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ποντίαςκλιθείς. The general sense is simply, ‘where is he on sea or land?’ ποντίας, rather than ποντίους (see cr. n.), is probably right. According to Athenaeus (p. 189 D), “αὐλών” is masc. in Attic prose, but fem. in poetry: he quotes Soph. (fr. 503) “ἐπακτίας αὐλῶνας”, and Carcînus (fr. 1) “βαθεῖαν εἰς αὐλῶνα”. Although, then, “πόντιος” could be used as an adj. of two terminations, Soph. may have preferred the distinctively fem. form here. In Aesch. P. V.731, however, the word is masc., “αὐλῶν᾽ ἐκπερᾶν Μαιωτικόν” (of the Cimmerian Bosporus).

The constr. is, πόθι (=που) ναίει ποντίας αὐλῶνας δισς. ἀπείροις κλιθείς; lit., ‘where he is situated, either on the sea-straits, or in a resting-place on one of the two continents.’ ναίει thus governs an acc. in the first clause, while in the second it stands intransitively with a partic. For a similar difference in form between the clauses after

, cp. Thuc.4. 5ἐν ὀλιγωρίᾳ ἐποιοῦντο” (“τοὺς Ἀθηναίους”), “ὡς... οὐχ ὑπομενοῦντας σφᾶς, ῥᾳδίως ληψόμενοι βίᾳ”: where the acc. “ὑπομενοῦντας” (governing “σφᾶς”) is better taken as depending on the verb than as absol. For “ναίειν” as=merely ‘to be in a place,’ cp. Soph. O. C.117, “ποῦ ναίει”, said, as here, of a wanderer.

δισς. ἀπείροις κλιθείς, lit., ‘resting upon’ them, as on a support; i.e., having found an abode on land, instead of roaming over sea. The phrase was suggested by the epic use of “κέκλιμαι”, as said (a) of land which slopes down to the water's edge,—thus, as it were, ‘resting on’ the water; Od.13. 234ἀκτὴ” | “κεῖθ᾽ ἁλὶ κεκλιμένη”: (b) of a person who dwells on the edge of water; Il.5. 709λίμνῃ κεκλιμένος Κηφισίδι” (where see Leaf): ib. 15. 740π̓όντῳ κεκλιμένοι” (the Greeks ‘leaning on’ the sea): ib. 16. 67ῥηγμῖνι θαλάσσης κεκλίαται”. So in Pind. O. 1. 92 the buried Pelops is described as “Ἀλφεοῦ πόρῳ κλιθείς”, ‘resting by’ (lit. ‘upon’) ‘the stream of the Alpheus.’ Here, however, Soph. has modified the usage,—the dat. denoting land, not water; and the sense is not, dwelling ‘on the shore of’ either continent, but simply, anywhere within their limits.

This use of δισσαῖσιν is possible only because πόθι precedes. We could not say (e.g.), “δισσαῖς ἠπείροις οἰκεῖ”, meaning ‘he dwells in one of the two continents.’ But it is correct to say, “ποῦ δισσαῖς ἠπείροις οἰκεῖ; meaning, ‘where in (either of) the two continents is his home?’

‘The two continents’ (Europe and Asia, Africa being included in the latter) mean, ‘the habitable world.’ Isocr. or. 4 § 179τῆς γὰρ γῆς ἁπάσης τῆς ὑπὸ τῷ κόσμῳ κειμένης δίχα τετμημένης, καὶ τῆς μὲν Ἀσίας τῆς δ᾽ Εὐρώπης καλουμένης”. Varro De Ling. Lat. 4Ut omnis natura in caelum et terram divisa est, sic caelum in regiones, terra in Asiam et Europam.” (Sallust, however, remarks that the division into three continents had been more usual: Jug. 17.

ποντίας αὐλῶνας is merely a general expression for the sea. The phrase was suggested by the Aegaean, with its “interfusa nitentes | … aequora Cycladas(Hor. C. 1. 14. 19). Paley understands:—‘Is he near home, in the Euripus (“αὐλῶνας”), or midway between both continents, i.e., in the Hellespont?’ Mr Whitelaw, too, thinks that the Hellespont is meant, and that “δισς. ἀπείροις”=‘on a slope looking towards both continents,’—the sea being regarded as an eminence.

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hide References (10 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (10):
    • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 731
    • Homer, Iliad, 15.740
    • Homer, Iliad, 16.17
    • Homer, Iliad, 5.709
    • Homer, Odyssey, 13.234
    • Isocrates, Panegyricus, 179
    • Pindar, Olympian, 1
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 117
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.5
    • Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum, 17
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