. 1. 12, with Cope's note.