Sophocles: Oedipus the King 9781108419512, 1108419518

For centuries the myth of Oedipus, the man who unwittingly killed his father and married his mother, has exerted a power

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Sophocles: Oedipus the King
 9781108419512, 1108419518

Table of contents :
Series page
Title page
Copyright page
1 Date of the First Performance
2 Production and Staging
3 Myth and Originality
4 What Kind of a Play is This?
5 Transmission and Text
Text and Critical Apparatus
Prologue (1–150)
Parodos (151–215)
First Episode (216–462)
First Stasimon (463–512)
Second Episode (513–862)
Second Stasimon (863–910)
Third Episode (911–1085)
Third Stasimon (1086–1109)
Fourth Episode (1110–85)
Fourth Stasimon (1186–1222)
Exodos (1223–1530)
1 Abbreviations: Reference Works
2 Abbreviations: Scholars’ Names
3 Editions and Translations of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King
4 Works Cited by Author’s Name
5 Works Cited by Author’s Name with Date
Index of Greek
Index of Subjects

Citation preview






P. J. FINGLASS Henry Overton Wills Professor of Greek and Head of the Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Bristol

University Printing House, Cambridge cb2 8bs, United Kingdom One Liberty Plaza, 20th Floor, New York, ny 10006, USA 477 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne, vic 3207, Australia 314–321, 3rd Floor, Plot 3, Splendor Forum, Jasola District Centre, New Delhi – 110025, India 79 Anson Road, #06–04/06, Singapore 079906 Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge. It furthers the University’s mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence. Information on this title: doi: 10.1017/9781108303439 © Cambridge University Press 2018 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published 2018 Printed in the United Kingdom by Clays, St Ives plc A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data names: Sophocles, author. | Finglass, Patrick, 1979– editor. title: Oedipus the king / Sophocles ; edited with introduction, translation, and commentary by P. J. Finglass. description: Cambridge ; New York, ny : Cambridge University Press, 2018. | series: Cambridge classical texts and commentaries identifiers: lccn 2017023993 | isbn 9781108419512 (hardback) subjects: LCSH: Sophocles – Translations into English. | Oedipus (Greek mythological figure) – Drama. | Antigone (Mythological character) – Drama. | GSAFD: Tragedies. classification: lcc pa4414.a2 f56 2018 | ddc 882/.01–dc23 LC record available at isbn 978-1-108-41951-2 Hardback Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

MARTINI LITCHFIELD WEST IN MEMORIAM κεκλῆσθαι δ’ ἐς δαῖτα, παρέζεσθαι δὲ παρ’ ἐσθλόν ἄνδρα χρεὼν σοφίην πᾶσαν ἐπιστάμενον. τοῦ συνιεῖν, ὁπόταν τι λέγῃ σοφόν, ὄφρα διδαχθῇς καὶ τοῦτ’ εἰς οἶκον κέρδος ἔχων ἀπίῃς.

CONTENTS page ix


INTRODUCTION 1 Date of the First Performance 2 Production and Staging 3 Myth and Originality 4 What Kind of a Play is This? 5 Transmission and Text

1 1 6 13 40 82


95 97 103

C O M M E N T AR Y Prologue (1–150) Parodos (151–215) First Episode (216–462) First Stasimon (463–512) Second Episode (513–862) Second Stasimon (863–910) Third Episode (911–1085) Third Stasimon (1086–1109) Fourth Episode (1110–85) Fourth Stasimon (1186–1222) Exodos (1223–1530)

163 166 207 236 317 336 428 447 492 501 521 539

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1 Abbreviations: Reference Works 2 Abbreviations: Scholars’ Names 3 Editions and Translations of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King 4 Works Cited by Author’s Name 5 Works Cited by Author’s Name with Date

620 620 623


623 625 632



Index of Greek Index of Subjects

677 686


PREFACE Oedipus the King is a central work of western literature, a play for which the term ‘canonical’ might have been invented; yet there has been no new critical edition of the play with introduction and detailed commentary (editio maior) in any language since 1883. The aim of this book is to fill that daunting gap. At the heart of the volume lies a new text of the drama. Establishing the text of a long-studied author like Sophocles might seem otiose – yet the two major critical editions of the seven plays, the Oxford Classical Text and the Teubner (the only critical editions published since the discovery of Sophoclean papyri and the collation of a decent number of mediaeval manuscripts), differ from each other in more than a thousand places,1 which gives an indication of just how controversial this question remains. My text in turn differs substantially from those two recent editions;2 intended to present, as accurately as the evidence allows, and subject to modern printing conventions, what Sophocles actually wrote, it will for sure repeatedly fall short of that aim. The accompanying critical apparatus offers the evidence for readings adopted in the text, as well as important variants in the manuscript tradition and significant attempts by modern scholars to emend those manuscripts when they believe them to be corrupt. The complexity of the tradition and the substantial corruption suffered by the text mean that the apparatus is fairly substantial. It is nevertheless highly selective, and could easily have been much bigger; but readers can always turn to the commentary for fuller consideration of any individual point.

1 2

For a list see Renehan (1992) 335, 374–5. For example, I count fifty-six substantive differences between my text and that of the revised 1992 Oxford Classical Text by Lloyd-Jones and Wilson (excluding matters of orthography and so forth), or more than one every thirty lines; many of these have major implications for sense and interpretation (e.g. 162, 175/6, 230, 463/4, 510/11, 611–12, 624, 625, 677, 892–893/4 ~ 906–907/8, 1196/7, 1453, [1524–30]).



The commentary repeats the Greek text of the entire play, here lemmatised into sections the length of a sentence or other easily-recognisable sense unit, and each lemma is immediately followed by a translation. As a result the commentary contains a fairly literal translation of the entire play – placed there, rather than opposite the Greek text, because translating a lemma is, for me, an essential part of commenting on it.3 By beginning each lemma with a translation, I tell the reader from the outset what I understand a particular sentence to mean; where the translation is not obvious (and in Sophocles it rarely is), or where any English rendering will fail to bring out some key aspect of the original (again, frequently the case in Sophocles), the note gives a fuller explanation, just as it discusses any textual decision relevant to its lemma. In addition to establishing and translating the text, the commentary discusses the impact and significance of individual words, of phrases, of speeches, and of episodes and choral songs. The close consideration of language and style which this demands is interwoven with analysis of staging and production. To allow analysis of units larger than any individual lemma, I include notes on whole chunks of text, such as particular speeches or sections within an episode. Individual episodes and choral songs each have their general note too, printed in the larger type used in the introduction to the volume to indicate their status as introductory material. The commentary also contains a full metrical analysis of all lyric sections; these identify the metres used in a song and, where possible, discern stylistic patterns. A particular problem for the commentator on Oedipus the King is the all-pervasiveness of irony within the drama; indeed, the concept of ‘dramatic irony’ was first explicated in the context of a discussion of this very play.4 The gap between what the 3


Of published translations I have found most helpful those by Paul Mazon and Oliver Taplin. Lloyd-Jones’s Loeb is often useful too, but sometimes falls short of adequately rendering the sense of the Greek (contrast, for example, his translation of 547 with Mazon’s), and the original 1994 impression of the book occasionally omits entire lines. Thirlwall (1833) (although he does not use this exact phrase). For a recent discussion of irony in the play see Rutherford (2012) 346–8;



characters know and what the audience surmise from their general awareness of the myth ensures that a large proportion, perhaps even a majority, of its lines can be read as conveying degrees of dramatic irony.5 I have pointed only to some of these instances; for whereas the playwright employing such relentless irony may delight his audience, the commentator who noted every possible case would have the reverse effect on his. So the absence of a comment on irony in a given passage in no way implies a claim that no irony is present. More generally, the commentary makes no claims to comprehensiveness of any kind, and would soon be found out if it did. Unlike Morris Zapp, who in David Lodge’s Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses (1975) was at work on a commentary on Jane Austen’s novels ‘saying absolutely everything that could possibly be said about them . . . The idea was to be utterly exhaustive . . . so that when each commentary was written there would be simply nothing further to say about the novel in question’, I am relaxed about the selectivity necessary to produce a commentary on this play that fits into a single volume. Professor Zapp, it will be recalled, anticipated writing several on each novel, though in the end he failed to finish even one. The introduction proper is divided into five sections. The first investigates when the play saw its first performance and tentatively concludes that this took place in the 430s; it emphasises that the date commonly and confidently given in standard handbooks and works of scholarship, the early 420s, has nothing in particular to recommend it. The second examines aspects of that first performance: the festival at which it took place, the composition and reaction of its audience, the nature of the set where the play was staged, an overview of the entrances and exits made by the characters and chorus, and the division of parts between the three available actors. Discussion of the dramatic


also Williams (1993) 147–9. Hug (1872) is a list of phrases with double meanings, an aspect of the play appreciated in antiquity (927–8n.) and the mediaeval period (see Finglass (forthcoming 3)). ‘In the two Oedipuses [of Sophocles] we conceive it [i.e. dramatic irony] is the main feature in the treatment of the subject, and is both clearly indicated by their structure, and unequivocally exprest in numberless passages’ (Thirlwall (1833) 503).



impact of individual entrances and exits, however, or of other points of staging and production, is found not here but in the commentary. The third section considers accounts of the Oedipus myth up to about the fourth century bc, before discussing how original Sophocles was in his treatment of the story. Although other versions of the myth are brief and fragmentary, we can nevertheless discern how Sophocles has adapted the story for his own literary ends, giving the lie to the claim made by a character in the fourth-century comic dramatist Antiphanes that the course of any tragedy involving the Oedipus myth was entirely predictable by its audience.6 The fourth section examines Oedipus the King as a whole under a succession of different headings: as a suppliant drama, a recognition tragedy, a nostosplay, a foundling narrative, a work of theodicy, a tragicomedy. These characterisations are intended to be suggestive rather than exhaustive, and to stimulate readers ahead of tackling the play with the commentary by emphasising the diversity of possible approaches to the work. The fifth and last section considers the transmission of the play from its original performance down to our own day, with a particular focus on its reception in antiquity. Sophocles’ plays were reperformed even in his own lifetime, and there is every reason to believe that he hoped that this would continue after his death; focusing on the first performance to the exclusion of any other is probably contrary to the playwright’s own intentions, quite apart from the historical and cultural significance of tracing the transmission of so important a work. Part of the evidence for that transmission consists of the manuscripts, ancient and mediaeval, from which, together with other, indirect sources, our text is derived; their value as sources for the text is analysed in this section too, which thus explains the choice of manuscripts cited regularly in the apparatus. Writing on any Sophoclean drama is a chastening exercise. Writing on Oedipus the King, given its deserved fame, is perhaps most challenging of all; here Robin Nisbet’s engagingly preposterous dictum, that ‘a commentary should not be duller than the text on which it is based’, is harder to live up to than ever.7 But if 6 7

Antiph. fr. 189 PCG. In Hollis’s edition of Ovid, Ars Amatoria 1, p. vii.



this book takes us closer to the text of the play used in its first performance, explains what that text means, and conveys, however inadequately, some aspects of Sophocles’ extraordinary ability as a poet and a dramatist, I – and, I hope, my readers – will be content with that. *** First thanks are once more due to James Diggle, who has again read each section of the commentary as it was completed; his support and encouragement for my work since we first met at my doctoral viva in December 2003 has been unstinting. It is also a pleasure to reiterate my gratitude to Michael Reeve and Neil Hopkinson, who commented in great detail on the finished typescript; to Lyndsay Coo and to Alan Sommerstein, who generously read the Introduction; to Muriel Hall, whose expert copy-editing has once more spared me many blushes; and to Michael Sharp and all his staff at Cambridge University Press for their unfailing help. I began working on this book in 2013/14, when I was Head of Department; but by far the greater part of it was written during research leave in the academic years 2014/15 and 2015/16, the bulk of which was funded by the Leverhulme Trust through the award, in 2012, of a Philip Leverhulme prize. Thanks to the Trust’s generosity, I was able to present parts of the introduction and commentary as papers in Bologna, Brisbane, Bristol, Calgary, Coimbra, Göttingen, Heidelberg, Kyoto, Milan, Naples, Newcastle, Nicosia, Nottingham, Oxford, Palermo, St Andrews, Sydney, Thessaloniki, Tokyo, Venice, Victoria, Warsaw, and Wellington, and I am grateful to audiences in all these cities for stimulating discussion. The continuing kindness of All Souls College has allowed me easy access to libraries in Oxford, as well as membership of a unique academic community. I have consulted, with great profit, David Kovacs, Scott Scullion, and George Xenis on individual points; Anna Zouganeli provided me with photographs of the vase described on pp. 20–1; Costas Panayotakis guided my citations of Publilius Syrus; and Guido Avezzù promptly communicated to me information from the archive assembled by Liny van Paassen, now



held at the University of Verona, on conjectures whose locations I had not managed to identify. Oedipus the King was the first tragedy which I encountered in the original Greek, when, at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, we read selections from the play under the direction of James Stone during the academic year 1995/6, using the volume A World of Heroes published by the Joint Association of Classical Teachers (now part of the Classical Association). Attempting to read the Tiresias scene in the original was a bracing experience; twenty years on, it has not got any easier. We were given xeroxes of Dodds’s article ‘On misunderstanding the Oedipus Rex’, the first journal article that I ever read, and in retrospect not a bad place to start. My appreciation of the play was further enhanced by Oliver Taplin’s brilliant lectures during my first term at Oxford in the autumn of 1997. Any value that readers find in this book ultimately derives from the matchless education, at school and at university, that I was so fortunate to receive. This edition is the first that I have published which has not been scrutinised by Martin West. Only he and I will ever know how many errors, small and large, he saved me from; without his guidance, any work of mine will be more than usually imperfect. I had intended to dedicate this book to Martin in honour of what would have been his eightieth birthday. Instead, with Stephanie’s permission, it is dedicated to his memory. P. J. F. F. Bristol, All Souls Day 2017

Patrick Finglass’s work on this book was supported by the award of a Philip Leverhulme Prize by the Leverhulme Trust.


INTRODUCTION 1 DATE OF THE FIRST PERFORMANCE Oedipus the King is probably the fourth of the seven plays of Sophocles that have survived complete, as we can infer from various formal criteria.1 Over time Sophocles seems to have become readier to employ interlinear hiatus – ending one line, and beginning the next, with a vowel, when there is no accompanying pause in the sense; Oedipus the King comes fourth of the seven when this increasing tolerance is rendered numerically.2 Over time, too, Sophocles seems to have made more use of antilabê, or mid-line speaker change; here Oedipus the King comes fourth in raw instances of antilabê, third when the number of instances is expressed as a percentage of the number of speaker changes in a given play.3 The play that it swaps places with is Ajax, but as I wrote in my edition of that play: The smaller amount of antilabe in [Oedipus the King] compared with Ajax, as a proportion of all speaker change found in trimeters (OR has 33 changes of speaker for every hundred trimeters, Aj. only 22), reflects the greater density of speaker change in the trimeters of the former play. So even though OR has more instances of antilabe than Aj., the comparative rarity 1



See my Ajax pp. 1–11 for a detailed account of the criteria mentioned in this section. The proportion of trimeters ending with hiatus but without pause to trimeters with hiatus and pause, expressed as a function of the proportion of all trimeters without pause to all trimeters with pause, is as follows: Tr. 22.1, Ant. 33.6, Aj. 33.6, OR 39.5, El. 40.6, OC 53.9, Phil. 57.7 (figures from Stinton (1990) 367). The figures for the number of instances of antilabê in a play, the total number of speaker changes, and the former expressed as a percentage of the latter (that last figure printed in bold) are as follows: Ant. 0, 222, 0.0; Tr. 2, 199, 1.0, OR 10, 378, 2.6, Aj. 8, 214, 3.7, El. 16, 295, 5.4, Phil. 37, 325, 11.4, OC 44, 340, 12.9.



of speaker change in the latter (caused by the greater number of long speeches and monologues) ensures that its percentage figure is lower. Moreover, OR arguably shows greater maturity in its handling of antilabe, since it is found there not just in blocks (626–9, 1173–6), as in Ajax (591–4, 981–5), but also in single lines (676, 1120).4

Two other criteria align Oedipus the King with the three plays likely to be closer to the beginning of Sophocles’ career (Trachiniae, Antigone, and Ajax) rather than with the three likely to be closer to its end (Electra, Philoctetes, or Oedipus at Colonus). First, Oedipus the King contains dactylo-epitrites, a metre found in Trachiniae, Antigone, and Ajax but not in Electra, Philoctetes, or Oedipus at Colonus.5 Second, whereas in Trachiniae, Antigone, Ajax, and Oedipus the King there is a marked tendency for the opening of choral odes to be indirectly, not directly, connected with the preceding episode (twelve indirectly connected, four directly), in Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus that tendency is reversed (three indirectly connected, six directly).6 But the use of threecornered dialogue tends to align Oedipus the King with the three later plays; noting a certain formality in its handling in earlier tragedy, Rutherford contrasts this with the ‘more fluid’ situation prevailing in Oedipus the King, where ‘in one scene Jocasta, Oedipus, Creon and the chorus are all involved in the dispute between the king and his brother-in-law (634–96); in another Oedipus’ questioning of the aged shepherd is backed up by the Corinthian . . . (1110–85)’.7 4 5



My edition, pp. 6–7. Thus Talboy and Sommerstein, in their edition of Sophocles’ fragmentary plays, ii 94. Figures from Mastronarde (2010) 148, which discusses the phenomenon. Rutherford (2012) 41; cf. Reinhardt (1947) 123–4 = (1979) 113–14, Gardiner (1987) 107, and my Ajax, pp. 8–9.



Turning this evidence into hard dates is not easy. All seven surviving plays must have been performed after 467 (the last year for which we know of a performance of a play without a skênê building) and written (and perhaps performed) before 405 (the date of Sophocles’ death). Philoctetes was performed in 409, Oedipus at Colonus posthumously in 401; Oedipus the King is likely to be rather earlier than these plays. Trachiniae must be from after 458 (the date of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, with which it interacts); Oedipus the King is likely to be rather later than this play. Splitting the difference puts us in the 430s; if forced to name a specific decade, this is the one I would go for, but a date in the 440s or 420s would not surprise. Indeed, were a papyrus discovered that firmly dated the play to, say, 451 or 418, that would only underline how fallible are the criteria, how incomplete the data, on which we have to draw.

*** Attempts to discern a more precise date are unpersuasive:8 (i) The information that the tetralogy that included Oedipus the King was defeated by Philocles does not help, since Philocles was certainly producing plays between 424 and 411, and could have been competing as early as 460.9 (ii) Musgrave argued that the account of the plague afflicting Thebes at the start of the play was suggested to Sophocles by the plague that struck Athens in 430, 429, and 427/6, and which would later be so eloquently described by Thucydides.10 This idea was 8

9 10

The discussion of the play’s date in Müller (1984) is problematic; Wilson (1985) responds to his arguments in detail. See my Ajax p. 2 n. 9, adding A/O on Ar. Thesm. 168–70. Musgrave on 25: ‘descriptionem hanc pestis, iterum aliis verbis retractatam [168/9–187] Poetae, ni fallor, suggessit celebris illa Atheniensium calamitas Thucydidi (ii. 49.) diligenter enarrata, deinde et Lucretio, lib. vi’.



supported by Dindorf and elaborated by Knox;11 thanks to Knox’s influence the play is commonly dated to the early 420s, both in works aimed at a general audience and in scholarly books and articles.12 Yet this hypothesis is deeply unsatisfactory: (a) Outbreaks of disease were a fact of life in ancient societies; no doubt there were others during Sophocles’ lifetime about which we are not informed because they lacked their Thucydides to immortalise them. (b) Sophocles did not need to observe a plague to describe one. His decision to begin his work with a plague needs no precedent of any kind, but for what it is worth, we have a literary forerunner for such an opening, namely the Iliad; if we require a source of influence we can look there just as well as to any sickness in the real world. The Iliadic plague will have been in the minds of many in Sophocles’ audience.13 Both plagues occur prominently at the beginning of a work; in both the chief character takes the lead in attempting to address its cause, by consulting a divine spokesman;14 in both the attempt to follow the god’s prophetic advice leads to 11




Dindorf (1836) 21; Knox (1956) = (1979) 112–24. Knox argues for a date of 425. Thus for example the English, Spanish, and German Wikipedia entries (accessed 22 February 2017), the first referring specifically and solely to Knox’s article; and so e.g. Burton (1980) 145 (‘probably performed during the earlier years of the Peloponnesian War’), Raphals (2013) 306 (429), Allan and Potter (2014) 7 (‘some forty years’ after the production of Aeschylus’ Septem in 467), Dougherty (2014) 147 n. 32 (425, citing Knox). See further Hester (1977) 60 (although Hester himself does not adopt that position). These passages in their turn may have been recalled by the readers of Thuc. 2.47–54, as T. Morgan (1994) 206 and Kallett (2013) 361 argue. Cf. Nooter (2012) 82, noting this parallel between Oedipus and Achilles.



a catastrophe greater than the plague, which as a result before long fades away. Musgrave’s hypothesis has something of the romantic fallacy about it, whereby poets can write only about things that they actually experience. (c) Putting such a vivid description of a plague before an audience that had only recently suffered from one in reality might be thought to detract from a tragedy rather than to add to it, since its impact will have been so recent and so traumatic that an audience will not have responded well to the reminiscence.15 As a result, Musgrave arguably dated the play to the period in which it was least likely to have seen its première.16 More generally, such topical references are not the usual province of tragedy.17 As for Knox’s idea that the combination of blight with plague – λιμός with λοιμός, as he puts it – is not attested before Sophocles and 15



Cf. Jebb p. xxx: ‘If Sophocles had set himself to describe the plague at Athens as he had known it, it might have been held that, in an artistic sense, his fault was graver than that of Phrynichus, when, by representing the capture of Miletus, he “reminded the Athenians of their own misfortunes” [Hdt. 6.21.2].’ So also Hester (1977) 60. Similarly, whereas according to Longrigg (1992) 28, ‘it is curious . . . that Aristophanes should have made no mention of the plague in the catalogue of ills caused by the war recited in the Acharnians [425]’, in fact it is no surprise that Aristophanes passed over such a recent intense trauma. ‘The plague is in fact never mentioned in any surviving text (or fragment of a text) composed for public performance or delivery at Athens during the classical period (unlike Thucydides’ history or Plato’s Symposium, which were composed for private reading). It was apparently taboo in a way that military disasters like Syracuse or Aegospotami were not, and this could be held to tell against any date for the play later than 430’ (AHS). According to Taplin (1986) 167, ‘the only years which we can exclude with confidence as the date for the first performance of Oedipus Tyrannos were the years of the plague’, because tragedy does not make ‘particular topical incursions across the stage/auditorium line’.



thus requires special explanation, the pairing is already attested in Hesiod.18 (iii) According to some, Oedipus’ cry ὦ πόλις πόλις (629) is parodied (or rather repeated) in Aristophanes’ Acharnians (27), first performed in 425, and in Eupolis’ Cities (fr. 219.2 PCG), a play dated to 422 or 420.19 But ‘we possess only a small fraction of the tragedies known to Aristophanes, and this unremarkable phrase could easily have occurred in a lost drama’.20 Moreover, although ‘sometimes the works quoted or parodied by comedians would have been relatively fresh in the audience’s minds . . . more often the source texts were years or even decades old’.21 For instance, Euripides’ Telephus, of 438, is parodied in Aristophanes’ Acharnians (425), Thesmophoriazusae (411), and Frogs (405), and line 585 of Ajax (probably 440s) is repeated as line 62 of Aristophanes’ Peace. A guaranteed comic parody of a tragedy provides at best a terminus ante quem for the date of that tragedy; and with our play we have seen no reason to acknowledge a parody in the first place. 2 PRODUCTION AND STAGING (A) FESTIVAL



The festival at which Oedipus the King was originally performed must have been significant enough to have attracted not just Sophocles but also Philocles, no mean 18

19 20


Knox (1956) 136 = (1979) 114; so rightly Calder (1976) 603, citing Hes. Th. 242–5. Thus W. Schmidt (1934) 361 n. 3, though with doubts. Finglass (2013c); similarly Calder (1976) 603, citing Rau (1967) 185, who cites tragic instances of ὦ πόλις and ἰὼ πόλις, together with Ar. Eq. 813 = Plut. 601 ὦ πόλις Ἄργους, κλύεθ’ οἷα λέγει; Wright (2012) 147.



dramatist, as competitors. The City Dionysia, the major dramatic festival in Attica, is most likely, but a performance at the Lenaea or even the Rural Dionysia cannot be ruled out.22 Wherever the play was first performed, the audience will have contained women as well as men, and an audience at the City Dionysia, at least, will have included substantial numbers of Greeks from outside Attica, too.23 The hypothesis tells us that the trilogy of which OR was part came second and that Philocles was victor. In general, Sophocles was a remarkably successful poet, at least at the Dionysia. An inscription from c. 300 bc states that he won eighteen first prizes at that festival alone;24 his total number of victories is variously given as eighteen, twenty, and twenty-four;25 and he was never placed third.26 Second place must have been disappointing for a poet with such a record, especially if the particular excellence of Oedipus the King, so appreciated from at least the time of Aristotle, was apparent to its author and his friends. Yet we should not rush to conclusions about the reception of the play, or of the tetralogy, on the basis of this result. The results of the competition were determined not by popular vote but by the ballots of ten judges, from which a random selection of ballots was made; hence the winning playwright may have received a minority of the votes cast.27 Sophocles’ success over time in the competition reveals that his plays generally won the favour of audiences; but it is hard to draw conclusions from a particular tetralogy falling short. 22 23 24 25



For these last two festivals see my Ajax, p. 11. See Finglass (forthcoming 4) with the references there cited. TrGF i DID A 3a.15 = Millis and Olson (2012) 144. Diod. 13.103.4 (test. 85 TrGF), Carystius fr. 18 FHG (test. 1.33 TrGF), Suda σ 815 (test. 2.10 TrGF). Thus Carystius. For Sophocles’ success in the fifth century see further Finglass (2015c). See Marshall and Van Willigenburg (2004) 102.






