μεγάλων ἐπιίστορα ἔργων is a phrase of which it is very difficult to determine the exact meaning. “ἴστωρ” in Homer means ‘a judge,’ one who takes cognizance and decides ( Il.18. 501. Il., 23. 486): and “ἐπιίστωρ” must be much the same (cp. “μάρτυρος” and “ἐπιμάρτυρος, οὖρος” and “ἐπίουρος”, &c.). It can hardly mean ‘knowing, versed in,’ though that sense is probable in Hom. H. xxxii (where the Muses are called “ἵστορες ᾠδῆς”) and in Hes. Op. 790.Still less can it mean ‘privy to,’ ‘an accomplice in.’ Again, “μεγάλα ἔργα” can only mean ‘great deeds’ or ‘great things.’ The bad sense, or tendency to a bad sense, observable in the phrase “μέγα ἔργον” depends on the context (see on 19. 92). It does not justify us in taking “μεγάλα ἔργα” as simply equivalent to ‘deeds of violence.’ But how or under what aspect of his character Heracles is called ‘judge of great deeds’ is hard to say. The title does not appear particularly suitable to the context in which we find it here.
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