μελάντερον ἠύτε πίσσα, blacker than pitch. This is the only instance of the use of “ἠύτε” in this sense; probably we ought to read “ἠέ τε”, as Brandreth and Bekker suggest, on the analogy of Od. 16.216 “κλαῖον δὲ λιγέως, ἀδινώτερον ἤ τ᾽ οἰωνοί” (where Buttmann would read “ηὖτ᾽”). It is not possible to get a natural sense if we take “ἠύτε” in its regular meaning; we can only make it mean ‘growing blacker and blacker, like pitch,’ or else ‘all the blacker because of its distance’ (so Ameis and Fäsi), neither of which alternatives is satisfactory. But Ap. Rhod. seems to have taken the passage in this way Ap. Rhod., i. 269 “κλαίουσ᾽ ἀδινώτερον, ἠύτε κούρη .. μύρεται” . The meanings ‘as’ and ‘than’ are so closely allied that we need not be surprised to find a word capable of taking both, like the German wie, als, Latin quam, and as in O. E. (New Engl. Dict. AS, B. i. 4). Hentze objects that ‘blacker than pitch’ is merely hyperbolical and therefore un-Homeric; but cf. “λευκότεροι χιόνος” 10.437. Besides, a heavy thunder-cloud may seem really blacker, because dead in hue, than pitch, which always has its darkness relieved by bright reflexions from its surface.
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