The skênê represents Oedipus’ palace at Thebes; decorated panels may indicate this.28 There is an altar in the middle of the orchestra, and perhaps an altar on one or both sides of the central door. One eisodos (which I label A) leads out of Thebes; the other (B) leads elsewhere in the city. Two scenes refer to an altar or altars. The first reference is in the Prologue, when the Priest tells Oedipus that he can see how a crowd has gathered ‘at your altars’ or (with singular for plural) ‘at your altar’ (16); Oedipus later tells the children to ‘get up from the steps’ (142–3), referring to the steps of the altar(s). This suggests a substantial structure capable of accommodating several people. The most obvious place for such an altar would be some way into the orchestra; there is no reason to think that this space was used only by the chorus.29 There may have in addition been smaller altars nearer to the skênê around which the suppliants also gathered, although these are unlikely to have had steps and so could not have been the only altars in question. Moreover, it is dramatically more effective if Oedipus is confronted with the suppliants straight in front of him when he comes through the skênê door, rather than having them only to his immediate left and right. The next reference to an altar comes at the start of the third episode, when Jocasta comes to ‘the shrines of the gods’ (912) to make offerings; as she does so she invokes Lycian Apollo and says that he is ‘nearest’ (919). This 28


The commonly expressed idea that Thebes represents some kind of ‘anti-Athens’ in tragedy was masterfully refuted by Easterling (1989b); see further Taplin (2010) 242, Finglass (2012d), and for portrayals of Thebes in archaic and classical literature see Berman (2013), (2015), S. Larson (2017) 110–15. Thus Rehm (1988) 279. For the presence of an altar some way into the orchestra, perhaps at its centre, see Rehm (1988), Ley (2007) 46–69 (pp. 64–5 on our play); Ashby (1991) argues for an altar on the periphery of the orchestra.



could be an altar near the skênê;30 or it could be the same altar in the orchestra around which the suppliants were gathered.31 The latter alternative is attractive, emphasising as it does the connexions between the supplication of the petitioners at the beginning of the play, and the supplication of Jocasta as the drama approaches its dénouement.32 But the former staging would presumably have involved an altar dedicated to Apollo, with his statue permanently overlooking the action; such an image would ‘hint. . . at the fact that Apollo has been the prime mover for everything we see unfold within this play . . ., and that everything in the play will eventually move back towards him.’33 (C) ENTRANCES



Before 1 A group of children crouch around the altar in the orchestra, and perhaps the altar of Apollo Agyieus as well. Since this is probably a cancelled entry (i.e. one in which the action is considered to begin after some figures have already taken their place on stage), it may not matter where they come from; if it does, they come from eisodos B. 1 Oedipus enters from the skênê, with attendants. 78–84 Creon enters from eisodos A. 150 Oedipus leaves via the skênê, with attendants; Creon, the Priest, and the suppliants leave via eisodos B. 151 The chorus enter from eisodos B. 216 Oedipus enters from the skênê, with attendants. 297–300 Tiresias enters from eisodos B, led by a slave. 462 Oedipus leaves via the skênê, with attendants; Tiresias leaves via eisodos B, led by a slave. 513 Creon enters from eisodos B. 30 31 32

For such altars in honour of Apollo Agyieus see El. 635n. Thus Arnott (1962) 47; Poe (1989) 138 seems agnostic. See 911–1085n., 911–13n. 33 Revermann (2013) 86–7.



Oedipus enters from the skênê. Jocasta enters from the skênê. Creon leaves via eisodos B. Oedipus and Jocasta leave via the skênê, with attendants. 911 Jocasta enters from the skênê, with attendants. 924 The Corinthian messenger enters from eisodos A. 946 One of Jocasta’s attendants leaves via the skênê. 950 Oedipus enters from the skênê. 1070 Attendants leave via eisodos B. 1072 Jocasta leaves via the skênê. 1110–19 Laius’ former slave enters from eisodos B, with attendants. 1185 Oedipus leaves via the skênê, the Corinthian messenger via eisodos A, and Laius’ former slave via eisodos B. 1223 The Theban messenger enters from the skênê. 1297 Oedipus enters from the skênê. 1416–22 Creon enters from eisodos B, with attendants. 1469–75 Attendants enter the skênê and fetch Oedipus’ two daughters. 1523 Oedipus, Creon, and the daughters leave via the skênê, with attendants. 532 631–4 677 862

(D ) P A R T D I V I S I O N Eight parts were distributed between the three actors. I list them below, accompanied by the number of lines belonging to each,34 and the sections of the play during which they appear on stage: 34

I draw these figures from my text, taking an iambic trimeter, an anapaestic dimeter, a lyric ‘line’ as printed in my text, and an exclamation to represent a single line for this purpose. Lyric ‘lines’ are generally shorter than trimeters, but arguably the extra demands made on a singing actor compensate for this. Only Oedipus sings.





Creon Jocasta Tiresias Theban messenger Corinthian messenger Priest Theban Herdsman

127½ 120 77 66

1–150, 216–462, 532–862, 950–1185, 1297–1523 78–150, 513–677, 1416–1523 634–862, 911–1072 297–462 1223–1523



52 27

1–150 1110–85

In addition, the coryphaeus speaks 56 lines, and the chorus sing 268 lines. The same actor cannot play characters appearing together, or with simultaneous or near-simultaneous entrances and exits. In the table below, a single ‘x’ marks an impossible combination: Oed Oed Cre






















x x


TM Cor








x x

The only character who does not appear on stage simultaneously with Oedipus, who delivers over 55% of all the lines 11


delivered by actors, is the Theban messenger; if the same actor played both these parts, his total would rise to 61%. But the actor would in that case have to execute a lightning change of costume between the Theban messenger’s exit at 1296 and Oedipus’ entrance at 1306; and it would seem preferable to give the lead actor35 a rest at this point to allow him to devote all his resources to playing Oedipus in the final scene. Hence the lead actor played Oedipus alone. Of the two remaining actors, one played Creon, the other Jocasta. The Creon-actor must also have played the Corinthian messenger; the Jocasta-actor needed to take on the roles of the Priest and Laius’ former slave. That gives the Creon-actor 184 lines, the Jocasta-actor 199. The Jocastaactor must have played the Theban Messenger too, since that character after his entrance does not leave the stage until the end of the play (1295–6n.), during which time Creon comes on stage; this gives that actor 267 lines. It is theoretically possible that the Jocasta-actor played Tiresias, but more probably that character was played by the Creonactor, so that these two actors had almost exactly equal parts. The division was then as follows: Actor 1: Oedipus (658 lines) Actor 2: Priest, Jocasta, Laius’ former slave, Theban Messenger (267 lines) Actor 3: Creon, Tiresias, Corinthian (261 lines). Actors 2 and 3 may have smaller parts than Actor 1, but they would have had to show considerable versatility to portray their different characters to good effect. Nevertheless, Actor 1 had the starring role, taking as he did a single, central part, as would the lead actors of the last three plays of Sophocles which survive complete, Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus. 35

I avoid calling this actor the πρωταγωνιστής and his two fellow-actors the δευτεραγωνιστής and τριταγωνιστής, since we cannot be sure that these names were in use in this period; cf. Marshall (2003) 259 and (for their earliest attestations) Pickard-Cambridge (1968) 132–5.



3 MYTH AND ORIGINALITY Attempting to understand what was distinctive about Sophocles’ handling of the Oedipus myth requires a brief look at the presentation of that myth down to the end of the fifth century.36 (A) THE TRADITION The two great cycles of myth in early epic were the Trojan and Theban.37 The Theban cycle was partly devoted to the story of the house of Oedipus; the earliest surviving poems are devoted to the Trojan cycle, but incorporate material from the Theban by means of narratives describing the deeds of past generations.38 (i) Both the Homeric poems touch on Oedipus’ story. During Patroclus’ funeral games one of the competitors in the boxing match is Euryalus, ‘who once went to Thebes for the funeral of Oedipus, who had fallen; there he defeated all the Cadmeians.’39 In this version, Oedipus’ death, like Patroclus’, was marked with funeral games;40 such an honour implies that he died at Thebes, as a king. δεδουπότος Οἰδιπόδαο could mean ‘when Oedipus had died’ or ‘when Oedipus had died in battle’.41 The former is probably 36


38 39



For a briefer treatment of the mythological tradition see Finglass (2014e) 358–63, which the present account draws upon and (in places) paraphrases; and Edmunds (2006) 14–56. The variety of mythological variants of this myth is stressed by Bain (1979) 140–1 = McAuslan and Walcot (1993) 88–9. ‘Just as the whole age is represented by its famous warriors, the wars fought by these men are reduced to the two which dominated epic tradition, the Theban and the Trojan’ (West on Hes. Op. 162). See Cingano (2000). Hom. Il. 23.679–80 ὅς ποτε Θήβασδ᾿ ἦλθε δεδουπότος Οἰδιπόδαο | ἐς τάφον· ἔνθα δὲ πάντας ἐνίκα Καδμείωνας. For funeral games for warriors and kings in epic see my edition of Stesichorus, pp. 212–16. Both interpretations are found at SA Hom. Il. 23.679a (v 471.95–9 Erbse). The first is given by the glossographoi, anonymous pre-



preferable, though the choice is far from certain.42 δουπεῖν, derived from δοῦπος ‘heavy sound, thud’, in Homer almost always occurs in descriptions of a death, often in the line δούπησεν δὲ πεσών, ἀράβησε δὲ τεύχε᾿ ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ;43 the verb in such formulae refers to the sound of the body hitting the ground, not to the moment of death itself. Only once in Homer (apart from our passage) does the verb refer to death, and there both ‘die’ and ‘die in battle’ would fit the context.44 Presumably the verb became so familiar in contexts of killing in epic that in time it became associated with that meaning in its own right, but whether it denoted death in battle, violent death, or just death, we cannot say. Since there is no other evidence for Oedipus’ death in battle, and no obvious enemy army at this stage of the mythical cycle for him to fight against, the translation ‘died’ should probably be preferred; but we cannot rule out the possibility that this verb sheds light on a version that has otherwise left no trace. Although this is the only reference to Oedipus in the Iliad, the poet is well aware of the Theban cycle as a whole. He mentions the conflict between Polynices and Eteocles, the involvement of Tydeus, Capaneus, and Adrastus on the

42 43


Hellenistic exegetes who offered interpretations of difficult Homeric words; see Dyck (1987) 119–30 and (on our passage) 138–9; it was also probably the interpretation of Apollonius (cf. 1.1304 Πελίαο δεδουπότος, 4.557 δεδουπότος Ἀψύρτοιο, both of deaths outside battle, albeit violent ones). The second is owed to Aristarchus, who rejects the glossographers’ view. For the evidence for the two accounts see further Cingano (1992) 2 nn. 2–3, 4 n. 7, 6 nn. 12, 13. Cingano (pp. 1–2) rejects other, improbable, interpretations not mentioned here. See Cingano (1992) 4–7. Il. 13.187 etc. The verb (with ἐν–) is used in non-fatal contexts at Il. 11.45, Od. 12.443, 15.479. Janko on Il. 13.424–6 δούπησεν δὲ πεσών ‘fell and died’ (thus Leumann (1950) 215–17). Il. 13.425–6 (Idomeneus is eager) ἠέ τινα Τρώων ἐρεβεννῇ νυκτὶ καλύψαι | ἠ᾿ αὐτὸς δουπῆσαι ἀμύνων λοιγὸν Ἀχαιοῖς.



Argive side, Tydeus’ marriage to one of Adrastus’ daughters, the failure of the first expedition, and the success of the second, in which Diomedes and Sthenelus participated.45 No connexion is drawn, however, between these events and Oedipus; even the fact that Eteocles and Polynices are brothers is suppressed. The Odyssey provides a fuller account of the Oedipus myth. Odysseus describes his encounter with various women in the underworld, among whom was Oedipus’ mother: μητέρα τ᾿ Οἰδιπόδαο ἴδον, καλὴν Ἐπικάστην, ἣ μέγα ἔργον ἔρεξεν ἀϊδρείῃσι νόοιο, γημαμένη ᾧ υἷϊ· ὃ δ᾿ ὃν πατέρ᾿ ἐξεναρίξας γῆμεν· ἄφαρ δ᾿ ἀνάπυστα θεοὶ θέσαν ἀνθρώποισιν. ἀλλ᾿ ὁ μὲν ἐν Θήβῃ πολυηράτῳ ἄλγεα πάσχων Καδμείων ἤνασσε θεῶν ὀλοὰς διὰ βουλάς· ἡ δ᾿ ἔβη εἰς Ἀΐδαο πυλάρταο κρατεροῖο, ἁψαμένη βρόχον αἰπὺν ἀφ᾿ ὑψηλοῖο μελάθρου, ᾧ ἄχεϊ σχομένη· τῷ δ᾿ ἄλγεα κάλλιπ᾿ ὀπίσσω πολλὰ μάλ᾿, ὅσσα τε μητρὸς Ἐρινύες ἐκτελέουσι. I saw the mother of Oedipus, beautiful Epicaste, who committed a great crime in the ignorance of her mind – marrying her own son. He married her having killed his own father, and the gods immediately made these deeds plain to men. But he ruled over the Cadmeians in lovely Thebes, suffering pain thanks to the destructive plans of the gods. She went to the house of Hades, the mighty gate-keeper, after fastening a noose high up from the lofty hall, gripped by her own pain. For him she left behind very many sufferings, as many as a mother’s Erinyes can inflict. Hom. Od. 11.271–80

Here Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother, Epicaste, who is unaware of her husband’s true identity. The gods reveal the truth ‘immediately’, and this results in


Il. 4.370–410, 5.800–13, 6.222–3, [10.284–90], 14.113–25.



Epicaste’s death by hanging.46 She appears to curse her son, as seems to be implied by the reference to the ‘mother’s Erinyes’ who cause grief to Oedipus after her death; yet he remains at Thebes as ruler. (ii) In his account of the five races of man, Hesiod describes the fate of the fourth, the race of heroes: καὶ τοὺς μὲν πόλεμός τε κακὸς καὶ φύλοπις αἰνή τοὺς μὲν ὑφ᾿ ἑπταπύλῳ Θήβῃ, Καδμηΐδι γαίῃ, ὤλεσε μαρναμένους μήλων ἕνεκ᾿ Οἰδιπόδαο, τοὺς δὲ καὶ ἐν νήεσσιν ὑπὲρ μέγα λαῖτμα θαλάσσης ἐς Τροίην ἀγαγὼν Ἑλένης ἕνεκ᾿ ἠυκόμοιο. Fierce war and dread strife destroyed them – some under sevengated Thebes, in the land of Cadmus, as they fought for the flocks of Oedipus, others after bringing them in their ships over the great gulf of the sea to Troy, for the sake of lovely-haired Helen. Hes. Op. 161–5

The Theban war in question is the division of Oedipus’ possessions among his two sons.47 It is likely that Oedipus is imagined to be dead by the time of this conflict, which involved the division of his inheritance; but the possibility of an exiled Oedipus, or an Oedipus who remained at Thebes stripped of wealth and authority, cannot be excluded. The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women referred to his death at Thebes, in unknown circumstances.48 Hesiod also knows of the woes caused to the Thebans by the Sphinx (Th. 326), and thus perhaps Oedipus’ slaying of that beast. (iii) The Oedipus saga was prominent in the Epic Cycle, which contained separate Trojan and Theban cycles. 46


The precise time-frame implied by ἄφαρ is uncertain, but almost certainly excludes the possibility of children born to the couple; see Finglass (2014e) 360 n. 18. See Cingano (1992) 7–9. 48 [Hes.] fr. 192 M–W.



The four poems in the latter were the Oedipodea, Thebais, Epigoni, and Alcmeonis. Oedipus presumably featured in the first, which included the Sphinx;49 the poem gives Oedipus four children, whose mother was Euryganea, daughter of Hyperphas.50 The Thebais described the attack on Thebes by Polynices, leader of the Seven; he and his brother Eteocles had been cursed by their father for setting before him a table and goblet that had belonged to his ancestors (presumably against his express command), and for sending him the less honourable cut of meat at a banquet.51 (iv) The myth of Oedipus’ family is attested in sixthcentury lyric poetry. Stesichorus made use of it in the unnamed poem attested on the Lille papyrus, which we may tentatively call his Thebais.52 The surviving text, which contains most of lines 201–303 of the poem, depicts Oedipus’ wife or widow encouraging her sons, Eteocles and Polynices, to put aside their differences so as to frustrate the doom-laden prophecy apparently just delivered by Tiresias; they settle their argument through drawing lots, and Polynices, after a speech of advice from Tiresias, departs in the direction of Argos. The emphasis on the division of his rule and property suggests that Oedipus is dead; the moral authority wielded by the Theban Queen, and indeed her survival until this point in the story, suggests that she is not Oedipus’ mother, and thus that her sons are not the products of incest. The absence of any mention of Oedipus in what is a substantial fragment may be significant: ‘it seems that Stesichorus, composing not an epic but a lyric poem, has refocused the myth on the relation of 49 51 52

Fr. 3 GEF. 50 Fr. 1 GEF. See Cingano (2015). Frr. 2–3 GEF. See Torres-Guerra (2015). Stes. fr. 97 F. For more on this poem see Finglass (2014e), (2015a) 87–92. For Stesichorus’ use of myth in general see Finglass (2014c) 32–9; for his influence on tragedy see Swift (2015), Finglass (forthcoming 6).



mother and sons.’ This is the first association of the myth with Apollo, represented by his spokesman Tiresias.54 As well as Stesichorus, Ibycus refers to Oedipus, in a phrase preserved by a commentator on lyric poetry: οὐδέ κεν Οἰδιπόδα καταεσσά[με]νος δνοφέοις ἀχέεσσιν Ἰνοῦ ̣[ς τ’ ἀφαι]ρέοιτ[ο θ]υμόν, ‘not even if clad in the murky woes of Oedipus or Ino would he rid himself of his passion’.55 The gloss that follows indicates that the passion in question is erotic; the poet represents its intensity by comparing it to the sufferings of two figures evidently proverbial for misfortune, Oedipus and Ino. (v) The fragments of the mythographers supply various details. The Pisander scholium (a text of uncertain date and authorship) makes Euryganea, as in the Oedipodea, the mother of Oedipus’ children;56 their marriage occurs after he is blinded and after Jocasta, his mother and first wife, has died. According to Pherecydes, Jocasta, Oedipus’ mother, is his first wife; she bears to him two sons, Phrastor and Laolytus, who are killed by the Minyans and Erginus. A year later (either after the incest was discovered, or after Jocasta’s death), Oedipus marries Euryganea, daughter of Periphas; they have four children, Antigone, Ismene, Eteocles, and Polynices. When Euryganea dies, Oedipus takes a third wife, Astymedusa, daughter of Sthenelus.57 ‘Some writers’, according to the scholium that cites the fragment, make Euryganea Jocasta’s sister, and thus Oedipus’ aunt. A further anonymous source calls Oedipus’ wives Jocasta and Astymedusa. Oedipus divorces Jocasta and marries Astymedusa, who later accuses Oedipus’ sons of trying 53

53 55 56


Edmunds (2006) 26. 54 So Edmunds (2006) 25. Ibyc. fr. S222.5–7 PMGF; translated by Campbell. PEG i 17–19; see further Lloyd-Jones (2002) = (2005) 18–35, Finglass (2014e) 360–1 n. 20. This version of the myth is mentioned by Apollod. Bibl. 3.5.8 and Paus. 9.5.11. Pher. fr. 95 EGM.



to rape her; as a result he curses them and hands over the kingdom to them, and this leads to the familiar conflict.58 Epimenides makes Eurycleia (probably a variant for Euryganea), daughter of Ecphas, the mother of Oedipus.59 According to an anonymous account preserved in the same fragment, Eurycleia was Laius’ first wife, Epicaste his second. Oedipus was born to Epicaste, whom he subsequently married; his second wife was called Eurygane. Apart from these key details about Oedipus’ family tree, the mythographers, with one exception, contain few points of interest. Pherecydes calls Polybus’ wife Medusa, daughter of Orsilochus, son of Alpheus (others, the same fragment reveals, called her Antiochis, daughter of Chalcon).60 Pherecydes called Laius’ herald Polypoetes;61 furthermore, he makes Creon responsible for giving the kingdom and his sister Jocasta to Oedipus.62 Hellanicus explicitly states that Oedipus blinds himself.63 The Pisander scholium, by contrast, offers a full and dramatic narrative. According to this text, the Sphinx is sent by the gods to punish the Thebans for failing to punish Laius for his rape of Chrysippus of Elis. Chrysippus killed himself out of shame; Tiresias tries and fails to dissuade Laius from going ‘to Apollo’ (presumably Delphi). He and his charioteer are killed by Oedipus at a crossroads, after he had hit Oedipus with his whip; Oedipus buries them, takes and wears Laius’ sword and belt, gives Laius’ chariot to Polybus, and, on solving the riddle of the Sphinx, marries Jocasta, his mother. On the way back from offering sacrifices on Mount Cithaeron, he points out to Jocasta the place where he killed Laius, telling her what happened and showing her the belt. She is distressed, but says nothing. Then a horse-herder from 58 59 61

Σd Hom. Il. 4.376 (pp. 186–7 van Thiel). Epimenides fr. 16 EGM. 60 Pher. Ath. fr. 93 EGM. Ibid. fr. 94. 62 Ibid. fr. 95. 63 Hellan. fr. 97 EGM.



