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προβάλλουσι, ‘in utter despair.’ The idea comes from the action of throwing themselves on the ground in despair; cf. Cic. Tusc. ii. 54 ‘Qui doloris speciem ferre non possunt abiciunt se atque ita adflicti et exanimati iacent’.


For the threat of self-starvation cf. Eur. Iph. Taur. 972, and sitting dharna (Maine, Early Institutions, p. 40), Macan.


For the intercession of Pallas cf. Hom. Il. viii. 30 f., and for the identification of Fate with the will of Zeus i. 91 n.

πελάσσας: masculine because the god speaks through the Pythia. For the phrase ‘make as of steel’ cf. Hesiod, Ἔργα 431 γόμφοισι πελάσας, Aesch. Prom. Vinct. 155δέσμοις ἀλύτοις . . . πελάσας”, Pind. Pyth. iv. 227, Ol. i. 78.

Κέκροπος οὖρος: not the Acropolis (cf. c. 142), though it is called Κεροπία πέτρα (Eur. Ion 936) and Cecrops (viii. 44. 1) was buried in the Erechtheum, presumably in the Cecropeum, but the ‘border of Attica’, of which the hollow of Cithaeron is roughly the Western boundary (cf. ix. 39; v. 74. 2). The Pythia quite naturally names the boundary towards Delphi.

Τριτογενεῖ: cf. iv. 180. 5 n.


Δημήτηρ: like Ceres = corn. ‘When the corn is scattered or gathered,’ i.e. in seed-time or harvest; but there may be also an allusion to Eleusinian ritual; cf. viii. 65 Macan. The last two lines have been generally regarded (e.g. by Busolt, Meyer, and even by Hauvette) as an ex post facto addition to the oracle, but in their favour it may be urged (1) they follow naturally the promise ἔτι τοί ποτε κἀντίος ἔσσῃ, (2) they admit of a double interpretation (cf. i. 53. 3), (3) the time is vague; only the place is definite. Delphi must have known that the Peloponnesians wished to defend the Isthmus, and that Salamis would be a natural port for the fleet (cf. Munro, J.H.S. xxii. 306).

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 155
    • Euripides, Ion, 936
    • Pindar, Pythian, 4
    • Pindar, Olympian, 1
    • Homer, Iliad, 8.30
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