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“πρίν γ᾽ ἐπ᾽ Ἀχιλλῆος καλλίτριχε βήμεναι ἵππω”,
“νῶι κατακτείναντα, φοβῆσαί τε στίχας ἀνδρῶν”
“Ἀργείων, ἤ κ᾽ αὐτὸς ἐνὶ πρώτοισιν ἁλοίη”.
In the combination ἑνδεκάτη τε δυωδεκάτη τε, the copulative “τε” has in our idiom a disjunctive force: it seems to put the two dates on exactly the same footing and to leave the choice wholly indifferent between them. For a similar use of “τε . . τε” introducing a similar alternative cp. Eurip. Heracl.153“φέῤ”, (“ἀντίθες γὰρ”） “τούσδε τ᾽ εἰς γαῖαν παρεὶς”, “ἡμᾶς τ᾽ ἐάσας ἐξάγειν, τί κερδανεῖς”; The eleventh or twelfth day is the natural expression for anything in excess of the normal number ten, cp. Hom. Od.4. 588Hom. Od., 747; so, Hom. Od.19. 192“τῷ δ᾽ ἤδη δεκάτη ἢ ἑνδεκάτη πέλεν ἠώς”, Hom. Od.3. 391“οἴνου . . τὸν ἑνδεκάτῳ ἐνιαυτῷ”
“ὤιξεν ταμίη”, Hom. Il.21. 156“ἥδε δέ μοι νῦν”
“ἠὼς ἑνδεκάτη”, Hom. Il.1. 425“δωδεκάτῃ δέ τοι αὖτις ἐλεύσεται”. For “δεκάτη” used with the force of a sort of round number, like our dozen, cp. Hom. Od.9. 83, and notice that ten years is the time given for carrying on the siege of Troy. As Ameis remarks, the possibility of keeping Penelope uninformed of her son's departure for so long a time shows that their intercourse together was not regular.
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