Sicyon arrives and tells him how he had found him (i.e. as a baby) and given him to Merope, shows him his swaddling clothes and the pins (used to pierce his feet), and asks for a reward. Thus everything becomes clear. After Jocasta’s death and his own blinding, Oedipus marries Eurygane and has children by her, as mentioned above. (vi) The Oedipus myth is not well represented overall in archaic and classical art. Oedipus’ encounter with the Sphinx has many representations in vase painting, especially in fifth-century Attic red-figure, but the rest of the story seems not to have been a favourite subject for images.64 There are only two exceptions, both of great interest. First, on an Attic red-figure neck-amphora attributed to the Achilles painter, from Vulci, dating to c. 450, a young man named Euphorbus holds a child labelled Oidipodas, who clings on to him tenderly, and whose ankles are not represented as pierced or otherwise damaged;65 ‘the lighthaired, vulnerable child contrasts sharply with this straggly-haired, burly shepherd.’66 It is not in fact certain that this man is a shepherd, although ‘Euphorbus’, literally ‘the good nourisher’, would suit a herder of animals. That literal meaning is further relevant to his present activity, in that he is saving a child abandoned by his parents; but it has an ironic sense too, since the nourishment with which the baby will be provided thanks to this man’s actions will not end well. On the other side of the vase is an older man, whose eyes are at the same level as those of Euphorbus, and who stands facing him, holding a staff, as Euphorbus apparently walks towards him, his staff held horizontally and thus drawing the viewer’s eye from one man to the other. It is as if Euphorbus is bringing 64 65


See in general Moret (1984). Krauskopf (1994) §3; for an image of both figures (usually only the Shepherd is shown) see Robert (1915) i 73, Moret (1984) ii planche 1. Oakley (2003) 178.



him the child, which would suggest that he should be identified with Polybus. The second relevant vase, red-figure from c. 440, is no more than a fragment.67 It depicts the clash between Oedipus and Laius’ party. The depiction of Oedipus himself has not survived, but the inscription identifying him has (‘Oidipodes’). Facing him is a man labelled ‘Sicon’; he is wearing a cap and has his right arm raised, holding a long thin object with which he is intending to strike Oedipus. Two mules are behind Sicon, wearing sunhats for protection; the one whose face can be seen appears to have a startled expression. The mules’ reins are held by an unknown driver; the vehicle will be a chariot rather than a wagon because the angle of the reins indicates that the driver is standing. A female figure labelled ‘Kalliopa’ stands (from the viewer’s perspective) behind the reins, facing in the same direction as Sicon, and with her right arm raised. The presence of this Muse heightens the moment: this is no random clash on the road, but a momentous combat whose consequences will be the stuff of song. (vii) Pindar relates how ‘Laius’ fated son met and killed him and fulfilled the oracle declared long before at Pytho’,68 which led an Erinys to kill Oedipus’ warrior offspring (i.e. Eteocles and Polynices); he refers in passing to Oedipus’ wisdom.69 (viii) Aeschylus treats the Oedipus legend in a trilogy first produced in 467, containing the plays Laius, Oedipus, and Seven against Thebes, in that order, followed by a satyr-play Sphinx; of these only Seven against Thebes has survived.70 Inferring the contents of the first two plays of the trilogy 67

68 70

Krauskopf (1994) §6. For an image see Robert (1915) i 288, Moret (1984) ii planche 1; for further discussion see Matheson (1995) 262–3. Pind. O. 2.38–40 (Race’s translation, adapted). 69 Pind. P. 4.263. For this tetralogy see especially Sommerstein (2010b) 84–90.



depends on a few fragments, and in particular on a passage in Seven against Thebes which surveys the events of Oedipus’ life: ὢ πόνοι δόμων νέοι παλαιοῖσι συμμιγεῖς κακοῖς. παλαιγενῆ γὰρ λέγω παρβασίαν ὠκύποινον, αἰῶνα δ’ ἐς τρίτον μένειν, Ἀπόλλωνος εὖτε Λάϊος βίᾳ, τρὶς εἰπόντος ἐν μεσομφάλοις Πυθικοῖς χρηστηρίοις θνᾴσκοντα γέννας ἄτερ σῴζειν πόλιν, κρατηθεὶς ἐκ φιλᾶν ἀβουλιᾶν ἐγείνατο μὲν μόρον αὑτῷ πατροκτόνον Οἰδιπόδαν, ὅστε ματρὸς ἁγνὰν σπείρας ἄρουραν ἵν’ ἐτράφη ῥίζαν αἱματόεσσαν ἔτλα· παράνοια συνᾶγε νυμφίους φρενώλης.

739 740=1


748=9 750


O, new troubles for the house mingling with its old woes! For I speak of the transgression born long ago, punished swiftly, but remaining to the third generation, when Laius, defying Apollo, who had told him thrice at the central navel of earth, the oracular sanctuary of Pytho, to die without issue and so save his city, mastered by his own cherished, unwise counsels, begot his own death, Oedipus the father-slayer, who sowed the sacrosanct soil of his mother, where he had been nurtured, and suffered a bloodstained progeny: it was mindless madness that brought that bridal couple together. Aesch. Sept. 739–5771

This passage is the first extant source to Aeschylus gives Oedipus children by his mother. Moreover, those children are not figures found in Pherecydes, of whom 71

tell us that (unnamed) the obscure nothing is

Translation from Sommerstein’s edition (i 229–31).



predicated except their deaths, but Eteocles and Polynices themselves: ‘the tragedians of the classical age raised the level of horror by making the main players in the next chapter of the story the offspring of Oidipous’ mother.’72 The song also places strong emphasis on Apollo’s forbidding Laius to have a child, on the civic consequences that the birth of such a child would have, and on Laius’ deliberate disobedience. A later passage in the same choral ode focuses on Oedipus himself: ἐπεὶ δ’ ἀρτίφρων ἐγένετο μέλεος ἀθλίων γάμων, ἐπ’ ἄλγει δυσφορῶν μαινομένᾳ κραδίᾳ δίδυμα κάκ’ ἐτέλεσεν πατροφόνωι χερί, τῶν †κρεισσοτέκνων† ὀμμάτων ἐπλάγχθη. τέκνοις δ’ †ἀραίας† ἐφῆκεν ἐπίκοτος τροφᾶς, αἰαῖ, πικρογλώσσους ἀράς, καί σφε σιδαρονόμῳ διὰ χερί ποτε λαχεῖν κτήματα.

778=9 780

785=6 787


But when he became aware, wretched man, of his appalling marriage, enraged by grief, with maddened heart, he perpetrated two evils: by his own father-slaying hand he was robbed of his . . . eyes, and angered with his sons for his . . . maintenance of him he let fly at them (ah, ah!) the curses of a bitter tongue, that they would actually one day divide his property between them with ironwielding hand. Aesch. Sept. 778/8–79073

72 73

Fowler, EGM ii 405; cf. Sommerstein (2015) 478. Translation from Sommerstein’s edition (i 233–5). I have printed a conservative text of this difficult passage; for recent discussion and bolder intervention see Finkelberg (2014).



Here Oedipus’ discovery of the truth leads to his selfblinding and the cursing of his sons; all this presumably featured in the earlier play. The fragments of the other two plays in the trilogy are less informative, though we do learn that the killing of Laius occurred at a place where three roads meet near Potniae, south of Thebes: ἐπῇμεν τῆς ὁδοῦ τροχήλατον σχιστῆς κελεύθου τρίοδον, ἔνθα συμβολὰς τριῶν κελεύθων Ποτνιάδας ἠμείβομεν On our journey we were approaching the junction of three wagontracks where the road forks, where we were passing the meeting of the three ways at Potniae. Aesch. fr. 387a TrGF 74

This fragment, not specifically attributed to any play, will come either from Laius or Oedipus. (ix) Sophocles devoted two plays apart from Oedipus the King to the myth of Oedipus and his family; these are frequently labelled his ‘Theban plays’, a designation innocuous enough so long as we remember that they did not form a connected trilogy. Antigone, the first, deals with a later stage in the story, after the failure of the expedition of the Seven.75 Oedipus is presented as having blinded himself and perished ingloriously, and his (unnamed) wife–mother as having committed suicide by hanging (49–54); more generally, the woes that afflict Antigone and Ismene are portrayed as ultimately stemming from Oedipus (2–3; cf. 593/4–603), and the chorus suggest, and Antigone acknowledges, that her death may have come about because of her father’s offences (856–68).

74 75

Translation from Sommerstein (iii 325). For this play see Cairns (2016a); also Sommerstein (2015) 479 on its handling of the myth.



The discovery of the truth is said to have been the result of Oedipus’ efforts.76 Oedipus at Colonus, the last of the three, is set after Oedipus has gone into exile, and as the attack of the Seven is gathering pace.77 Oedipus repeatedly asserts his innocence in killing his father and marrying his mother, pointing out that he committed both these acts against his will (266–73, 521/2–548, 962–99). According to his account, he had initially desired exile after his selfblinding, but Creon forbade it; when he changed his mind and wanted to stay, Creon forced him out (765–71; cf. 356). He is looked after in his wanderings by his daughters, Antigone and Ismene, but neglected by his sons, Eteocles and Polynices. Jocasta is never named. (x) Euripides wrote an Oedipus, almost certainly after Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, but before Oedipus at Colonus, which survives only in fragments; little about its plot or character can be said for sure.78 But a single, two-line fragment, ascribed with reasonable probability to the play,79 yields remarkable information: that the servants of Laius blinded Oedipus, that this blinding was subsequently related by one of their number, and that at the time of that speech, and so also (we may infer) during the blinding, the servants believed that Oedipus was the son of Polybus. We can only speculate on the nature of a drama that could have incorporated such surprising data; what is certain is that it involved 76

77 78


Ant. 49–51 φρόνησον, ὦ κασιγνήτη, πατὴρ | ὡς νῷν ἀπεχθὴς δυσκλεής τ᾽ ἀπώλετο | πρὸς αὐτοφώρων ἀμπλακημάτων; cf. Sommerstein (2015) 478. For this play see Kelly (2009). For the date (419–406) see the edition by Collard and Cropp, ii 7. The best recent account of the play is by Collard (2005b) 57–62. Liapis (2014) argues that many of the fragments ascribed to this drama in fact come from a much later rhetorical exercise mistakenly ascribed to Euripides; for a different view see Finglass (2017a). The fragment (fr. 541 TrGF) is attributed merely to an Oedipus, but since its source is a Euripidean scholium, Euripides’ play is probably meant.



a quite different approach to the myth from that found in any other archaic or classical treatment. Euripides also handled the Oedipus myth in his Phoenissae, a play centred on the attack on Thebes by the Seven. The drama opens with a speech from Jocasta giving a detailed account of the whole Oedipus myth (3–87). Laius is warned by the oracle at Delphi not to father a child or he will die at his hands; he does so nevertheless, and the baby is exposed and rescued by Polybus’ herdsmen; when Oedipus grows up he heads to Delphi to find out his true parents (having either guessed, or learned from another, that he was not Polybus’ child); Laius travels to Delphi at the same time, to learn whether his son has perished; the two meet in Phocis, and the aggression of Laius’ charioteer leads to Oedipus killing Laius, and giving his chariot to Polybus; he then travels to Thebes to defeat the Sphinx and claim as his reward the kingdom and Laius’ widow, Jocasta; they have the usual four children, but when Oedipus finds out that Jocasta is his mother, he blinds himself; he is then imprisoned by his sons when they grow to manhood. Euripides’ Chrysippus deals with an earlier stage in the myth: the kidnap and rape by Laius of Pelops’ son Chrysippus. This myth may be Euripides’ invention, or could have an older pedigree.80 (xi) Other dramatic treatments seem to have been fairly numerous. Oedipus tragedies are attested from the fifth century into the Hellenistic period; we hear of such plays by Achaeus, Philocles the Elder, Xenocles (victorious at the Dionysia in 415 with a tetralogy made up of Oedipus, Lycaeon, Bacchae, and satyric Athamas), Nicomachus of Athens, Meletus the Younger (an Oedipodeia, dated c. 399, the same year that Meletus took part in the prosecution of Socrates), Nicomachus of the Troad, Carcinus the Younger, 80

See Collard and Cropp, ii 459–63.



Diogenes of Sinope, Theodectes, Timocles (victorious at the Dionysia in 339), Lycophron (two Oedipus plays), and Nicomachus of Alexandria.81 Even though we know virtually nothing about these plays apart from their titles,82 their sheer number is revealing; Sophocles’ work was evidently not regarded as the final word on the subject, and just as Euripides adapted the myth after Sophocles, so other dramatists continued to innovate in their handling of this tale.83 The Oedipus myth was doubtless treated in other dramas, and not just in those actually named Oedipus; had merely the title of Euripides’ Phoenician Women survived, for example, we could not have guessed its relevance to our inquiry. In comedy, Plato’s Laius satirised Meletus, and perhaps also his trilogy.84 (B) SOPHOCLES’ VERSION A character in the comedy Poetry by the fourth-century dramatist Antiphanes claims that someone only has to mention Oedipus and an audience of tragedy will already know all the details of his family, his actions, and his sufferings.85 Oedipus’ killing of his father and marriage with his mother were indeed elements of the mythological tradition too fundamental to alter; but it is a mistake to 81




See TrGF i pp. 124, 141, 153, 155, 188, 212, 232, 252, 277, 286; also ii pp. 15–16. The exceptions are Carcinus’ play, where we are told (by Aristotle) that his Jocasta ‘continually makes promises while someone looking for her (his?) son makes inquiries of her’ (TrGF 70 F 1f ἡ Ἰοκάστη ἡ Καρκίνου ἐν τῷ Οἰδίποδι ἀεὶ ὑπισχνεῖται πυνθανομένου τοῦ ζητοῦντος τὸν υἱόν); Theodectes’, which we know contained a riddle in hexameters and thus featured the Sphinx or a report about the Sphinx, and Diogenes’, in which Oedipus’ parricide and incest were not treated as blameworthy actions. As Braund (2016) 2 puts it, with some exaggeration, ‘prior to the seventeenth century, when Aristotle became all the rage, Sophocles’ treatment was just one among many.’ See fr. 65 PCG. 85 Antiph. fr. 189 PCG.



infer that ‘in Oedipus Tyrannus, the end is. . . known from the beginning’.86 The summary above shows what a rich tradition of mythological variants Sophocles could interweave with innovations of his own. Moreover, even familiar details of myth can take on a new light when moulded into a new literary creation. This section discusses aspects of Sophocles’ handling of the myth that are likely to involve a fresh treatment of the material that he inherited. (i) The plague that begins the play, and the consequent scene of supplication, will be Sophocles’ invention.87 Mass supplication scenes at the start of a work are so typical of tragedy, and in particular of Euripides and Sophocles, that it is more likely that Sophocles has chosen to apply this pattern to his play than that some earlier epic happened to open its account of the Oedipus myth in a manner that would turn out to be typical of a quite different genre; and the Pisander scholium, the only other complete narrative of the Oedipus myth to have survived from before Roman times, contains no plague. Sophocles’ choice has several consequences. First, it allows all the action to fit within a single day, as required by tragedy: Oedipus’ parricide and incest have already taken place, and only their discovery awaits. Second, by setting these key events in the past, Sophocles can build his play around the ideas of discovery and recognition, which thereby become central to the theme of self-knowledge. Third, the plague and consequent supplication permit an initial focus on the city of Thebes and Oedipus’ place within it. The broader civic consequences of the strife within the house of Laius were always part of the myth, which from its earliest attestations culminates in two successive sieges of Thebes, and which always involves Oedipus’ rescue of the city from the Sphinx; this theme is prominent in Aeschylus too, whose 86 87

Wohl (2015) 20. So rightly Meinel (2015) 53–4. Edmunds (1981) 226 n. 21 leaves open the possibility that the plague was found in the Oedipodea.



Laius is told that by dying without offspring he will preserve not just his life but the city too.88 But beginning the narrative in this manner is probably unprecedented. Such an approach allows the audience to see the high point within the state that Oedipus has reached, making his fall seem all the greater; it also gives a variety and shape to the drama, in that a play which opens with such a focus on the civic aspect of the myth concludes with a narrower emphasis on the person of Oedipus himself and the family relationships that have caused his ruin. (ii) If the plague is Sophocles’ invention, it follows that so are Oedipus’ proclamation, Tiresias’ failure to supply assistance, and the whole hunt for the killer of Laius. Fundamental to Sophocles’ play is Oedipus’ search for the truth, first for Laius’ killer, then for information about the clash on the road; that search precipitates Oedipus’ destruction, and its centrality is likely to be original. Contrast the statement in the Odyssey that ‘the gods made these things known among mortals’, which, although consistent with human activity too playing a role, nevertheless puts the emphasis squarely on divine intervention.89 Contrast too the Pisander scholium, where the discovery of the truth results solely from the unexpected arrival of the herdsman from Sicyon, who reveals everything at once in the hope of obtaining a reward; in that text there has been no search for Laius’ killer or for Oedipus’ true origin. The brief reference in



Cf. Aesch. Sept. 748/9, cited above, p. 22. This account of the prophecy is being delivered when the civic consequences of familial strife are to the fore; it remains possible that the civic aspect was not as prominent when the prophecy was first delivered or reported earlier in the trilogy. Hom. Od. 11.274. Cf. Edmunds (2006) 48 ‘Sophocles has greatly prolonged and magnified the discovery, which could be as simple as “Straightway the gods made it known among men”, as in the Odyssey.’



Antigone to Oedipus’ ‘self-discovered offences’ (51 αὐτοφώρων ἀμπλακημάτων) may offer a tantalising glimpse of an earlier account in which Oedipus does discover the truth through his own efforts; but it is hard to imagine the tragic motif of self-discovery and selfconviction playing a role elsewhere comparably important to what we find in Oedipus the King. Conflict between Oedipus and Tiresias and/or Creon in some other context in a previous account of the myth cannot be ruled out; arguments between rulers and seers are hardly rare in literature, and differences between Tiresias and a member of Oedipus’ family are attested both for Stesichorus (with the Queen, who attempts to evade his prophecies) and the Pisander scholium (with Laius, who rejects his advice). But any such conflict, if it did occur, will have taken a different form from the quarrel in Sophocles’ play. (iii) Sophocles is the first attested writer to call Oedipus’ wife Jocasta. The name may have been used by Aeschylus; we do not know what he called her. Since Epicaste was a name for Oedipus’ wife–mother as early as the Odyssey, it is more than possible that Jocasta was attested earlier too;90 the uses of the name by Pherecydes and other, anonymous mythographers are unlikely all to derive from Sophocles. More important than Jocasta’s name is the nature of her relationship to Oedipus and his children. The information that Oedipus is currently married to Laius’ former wife and has children by her does not appear until well into his proclamation to the Thebans at the start of the first episode.91 From that point on, it will have been clear to the audience that Sophocles is using the version familar 90


Compare how Ajax’s mother is variously called Eriboea, Periboea, and Meliboea (Aj. 567–70n.). 258–63n. The earlier reference to Creon as Oedipus’ brother-in-law (70) fails to help, since it does not tell us whether Oedipus is still married to Creon’s sister, and as we have seen (p. 18 above), there



from Aeschylus, in which Oedipus’ children are the products of incest; ironically, this information is communicated during the most vivid expression of Oedipus’ authority, his solemn proclamation to the people of his city. So while the nature of their relationship is not original to Sophocles, the revelation of it in this manner certainly is. (iv) Sophocles’ Laius is not said to have committed an offence.92 He is told that if he has a child, that child will kill him; but that is a divine prediction, not a divine command, and there is no sense that Laius is defying the gods by having offspring.93 Nor is there any hint of some previous crime committed by him, nor any curse lying upon his family.94 Contrast Aeschylus’ Oedipus trilogy, where Laius defies Apollo’s explicit instructions. Contrast too Euripides’ Chrysippus, which describes an earlier offence by Laius which may well have been connected (e.g. by a deus ex machina) to his own death and thus to Oedipus’ parricide, and perhaps to his incest as well. If the Chrysippus story is older than Euripides – and it occurs in the Pisander scholium, which may or may not reflect earlier epic accounts – then those connexions between Laius’ crime and Oedipus’ dreadful acts, as an explanation for the hostility of the gods towards Laius’ whole family, go correspondingly further into the past. Laius’ guilt is especially prominent in the Pisander scholium, which features not just his rape of Chrysippus but also his subsequent defiance of Tiresias concerning his fatal visit to Delphi. The choice of the trilogy format by Aeschylus went hand in hand with an emphasis on how guilt is passed down

92 94

was an account in which Creon had another sister, Euryganea (thus Sommerstein (2010a) 216). Allan (2013a) 174. 93 See 711–14n. So rightly Dodds (1966) 41 = (1973) 69. The argument by LloydJones (1983) 119–24 that Sophocles’ Oedipus is being punished for offences committed by his father has rightly not found general acceptance; see Stinton (1986a) 72–4 = (1990) 461–3, SewellRutter (2007) 125–6.



from one generation to the next and punished by the gods, as in the Oresteia. Indeed, whereas the Oresteia trilogy showed only two generations of the cursed family on stage, and relied on explorations of the back story by characters and chorus to bring out the guilt of their immediate ancestors, each play of Aeschylus’ Oedipus trilogy focuses on a new generation of the house of Labdacus: first Laius, then Oedipus, then (in Seven Against Thebes) Eteocles. The inheritance of guilt provided the playwright with a powerful mechanism to unify his trilogy, exploring the consequences of one generation’s actions for the fortunes of the next. Nor is this a purely Aeschylean innovation; the Erinyes that afflict Oedipus in the Odyssey, and the Erinys that destroys his warrior offspring in Pindar, indicate that guilt was passed down from one generation to the next, perhaps via a curse, in epic and lyric poetry before tragedy developed the idea. By contrast, Sophocles’ play is a selfcontained unit, without prequel or sequel, that focuses above all on Oedipus himself.95 Laius’ motives, beyond the exposure of his son to preserve his own life, are left unclear (see (v) below); we learn virtually nothing about him as a person. As for the next generation, when Oedipus laments the future sufferings of his daughters (1480–1514), he thinks not of a curse, or divine displeasure, or inherited guilt, but of the social exclusion that they will endure because of the disgrace accruing to their father and their own origin through incest; and there is no mention of Erinyes.96 95


Cf. Burkert (1991) 10 = (2001–11) vii 55–6 ‘The singularity – indeed the audacity – of Sophocles’ play is that this whole family context has nearly become invisible . . . It is Oedipus alone who dominates the stage’ (also p. 17 = 61 on the contrast with Aeschylus and Euripides); Segal (2001) 28 ‘Sophocles, treating the myth in the single play, turns this mysteriousness of divine justice and punishment into a tense drama of personal discovery.’ As noted by Edmunds (2006) 44.



