σὺ γὰρ αὖτε. For this anticipation of the clause containing the reason cp. Od.1. 337.αὖτε here, with its adversative force, serves to throw an emphasis on “σύ”, ‘thou for thy part.’ See Od.2. 103; 9. 256, 393; Il.1. 404.τά τ᾽ ἄλλα περ, ‘in all else whatsoever:’ so “τά περ ἄλλα” Od.15. 540. Hermes is here called the general messenger of the gods. In the Iliad, Iris for the most part fulfils that office; “Ἶρις . . ἥ τε θεοῖσι μετάγγελος ἀθανάτοισι” Il.15. 144.But Iris is not mentioned in the Odyssey. Some old interpreters, relying on a false etymology that connected “Ἶρις” with “ἔρις”, supposed that Hermes was messenger in matters of peace and Iris in affairs of war. See Serv. on Virg. Aen.5. 606; Hesych. “ἔριδας: τὰς ἐν οὐρανῷ ἴριδας ἀττικῶς”. Cp. Scholl. H. P. Q. T. “ἐν μὲν Ἰλιάδι τῇ Ἴριδι χρῆται διακόνῳ, καταπληκτικὴ γὰρ καὶ τοῖς πολεμικοῖς ἐοικυῖα: ἡ δὲ Ὀδυσσεία μυθώδης ἐστὶν, ὡς καὶ ὁ Ἑρμῆς. παρατηρητέον δὲ ὅτι καὶ ἐν Ἰλιάδι ἅπαξ ἐπέμφθη τῷ τοῖς λύτροις διασῶσαι τὸν Πρίαμον”. Cod. Harl. gives “ἐν τοῖς λύτροις”, sc. in the Rhapsode of the ‘Ransom.’ Perhaps we may omit “τῷ”, and read “ὅπως διασώσαι”. The author of the hymn to Demeter (314 foll.) represents Zeus as first despatching Iris and afterwards Hermes; for the message of Iris fails of its purpose, and Hermes is sent “ὄφρ᾽ Ἀίδην μαλακοῖσι παραιφάμενος ἐπέεσσιν”, “ἁγνὴν Περσεφόνειαν . . ἐξαγάγοι”. This seems to give a hint that Iris is the general medium of communication between the gods, and also between gods and men, while Hermes is chosen for special service requiring careful management. Thus he is sent to convey the warning to Aegisthus ( Od.1. 38); to break to Calypso the necessity of Odysseus' dismissal ( Od.5); and to put Odysseus on his guard against the witcheries of Circe ( Od.10. 277).
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