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ἀλλ᾽ οὐ γάρ: elliptical: O. C.755 n.

553 f. The MSS. have δ᾽ ἔχω | λυτήριον λύπημα. For the adj., cp. El.635λυτηρίους” | “εὐχὰς...δειμάτων”: ib. 1490 “τόδ᾽ ἂν κακῶν μόνον γένοιτο τῶν πάλαι λυτήριον”: fr. 687 “τὸ μεθύειν πημονῆς λυτήριον”. Clearly, then, “λυτήριον” is sound: and it must mean, as everywhere else, ‘giving deliverance.’ The corrupt word is λύπημα: it has displaced some word of which “λυτήριον” could be the epithet. I believe that Sophocles wrote λώφημα, ‘a means of relief.’ Hesychius shows that this noun was not only current, but tolerably familiar; for he has “λῶφαρ: λώφημα”,—using it to explain the rarer form. The corruption into “λύπημα” probably arose through a marginal gloss, “λύπης”, on “λυτήριον”.

Deianeira is here speaking of an expedient which gives her some hope, indeed, but no assured confidence (590 f.). This exactly suits the usage of “λωφᾶν” and its derivatives, which denote the alleviation of evil,—not its complete removal. Cp. Ai.61ἐπειδὴ τοῦδ᾽ ἐλώφησεν πόνου”. Thuc.6. 12ἀπὸ νόσου μεγάλης καὶ πολέμου βραχύ τι λελωφήκα<*>εν”. Plat. Legg. 854 Cἐὰν μέν σοι δρῶντι ταῦτα λωφᾷ τι τὸ νόσημα”. Thuc. uses “λώφησις”, ‘abatement’ ( 4. 81τοῦ πολέμου”). Deianeira, in bethinking her of the philtre, has found that which holds out a promise of deliverance, and assuages, though it does not cure, her pain,—a “λυτήριον λώφημα”.

The attempted versions of “λυτήριον λύπημα” have been these:—(1) With a comma after “τῇδ̓”: ‘a thing to grieve this girl, for my deliverance’:—a grammatically sound phrase, but wholly unsuited to Deianeira, whose aim is to be more loved than Iolè (584 ff.),—but not to pain her. (2) Taking “λυτήριον” as=“λυτόν”: ‘how I find that my pain is remediable.’ This is impossible. (3) Governing “λύπημα” by “λυτήριον”: ‘how I have a thing to remedy my pain.’ Also impossible.

Paley, changing ἔχω to ἔχει, renders, ‘in what way my grief has a remedy’— making “λυτήριον” a subst. This is clearly untenable. He cites Pind. P.5. 106τὸ καλλίνικον λυτήριον δαπανᾶν” | “μέλος χαρίεν”: but there “λυτήριον” is a second epithet of “μέλος”. Nor is the case helped by Hesychius, “λυτήριον: φυλακτήριον.— τῇδ̓ ὑμῖν φράσω”: the words mean strictly that the story will follow the course— i.e., will exhibit the line of thought—by which the remedy has been found.

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Pindar, Pythian, 5
    • Plato, Laws, 854c
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 61
    • Sophocles, Electra, 635
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 755
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.81
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.12
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