So in his presentation of the myth which, perhaps above all others, centres on conflict between generations, Sophocles has conspicuously avoided making Oedipus subject to a curse himself, or the transmitter of a curse to his own offspring. This removes a major possible explanation for why he suffers and why his children will suffer, and makes that agony more moving and more terrifying.97 (v) In Sophocles Laius’ journey to the oracle lacks explicit motivation; he is a θεωρός (114), but the same could be said of anyone travelling to Delphi to consult the god. Contrast Euripides’ Phoenissae, where he sets off for the oracle to discover what had happened to the son that he had exposed. In Aeschylus the more detailed format of the trilogy, in which one play is named after Laius, all but guarantees that the reason for his journey to Delphi was specifically mentioned;98 and any text that influenced the Pisander scholium will have stated that reason too, during the argument, mentioned by the scholium, between Laius and Tiresias over whether the journey was advisable. As noted above (p. 31), Laius’ whole personality and motives are virtually absent from the play, and this keeps the focus on Oedipus’ actions and perspective; Sophocles maintains that approach even in this case, when specifying that Laius was investigating what had really happened to his son would have increased the irony of his fatal clash on the road. Nor does he associate Laius’ departure with an attempt to discover how to deal with the Sphinx; Oedipus is not given a competitor in striving to do good for his people.99

97 98


See further below, p. 74. The naming of the play may well not have been due to Aeschylus, but whoever named it, Laius was evidently prominent enough for this to be an appropriate title. A similar absence of background detail can be observed in Antigone; see Cairns (2016a) 5–6.



(vi) According to Sommerstein, ‘in Oedipus the King Sophocles . . . almost certainly . . . invented an incident that makes an enormous difference to our understanding of the story, the oracle given to Oedipus . . . that he would kill his father and marry his mother.’100 When so much literature is lost we ought not to be categorical; but there is indeed no indication that any previous account described the oracle, nor any evidence for his journey from Corinth to Thebes via Delphi.101 If Sophocles invented this part of the myth, or first gave it prominence, he used it to give further emphasis to Apollo’s involvement in the course of Oedipus’ life. The god’s prediction of his terrible actions, coupled with Oedipus’ desire to avoid the prophecy and his belief that he knows what he must do to achieve this, result in Oedipus taking the route which will prove so catastrophic; this has important implications for how the audience views Apollo’s role, suggestively connecting divine foreknowledge with divine causation.102 More generally, breaking Oedipus’ journey to and from Delphi gives an extra stage to the crucial journey of his life, from Thebes to Corinth to Delphi to Thebes again, allowing the audience to reflect on the different motives for and effects of each successive strand of his travel; merely taking Oedipus from Thebes to Corinth, and then back again, makes for a less interesting tale.103 (vii) The place where three roads meet is a feature of Aeschylus’ play, either as his invention or as part of his epic inheritance. But Sophocles’ presentation is distinctive. Aeschylus locates the junction at Potniae, south of Thebes; Sophocles puts it between Thebes and 100



Sommerstein (2015) 478. For the oracle see further Kullmann (1994) = (2002) 206–21. Aeschylus’ account almost certainly did not feature a journey by Oedipus to Delphi, as we can infer from his location of the place where three roads meet; see (vii) below, pp. 34–6. See below, pp. 59–61. 103 See below, pp. 57–62.



Delphi. Aeschylus’ location makes more sense for an encounter between the king of Thebes and a man travelling towards Thebes from Corinth or elsewhere in the Peloponnese; Sophocles’ decision to have Oedipus receive his own oracle at Delphi (see (vi) above, p. 34) permits, indeed encourages, the change of location. And placing the encounter between Delphi and Thebes is more than a matter of geographical variation; for ‘Sophocles’ apparent displacement of the crossroads to a site northwest of Thebes has the effect of putting Delphi in control of the killing.’105 Apollo’s oracle encouraged Oedipus to travel in a direction different from before; on this new path he meets Laius, who is himself travelling to Delphi in search of an oracle. The controlling hand of the god seems all too clear.106 The detailed description of the place in Aeschylus, ‘clothed in such a display of tragic splendour. . . [with] an abundance of decorative epithets to convey pathos’,107 emphasises the significance of the event that occurs there; the mysterious nature of τρίοδοι (715–16n.) was as familiar to Aeschylus as it was to Sophocles. By comparison, the first mention of the junction in Sophocles (716) is startlingly plain – a mere chance detail, thrown out unthinkingly by Jocasta as she attempts to assuage Oedipus’ fears about the efficacy of prophecies.108 The gravity of Oedipus’ reaction (726–7, 729–30, 738) is thus all the more striking, not least 104

105 106

107 108

Euripides’ Phoenissae and the Pisander scholium follow Sophocles (715–16n.). Rusten (1996) 101. In Euripides’ version Oedipus and Laius meet when both are on their way to consult the oracle (see Mastronarde on Phoen. 41–2); this may show the influence of Sophocles’ play, coupled with further innovation on Euripides’ part. Reinhardt (1947) 127 = (1979) 117. Cf. Gould (1990) 217 = (2001) 255 ‘the words that cause the first giddying panic in Oedipus’ mind are prosaic, ordinary words of place’ (with reference to 716, 733).



because the audience sees and hears Oedipus’ reaction before he explains it.109 Moreover, although we lack the context of Aeschylus’ description, we do at least know that it was spoken by someone present at the clash, and the first person pronouns point towards their delivery by a survivor from Laius’ party rather than by Oedipus.110 This implies a different, public context for the information: ‘the revelation, which in the Oedipus of Aeschylus came from outside, by means of an account given by an eye-witness, is shifted by Sophocles to an intimate scene in which two souls reveal themselves to each other.’111 (viii) By means of the chorus Sophocles turns Oedipus’ fall into a paradigm (using that very word, 1193) of the wretched state of man.112 Such a perspective cannot be discerned in other surviving accounts, such as the Odyssey or the Pisander scholium. The chorus’s reflections arise naturally out of the particular manner in which Sophocles has constructed his play: the great and beloved king who, beyond all other mortals, has helped his city in the past, and who continues to strive mightily on behalf of his people, is overwhelmed by mysterious, apparently unmotivated forces. If such a man is laid so low, an audience may reasonably ask, what hope does any human have? Contrast the presentation of the myth in Aeschylus, at least as partially preserved in the Seven Against Thebes, where the emphasis lies on crimes within a particular family; one of the effects of a plot based around hereditary guilt is to distance the sufferers from the mass of the audience, who 109

110 111

Cf. Rusten (1996) 100 ‘By giving the crossroads much less emphasis (initially) than in Aeschylus, Sophocles has made it much more resonant’. Although we cannot be absolutely certain that the fragment of Aeschylus is the first place where the τρίοδος is mentioned, the detailed description that the place receives, and the absence of articles or pronouns suggesting a previous reference, makes this likely. Cf. Reinhardt (1947) 109 ≈ (1979) 99. Reinhardt (1947) 126 = (1979) 116. 112 See 1186–1222n.



will not have come from families prominent enough to provoke the wrath of the gods through the generations. (ix) Sophocles’ play is not the first evidence for the involvement of a herdsman in the story of Oedipus’ survival. The vase from the mid-fifth century depicts a herdsman carrying Oedipus to Polybus; and the Pisander scholium attributes the discovery of the baby to a horseherder, who later comes to Oedipus in Thebes from Sicyon, telling him his true origin and pointing to tokens that prove his case. Herdsmen recur in Apollodorus, whose account at this point may be influenced by Sophocles’ play, although it does not mirror it exactly: he has Laius entrust the exposure to a herdsman, before Polybus’ herdsmen (plural) find the baby and bring it to Polybus’ wife Periboea.113 The vase more likely than not predates Oedipus the King, but even if it did not, we would be unwise to conjecture that herdsmen played no part in the story until Sophocles; they are a frequent presence in foundling narratives, being exactly the kind of people likely to discover a baby abandoned in the countryside.114 Sophocles’ originality here will lie not in the introduction of herdsmen, but in the way that he puts them to use. As the play approaches its dénouement, Sophocles introduces these anonymous figures with their surprisingly comic characteristics (discussed below, pp. 76–82): the Corinthian, with his endearingly enthusiastic communications, each one of which brings Oedipus nearer to his doom, and the suspiciously forgetful Theban, who uses every means to avoid communicating his dreadful information. Related uses of ‘low’ characters in tragedy can be paralleled – the Guard in Antigone is an obvious example – but rarely can such a mixture of tones have been found in a deeply tragic passage.


Apollod. Bibl. 3.5.7.


See p. 66 below.



(x) The idea that Oedipus remained in Thebes after the discovery of the truth is paralleled in the Iliad, where it is presupposed, since Oedipus dies at Thebes; in the Odyssey and Euripides’ Phoenissae, where it is explicitly stated; in the Oedipodea and mythographers, where Oedipus marries after the death of his wife–mother and has children, among whom are sons who grow up to dispute the kingship, implying his continued authority and presence in that city; and in the Thebais, where the nature of the insults that Oedipus receives from his sons presupposes a Theban context. Nor does anything in our fragments of Stesichorus or Aeschylus, nor in the brief mentions of Oedipus in Sophocles’ Antigone, indicate that exile was part of his story. That idea, the centrepiece of Oedipus at Colonus, is first attested in Oedipus the King, via the sentence of exile (or death) for the killer of Laius, Tiresias’ prophecy that Oedipus will be exiled to a foreign land, and Oedipus’ repeated requests for exile in the final scene.115 The prospect of Oedipus’ exile might have occurred in some other work now lost. What will be original is Sophocles’ decision to raise the prospect of exile for Oedipus so insistently, only to send him back into the palace at the play’s end. Oedipus’ departure via the eisodos leading out of Thebes would have been a dramatic conclusion, with the polluted man leaving the city that he had unintentionally brought to the brink of ruin, thereby fulfilling Apollo’s command and Tiresias’ prophecy, and satisfying his own wishes, as he returns to die on the mountain where long ago he had been exposed. Seneca adopts that ending in his remake of Sophocles’ play (see below, pp. 87–8). But Sophocles raises this prospect so insistently only to reject it. 115

See 100–1, 236–43, 455–6, 823–5, 1290–1, 1340/1–1346, 1410–11, 1436–7, 1518.



This audacious dramatic technique has encouraged scholars to call the authenticity of the ending into question, without good reason,116 since eschewing the more obvious grand departure achieves several dramatic aims. First, the surprise ending is dramatically desirable – the question whether Oedipus is to go into exile or not dominates the latter part of the final scene, ensuring momentum right until the end. Second, by depicting an Oedipus denied his wish, Sophocles emphasises his changed status. So low has he fallen that he cannot even opt freely for a journey to near-certain death: his final departure into the house, not down an eisodos, vividly demonstrates the former king’s powerlessness.117 Third, Creon’s choice of consulting the oracle again before making a final decision, even though (as Oedipus protests) the original oracle’s message offers apparently unambiguous instructions, and even though (as the audience may remember) Tiresias had prophesied this very exile, signifies how the revelation of Oedipus’ offences has undermined any confidence that human beings can make good decisions or that they can truly interpret what appear to be clear instructions from the gods. Oedipus’ confidence has been replaced by Creon’s hesitancy, something vividly represented by Oedipus’ concluding return into the palace at Creon’s command. 116 117

See further 1223–1523n. For the culminating moves of a tragedy summing up, as it were, the situation of the characters at its end cf. Lowe (2000) 175 ‘The escape of the Danaids from their suppliant corner to Argos; the departures of Medea, Heracles, and Ion for Athens; the surprising detention of Oedipus Tyrannus in the Theban palace and the teaser of where Coloneus will leave this earth – all these, and many others, are carefully prepared culminations of a play-long process of blocked or aborted moves towards a decisive endgame. In all such cases the final exits describe the survivors’ closing position on the board: the lasting configuration of relationships that has resulted from the final adjustments of knowledge and power in the story.’



Oedipus’ failure to achieve his exile is not the only significant point at the play’s close. Although the play is not part of a connected trilogy, Sophocles nevertheless takes advantage of his audience’s familiarity with the future suffering of Oedipus’ children. First comes a brief reference to the ability of his sons to look after themselves (1459–61), something which may have encouraged the audience to anticipate the destruction that the sons will cause in attempting to do precisely that. Then ‘for fifty lines and more [1462–1514], we concentrate entirely on the daughters, whom Oedipus entrusts to Kreon’s care – a scene of almost unbearable poignancy for anyone who has seen or heard of Antigone.’118 This lengthy anticipation of future sorrow (cf. how Oedipus has only just made reference to his future fate) can be paralleled by Teucer’s long speech in Ajax describing his father’s likely reaction to his arrival without his half-brother Ajax (1004–27); it also recalls the technique seen in the endings of Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus, all of which to some extent implicitly look forward to future suffering beyond the time-frame of the play.119 The motif has particular force in Oedipus the King, a play in which the main character’s inability to anticipate his own destruction is a major theme; at the end the audience sees him similarly unaware of how catastrophic his downfall will be for the people whom he loves the most. 4 WHAT KIND OF A PLAY IS THIS? ‘Oedipus Tyrannus comes with no instructions attached, or else conflicting instructions, and the nearest thing to jail that you will finish up in if you use it as an indictment of 118 119

Sommerstein (2010a) 222. For Electra see El. 1442–1504n.; for Electra and Oedipus at Colonus, Stinton (1986a) = (1990) 454–92; for Philoctetes, Schein on 1440–4.



infant exposure is the pages of Gnomon.’120 Be that as it may, some approaches to the drama are perhaps more illuminating than others. In this section, I examine the play under a number of (overlapping) headings: as a suppliant drama, as a recognition tragedy, as a nostosplay, as a foundling narrative, as a work of theodicy, and as a tragicomedy. This is not intended to provide comprehensive coverage of every possible means of viewing this masterpiece. But each classification has, I hope, something to offer; together, they may suggest the richness of the play, the diversity of its themes and moods, and how elusive any answer to the question that gives the title to this section must be. (A) SUPPLIANT DRAMA The opening tableau of children gathered around an altar holding branches and accompanied by their leader the Priest reveals that a supplication is in progress.121 Thanks to this sight, ‘even before [the audience] know the precise situation with which the poet has chosen to begin, they learn that it will involve some great need or danger’:122 suppliants gather only when prompted by some pressing need.123 A similar picture, and mood, open several other tragedies. Euripides’ Children of Heracles begins with Iolaus and the many children of Heracles sitting around the altar in front of the temple of Zeus Agoraios at Marathon. His Heracles has Amphitryon, Megara, and Heracles’ three children by Megara sitting at the altar of Zeus the Saviour set up by Heracles before his house. 120 121

122 123

Reeve (2001) 249. For a justification for this account of the stage personnel in the prologue see 1–150n. For ancient supplication more generally see Gould (1973) = (2001) 22–77, Naiden (2006). Burian (1977) 82; cf. Revermann (2003) 792–3. See Griffin (2007) 190–6, with Greek historical parallels.



In Euripides’ Suppliant Women the suppliant chorus sits around the altar of Demeter, on which Aethra too is sitting or standing, in front of the goddess’s temple at Eleusis; Adrastus and the sons of the Seven lie prostrate before the temple itself. Sometimes only one suppliant is present: Andromache and Helen begin with their eponymous heroines seated at, respectively, an altar of Thetis and the tomb of Proteus. The opening of Aeschylus’ Suppliant Women has a different pattern; there the chorus enter as they sing the parodos and supplicate at an altar only when their father tells them. Sophocles’ other suppliant play, Oedipus at Colonus, has Oedipus enter from the side and take up a suppliant position in the grove of the Erinyes. Sophocles’ play postdates one of these dramas (Aesch. Suppl.), predates another (OC), almost certainly predates two others (Eur. Her., Hel.), and cannot be securely dated in relation to the rest. But even if it precedes all the extant Euripidean examples, those plays still provide evidence for a genre scene recognisable by audiences already in Sophocles’ day, and perhaps in Aeschylus’; if so many extant plays involved suppliant prologues, we can be sure that numerous lost plays will have had them too.124 Some basic similarities are readily observed. In the plays which begin with a group tableau, the suppliants are evidently weak and helpless: children (OR, Hcld., and Her.), 124

Several of the plays with suppliant prologues come from the ‘alphabetic’ plays of Euripides (Hcld., Suppl., Her.), plays preserved by chance thanks to the freak survival of a single volume from a nearcomplete edition of his plays (see Finglass (forthcoming 2)). The presence of so many suppliant prologues among this random slice of Euripides’ oeuvre makes it virtually certain that he wrote many more. By contrast, if suppliant prologues were attested only among the ‘select’ plays of Euripides – those that survive in many manuscripts and enjoyed the greatest popularity in antiquity – we would have had to acknowledge the possibility that such plays had been preserved precisely because suppliant prologues were popular with later audiences, and that as a result the plays preserved represented a complete or near-complete tally of that tragic sub-genre.



old women (Eur. Suppl.), young women (Aesch. Suppl.). Usually these groups are accompanied by a single male spokesman: the Priest (OR), Iolaus (Hcld.), Adrastus (Eur. Suppl.), Danaus (Aesch. Suppl.). (In Her. both Amphitryon and Megara fulfil this role.) The play typically contains a figure of authority with the power to answer the suppliants’ prayers: Oedipus (OR), Theseus (OC, Eur. Suppl.), Demophon (Hcld.), Lycus (Her.), Pelasgus (Aesch. Suppl.). But the prologue of Oedipus the King stands apart from the others in several ways. First, in Aeschylus’ and Euripides’ supplication scenes, and in OC, the reason for the supplication is stated in advance of the authority figure’s arrival; when he does come on stage, he is full of questions about what he sees, and the information about the supplication is repeated for his benefit. In Oedipus the King, by contrast, the authority figure, Oedipus, opens the play himself. His early entry may have surprised audience members familiar with the scene type; before Oedipus has said anything, he is marked out as a particularly active and decisive leader. He still asks questions, but, as later becomes clear, he is already apprised of the situation and has acted to deal with it. Although aware of what is going on and what must be done, he asks the suppliants to tell their story rather than simply imposing his solution.125 Second, the choice with which Oedipus is confronted seems, on the face of it, far easier to deal with than those faced by the other authority figures. Accepting the supplication usually involves the authority figure and his city in a foreign conflict (Aesch. Suppl., Eur. Hcld., Suppl., S. OC); 125

Johnson and Clapp (2005) 134 exclude OR from the supplicatory genre, arguing ‘in suppliant plays, the focus of interest and sympathy is placed in large part on a character who might be called the “saving hero”, in contrast to the “suffering hero” of many betterknown, prototypical tragedies, such as Oedipus the King’; rather, Oedipus changes from saving hero to suffering hero during the course of the drama.



this makes the act of supplication a suitable foundation for a tragedy, in that it presents a momentous ethical choice encompassing potentially disastrous outcomes.126 It is no coincidence that these other dramas involve supplications by outsiders; in Aeschylus, it is not even clear that the suppliants are Greek. By contrast, in our play Oedipus encounters an act of supplication by the people of his own city, and there seems to be no difficulty, or moral bravery, involved in accepting it. Yet by receiving this supplication, or rather, by agreeing to it even before he was asked, Oedipus sets in motion the sequence of events that will lead to his downfall; and seeing that process through to the end will result in far greater personal catastrophe than any other authority figure in a supplication prologue has to face. Third, Oedipus’ openly emotional reaction to the suppliants sets him apart.127 The chorus of Aeschylus’ Suppliant Women appeal for pity (209) but fail to obtain it; Pelasgus is chiefly moved to accept them out of fear that otherwise he would incur Zeus’s anger. In Euripides’ Children of Heracles, the chorus of Marathonians weep in pity for the suppliants’ plight (129; cf. 232), and the Argive Herald warns Demophon not to be misled by pity (150–2); but Demophon’s eventual decision to accept the suppliants is based on quite different grounds (their supplication at the altar of Zeus, his distant kinship with them, and his fear of disgrace if he gave way to Argos). Euripides’ Suppliant Women shows Theseus’ mother, Aethra, expressing pity for the suppliants who surround her (34–5), and the chorus (47, 68) and Adrastus (168–9, 176–9) themselves appeal for pity; Theseus notes his mother’s pitiable tears (96) but is not moved by them to cry himself, and at first refuses the supplication. Eventually he gives way, 126


Cf. Griffin (2007) 190–1 ‘Ideally, such scenes should also involve some important moral choice or some human disaster.’ See Finglass (2017b).



thanks to a speech from his mother raising the possibility of divine anger and the question of his personal honour (297–331; cf. 337–45). The nearest he gets to pity is a statement that he is somewhat affected by the women’s lamentation, but he goes no further than that.128 In both Sophocles’ suppliant plays, by contrast, pity motivates the acceptance of the supplication, a pattern first found in Achilles’ response to Priam’s supplication in the Iliad.129 Similarly, Theseus in Oedipus at Colonus pities Oedipus (556) within a few lines of coming on stage. Unlike the authority figures mentioned above, Theseus acknowledges the basic similarity between himself and the suppliant (562–8), the recognition of which was a fundamental precondition for pity.130 Likewise, Oedipus in Oedipus the King expresses his pity before the suppliants’ spokesman has even begun to speak (12–13), and then again at the beginning of his second speech (58). He refers to his many tears (66),131 describes how his vicarious pain is greater than the pain suffered by his people (59–67), and tells Creon that he feels more concern for his subjects than for his own life (93–4). Later the chorus will sing how the bodies of those killed by the plague are lying ‘unpitied’, repeating the idea for emphasis (180/1–181/2n.); Oedipus, however, shows the pity that others have withheld. Yet he is dealing not with a foreign supplication, but with the people over whom he rules; and because he is a king who cares for his subjects, the close connexion and personal similarity required for pity to exist are present in abundance. 128


130 131

Eur. Suppl. 288 κἀμὲ γὰρ διῆλθέ τι. See further Konstan (2005) 58, 63–4, Suter (2009) 71. Hom. Il. 24.515–16 γέροντα δὲ χειρὸς ἀνίστη, | οἰκτίρων πολιόν τε κάρη πολιόν τε γένειον. See Arist. Rhet. 1386a25–7, Poet. 1453a2–7. For the association of tears and pity cf. Aj. 578–80, Eur. Suppl. 96, Suter (2009).



Ironically, the connexion between them will turn out to be closer than he realises, when he finds out that he is a native-born Theban (452–4). Ironically, too, his humane concern for others – the characteristic that marks him out as an able ruler and profoundly sympathetic man – will turn out to be one of the causes of his destruction.132 An Oedipus indifferent to the suffering of his people would never even have begun the investigation that ends so disastrously for him. These paradoxically catastrophic consequences of pity are paralleled across archaic Greek literature, at the start of various works. Early in the Iliad, concern for the Greeks’ affliction by a plague leads Hera to prompt the calling of an assembly, where the quarrel takes place between Achilles and Agamemnon that leads to the death of countless more Greeks.133 In the Cypria, Zeus begins the Trojan War because of his pity for the goddess Earth, who is oppressed by the weight of humanity; his compassion for her results in the longest and bloodiest of human conflicts.134 Stesichorus’ Sack of Troy begins with the goddess Athena showing pity to the menial servant Epeius, whose daily job it was to carry water for the Greek kings, by inspiring him to create the Wooden Horse, thus leading to the destruction of the city which had for so long frustrated the force of arms, and to the suffering not only of the Trojans but also of the Greeks, for many of whom the return home was such a painful enterprise.135 In each of these cases, however, the pity is divine, and the destruction wrought by that pity might be thought to be part of some grim divine plan; the gods know what they are doing. But 132



Cf. Dodds (1966) 43 = (1973) 71 ‘Oedipus might have left the plague to take its course; but pity for the sufferings of his people compelled him to consult Delphi.’ Hom. Il. 1.53–6. For further instances from epic, including Stesichorus, see Finglass (2013b) 13–14, (2016c). Cypria fr. 1 GEF. 135 Stes. fr. 100.18–19 F.



