previous next

[458] ‘And he became running water, and [next] a lofty tree in full leaf.’ On the word ὑψιπέτηλος it may be remarked that frequently a simple attribute is expressed by a compound adjective, the inferior part of which repeats only some notion already in the noun, or in other neighbouring words. Compare such words as “δεινόπους, ὠκύπους”, and phrases such as “νόμοι ὑψίποδες, δυσπάρευνον λέχος”. See also Soph. O. C. 17πυκνόπτεροι ἀηδόνες” , meaning only ‘many nightingales;’ “χαλκόπους ὀδός” ib. 57, “ἑκατομπόδων Νηρῄδων ἀκόλουθος” ib. 718, “ἄνδρ᾽ ἕν᾽ οἰόζωνονSoph. O. R.846, “δισσάρχας βασιλῆςSoph. Aj.390, “καλλίπηχυς βραχίωνEur. Troad.1194, “κορᾶν ἀγέλαν ἑκατόγγυιον” Pind. fr. 87. 12. We have again “δρῦς ὑψίκομοςHom. Od.12. 357. Compare here

Nam modo te iuvenem, modo te videre leonem;
Nunc violentus aper, nunc, quem tetigisse timerent,
Anguis eras: modo te faciebant cornua taurum.
Saepe lapis poteras, arbor quoque saepe videri;
Interdum faciem liquidarum imitatus aquarum
Flumen eras, interdum undis contrarius ignis:

and see generally Virg. Geor. 4. 387-449. Later philosophical writers believed that these transformations of Proteus foreshadowed the opinions of the Ionic sages about the origin of the universe. So Sextus Empir. adv. Math. 7. 11 “ μὲν γὰρ ποιητὴς περὶ τούτων ἀποδιδούς φησιν ἐν οἷς περὶ Πρωτέως καὶ Εἰδοθέας ἀλληγορεῖ: τὸ μὲν πρῶτον καὶ ἀρχικώτατον αἴτιον Πρωτέα καλῶν, τὴν δὲ εἰς εἴδη τρεπομένην οὐσίαν, Εἰδοθέαν”.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (7):
    • Euripides, Trojan Women, 1194
    • Homer, Odyssey, 12.357
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 390
    • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, 17
    • Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 846
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 8.732
    • Vergil, Georgics, 4.387
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: