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Τροιζῆνα. Plutarch (Them. 10) adds φιλοτίμως πάνυ τῶν Τροιζηνίων ὑποδεχομένων. καὶ γὰρ τρέφειν ἐψηφίσαντο δημοσίᾳ, δύο ὀβόλους ἑκάστῳ διδόντες, καὶ τῆς ὀπώρας λαμβάνειν τοὺς παῖδας ἐξεῖναι πανταχόθεν, ἔτι δ̓ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν διδασκάλοις τελεῖν μισθούς. We may note that the places of refuge were all commanded by the Athenian fleet, so that the refugees would not become hostages in the hands of the Peloponnesians (Grundy, 353).

τῷ χρηστηρίῳ. The advice to flee given vii. 140. 2, 141. 4.

This snake was known as οἰκουρὸς ὄφις (Arist. Lys. 758; Hesych. οἰκουρὸν ὄφιν τὸν τῆς Πολιάδος φύλακα δράκοντα. καὶ οἱ μὲν ἕνα φασίν, οἱ δὲ δύο ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ τοῦ Ἐρεχθέως). In the earliest form of the legend Erichthonius (Erechtheus) was the sacred serpent (Paus. i. 24. 7; J. H. S. xxi. 329); later he becomes the child of Earth and foster son of Athena hidden in a chest, being half-man, half-serpent (Hyginus, fab. 166), or a child guarded by serpents (Eur. Ion 20 f., 267-74; Apollodorus iii. 14. 6). For further discussion of the myths of Erichthonius cf. Frazer on Paus. i. 18. 2; Harrison, Mythology of Athens, xxvi-xxxvi; and on the deity as a snake Harrison, Prolegomena to Greek Religion, pp. 17-21, 325 f.

ἐν τῷ ἱρῷ: probably the Erechtheum; cf. ch. 55; v. 72. 3 n.

ὡς ἐόντι. H. will not pledge himself to the existence of the snake, which was believed to be concealed in a secret chest or chamber of the temple, and to prove its existence by the disappearance of the honey-cake offered every new moon (τὰ ἐπιμήνια, cf. vi. 57. 2). Cf. i. 181. 5 n. Plutarch (Them. 10) declares that Themistocles suggested to the priests the interpretation of the portent that the cake on this occasion remained untouched.

τῆς θεοῦ: i.e. Athena Polias (v. 82. 3 n.). The snake was the symbol of her foster-child, Erichthonius, and sacred to the goddess herself. For gods deserting a doomed city cf. Aesch. Sept. c. Theb. 304 f.; Eur. Tro. 25; Virg. Aen. ii. 351; Hor. Odes ii. 1. 25; Tac. Hist. v. 13.

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hide References (8 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (8):
    • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes, 304
    • Aristophanes, Lysistrata, 758
    • Euripides, Ion, 20
    • Euripides, Trojan Women, 25
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.18.2
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.24.7
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 2.351
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 5.13
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