Oedipus is not a god, as the Priest feels compelled to remark when appealing to him (31–4), and so the destructive force unleashed by his own pity – a force that will finish him off too – is something that he cannot possibly have foreseen. The picture of Oedipus that emerges from the supplication, of a compassionate leader held in affection by his people and determined by all means to help them, is crucial for a proper appreciation of the following episode. After his proclamation about the killer, which is the formal result of his consultation of the oracle spurred on by the suffering of his people, he implores Tiresias to lend his assistance, using the vocabulary of supplication (327 ἱκτήριοι) and echoing the language of the Priest (297–462n.): the object of supplication has become the suppliant, a change which emphasises his lack of personal arrogance and willingness to do what it takes to rescue his city. Tiresias’ striking refusal to respond to that supplication provokes from Oedipus hostility and frenzied accusations. Yet this reaction springs from his concern for the Theban people (330–1, 339–40, 443); Oedipus may be mistaken in his attacks on Tiresias, but his passionate desire to provide the support that his suppliant people have asked of him mitigates any negative response that the audience has towards him in this scene. As the play progresses, the peril facing the city is gradually obscured; this begins already in the Tiresias scene, when the seer’s dire prophecies shift the focus to Oedipus’ fate. In the following episode Oedipus’ argument with Creon has almost no focus on the wider community (though note Oedipus’ frustrated exclamation ὦ πόλις πόλις, 629); Oedipus here is at his most self-centred, although Jocasta and the chorus successfully persuade him to let Creon go in part by reminding him of the troubles that the city is facing. This is the final reference to the plague (694/5–695/6), less than halfway through the 47


drama (631–97n.). What had been the motor of the plot is discarded, and when the truth is revealed and Oedipus’ identity as Laius’ killer becomes known, the consequences for the city’s affliction are not even touched upon. Yet the supplication scene that opened the drama remains of key importance in understanding its end, since the final scenes reprise the theme of pity so surprisingly prominent in the prologue. When Oedipus (in the final question of his long investigation) asks the Theban Herdsman why he gave to the Corinthian the baby entrusted to him by Laius, he tells him that he was motivated by pity (κατοικτίσας, 1178). Just as Oedipus’ life has come full circle – he is, as the Herdsman goes on to say, the same man as the one whom he has been looking for all along, and he as a grown man now learns for the first time his true origin as a baby – so too the play comes full circle, with the pity of Oedipus at its start (pity for children in particular) setting in motion an investigation that culminates in his discovery of the pity of the Herdsman, which, years ago, set in motion Oedipus’ life, which has now been brought, via his own pity, to this most appalling moment. Pity is a crucial causal element at two separate beginnings: the start of Oedipus’ life, and the start of the play which documents that life. We might think of the Greek fondness for discovering the ἀρχὴ κακῶν, the original act that caused some present calamity. Usually this act is violent or immoral – Paris’ abduction of Helen, the Athenian intervention in the Ionian revolt, the adultery of Aerope with Thyestes.136 How much more moving, how much more terrifying, is the idea of disaster brought about by a very human act of kindness and altruism! Explicit references to the emotion that caused the rescue of an abandoned child are attested in related stories. In Euripides’ Ion, the child exposed by its mother is found 136

Hom. Il. 5.62–4, Aesch. Ag. 1191–3, Hdt. 5.97.3.



by someone who pities it, and that pity is partly inspired by the child’s father Apollo. Sometimes the pity is put to more complex literary effect. In Herodotus, when the king of the Medes, Astyages, orders his baby grandson to be exposed by his henchman Harpagus, Harpagus goes home with the baby, weeping at what he has been asked to do; his whole house is overcome by grief when he tells them his task, and his wife comes up with a scheme to preserve the life of the child. The child is brought up and his royal birth becomes known (this is Cyrus, who will lead a Persian rebellion against the Medes); Astyages then punishes Harpagus by serving his own son to him at a banquet. This terrible reversal – the saving of another’s child leads to the death of his own – is accompanied by a sort of reversal of emotion. The decision to save Astyages’ grandson is accompanied by, indeed prompted by, weeping; but when later Harpagus is told that he has just eaten his own son he is forced to restrain his grief in the presence of the king and to approve the king’s action. The contrast with his earlier openly expressed grief seems both pointed and poignant.137 Another Herodotean example occurs in the story of Cypselus, another baby prophesied to bring down a dynasty when grown to manhood. In this tale the baby is seized by its enemies, intending to kill it; but at the critical moment it smiles, and this causes them to feel pity, and as a result of that pity it survives, to grow into the tyrant of Corinth who kills and drives out the previous rulers. The innocent baby saved by pity turns out to be the founder of a pitiless dynasty.138 The pattern is found outside Greek literature too. So in the book of Exodus, Pharaoh’s daughter rescues an abandoned Hebrew child because she has pity on him; the child will grow into Moses, under whose leadership the Hebrews will revolt from Egyptian rule and depart into the wilderness, resulting in the ruin of 137

Hdt. 1.108–19.


Hdt. 5.92γ.2–4.



the Egyptian army. But only Sophocles makes this emotion into a central feature of an entire character, of an entire work, making the pity shown to the baby correspond, disastrously, to the pity shown by that baby when it reaches manhood, and ensuring that the revelation of this crucial act of pity prompts the direst acts of selfmutilation by the person who was originally pitied. The prominence of pity continues into the final scene. Just as the Oedipus supplicated in the prologue became the Oedipus who supplicated Tiresias in the first episode, so the man who pitied his people at the opening of the play becomes the object of pity at its end. Even someone who hated him would pity him, says the Messenger who describes his self-blinding (1295–6); Oedipus himself refers to how Creon has shown compassion to him (1473). The change emphasises how the power relationship between the two men has altered (1223–1523n.). Oedipus begs Creon to show pity for his daughters (1508); this too underlines the shift from the opening scene, in that the man who once pitied the children of his city is now reduced to asking someone else to pity his own. Yet it demonstrates Oedipus’ continued desire, even in his ruined state, to influence (if not actually control) events, and his persistent capacity to feel emotion at the sufferings of others. At such a moment it would be understandable for him to concentrate on his own wretchedness; but instead, after lamenting his own sorrows, he turns to think of their impact on his daughters. Just as Oedipus’ pity for the suppliants at the start of the drama establishes him as a profoundly sympathetic character, so his pity for his daughters at its end ensures that the audience’s sympathy for him here does not rest solely on his miserable condition, but is in part the product of a new act of quasisupplication, his begging Creon to look after his nieces. 139

Exodus 2.1–10.



Whether the gods pity Oedipus, however, is a question that goes unanswered. The Messenger’s powerful yet conventional claim that even someone who hated Oedipus would pity him (1295–6) may be true for mortals, and is exemplified in the person of Creon, whom Oedipus had so recently treated as an enemy. But what of Apollo, whom Oedipus names as the cause of his afflictions (1329–1330/1), and whose active involvement in the action the course of the play seems to demonstrate (see pp. 74–6 below)? Does he have compassion for the great king brought so low? The play is silent on that score, at least in its explicit statements; spectators will draw their own conclusions. (B) R E C O G N I T I O N T R A G E D Y Recognition as a theme in ancient literature is as old as the Odyssey, where the disguised Odysseus reveals himself to his allies and family on his return to Ithaca, and elsewhere in the poem conceals his true identity when encountering unfamiliar people. A major part of many tragedies, recognition is analysed at length by Aristotle in the Poetics.140 He praises the type found in Oedipus the King, as a complement to the main character’s fall from prosperity into disaster: ἔστι δὲ περιπέτεια μὲν ἡ εἰς τὸ ἐναντίον τῶν πραττομένων μεταβολὴ καθάπερ εἴρηται, καὶ τοῦτο δὲ ὥσπερ λέγομεν κατὰ τὸ εἰκὸς ἢ ἀναγκαῖον, οἷον ἐν τῷ Οἰδίποδι ἐλθὼν ὡς εὐφρανῶν τὸν Οἰδίπουν καὶ ἀπαλλάξων τοῦ πρὸς τὴν μητέρα φόβου, δηλώσας ὃς ἦν, τοὐναντίον ἐποίησεν·. . . ἀναγνώρισις δέ, ὥσπερ καὶ τοὔνομα σημαίνει, ἐξ ἀγνοίας εἰς γνῶσιν μεταβολή, ἢ εἰς φιλίαν ἢ εἰς ἔχθραν, τῶν πρὸς εὐτυχίαν ἢ δυστυχίαν ὡρισμένων· καλλίστη δὲ ἀναγνώρισις, ὅταν ἅμα περιπετείᾳ γένηται, οἷον ἔχει ἡ ἐν τῷ Οἰδίποδι.


For recognition as a theme in drama ancient and modern see Cave (1988).



Reversal, as indicated, is a complete swing in the direction of the action; but this, as we insist, must conform to probability or necessity. Take, for example, Oedipus, where the person comes to bring Oedipus happiness, and intends to free him from his fear about his mother; but he produces the opposite effect, by revealing Oedipus’ identity . . . Recognition, as the very name shows, is a change from ignorance to knowledge, bringing the characters into either a close bond, or enmity, with one another, and concerning matters which bear on their prosperity or affliction. The finest recognition occurs in direct conjunction with reversal – as with the one in Oedipus. Arist. Poet. 1452a22–33141

Aristotle returns twice to the excellence of the recognition in Oedipus the King. He cites the play as his first example of what he considers the second-best category of recognition, where kin-killings are committed by agents unaware of the identity of their victims, only to recognise them afterwards;142 he prefers plays in which recognition intervenes before the killing can take place, such as Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris and Cresphontes. As for the means whereby that recognition is achieved, that too reveals the skilful treatment of the motif: πασῶν δὲ βελτίστη ἀναγνώρισις ἡ ἐξ αὐτῶν τῶν πραγμάτων, τῆς ἐκπλήξεως γιγνομένης δι’ εἰκότων, οἷον ἐν τῷ Σοφοκλέους Οἰδίποδι καὶ τῇ Ἰφιγενείᾳ· εἰκὸς γὰρ βούλεσθαι ἐπιθεῖναι γράμματα. αἱ γὰρ τοιαῦται μόναι ἄνευ τῶν πεποιημένων σημείων. The best of all recognitions is the type which arises from the events themselves, where the emotional impact comes about through a probable sequence of action. There are examples in Sophocles’ 141 142

Transl. Halliwell (1987) 42–3 (slightly adapted). Arist. Poet. 1453b14–1454a13, on which see Finglass (2016a) 304 n. 12. In this category Aristotle cites Astydamas’ Alcmeon, and a play Odysseus Wounded, which many scholars identify with Sophocles’ Odysseus Struck by a Spine (cf. Lowe (2000) 182, Finglass (2016a) 304–5 n. 14; the Brunck citation which I was unable to trace there turns out to be Brunck (1788) 434). We could add Euripides’ Ino.



Oedipus, and in Iphigeneia (for it is in conformity with probability that she should want to entrust a letter). Such instances alone avoid contrived tokens. Arist. Poet. 1455a16–19143

Aristotle’s analysis remains illuminating, although we are not bound to accept his literary preferences. In particular, the type of recognition that he puts in second place, the commiting of acts of kin-killing without knowledge of the dead person’s identity, may seem to us the most tragic category of all; certainly, it is no less moving than plays where the recognition takes place before the killing can occur. Moreover, Aristotle’s praise of the play’s recognition can make us forget just how unusual it is when compared with recognitions in the rest of the dramatic corpus. Below I briefly consider four aspects of that recognition that make it particularly intriguing. First, tragic recognitions typically involve one person discovering the identity of another, whereas the central recognition of Oedipus the King is Oedipus’ realisation of who he himself truly is. Recognition is normally closely involved with sight: it involves looking at another person and realising that they are somebody different from the person that they at first seemed to be. But sight in Oedipus the King does not come into it: Oedipus’ recognition of his own identity is a purely mental process. This suits a drama in which the futility of sight is brought to the fore, particularly in the Tiresias scene;144 Oedipus can see and yet fails to understand who he really is, whereas the prophet’s blindness does not prevent him from truly recognising Oedipus long before anyone else. So too in the final scene, Oedipus movingly recognises his daughters, despite his blindness, thanks to their tears for his suffering; 143


Transl. Halliwell (1987) 49–50 (see also his textual note on p. 67). For tokens in recognitions see below, pp. 66–7. For this theme see Buxton (1980) 23–5 ≈ (2013) 176–8, Calame (1996).



when blinding himself, he had highlighted his eyes’ failure to recognise those people whom they most ought to have recognised, meaning the members of his family.145 Oedipus’ realisation of his true self is a recognition which underlines the fallibility both of the senses and of the intellect; one that forces upon the recogniser not the need to adjust his belief concerning the identity of a third party (however traumatic and tragic that may be), but the most fundamental reassessment of everything that he thought that he knew about himself. And that self-recognition is immediately followed by a song from the chorus (1186–1221/2, further discussed under point four below, pp. 56–7) that constitutes an equally profound recognition of a different kind – the recognition that, thanks to the discovery of Oedipus’ true identity, mankind is as nothing before the gods. Second, ahead of that climactic anagnôrisis, the entire play and its back story are full of failures of recognition.146 Oedipus does not recognise that Polybus is not his true father; Oedipus and Laius fail to recognise each other at the place where three roads meet; Oedipus and Jocasta do not recognise each other despite being married; the Theban people fail to recognise Oedipus as one of their own. All these failures of recognition are individually explicable in realistic terms, caused by Oedipus’ separation from Thebes and transferral to Corinth when he was only a few days old. But cumulatively they emphasise the idea of a world of profound epistemological insecurity; pace Jocasta, it is not so much knowledge of the future (πρόνοια, 978) that is faulty (the oracles are vindicated, after all) as understanding of the present and the past. Moreover, the great recognition that the play does contain is considerably delayed by further failures. Oedipus, despite his undoubted keenness to track 145


See 1472–4n., 1271–4n. His recognition of his daughters by their tears is prefigured by his recognition of the chorus by their voice (1325–6). Cf. Finglass (2016a) 305, with 304–5 on other failed tragic recognitions; also Sissa (2006) 57–79.



down the killer of Laius, is far from an exceptional detective. He fails to note Creon’s mention of the eyewitness to the killing (118–23), summoning him only after more than seven hundred lines (859–61). True, the anger against Tiresias which blinds him to the truth of his revelations is prompted by his passion to proceed with his hunt for the killer; but he does not even countenance that the prophet might be right, and neglects to pursue the hint about his parentage that momentarily excites his interest (435–9). It would be an insensitive misreading of the play to take such failures as evidence for stupidity on Oedipus’ part. Rather, they highlight how this man, for all his intellect, is so fallible where he ought to be strongest (cf. 439–41); ‘the lavish – the almost intolerable – irony of Oedipus Tyrannus is justified by this – that the most intelligent of men can be so wrong, that the man who read the riddle of the Sphinx cannot read the riddle of his own appalling destiny.’147 And although the audience consistently has superior knowledge to Oedipus’, in that they know the basic format of the myth and thus have a general idea of what is coming, the effect of seeing an acclaimed intellect so nullified and frustrated can only underline the limitations of human achievement in any field. Third, the ultimate stage in the recognition provides its own surprise: ‘perhaps the most famous anagn¯orisis (recognition) in tragedy, Oedipus’ recognition of himself, is the direct result of the extorted testimony of a slave.’148 Two lowstatus characters are involved in that recognition, the Corinthian and the Theban; both are herdsmen, the latter a slave. The play’s sole confident recognition by sight of one person by another occurs when the Corinthian, at Oedipus’ 147


Winnington-Ingram (1971) 134 ≈ (1980) 203. Cf. Lawrence (2013) 135 ‘Oedipus, for all his confidence in his investigative powers, is more radically ignorant than any other tragic protagonist, in that his whole life is constructed on a monstrous lie.’ Hall (1997) 113–14.



bidding, identifies the Theban herdsman (1119–20); the reciprocal recognition takes far longer, thanks to the Theban’s reluctance to give any information that might reveal Oedipus’ true identity (1128–41). The prominent roles of these low-born, ordinary, unnamed men, coupled with the threat of torture, is one of the elements that unexpectedly associate this part of the play with tragicomedy (see pp. 76–82 below). The divine–human axis is familiar enough in accounts of this drama; the slave–free axis, on the other hand, has not received such attention, and yet it is as important for the play’s overall effect. Just as Oedipus’ selfrecognition draws attention to the unbreakable gap between mortals and gods, so it also undermines the gap between high and low rank around which human society is constructed. The king is both rescued and brought low by the intervention of ordinary, nameless men usually of no importance for tragedy; and if in the light of Oedipus’ fall, as the chorus go on to sing, nothing that pertains to mortals can be called blessed, where does that leave the principles around which human society is constructed, principles which so sharply distinguish rich from poor, free from slave? Fourth, the moment of recognition, when it finally arrives, is followed by a moving ode that expresses the chorus’s sorrow. That very placing, ‘immediately after Oedipus’ cry of recognition, . . . offers a clue to Aristotle’s stress on the importance of anagnôrisis. For Aristotle . . . recognition and the painful emotions that it generates . . . are not separated off . . . into immediate emotional release and (often subsequent) intellectual reflection.’149 Rather, Oedipus’ recognition leads the chorus to both emotional release and intellectual reflection simultaneously – although the value of any intellectual reflection by human beings must be called into question at this appalling moment. Moreover, Oedipus’ discovery of his true self causes the 149

Easterling (1996) 178.



chorus to experience a personal, touching sorrow at the fall of the king whom they loved (1216–1221/2) and, at the same time, a new vision of the universe, in which humanity is equated to nothingness (1186–95) – appropriately enough, at this climactic moment in a play that has destroyed the very identity of the person previously acclaimed as the best among men (46). This combination of the cosmic and the intimate is a fitting response to what is inevitably the play’s high point, bringing out as it does the wide significance of this most terrible and moving of recognitions. (C) N O S T O S - P L A Y Like that of recognition, the idea of the return home is fundamental to Greek literature from its beginnings. It obviously forms the central plot device of the Odyssey, as well as of the Nostoi (The Returns) from the Epic Cycle and of the Nostoi by Stesichorus;150 even in the Iliad, the prospect and deprivation of nostos is important throughout, especially for Achilles.151 It is no surprise, then, to find the nostos-theme prominent across a range of tragedies.152 The title character of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon returns home from war only to be killed there rather than on the battlefield; in his Choephoroe and the Electra plays of Euripides and Sophocles his son, Orestes, returns home from exile and takes vengeance on his father’s killers; the theme can be observed in plays as diverse as Aeschylus’ Persians, 150

151 152

Epic: Bonifazi (2009); Epic Cycle: Danek (2015); Stesichorus: Davies and Finglass, edition, pp. 470–81. Hom. Il. 9.356–67, etc. See Easterling (2011) 74. The importance and diversity of the nostos-theme in tragedy was the subject of a paper by Nick Lowe at the Nostoi conference organised in May 2016 at All Souls by Giulia Biffis and Simon Hornblower, which is to appear in a volume from the conference. Carvalho (2017) examines the pervasive use of the nostos-motif in Stesichorus, whose handling of the theme probably influenced the tragic poets.



Sophocles’ Philoctetes, and Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris. Returns home offer the prospect of disaster, triumph, or both; they may, but need not, involve the growth and development of the individuals who undertake them; they can be long anticipated, dangerous to attempt, or apparently impossible. They provide an ideal locus for the powerful emotions and dramatic events central to tragedy. Oedipus the King seems at first a paradoxical member of such a category, since during its action Oedipus never departs from Thebes – or indeed from the palace and the space immediately in front of it. Nor is he a recent arrival. The only character who comes home during the play is Creon, and his return from the oracle at Delphi is significant because of the message that he brings, not as a nostos. Of the other characters who arrive from elsewhere, the Corinthian messenger has come from his home rather than towards it; and while the Theban Herdsman did use to live in central Thebes, presumably at the palace itself, his arrival scarcely constitutes a nostos of any kind. But although Oedipus never travels anywhere during the play, he nevertheless achieves his nostos, all too fully. The discovery that Thebes is his ‘ancestral city’ (1450 πατρῷον ἄστυ) retrospectively classifies his journey to Thebes in this category; the very delay in this realisation is ironic, since part of the point of a nostos is to come back to a place instantly familiar to, and long desired by, the returner. Often a nostos would be joyful, even glorious; but Oedipus’ return, in common with other tragic nostoi, does not lead to happiness. Paradoxically, though, at the time it did seem an awesome occurrence, involving Oedipus’ destruction of a monster and his winning of the queen and the kingdom. As king, it falls to Oedipus to declare that the killer of Laius must depart from Thebes or else be ‘driven from his home’ (241 ὠθεῖν δ’ ἀπ’ οἴκων), a fate that he himself has already twice endured and will later seek once more. He repeats this phrase when he comes to suppose that 58


he himself is that killer (819; cf. 1382 ὠθεῖν), without realising just how right he is to call Thebes his οἶκος. Such understanding will come only when Oedipus’ arrival in Thebes is recognised as a nostos. What had appeared a magnificently successful arrival in a foreign land is now shockingly revealed as a most unhappy and tragic return home.153 Oedipus’ journey to Thebes would not have been possible without the first journey of his life – his departure via a reverse nostos, prompted by the oracle that Laius had received, in the hands first of the Theban Herdsman, then of the Corinthian. A rumour that he was not his father’s son – it never reached the stage of saying that Corinth was not his native city – led him to leave Corinth for Delphi. That temporary departure, thanks to the oracle which he received telling him that he would kill his father and marry his mother and have children by her, then became permanent, as he sought to distance himself from Corinth: nostos is now the last thing he can afford, and the stars which might otherwise have guided him home are instead put to use in separating him from what he believes to be his country (794–7). So for a second time Oedipus is involved in a reverse nostos, again caused by an oracle predicting the terrible acts that he will commit against his parents. The first of these was involuntary (indeed Oedipus is unaware that it ever took place), the second voluntary; both journeys fail to achieve their aim. The first is unsuccessful because the journey does not end at Mount Cithaeron, as Laius had intended, but at Corinth; the latter because Oedipus does not know where his true homeland lies, and in trying to avoid it ends up heading straight in its direction. Now comes the third and final part of this fateful triangular journey, Oedipus’ actual nostos from Delphi to Thebes, during which he kills his father (denying him his nostos even 153

Contrast how elsewhere in Sophocles ‘the return is typically threatened, prevented altogether, or only temporarily fulfilled’ (Easterling (2011) 74).



as he achieves his own), and which culminates in his marrying his mother, a tragically excessive reintegration into his home community. Each leg of this journey, from Thebes to Corinth, from Corinth to Delphi, and from Delphi to Thebes, was prompted by messages of different sorts: in two cases a numinous message from Apollo’s oracle, delivered once to Laius, once to Oedipus, in the other a casual comment from a merry individual at a banquet. (Such a combination is typical of a play whose action is determined simultaneously by the inscrutable activity of the gods and by the ordinary, everyday doings of people as unremarkable as the herdsmen and this anonymous drunk.) Each time the hearer attempts somehow to avoid or deal with what he has been told, in a manner that seems reasonable enough in the circumstances; and each time that action ends up precipitating rather than avoiding calamity. The nostos pattern underlines the fallibility of human understanding detailed above in the discussions of pity and of recognitions. It is not clear what actually constitutes a nostos until far too late; and the reasons that people have for precipitating these nostoi and reverse nostoi tend to bring about the opposite of what they intend. Yet the overall patterning of these journeys suggests that a controlling intelligence lies behind them, one that functions at a level higher than the mortal. The last leg of Oedipus’ trip is the only one where an alternative route is explicitly mentioned. The encounter with Laius occurs at the place where three roads meet, roads that lead to Delphi, to Thebes, and to Daulia. Daulia is of no intrinsic importance, but the existence of the path towards it is significant – it provides a last opportunity for Oedipus to turn aside, to avoid the clash with his father and the marriage that awaits him at Thebes with his mother.154 154

Cf. Easterling (2011) 77 ‘People on journeys may also meet branches or splits and be forced to choose an option: finding the way can become a deeply challenging experience, as Oedipus notoriously discovered in OT’.



The reference to Daulia also clarifies that the meeting takes place only a few miles outside Delphi – Oedipus has barely begun his attempt to avoid the outcomes prophesied by Apollo when he accidentally brings one of them to fulfilment. After the killing, Oedipus decides to take the path to Thebes, apparently by his own will; and yet there was no possibility that he could have chosen anything else. Just as the three legs of Oedipus’ life journey inevitably culminate in Thebes, so too when faced with a choice of three roads he cannot but take the one that leads there. The freedom of choice enjoyed by the traveller (especially by one who, like Oedipus here, has no fixed destination in mind, so long as it is not Corinth) tensely coexists with the controlling power of the divine to bring everyone to their destination. At the climactic moment of the play Oedipus discovers not just his identity, but the true nature of the paths that he has taken over the course of his existence – paths now so disastrously traceable back to their origin. In his first speech after his self-blinding (1391–1408; see 1369–1415n.), he invokes the places that have played a significant part in his life: Cithaeron, Corinth, the place where three roads meet, and Thebes itself (the last not invoked, but still present via 1402–3 εἶτα δεῦρ’ ἰὼν | ὁποῖ’ ἔπρασσον αὖθις). Such invocations implicitly attribute agency to these inanimate locations ‘as if they had been active participants in his downfall’;155 Oedipus is not disclaiming responsibility for his fatal travels, but nevertheless endows the places via which he has come home with a power suggesting a realisation that more than his own decisions have been at work. Conspicuous by its absence is Delphi, which played a vital role in Oedipus’ journey from Corinth to Thebes; perhaps the importance of this place, whose god he has only just named as responsible for his sufferings (1329–1330/1), so surpasses even


Cairns (2013b) 145.



these other crucial locations in the story of Oedipus’ life that it could not be set alongside them as if on equal terms. The final scene focuses not just on Oedipus’ past journeys, but also on his future ones. If Thebes is now revealed as his homeland, Mount Cithaeron too has a new significance for him, as his first destination, where if he had perished, his short life would have been far more joyous (1391–3); it is there that Oedipus desires to go (1451–4; see 1391–3 n.), to die in the place originally appointed for that purpose.156 Yet that wish is climactically denied him. Oedipus has previously taken the paths from Corinth and from Delphi that he chose, but now the power to choose his destination is gone. He has, it is now all too clear, come home, and will not be leaving that home, that appalling centre of attempted childmurder, incest, suicide, and self-blinding, any time soon. His death on the mountain would fulfil his parents’ wish from long ago (cf. 1454), although pointlessly, in that it would not cancel out any of his subsequent actions. Indeed, the judgments that informed his previous travels, judgments that seemed logical responses to the situations in which he found himself, now seem so unreliable that it is perhaps just as well that he will not be able to select where he travels next; after all, his original journey to Cithaeron did not accomplish the outcome desired by the people who despatched him. This says less about Oedipus than about humankind as a whole. Creon’s decision to seek explicit guidance from Apollo about Oedipus’ next destination (1432–45) cannot but seem wise in such a context, even if the implications that it has for the capacity of human beings to make good choices is astonishingly pessimistic.


For the significance of this mountain for Oedipus see further Taplin (1978) 45–6, (2010).



(D) F O U N D L I N G N A R R A T I V E The Herdsman’s rescue of the baby Oedipus aligns the play with tragedies in which a newborn’s escape from death forms a key part of the plot. Looking briefly at some of them may help us discern what is distinctive about Sophocles’ treatment of the device.157 The motif seems to have been popular with Euripides. So in Aeolus the illicit relationship between Macareus and his sister Canace produces a son; in later accounts, perhaps deriving from Euripides’ play, the boy’s grandfather Aeolus orders his exposure, and his parents commit suicide, but the boy, called Triopas, survives and founds a dynasty of Aeolids.158 In Antiope (from probably after 420) the title character is forced to abandon her two sons by Zeus, Amphion and Zethus, after giving birth to them on Mount Cithaeron, but they are found and brought up by a herdsman, who seems to have spoken the prologue and intervenes later to bring about the boys’ identification by their mother.159 The boys grow up to become the builders of the walls of Thebes. Alope features Poseidon’s rape of Cercyon’s daughter of that name; her child is exposed, but survives thanks to being fed by a mare and discovered by a shepherd. He gives the baby to another shepherd; its identity becomes known when the two shepherds bring to Cercyon a subsequent quarrel over ownership of the identifying tokens found with the infant.160 The child would become Hippothoön, king of 157

158 159 160

For all the fragmentary Euripidean plays discussed below, the Loeb edition by Collard and Cropp should be the first point of reference. I have restricted the discussion to tragedy since the subject is so vast; but for a comparison of Oedipus the King with a Herodotean foundling narrative see above, p. 49, and for the topic in literature and folk-tale more generally see Redford (1967), Huys (1995). Eur. Aeolus test. ii; Collard and Cropp i 12. Eur. Antiope test. i(a), frr. 179, 181–2. Eur. Alope fr. 107; test. iib.



Eleusis and eponym of the Athenian Hippothontis tribe. In Auge Heracles rapes and impregnates Auge, whose child, Telephus, is exposed by her father; the baby is fed by a doe, its mother thrown into the sea in a chest and washed up in Mysia.161 Telephus later becomes king of Mysia, wounding Achilles when the Greeks attack his city en route for Troy. The same account is likely to have featured somewhere (perhaps as part of the back story) in Sophocles’ plays on Telephus, which may well have formed a connected trilogy.162 In Euripides’ Wise Melanippe the title character has twin sons by Poseidon; she hides them in a stable, where they are discovered by herdsmen and brought to her father Aeolus.163 These children, Aeolus and Boeotus, give their names to the Aeolian islands and to Boeotia respectively. Euripides’ Danae depicted Danae’s imprisonment by her father Acrisius in a chest with her baby son after her impregnation by Zeus,164 his Dictys their discovery by a man of that name on Seriphos. Although in these plays the baby is not separated from its mother, their being cast out in this way makes for a double exposure. The baby grows up to become Perseus, the famous slayer of Medusa who also mistakenly kills his grandfather. And Ion, the only one of Euripides’ foundling plays to survive complete, centres on Apollo’s child by the Athenian princess Creusa, who was abandoned by his mother as a baby and reared by Apollo’s priestess at Delphi. In the course of the play Creusa’s husband Xuthus is tricked by Apollo’s oracle into thinking that Ion is his own son; as a result, Creusa conspires to kill Ion, so that a foreigner will not inherit the Athenian throne, but the plot fails. As Creusa takes refuge from Ion at the god’s altar, the Priestess enters with the casket in which Ion had been 161 162 163 164

Eur. Auge test. iib. For the issue of the potential trilogy see Finglass (2015c) 214. Eur. Wise Melanippe test. i. Eur. Danae test. ii (referring only to Danae’s confinement).



exposed; Creusa recognises it and, after telling Ion the contents of the box, is embraced by him as his mother. She tells him that Apollo is his father, something confirmed by Athena at the play’s conclusion. Ion goes on to become the ancestor of the Ionians, who thereby (unlike the Dorians and Aeolians) are given a divine ancestry. Either or both of the Aegeus plays by Sophocles and Euripides could have involved Aegeus’ attempt, at Medea’s instigation, to kill his son Theseus, who had been brought up unknown to his father in Troezen, either by poison or by sending him against the Bull of Marathon. This is not exactly a case of infant exposure, but the same basic pattern can be discerned: a child is brought up separately from one of its parents and subsequently recognised by that parent many years later. Euripides’ Alexander (415) involves the return to Troy of Paris (= Alexander), who was exposed by his parents Priam and Hecuba as a baby because of a bad dream experienced by Hecuba;165 a herdsman brought him up. Arraigned before Priam by his fellow-shepherds for his arrogance, Paris is allowed to compete in the athletic competitions then taking place in honour of the supposedly dead child. His success in these leads Deiphobus and his companions to plot to kill him. Cassandra recognises him and prophesies what is going to happen; Hecuba tries to kill him. In the end the Herdsman who had brought him up arrives and reveals his identity.166 It seems from one fragment that Sophocles’ Alexander dealt with the same myth, but how his treatment differed from Euripides’, and when it was first performed, is unknown. In one or both of Sophocles’ Tyro plays Tyro is seduced by Poseidon and gives birth to twins, Pelias and Neleus, 165


In Pindar she dreams that she gives birth to a hundred-handed Erinys (fr. 52i(a).19–21 S–M, involving a likely restoration, for which see Finglass (2005b)); in other accounts (e.g. Apollod. Bibl. 3.12.5), to a firebrand. Eur. Alexander test. iii TrGF.



who are brought up by herdsmen; when fully grown they rescue her from her enemy Sidero. His Hipponous might be a further member of this category. Virtually nothing of the play survives, but the only event for which Hipponous, king of Olenus in Achaea, is known is abandoning his daughter Periboea after she fell pregnant with Tydeus; the proverb ‘Tydeus from the swineherd’s hut’ suggests a version, which could have had its origin in Sophocles’ play, in which Tydeus was reared by swineherds.167 Comparing other plays involving a foundling with Sophocles’ Oedipus the King is difficult because so many of the relevant dramas have survived only in fragments or summaries; nevertheless, common themes emerge. First, many of these dramas involve herdsmen as the rearers of the abandoned child (Sophocles’ Tyro plays, perhaps his Hipponous, and Euripides’ Alexander, Alope, Antiope, Wise Melanippe), and in at least some of them the shepherds appear on stage, as in Oedipus the King, as part of the process that leads to the key moment of recognition. Sophocles’ employment of herdsmen in Oedipus the King will be discussed below in section (f), pp. 76–82. The loss of these other dramas makes it harder to assess the originality of Sophocles’ use of the characters. Second, the identification of the child in these dramas can involve the deployment of tokens, items exposed with the baby that permit his recognition at a later stage, usually many years afterwards; this certainly takes place in Alope and Ion, and is likely to have featured in many of the other plays. As we have seen above (pp. 19–20), this is attested in the Oedipus story told in the Pisander scholium, where the herdsman who rescued the baby produces the swaddling clothes and pins to corroborate his claim. The technique can be found in other recognitions too, such as (albeit briefly) that of Orestes by Electra in Sophocles’ play, which again involves two family 167

Plut. Prov. 1.5 Τυδεὺς ἐκ συφορβίου.



members separated since childhood.168 Oedipus the King, however, dispenses with such aids. The process of recognition advances by means of Oedipus’ interrogations of Tiresias, Jocasta, the Corinthian, and finally the Theban herdsman; Oedipus does ask the Corinthian what he was suffering from when he discovered him as a baby (1031–6), but there is no request for, or production of, any physical pieces of evidence, nor any emphasis on the verification process. Such tokens would divert attention from what really matters; there is no need for recourse to physical items to prove the conclusion to which the words of Oedipus’ interlocutors tend so inexorably.169 Third, a central part of these plays is the recognition of the child by the parent or parents who exposed it; this recognition sometimes takes place just in time ahead of some potentially disastrous action, such as unwitting homicide on the part of the parent (Aegeus, Alexander, Ion). The key difference in Oedipus the King is that the child is not recognised in time; son kills father and marries mother without anyone suspecting the true identities of the individuals involved. Nor does recognition take place soon afterwards; rather, it occurs years later, prompted by an inquiry into what at the time seemed an entirely different matter. Fourth, these plays typically show how the foundling grows up to achieve some great feat; the kernel of the story, we might say, is the individual’s ability to surmount circumstances that in most cases would be fatal, and to win glory once he achieves adulthood. In a society where the exposure of children after birth constituted an important part of family planning,170 plays that show or imply the triumph of the foundling will have served as a potent consolation to those spectators who had lost a baby in this way, as they hoped that somehow their abandoned child too would see 168 169 170

See El. 1223n.; also 1171–1231n. Compare Aristotle’s dislike of tokens (above, pp. 52–3). See Boswell (1988), W. Harris (1994) 4.



adulthood and achieve great things. At the same time, it validated a social structure where ideas of good birth and the inheritance of family characterictics remained important. Oedipus the King makes use of that plot device, but with twists. The very fact that Oedipus was a foundling at all has long been forgotten; his identity, as he thinks, is that of a Corinthian prince, and that must first be stripped away from him before the true nature of his origin becomes clear. Oedipus the foundling does defeat the Sphinx and save Thebes from disaster, but the fact that he did this as a foundling is discovered only long after those events took place, and the discovery leads not to wonderment at how someone with such unprepossessing origins could accomplish such mighty deeds, but to recognition that his entire life from its beginning has been on a tragic course.171 The story of Paris as depicted in Euripides’ Alexander (and conceivably in Sophocles’ play of the same name) forms a partial parallel for this type of foundling play, in that the rescue of Paris as a baby eventually has disastrous consequences for his family and city. But the similarity with Oedipus is far from exact, and close examination why brings out important aspects of Sophocles’ play. To consider Alexander first, we may note that Paris is himself an offender; through his seduction of Helen and refusal to hand her back, he precipitates the Trojan 171

Cf. Burian (1997) 187 ‘In Ion, Creusa’s attempt to murder her son, a young temple servant of Apollo at Delphi whom she believes to be her husband’s bastard, is thwarted, and Ion, discovering that she is his mother and Apollo his father, at last assumes his destined role as prince of Athens and coloniser of Ionia. In Oedipus, the foundling plot reappears with ironic inversion, since Oedipus learns that he is hereditary king of Thebes only by discovering the double secret of his hideous pollution, and loses his kingship in the act of recovering his birthright’; also ibid. 189 on how the two plays ‘illustrate the degree to which a given story pattern can be made to serve disparate dramatic ends’, and Iakov (2012) 135–6 and Lowe (2000) 182–4, 201 for further comparison of Oedipus the King with Ion. But it is important not to ignore the fragmentary plays in making such comparisons.



War, bringing doom on himself and his people for the sake of one beautiful woman. Nor does he have qualities that mitigate that offence – no special skill in fighting or leadership, for example, to render him a truly tragic character. Furthermore, the discovery of his true identity takes place before his offences. At the time when his parents recognise the victor at the games as the grownup version of the very baby whose supposed death those games are commemorating, Paris has not done anything wrong; his future conduct had been prophesied in Hecuba’s dream years ago, and then by Cassandra during the play itself, but as yet his only wrongdoing was to enrage the shepherds with whom he lived thanks to his arrogant conduct. As a result, the recognition does not precipitate imminent disaster; indeed, Priam and Hecuba are in effect given a second chance to reject the child that will destroy them. By contrast, Oedipus has done nothing wrong intentionally. His appalling acts of incest and parricide are committed in ignorance and do not affect an audience’s judgment of his moral character, of which they will have formed a positive impression thanks to his obvious concern for the good of his people and their affection, in turn, for him. Moreover, and more crucially in this context, Oedipus’ fall is bound up with the failure of himself and others to recognise his true identity. He would never have committed the acts that lead to his ruin if he had known who he was; and it is in discovering his identity that he, and everyone else, realises for the first time that he has perpetrated terrible crimes. Paris’ crime, on the other hand, involves no failure of recognition beyond Menelaus’ failure to recognise the wickedness of his Trojan guest and the susceptibility of his wife to his attentions; it has no essential connexion with his original exposure as a baby, which had long been discovered at the time of his adultery. Paris’ actions may have caused disaster on a greater scale, 69


at least in body count; but the particular handling of the foundling story in Oedipus the King ensures that the conclusion of that play is even more tragic. (E) A WORK



The events of Oedipus the King encourage one basic question: why? Why does Oedipus suffer as he does? Why do the gods allow his suffering to happen, or alternatively, why do they bring it about? The fall of Oedipus outstrips in its impact that of any other tragic character because it is at once total and undeserved. Yet the magnitude of that fall is accompanied by an equally impressive absence of any figure explicitly claiming responsibility or explaining exactly why it has taken place. An old view, that Oedipus is a malefactor who gets what he deserves, was rejected by Wilamowitz, and more famously by Dodds.172 Such an interpretation of Oedipus fails, in the first instance, to take full account of the positive presentation of his character:173 his compassion for his people, his desire to support and help them, his past defeat of the Sphinx to their great benefit, the obvious affection in which his people hold him (as is made evident by the Priest and the chorus), his refusal to cancel the investigation even when its conclusion and consequences have at last become all too clear, his profound concern for his daughters at the play’s end, and his unwillingness to indulge in purely personal grief. This is a remarkable man, highly able and passionately keen to act on behalf of others; the idea that he represents a fundamentally vicious or unattractive character is hard to accept. Yet 172


Wilamowitz (1899) = (1935–72) vi 209–33, Dodds (1966) 38–42 = (1973) 65–9; Dodds acknowledges his debt to Wilamowitz (p. 38 = p. 65). For the history of the interpretation that they argue against see Lurje (2004). For extensive bibliography on the question whether or not Oedipus is guilty of wrongdoing see Hester (1977) 49–57. For Oedipus’ character see further Lawrence (2013) 135–55.



these virtues could theoretically be counterbalanced or outweighed by faults of equal or greater magnitude.174 Two supposed faults traditionally adduced in this context are Oedipus’ interactions with Tiresias and Creon, and his encounter with Laius at the place where three roads meet. Oedipus’ attack on Tiresias and Creon is not justified by the facts; contrary to his accusations, they are not in league against him. But before we use this attack to condemn Oedipus, we need to understand its cause. Oedipus begins by addressing Tiresias in reverential tones (300–15); his anger develops slowly during the ensuing stichomythia (316–49). The cause for that anger is prominently and repeatedly stated – Tiresias’ refusal to help the city when that city, in the person of its commander Oedipus, has begged for his help. Oedipus’ rage is thus no capricious mood, but the consequence of his profound concern for the city that he leads. That anger does lead him to accuse Tiresias of plotting to take over the city together with Creon (378–403). This charge is less justifiable than the mere fact of Oedipus’ rage, and yet is no unreasonable response to the situation. He cannot discern any other reason why Tiresias should withhold the information that he surely possesses; Tiresias’ comment that he, Oedipus, is Laius’ killer (350–3) provokes the strongest suspicion, since Oedipus is sure that he has done no such thing; the withholding of the truth, coupled with the evidently false charge that Oedipus is the killer, would be entirely consistent with an attempt to discredit and exile Oedipus during a time of maximum danger to 174

Cf. Cairns (2013b) 150: ‘Oedipus’ actions demonstrate a progressive unravelling of his initially positive presentation as a concerned, competent, and public-spirited leader at the height of his powers’; the model implied in ‘progressive unravelling’, however, implicitly downplays the positive presentation of Oedipus’ character in the final scene, in particular his moving concern for his daughters.



the state; and the fact that Tiresias, as a blind man, could not take over the kingdom in his own right immediately makes suspect the man who encouraged Oedipus to summon Tiresias in the first place. That this chain of reasoning turns out to be wholly mistaken does not mean that it is stupid, rash, or the product of emotion outrunning intelligence. Crucially, for all Oedipus’ apparent certainty in his accusations, he does not act on them. Tiresias has the last word in the first episode, as the king departs silently into the palace. Creon is rescued by Jocasta and the chorus; the man who could have put him to death does no such thing and lets him depart, even though by doing so he believes that he has guaranteed his own death. As Seaford points out, with reference to his behaviour throughout the play, ‘Oedipus is not a typical tyrant: he does not banish or kill his co-regents, defy ancestral laws, outrage women, put men to death without trial, plunder his subjects, live in fear of his people, or have an armed bodyguard; he is in direct touch with the Thebans, calls an assembly . . ., and so on’.175 Perhaps Oedipus’ compassionate nature is (paradoxically) most apparent here, when he is moved to pity the chorus for their desperate pleas (671–2), despite the consequences that he believes this will have for his own safety. Nor is Oedipus’ killing of Laius justification for taking a critical approach to his character,176 despite the case argued by scholars such as Carawan, who claims that ‘the guilt of Oedipus . . . arises unintended from his anger, orge¯, but he is none the less culpable: the recklessness with which he slew a king is driven by wrath, heedless of the indirect but inevitable consequences of bloodshed – consequences that, from a normative perspective, he should have anticipated.’177 It has even been suggested that in his narration to Jocasta of 175


Seaford (2003b) 107, citing Knox (1957) 59–60. Contrast Edmunds (2006) 50 ‘he can be seen as the typical tyrant, playing out the tyrant’s rise and fall.’ See in general 774–833n. 177 Carawan (1998) 249.



the encounter, Oedipus effectively confesses to having murdered Laius and his party.178 But Oedipus could have expected to be acquitted by an Athenian court, at least, on the grounds of self-defence when his life was in danger.179 He had reason to fear that he would be killed, since the head of a party of five men deliberately assaulted him, with a blow that might have been fatal, and Oedipus had no reason to assume that the violence against him (already begun when the herald attempted to force him from the road) was at an end. His retaliation against the old man came from his staff, not a sword; and there is no indication that the blow was directly responsible for Laius’ death as opposed to merely dislodging him from the wagon, or that it was struck with lethal intent. Nor is there any suggestion, from Jocasta or the chorus, that if the men killed by Oedipus turn out not to be Laius and his party, he has anything further to fear, which he certainly would if he had committed murder on the road. Oedipus does indeed strike a man in anger (806–7), but only when provoked by an attempt to force him from the path. The gods are not punishing Oedipus for wickedness; the play does not present him as having committed any serious offences. The overwhelming impression that the audience receives of him is positive, and the suffering that he endures is not merited by any action that he has committed or by fault of character that he possesses.180 Justification for his fall must be discovered elsewhere.181 178




Thus E. Harris (2010); less strongly Herman (2006) 405 ‘Oedipus’ overkill. . . was intended to arouse social disapproval’, and cf. his pp. 120–1. So rightly Sommerstein (2011b), to whom the following discussion is indebted. Compare the fate of Adrastus the Lydian, another entirely innocent man who unwittingly killed his brother and then, after being purified by king Croesus, unwittingly slew Croesus’ son Atys during a hunt (Hdt. 1.34–45); cf. Dodds (1966) 44 = (1973) 72, Manuwald (1992), Cairns (2013b) 139. Cf. McDevitt (1969) 100 ‘The great and good king is destroyed, for no apparent reason other than that he had the strength and



The suffering of an apparently innocent person in antiquity could be explained as the result of an ancestor’s offence; for just as having numerous descendants could be regarded as the consequence of divine favour, so too the destruction or suffering of one’s descendants could be ascribed to the gods’ anger. But in Oedipus the King there is no indication that Oedipus is being punished for any hereditary fault, or that his family is somehow hated by the gods. Such an aspect of the myth forms a major part of Aeschylus’ Oedipus trilogy, and is evoked in Sophocles’ Antigone; its absence from Oedipus the King is therefore especially pointed.182 Sophocles has deliberately made it difficult to explain why Oedipus endures the appalling misery inflicted upon him. Oedipus’ fall is no mere random event, nor something that the gods predict but have no role in bringing about. Although no god appears in the course of the play to claim responsibility, the events of the drama, and of his whole life, make clear the divine planning that lies behind his destruction. An explicit statement to this effect is made, if not by a god, then by the gods’ spokesman Tiresias, when he tells Oedipus οὐ . . . σε μοῖρα πρός γ’ ἐμοῦ πεσεῖν, ἐπεὶ | ἱκανὸς Ἀπόλλων, ᾧ τάδ’ ἐκπρᾶξαι μέλει (‘it is not fated that you should fall by my hand, since Apollo is sufficient, whose business it is to bring that to its conclusion’, 376–7), an utterance that, as Cairns points out, ‘suggests that Apollo is actively involved in the events that are unfolding in the play and that he will be involved – in an adversarial way – in Oedipus’ downfall: it is Oedipus’ moira to fall at the hands of Apollo, and Apollo is seeing to it that this will in fact happen.’183 Cairns goes on to cite passages such as 80–1,


courage to seek out the truth. What justification for the gods can be found in this?’; Allan (2013a) 175 ‘The opacity of divine motivation in OT focuses the audience’s attention on the chilling fact that terrible things can happen to basically sympathetic people.’ See above, pp. 24, 31–3. 183 Cairns (2013b) 128.



where an audience ‘may suspect that Oedipus’ hope is misplaced, that the coincidence which seems so opportune for the movement of the plot is in fact more than that, and that the design which such coincidence may betray is that of Apollo’;184 and 96–8, where spectators learn that ‘the god has initiated a search of which Oedipus is the object, with the result that Oedipus’ own conviction that he is acting in concert with the god in pursuit of a common end (136, 244–5) impresses the audience with an ominous sense that this is indeed a common enterprise in which Oedipus is acting to further a divine purpose that entails his own downfall.’185 The highlighting of mere randomness by individual characters, and the many coincidences found in the play, tend towards the same conclusion:186 ‘references to chance hint ironically at divine design[, and] at the dramaturgical level, what might otherwise appear as implausible coincidences emerge, because of the presuppositions that drive the plot, as manifestations of divine purpose’.187 The attempts of individuals to relieve Oedipus of his fears that only end up leading him closer to disaster (Jocasta at 707–25, the Corinthian at 1000–16) have the same effect.188 This is a play where the gods, particularly Apollo, are actively involved in punishing a man who has committed no crime and is not paying for any offence of an ancestor. 184 186 187 188

Cairns (2013b) 129. 185 Cairns (2013b) 130. For a list see Cairns (2013b) 133–4. Cairns (2013b) 134. Cf. 738n. Thus Arist. Poet. 1452a24–6. Cf. Thirlwall (1833) 498–9 ‘the poet has so constructed his plot, as always to evolve the successive steps of the disclosure out of incidents which either exhibit the delusive security of Oedipus in the strongest light, or tend to cherish his confidence, and allay his fears’; Taplin (1978) 151 ‘In mundane terms these are the most extraordinary, disastrous chances, yet they all add up to a pattern – a pattern known all along to the gods – which makes only too much sense’; Jameson (1986) 9 ≈ (2014) 195 ‘The Oedipus story, as perfected by Sophocles in the Oedipus Tyrannus, offers one apparently successful escape after another to culminate in the most complete disaster.’



The play deliberately sets up this paradox, and attempts to resolve it are unlikely to succeed because it is so intrinsic to the drama. Even to claim that ‘rather than to punish him for any offence, the god’s purpose appears to be to impress upon Oedipus his existential insignificance’,189 or to see in the play ‘a depressing and terrifying form of justice’,190 in which an ‘Oedipus [who] challenges the gods in the way that any successful human is a potential rival to the gods’191 is punished for this unintended affront to divine power, involve a leap in the dark; for Oedipus has never behaved with the kind of arrogance that would traditionally merit such a response, and while the audience does observe the gods marshalling their power against him, no indication is ever given of why they are doing this. Depressing and terrifying, without doubt; but justice, even in the ancient sense? There may be no explicit criticism of the gods for their actions;192 but the implicit, all too prominent contrast between the pious respect that the chorus have for them in the second stasimon as the guarantors of morality, and the apparently motiveless malignity that lies behind their hostility to Oedipus, ends up creating a mood of bewilderment in the face of divine injustice at least as intense as anything found in Euripides. (F) TRAGICOMEDY The weighty issues of justice and the divine that pervade the play make this last classification seem almost impertinent: what could be comic about the fall of a man like Oedipus, and how could a play so concerned with the 189

190 192

Lawrence (2008) 1. For Apollo’s guiding role cf. further Allan (2013a) 188 n. 3, Cairns (2013b) 142, Hutchinson (2016) 40. Cairns (2013b) 159. 191 Cairns (2013b) 158. So rightly Allan (2013b) 604 n. 43, who contrasts Eur. Hipp. 1415, 1440–1, Bacch. 1344–8 for open complaints against the gods such as are not found in our play; see further Lefkowitz (2016) for Euripides’ presentation of the divine.



place of gods and men in the universe be receptive to such trivial concerns? As we shall see, however, the tone of the work is far from monochrome, and Sophocles interweaves comedy even into this most tragic of dramas. The play’s juxtaposition of the solemn and the comic becomes apparent in the third episode, when after Jocasta’s moving prayer to Apollo, the Corinthian arrives. The rhyming endings of his three opening lines (924–6) may have suggested a whimsical, humorous figure – someone with more personality than the average tragic messenger. Nevertheless, there is nothing unusual in how he delivers his news; like messengers in general with a good story to tell, he continually emphasises the positive aspects of what he has come to communicate. Only some eighty verses later does the audience learn that there is more to him than at first appeared: he claims to have additional information that can put to rest Oedipus’ fears concerning his mother and father (1002–3). Before this news is passed on, the Corinthian admits that he has come for a reward (1005–6); to state this explicitly shows a delightful naïveté, creating a moment of lightness, of comically unconcealed self-interest, right before the play’s most crucial single passage. Here begins the stichomythia in which Oedipus learns that he was not Polybus’ child, but brought to him as a baby by the Corinthian himself, who had received him from a member of Laius’ household. The Corinthian is very pleased to be delivering this message: ‘his account swells with the happiness of an old man who has at last been allowed to reveal how he rescued the king as a foundling’.193 A mere shepherd, he is not afraid to put Oedipus in his place, addressing him as ‘my child’ (1008 ὦ παῖ) and telling him, directly and colloquially, ‘it’s totally clear that you’ve no idea what you’re doing’ (ibid., with n.); Oedipus’ response, in which he 193

Reinhardt (1947) 132 = (1979) 122.



addresses the Corinthian as ‘old man’ (1009 ὦ γεραιέ) and asks him to ‘teach’ him (ibid. πρὸς θεῶν δίδασκέ με), shows his ready acceptance of a subordinate role. The great king of Thebes willingly accepts direction from a mere foreign shepherd, a reversal of roles untypical of high poetry. The distinction between the two figures, immediately apparent to the audience through their dress, may have been further brought out by their acting styles; certainly, the Corinthian offered an actor great scope to display his talents, and we can only imagine how his gestures and tone of voice may have supported the characterisation visible today through his words alone. For all his low status, the Corinthian takes pride in his occupation, using elaborate language to describe the rather basic task of looking after sheep, and firmly rejecting Oedipus’ less than impressed characterisation of his line of work by reminding him that for all his lowliness, he turned out to be his preserver.194 He also magnifies his own role in the rescue, holding back as late as he can the news that he received Oedipus from a third party rather than directly from his parents, since that news detracts from the uniqueness of his role.195 Such interest in the characterisation of a man whose dramatic function, strictly speaking, does not require it – he is in the play so that Oedipus can discover the truth, and once the truth is out no-one remembers him – is remarkable. The audience will have bigger worries at this point than whether Oedipus is being excessively disdainful towards a rustic; this disjunction between the ordinariness of the Corinthian’s concerns, and the far more significant matter of the news that he is communicating, simultaneously highlights Oedipus’ tragic predicament and the comically different nature of the two men’s perspectives.


See 1028n., 1029n., 1030n.



See 1026n., 1038n.


The following episode continues this theme, except that now Oedipus has two shepherds to deal with, both with crucial pieces of information about his early life. Oedipus is still in charge, albeit for the last time, and his close questioning of the Theban shepherd eventually produces the information that he seeks; but at a deeper level the power lies with the two humble men who saved his life and who now collaborate to reveal that apparently forgotten story. But the lack of smoothness in that collaboration is apparent. Whereas the Corinthian clearly and willingly identifies the Theban at Oedipus’ request (1119–20), the Theban does everything he can to avoid identifying the Corinthian, reacting initially with bluster to Oedipus’ question and then blaming his memory (1129–31). At this point, when it is clear that the Theban is deliberately failing to recognise the Corinthian, since he knows the terrible consequences which this recognition will cause, the Corinthian steps in, giving a detailed account of the past dealings of the pair, blithely obtuse to the calculated forgetfulness of his fellow-shepherd from long ago (1132–45). The culminating line, the Corinthian’s last in the play, in which he identifies Oedipus to the Theban shepherd, is full of unintentional irony, as his ‘colloquial address, his cheery delivery of the fatal message, and his obliviousness of the herdsman’s desperate efforts to conceal his knowledge add enormously to the grimness of the moment. Here is a very brief instance of the tragic use of comedy, in the Greek style’.196 The Theban reacts with a fury that seems comically disproportionate to the information just conveyed (1146), yet which simultaneously reflects his greater understanding of the tragic outcome towards which this investigation is now heading. From a broader perspective, it is ironic that a play centred on the idea of recognition should contain, right before the most crucial and tragic recognition of all, this argument over the mutual recognition 196

Kirkwood (1958) 135, on 1145.



of two anonymous characters, a recognition in itself of no consequence which yet is of crucial importance for the play’s central anagnôrisis. Broader structural issues may be relevant here too. First, the Corinthian’s arrival in Thebes echoes in comic vein the story of Oedipus himself.197 Like Oedipus (supposedly a Corinthian himself), his arrival at Thebes is initially triumphant, as he stands revealed as a saviour, a protector from certain death; moreover, his arrival, like that of Oedipus, takes place just after the death of a king whose throne Oedipus is about to take. But that triumph, it later becomes clear, is built on ignorance and fantasy; and so just as Oedipus loses his Theban throne, so too the Corinthian fails to obtain the reward for which he had hoped. Similarly, the pair of shepherds are analogous in one respect to the royal pair Oedipus and Jocasta: ‘the contrast between the two old people who rescued Oedipus as a child, one happily pressing forward, the other suddenly afraid and holding back, echoes in the tones of the common people the contrast between the two main tragic figures as they come to recognize themselves.’198 At the same time, ‘with their regard for work and payment, for minimal differences in social standing, and for sheer survival when confronted by the violence of legal superiors, the messengers contrast effectively with the more desperate concerns of the tragic family, and serve as a reminder of the world outside the palace walls.’199 Tragicomedy in Oedipus the King may extend beyond the involvement of the two shepherds, since the story pattern in which characters discover their high birth is fundamental to later comedy. In Plautus’ Casina, for example, a young woman who, as a baby, was abandoned outside somebody’s house and raised by him as a slave, is fought over by various male characters; only in the epilogue is it revealed that she is 197 198

See Seidensticker (1982) 87–8. Reinhardt (1947) 132 = (1979) 122.



Payne (2000) 408.


a free-born Athenian and can marry her master’s son, who is in love with her.200 As we have seen, the foundling storypattern is also well attested in tragedy long before it becomes a comic mainstay; yet tragic foundling-plays seem not to emphasise the subsequent marriage of the foundling after the discovery of his true identity, with Euripides’ Alexander being a prominent exception. The prevention of a marriage because of the supposed low birth or illegitimacy of one of the parties is more naturally a comic than a tragic theme; unfortunately, we have no evidence that it was found in comedies of Sophocles’ time, and so have to be careful that familiarity with the pattern in New Comedy thanks to the survival of many of Plautus’ plays and the rediscovery of many of Menander’s does not lead us to retroject it into the fifth century.201 Nevertheless, if this was a story-pattern familiar in lower genres, whether in Old Comedy or some narrative genre that has left no trace, Oedipus the King would certainly have greater impact for incorporating such a plot device into tragedy, where by a ‘remarkable inversion . . . legitimacy is a bigger problem than illegitimacy’,202 and the discovery that 200



Cf. Frye (1949) 58–9: ‘New Comedy unfolds from what may be described as a comic Oedipus situation. Its main theme is the successful effort of a young man to outwit an opponent and possess the girl of his choice. The opponent is usually the father (senex), and the psychological descent of the heroine from the mother is also sometimes hinted at. The father frequently wants the same girl, and is cheated out of her by the son, the mother thus becoming the son’s ally. The girl is usually a slave or courtesan, and the plot turns on a cognitio or discovery of birth which makes her marriageable. Thus it turns out that she is not under an insuperable taboo after all but is an accessible object of desire, so that the plot follows the regular wish-fulfillment pattern’; also Konstan (2014) 891 ‘Oedipus the King has been compared to comedy – a foundling discovers his parents and marries, although in this case the story turns out terribly wrong’, Boswell (1988) 122. Cf. Mastronarde (2010) 58 ‘While it may make sense for us, with a perspective stretching forward from the fifth century, to make these connections, the original audiences were not in a position to do so.’ Ormand (1999) 134; see further Liapis (2012) 88–9.



the foundling is no slave’s child (1062–3) but the former king’s only son causes not joy but catastrophe. In a play whose world view seems so unremittingly grim, the appearance of comic elements might be characterised as some kind of light relief. But like Shakespeare, who places the Porter scene in Macbeth right at the moment when (as the audience know) Duncan is being murdered, and thus makes the humour of the piece seem tragically inappropriate, so too the tragicomic turn at the moment when the recognition plot is reaching its climax ensures that any ensuing humour is scarcely unmixed. Sophocles’ versatility as a dramatist, like Shakespeare’s, is perhaps most strikingly brought out by his ability to incorporate aspects of comedy into his drama when the audience might expect them least. 5 TRANSMISSION AND TEXT Although Oedipus the King was part of a tetralogy that finished second on the occasion of its première, it seems to have become a popular play in antiquity; that popularity was critical in ensuring its survival. This section gives an overview of the drama’s transmission from Sophocles’ time down to our own day.203 Oedipus the King is mentioned fully eight times in Aristotle’s Poetics.204 But evidence for his appreciation does not depend on frequency of reference alone: he highlights the excellence of the recognition that it contains;205 he mentions how the plot is so outstanding that someone 203



For the transmission of Sophocles in general see Finglass (2012a); also Finglass (2015d), Vahtikari (2014) 181–3 on early reperformance. Macintosh (2009), a monograph dedicated to the reception of the play, is more interested in the modern than the ancient and mediaeval periods. Arist. Poet. 1452a24–25, 1452a33, 1453b7, 1453b31, 1454b8, 1455a18, 1460a30, 1462b2. See above, pp. 51–3.



would shudder even when reading it;206 and when claiming the superiority of tragedy over epic thanks to its relative compression, it is Oedipus the King that he sets alongside the Iliad, remarking that it would be less enjoyable for the action of the former to take place in as many verses as the latter.207 This all points to high esteem. Sophocles, it is apparent, was Aristotle’s ideal tragedian,208 and Oedipus the King seems to have been his favourite Sophoclean play: ‘the best poem of the best poet’, then, as Dryden would later say of Virgil’s Georgics. That fact alone is significant, in that Aristotle’s judgments will have had a considerable impact on later ancient scholarship. Moreover, ‘when Aristotle . . . picked Oedipus (the King) to stand as the epitome of the tragic art, he can hardly have been selecting a little-known playwright’, or, we might add, a little-known play:209 his choice implies that this drama was appreciated by scholars and audiences. Evidence for the play’s celebrity in the fourth century, this time in a specifically theatrical context, supports that inference. The famous actor Polus of Aegina, active in the second half of that century, played Oedipus in Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus with equal facility.210 The play may also be depicted on a fragmentary kalyx-krater from Syracuse attributed to the Gibil Gabib Group, probably by the Capodarso painter, dated to 350–325.211 Six figures appear on the vase. On the left stands an old man, staring forward at the viewer and gesturing to his left, towards a middle-aged man, who is pensively stroking his beard and watching the old man. 206 208 210


Arist. Poet. 1453b3–7. 207 Ibid. 1462b1–3. Hanink (2014) 207–9. 209 Taplin (2007) 89. Epict. Diss. fr. 11 Schenkl ἢ οὐχ ὁρᾷς, ὅτι οὐκ εὐφωνότερον οὐδὲ ἥδιον ὁ Πῶλος τὸν τύραννον Οἰδίποδα ὑπεκρίνετο ἢ τὸν ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ ἀλήτην καὶ πτωχόν; For Polus see Finglass (2015d) 218–19. Siracusa, Museo Archeologico Regionale ‘Paolo Orsi’ 66557 (= Krauskopf (1994) §83); see especially Taplin (2007) 90–2. The connexions between the play and three other vases advanced by Vahtikari (2014) 182 are not particularly convincing.



Between them stands a child; another child stands to the (viewer’s) right of the second man, after which stands a woman, who is lifting her robe to her face; the last figure, another woman, stands on the right of the group, turned away from the others. The figures are standing ‘on a long strip of floor with pillars at the back, suggestive of a stage, but not a realistic representation of one’.212 It is likely that this scene represents the passage where the Corinthian reveals to Oedipus (and Jocasta) the news that he rescued Oedipus as a baby, and more specifically ‘the moment when Jocasta raises her cloak to her face as she first recognises the truth, a moment that should be eye-catching in performance, but is not directly marked in the spoken text at the time. The appeal of the vase is directed, that is to say, at a viewer who has seen the play rather than one who has read it or only heard about it’213 . . . ‘the demeanour and gestures of the old man and of the “hero” suit this sequence well. Jocasta remains silent through the dialogue, but the detail that the Corinthian was given the baby by a servant of the house of Laius (1042) is enough to enable her to reconstruct Oedipus’ life-story – this also suits the woman’s gesture of undemonstrative distress in the painting . . . the picture makes such good sense in connection with this particular juncture of Oedipus the King that it seems perverse to resist this explication.’214 The presence of the children, who under this interpretation would represent Oedipus’ daughters, does not tell against it, even though the daughters do not come on stage until well after this moment; the representation in visual media of details that come from chronologically distinct places within a mythological narrative is a standard phenomenon.215 The woman on the far right of the picture is less readily explained, but again, we do not 212 214 215

Taplin (2007) 90. 213 Taplin (2012) 229–30. Taplin (1997) 88 (his italics). See Finglass (2014f) 30 on differences between works of art and the texts that they illustrate. The presence of the daughters is further



expect exact correspondence between an image and a text, and the similarity that we have seems strong enough to suggest that the vase is intended to evoke a particular scene of our play in the viewer. If the depiction is correctly identified, the vase ‘makes it almost certain that a tragic Oedipus was performed in Sicily a little bit before 350 bc . . . Sophocles’ play is by far the most probable candidate’;216 moreover, it ‘gives a fascinating glimpse of how the play was perceived there and then. There is the great importance of gesture, for instance, and the way that the faces, while mask-like, are also conceived as taking expression from the context. There is the reminder of the pathos of the two incest-born girls, the emphasis on the ominous reticence of Jocasta, and, above all perhaps, the irony of the way that the rather familiar manner and self-important “gossip” of the old man (note his frontal gaze) are fraught with the most terrible implications for the main characters.’217 The identification has been challenged, however, in a short online blog post – the precursor, we may hope, of a more detailed future study – which argues that the children could just as well be boys.218 If they are boys, the scene suddenly seems incompatible with Sophocles’ Oedipus the King: the presence of boys, presumably the children of the adult characters listening to the old man, would mean that the vase was portraying a different drama altogether. Until the debate on this precious artefact plays out, its identification as a representation of Oedipus the King can be regarded as at best probable. Dramatic performance of the play may be attested in the third century bc, too, if the actor who finished third at the


evidence, however, for the authenticity of the final scene (on which see 1223–1523n.), since they were less likely to have been included on the vase if they did not appear in the play, although this is not an unbreakable rule, as the presence of the woman on the far right of the image indicates. Vahtikari (2014) 183. 217 Taplin (1997) 88. 218 Hall (2016).



‘old tragedies’ section of the Dionysia with an Oedipus was playing Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.219 This century and the following one will have seen the Alexandrian edition, or editions, of Sophocles’ dramas, which will have included Oedipus the King.220 Some of the scholia now found in the margins of mediaeval manuscripts of the play will derive from commentaries written in this period; so too may one or more of the prose summaries (hypotheses) of the drama that have survived. Not all this material will be Hellenistic, however; ancient scholarship on Sophocles continued after the Hellenistic period, even if the traces that it has left today are exiguous. The Roman dictator Sulla (c. 138–78 bc) used to cry out a slightly adapted version of line 1080 of the play, asserting that he, surnamed Felix, was, like Oedipus, the ‘child of Fortune’.221 Sulla and those who heard him were no doubt aware that Oedipus’ life could scarcely be described as fortunate in the round; the quotation has evidently taken on a life of its own, and those who hear it are not meant to think of the precise context in which it appears. Nevertheless, it is marked as a tragic quotation, being a trimeter expressed in clearly poetic word order, and for all we know it was Sulla’s own reading or viewing of the play that suggested the applicability of this verse to his own life. The epigrammatist Statilius Flaccus, who ‘must have flourished not much if at all later than the first decade a.d.’, refers to Oedipus the King in the context of a poem praising the ability of its author:222 Οἰδίποδες δισσοί σε καὶ Ἠλέκτρη βαρύμηνις καὶ δείπνοις ἐλαθεὶς Ἀτρέος Ἠέλιος 219 220

221 222

TrGF i 31; DID A 4b10. Finglass (2012a) 11–13 (which includes discussion of postHellenistic Sophoclean scholarship). Plut. De fort. Rom. 318cd (cited 1080–2n.). Translation by Gow/Page, quotation from ii 451; see HolfordStrevens (1999) 220, Finglass (2017c) 481–2.



ἄλλα τε πουλυπαθέσσι, Σοφόκλεες, ἀμφὶ τυράννοις ἄξια τῆς Βρομίου βύβλα χοροιτυπίης ταγὸν ἐπὶ τραγικοῖο κατῄνησαν θιάσοιο αὐτοῖς ἡρώων φθεγξάμενον στόμασι.


Two plays on Oedipus, Electra’s grievous wrath, the sun put to flight by the feast of Atreus, and other books worthy of Dionysus’ choral dance about kings of manifold sufferings – these have approved you, Sophocles, as leader of the Tragic company; you, who have spoken with your heroes’ very lips. Statilius Flaccus A.P. 9.98 = 3821–6 GP

Of the four plays to which Statilius refers as having brought particular glory to Sophocles, fully three are from the seven plays that have survived.223 Taken together with evidence for the early popularity of (in particular) Electra and Antigone,224 this suggests that at least some of the plays that we have today enjoyed special popularity from an early period. The play is mentioned in literary criticism during the Roman Empire: the author of On the Sublime ascribed to Longinus (first or second century ad), Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor ad 161–80), and Valerius Apsines (rhetorician active in the first half of the third century) comment on the emotive power of Oedipus’ address to Mount Cithaeron.225 The play is frequently cited by, among others, Plutarch; but the chief engagement with it that we find in this period is in Seneca’s Oedipus, which takes Sophocles as its major model.226 Like Oedipus the King, it opens with the plague, and Creon soon arrives with a message from Delphi; Tiresias’ accusation that Oedipus is the killer of Laius causes 223

224 225


The one that does not is presumably Atreus or Thyestes, but the reference is noticeably vaguer than the other three, and might denote an archetypally tragic event rather than a particular play; in that case, all three of the plays with specific designations would come from the seven survivors. For the evidence for Electra see Finglass (2017c) 481–2. Marc. Aur. 11.6.1–2 and Val. Aps. 10.36 (p. 224 Dilts–Kennedy), the latter cited below, 1391–3n. For this play see Macintosh (2009) 40–6, Braund (2016).



him to suspect the seer and Creon of plotting against him; the truth is fully revealed when a messenger, who arrives to tell him that Polybus has died, reveals that he took him as a baby from a Theban herdsman, who arrives to confirm Oedipus’ origin; Oedipus blinds himself, Jocasta kills herself. There are many differences from Sophocles’ account too – Tiresias delivers his message only after an extended augury scene, which culminates in the summoning of Laius’ spirit from the shades; Oedipus imprisons Creon after suspecting him of conspiracy, and Creon plays no further role in the drama; Oedipus’ blinding takes place before Jocasta’s suicide, which is imagined as occurring on stage; at the end Oedipus departs from Thebes in the manner of a scapegoat, taking the ills of the city with him. Despite these changes, the fundamental shape of Seneca’s play is Sophoclean – an indication of how canonical Oedipus the King had become by that date. Seneca and Plutarch could access a text rather closer to Sophocles’ original than what we have today. We can infer this from Plutarch’s preservation of a reading lost to the mediaeval manuscripts of Sophocles,227 as well as from probably correct readings preserved by other authors: the Sophoclean scholia (284, perhaps 795, 928, 1193), the Homeric scholia (1123), Libanius (795), Syrianus (928), Hesychius (467), and also Aelius Aristides (who at 461 is united with LΛ in offering the correct reading against the rest of the tradition). But the quality of the ancient text is evident not just from the secondary but also from the primary tradition: from the quality of the readings found in fragments of four ancient manuscripts of Oedipus the King that survive, all on papyrus, which date to between the second and fifth or early sixth centuries. Four fragments are more than for any other tragedy by Sophocles, but well behind the totals seen for many of Euripides’; these data are consistent with the


See 1170n.



hypothesis that this was a popular play, though not as popular as plays such as Euripides’ Orestes and Phoenician Women. The details of the papyri are as follows.228 Π1 dates to the second century and contains parts of 102–21, 292–4, 297–9, 397–404, 411–67, 473/4–475, 480, 483/4, 504–32, 574–80, 582–7, and 971–4. It was published by Roberts (1941) and reassessed by Barrett in the 1980s; his account of the manuscript was published as Barrett (2007) 368–85. This papyrus, together with Π2, belonged to a rich collection of literary texts disposed of at Oxyrhynchus about ad 300, which thanks to documentary papyri dating between 186 and 265 found intermingled with the literature can be identified as belonging to a particular family, one of whose members was called alternatively Sarapion or Apollonianus, a local official in the first quarter of the third century.229 The papyrus is now found in the Sackler Library in Oxford, and there, as on the pdfs available via the Oxyrhynchus Papyri website, it is now arranged not as in Roberts’s original publication, but according to Barrett’s reassessment. I have consulted it online.230 It offers unique readings that are probably correct at 294, 417, 523, 528, 531; compare 510/11, where it offers a correct reading that can be inferred from the scholia, and might have originally stood in L (which is erased at the crucial point), and 528, where in addition to the unique correct reading just mentioned it offers a true reading shared only with the Suda. Π2 dates to the second century and contains parts of 177/ 8–190/1 and 197–200. Vitelli (1935) published the papyrus; it is now in the Cairo Museum. I have consulted it online.231 It contains one unique reading likely to be correct, at 188.


229 230 231

In each case the date of the manuscript is that given by its first editor. Houston (2014) 143–56. See See



Π dates to the fifth century and contains parts of 375–85 and 429–41. Grenfell and Hunt (1898) published the papyrus, from whose edition my readings are derived, and it is now found in the British Library in London; there is a plate of lines 429–41 at Turner (1987) 59.232 It offers unique readings likely to be correct at 378 and 430; see also 433, where its correct reading (an orthographical point) is found elsewhere only in a late mediaeval manuscript. Π4 dates to the fifth or early sixth century and contains parts of 688–97, 708–10, 731–40, 751–3, 775–84, 819–27, 1304–10, 1350/1–1358. Grenfell and Hunt (1915) published the papyrus, and it is now in the Bridwell Library, Dallas. I have consulted it online.233 It contains two unique readings likely to be true, 825 and (probably) 1310; at 695/6 its true reading is shared with r and Eustathius, and at 827 with Zr. These ancient manuscripts are of unusual extent and quality; all four offer unique readings that are probably or certainly true. There are ten such readings in all, and five others only weakly attested in the mediaeval tradition. This is an impressive haul, given the meagre proportion of the play covered by these manuscripts; if they had survived in full, we would have a significantly better picture of Sophocles’ original text. Five of the uniquely attested readings (188, 294, 430, 523, 1310) had been conjectured by scholars before the discovery of the papyri, an indication of the value of proposing emendations; yet the other five 3



Ll-J/W (OCT p. xviii) refer to this papyrus as ‘P.Oxy. 22 + P.Lit. Lond. 69’, as if this text were made up of two different pieces of papyrus, published separately, which were recognised as coming from the same ancient manuscript. Rather, the papyrus originally published as P.Oxy. 22 was acquired by the British Museum and given the new designation Brit. Mus. inv. 743; it was then included in Milne (1927) as §69, whence the additional designation ‘P.Lit. Lond. 69’. Hence ‘P.Oxy. 22 = P.Lit.Lond. 69’ would be correct. See brpapyri.htm.



(378, 417, 528, 531, 825) had apparently never been conjectured, a remarkable fact given how many conjectures have been made, and a reminder of how much textual work on Sophocles remains to be done. A gap of at least three centuries separates our youngest ancient manuscript (Π4) and our oldest mediaeval manuscript. Like other ancient Greek texts, attestation of Oedipus the King is especially thin during this intervening period, but the play was not neglected completely, or we would not be able to read it today. That oldest and best of the mediaeval manuscripts, the fifth oldest surviving manuscript overall, and the first manuscript to offer a complete text of the play, is L, which dates to the middle of the tenth century; in a few places it provides our sole testimony for a reading likely to be true (478, 543, 762, 979), and in dozens of others it offers the earliest attestation for such a reading. The contribution of L’s twin Λ, from the same period, is valuable chiefly when L’s reading is unclear.234 The next-oldest manuscript, K, from the second half of the twelfth century, offers a few unique readings which are probably true (185/6, 1086/7, 1098/9, 1262, 1445, 1487). These are the earliest three mediaeval manuscripts; dozens more survive down to the sixteenth century, more than for any other Sophoclean play except for Ajax and Electra. Those three plays are known as the ‘Byzantine triad’ because they seem to have been read, especially at school, more than the others. But the ancient manuscripts Π1Π2Π3Π4 plus LΛK (= l) are an insufficient basis for establishing the text of the play. I count ninety-two places where I print a reading attested in at least one Sophoclean manuscript, but not in Π1Π2Π3Π4l. Of these, twenty-nine involve matters of orthography, accents, and word division; that leaves sixty-three where a substantive reading is adopted from a Sophoclean manuscript other than 234

Readings of Λ are taken from Scheltema (1948), Scheltema (1949), and Scattolin (2016).



the ones described above. In other words, manuscripts between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries often contain valuable evidence that derives from antiquity, and ultimately from Sophocles himself, which is not found in any earlier source. This implies a complicated tradition, one that does not descend from a single lost archetype from late antiquity; rather, several different ancient manuscripts will have led to the variety of readings found in the mediaeval manuscripts. When analysing the manuscripts of Ajax I found that the a group, which contains the manuscripts A, D, Xr, Xs, and Zr, contained most of the readings likely to be true that did not feature in the ancient manuscripts or in l.235 When we pursue a similar hypothesis with this play, we find that of the sixty-three readings mentioned above, the a manuscripts provide thirty-six, and for twelve of these they are unanimous as a group. Of the twenty-nine orthographical readings, they provide sixteen, again more than half. That still leaves twenty-seven substantial readings, as well as thirteen orthographical ones, not found in an ancient manuscript, l, or a. These are scattered among a variety of sources, none of which deserves regular citation in the apparatus; the manuscripts G and R, so favoured in the apparatus of recent editions of the play, are responsible for only eight. Nevertheless, the existence of several good readings outside the ancient manuscripts and la reminds us that in this tradition the truth can lie anywhere, including in the mediaeval secondary tradition: readings that are probably correct but not found in any manuscript of Sophocles are attested in the Suda (88, 657), Zonaras (88), and Eustathius (921). Oedipus the King received the attention of Byzantine scholars, especially in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries; much of this work is aimed at glossing words and phrases for schoolroom practice, but more 235

See my edition, pp. 60–5, which details where my readings for each manuscript derive from. My reading of Laurentianus conv. soppr. 66 is taken from Campbell.



ambitious discussions of irony and characterisation have been recorded in their margins.236 The most important of these scholars was Demetrius Triclinius, whose understanding of metre was unrivalled; he rediscovered the principle of strophic responsion (whereby corresponding lyric stanzas have near-identical metrical forms), which greatly facilitates textual criticism of lyric passages.237 Modern scholarship on the play begins with Triclinius and his contemporaries. The first printed edition, the Aldine, published by Aldus Manutius in Venice in 1502, is of much less importance as a work of scholarship; nevertheless, its appearance in print made possible circulation among a much wider range of readers and critics. From Turnebus’s edition (Paris 1552/3) onwards the text of printed editions was based on a Triclinian manuscript; in other words, a manuscript containing Triclinius’s emendations was used as the default text, assumed to be correct unless proven otherwise, giving those emendations a status that they (or any emendations) did not deserve. This continued until Brunck’s edition of 1786, the first since the Aldine to move away from the Triclinian tradition to earlier manuscripts that had not been affected by textual interventions by that scholar. Brunck produced several successful emendations, including a highly significant remedy at 376, and was able to draw on previous work by Valckenaer, Heath, and Mudge, among others. Subsequent key 236


See Finglass (forthcoming 3), which pays particular attention to the work of Thomas Magister in the early fourteenth century. 630, 689/90, 1142, 1217b, 1349, three of which are errors apparent from understanding responsion; one coincides with a manuscript which may itself be influenced by Triclinius’s activity. I assume that unique readings found in manuscripts known to be Triclinian result from Triclinius’s own conjectural activity. Such readings are listed in the apparatus under ‘Triclinius’ rather than under any manuscript siglum or sigla, since they are more likely to be a modern scholar’s conjectures than readings inherited from antiquity (cf. my Ajax, pp. 66–7).



moments in the transmission of the play include Peter Elmsley’s discovery of L during the winter of 1818/19, the first modern commentary (that is, the first commentary that discusses matters other than textual criticism for their own sake, not just when they are helpful in solving a particular textual problem) by F. W. Schneidewin in 1851, the publication of four ancient manuscripts of the play between 1898 and 1941, and the collations of several important mediaeval manuscripts by Roger Dawe published in 1973. Dawe edited the play five times: three times for Teubner (1975, 1984, 1996) and twice for Cambridge (1982, 2006). Each edition is more radical than the last, with his final Cambridge edition printing in small type (as an interpolation) the last hundred or so lines. The most recent major edition is the Oxford Classical Text by Lloyd-Jones and Wilson, first published in 1990, with significant revisions in the 1992 impression. This provides a more judicious text than Dawe’s, and is regularly and rightly used as a standard initial point of reference. Nevertheless, many of the editors’ textual decisions are open to challenge,238 like those of any editor; after more than two thousand years of scholarship the study of Sophocles’ text is still in its infancy, and we may hope for more progress over the centuries to come. Nevertheless, comparison of the text of a modern edition with one from the nineteenth century, or the sixteenth, or with the text offered by the manuscripts, demonstrates how much the work of previous scholars has achieved.239 238


For significant differences between Ll-J/W’s text and mine see above, p. ix n. 2. Various technical matters involved in the presentation of the text are detailed in my edition of Ajax, pp. 67–9; they all apply equally to the present edition.



SI GLA CODICES ANTIQVI Π1 P.Oxy. 2180 (Sackler Library, Oxford), saec. ii: 102–21, 292–4, 297–9, 397–404, 411–67, 473/4–475, 480, 483/4, 504–32, 574–80, 582–7, 971–4. Π2 P.S.I. 1192 (Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Cairo), saec. ii: 177/8–190/1, 197–200. Π3 P.Oxy. 22 = P.Lit.Lond. 69 (British Library, London, Inv. 743), saec. v: 375–85, 429–41. Π4 P.Oxy. 1369 (Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, University Park, Dallas, Texas) saec. v–vi: 688–97, 708–10, 731–40, 751–3, 775–84, 819–27, 1304–10, 1350/1–1358. CODICES MEDII AEVI constanter citati L Λ

Laurentianus 32.9, saec. x med. Lugdunensis Batav. Bibl. Publ. Graec. 60A, saec. x med. (mutilus) K Laurentianus 31.10, saec. xii ex. A Parisinus gr. 2712, saec. xiv in. D Neapolitanus II. F. 9, saec. xiv in. Xr Vindobonensis phil. gr. 161, ann. 1412 Xs Vindobonensis suppl. gr. 71, saec. xiv ex. Zr Marcianus gr. 616, c. ann. 1325 interdvm citati G Q

Laurentianus conv. soppr. 152, ann. 1282 Parisinus suppl. gr. 109, saec. xvi 97


R Ba C E

Vaticanus gr. 2291, saec. xv Bodleianus Baroccianus 66, saec. xv Parisinus gr. 2735, saec. xiii ex. Cantabrigiensis, Coll. Trin. R.3.31, saec. xiv (desunt 1356–1530) F Laurentianus 28.25, saec. xiv in. (desunt 1247–1530) H Laurentianus 32.40, saec. xiii ex. J Jenensis Bos. q. 7, saec. xv ex. Ja Parisinus gr. 2598, saec. xv Jb Mosquensis gr. 505, saec. xv N Matritensis gr. 4677, saec. xiii ex. (1500–30 manu aliena scripti) O Lugdunensis Batav. Voss. gr. Q. 6, saec. xiii ex. P Heidelbergensis Palat. gr. 40, saec. xiv Pa Vaticanus gr. 904, saec. xiii ex. (desunt 1524–30) S Vaticanus Urbinas gr. 141, saec. xiv V Marcianus gr. 468, saec. xiv W Ambrosianus G. 56 sup., saec. xiv Wa Ambrosianus E 103 sup., c. ann. 1275 Wb Vaticanus gr. 1332, saec. xiii Zb Monacensis gr. 500, saec. xv–xvi Zc Vaticanus gr. 1333, saec. xiv in. (1–15 manu aliena scripti) Zg Laurentianus 32.2, saec. xiv Zn Parisinus gr. 2787, saec. xiv ex. Zu Pragensis XXV C 26, saec. xiv Δ Laurentianus conv. soppr. 41, saec. xiv Ambrosianus L. 39 sup., saec. xiv in. Dresdensis Da. 21, saec. xiv ex. Dresdensis Da. 22, saec. xv in. Laurentianus conv. soppr. 66, saec. xiv Monacensis gr. 500, saec. xv Monacensis gr. 507, saec. xiv–xv Mosquensis gr. 504, saec. xiv Parisinus gr. 2820, saec. xv 98



consensus codicum LKADXrXsZr consensus codicum LΛK consensus codicum ADXrXsZr vel quot exstant consensus codicum GQR FONTES ALII

Eu He St Su Sy

Eustathius Hesychius Stobaeus Etymologicum quod Suda vocatur Syrianus in Hermogenem SIGLA CETERA



Qr Q2 Qac Qpc Qx Qt Qs Qrs Qgl Qγρ Qrγρ Qm

lectio in Q a scriba scripta (sed Π1 significat papyrum primam: vide supra) lectio in Q a rubricatore scripta lectio in Q ab alia manu scripta (sed Π2 significat papyrum secundam: vide supra) Q ante correctionem Q post correctionem Q ante vel post correctionem (incertum utrum) Q in textu, altera lectione inter lineas vel in margine adscripta lectio in Q supra lineam scripta lectio in Q supra lineam a rubricatore scripta glossema in Q, vel lectio quasi glossema adscripta varia lectio in Q adscripta varia lectio in Q a rubricatore adscripta Q in margine 99


Q (Q) [Q] {Q}

Q fortasse Q a lectione memorata pusillum discrepat Q legi nequit vel deest lectio in Q quae legi nequit ex indicio colligi potest Σ scholiasta, scholia lectio quam disertim testatur scholiasta ΣQ codicis Q lm Q Σ lectio in lemmate scholiastae codicis Q c Q Σ lectio quam interpretando testatur scholiasta codicis Q Σ Byz. scholiasta Byzantinus [] delendum

inserendum †† nondum sanatum add. addidit, addiderunt ap. apud cod. incert. codex incertus coni. coniecit, coniecerunt del. delevit, deleverunt fort. fortasse hab. habet, habent interp. interpunxit, interpunxerunt nol. noluit om. omisit, omiserunt permut. permutavit pos. posuit prob. probavit, probaverunt trai. traiecit trib. tribuit v.l. varia lectio * littera obscura





q ü

q ww u a t y || ||| aeol aeol hend an an^ cho cho dim δ D d da e enopl gl hag hδ ia

syllaba brevis syllaba longa syllaba anceps duae syllabae ancipites, quarum una minime longa est syllaba brevis in elemento longo ‘brevis in longo’ in stropha, longa in antistropha longa in stropha, ‘brevis in longo’ in antistropha duae breves ex resolutione in loco principi brevis in stropha, longa in antistropha longa in stropha, brevis in antistropha duae breves in stropha, longa in antistropha longa in stropha, duae breves in antistropha finis periodi finis strophae versus aeolicus wqwqwqwwqqwwqqq versus aeolicus wwqqqwwqwqqq metrum anapaesticum (ytyt) tqq pro metro anapaestico choriambus (qwwq) versus qxqwwq, quem alii ‘choriambic dimeter’, alii ‘wilamowitzianum’, alii ‘polyschematist’ vocant dochmius (xqqxq) qwwqwwq qwwq dactylus (qww) qwq versus enoplius: vide Itsumi (1991–3) versus glyconeus (qwwqwq) versus hagesichoreus (xqwwqwqq) hypodochmius (qwqwq) metrum iambicum (xqwq) 101


ia^ ^ia^ io ^^io io^ kδ pe pher reiz tel tr

qwq pro metro iambico wqq pro metro iambico qq pro metro iambico metrum ionicum (wwqq) qq pro metro ionico wwq pro metro ionico dochmius kaibelianus penthemimer (qqwwqq) versus pherecrateus (qwwqq) versus reizianus (xqwwqq) versus telesilleus (xqwwqwq) metrum trochaicum (qwqx)



ΤΑ ΤΟΥ ΔΡΑΜΑΤΟΣ ΠΡΟΣΩΠΑ Οἰδίπους Ἱερεύς Κρέων Χορὸς γερόντων Θηβαίων Τειρεσίας Ἰοκάστη Ἄγγελος Θεράπων Λαΐου Ἐξάγγελος

ΟΙΔΙΠΟΥΣ ΟΙΔΙΠΟΥΣ Ὦ τέκνα, Κάδμου τοῦ πάλαι νέα τροφή, τίνας ποθ’ ἕδρας τάσδε μοι θοάζετε ἱκτηρίοις κλάδοισιν ἐξεστεμμένοι; πόλις δ’ ὁμοῦ μὲν θυμιαμάτων γέμει, ὁμοῦ δὲ παιώνων τε καὶ στεναγμάτων· ἁγὼ δικαιῶν μὴ παρ’ ἀγγέλων, τέκνα, ἄλλων ἀκούειν αὐτὸς ὧδ’ ἐλήλυθα, ὁ πᾶσι κλεινὸς Οἰδίπους καλούμενος. ἀλλ’, ὦ γεραιέ, φράζ’, ἐπεὶ πρέπων ἔφυς πρὸ τῶνδε φωνεῖν, τίνι τρόπῳ καθέστατε, δείσαντες ἢ στέρξαντες; ὡς θέλοντος ἂν ἐμοῦ προσαρκεῖν πᾶν· δυσάλγητος γὰρ ἂν εἴην τοιάνδε μὴ οὐ κατοικτίρων ἕδραν.



ΙΕΡΕΥΣ ἀλλ’, ὦ κρατύνων Οἰδίπους χώρας ἐμῆς, ὁρᾷς μὲν ἡμᾶς ἡλίκοι προσήμεθα βωμοῖσι τοῖς σοῖς, οἱ μὲν οὐδέπω μακρὰν πτέσθαι σθένοντες, οἱ δὲ σὺν γήρᾳ βαρεῖς· ἱερεὺς ἐγὼ μὲν Ζηνός, οἵδε τ’ ᾐθέων λεκτοί· τὸ δ’ ἄλλο φῦλον ἐξεστεμμένον ἀγοραῖσι θακεῖ, πρός τε Παλλάδος διπλοῖς ναοῖς, ἐφ’ Ἱσμηνοῦ τε μαντείᾳ σποδῷ. πόλις γάρ, ὥσπερ καὐτὸς εἰσορᾷς, ἄγαν



5 παιώνων Lloyd-Jones et Wilson: παιάνων ΩEu 7 ἄλλων] ἐμῶν Meineke 8 hab. ΩΣL: del. Markland 11 στέρξαντες LKXsr: στέξαντες a: στέργοντες Dawe 13 οὐ] om. ASu κατοικτίρων Nauck: –είρων Ω 18 ἱερεὺς Bentley: –εῖς Ω: ἱερεὺς ὑπάρχων Ogl οἵδε τ᾿ Erfurdt: οἱ δέ ᾐθέων Bentley: ἠϊθέων τ᾿ LpcADXrXs: οἵδ᾿ ἔτ᾿ R: οἱ δ᾿ KZr [Lac] Ω 21 ἐφ᾿ Ἱσμηνοῦ Dawe: ἐπ᾿ Ἰσμηνοῦ ΩΣL



ἤδη σαλεύει κἀνακουφίσαι κάρα βυθῶν ἔτ’ οὐχ οἵα τε φοινίου σάλου, φθίνουσα μὲν κάλυξιν ἐγκάρποις χθονός, φθίνουσα δ’ ἀγέλαις βουνόμοις, τόκοισί τε ἀγόνοις γυναικῶν· ἐν δ’ ὁ πυρφόρος θεὸς σκήψας ἐλαύνει, λοιμὸς ἔχθιστος, πόλιν, ὑφ’ οὗ κενοῦται δῶμα Καδμεῖον· μέλας δ’ Ἅιδης στεναγμοῖς καὶ γόοις πλουτίζεται. θεοῖσι μέν νυν οὐκ ἰσούμενόν σ’ ἐγὼ οὐδ’ οἵδε παῖδες ἑζόμεσθ’ ἐφέστιοι, ἀνδρῶν δὲ πρῶτον ἔν τε συμφοραῖς βίου κρίνοντες ἔν τε δαιμόνων συναλλαγαῖς· ὅς γ’ ἐξέλυσας ἄστυ Καδμεῖον μολὼν σκληρᾶς ἀοιδοῦ δασμὸν ὃν παρείχομεν, καὶ ταῦθ’ ὑφ’ ἡμῶν οὐδὲν ἐξειδὼς πλέον οὐδ’ ἐκδιδαχθείς, ἀλλὰ προσθήκῃ θεοῦ λέγῃ νομίζῃ θ’ ἧμιν ὀρθῶσαι βίον. νῦν δ’, ὦ κράτιστον πᾶσιν Οἰδίπου κάρα, ἱκετεύομέν σε πάντες οἵδε πρόστροποι ἀλκήν τιν’ εὑρεῖν ἧμιν, εἴτε του θεῶν φήμην ἀκούσας εἴτ’ ἀπ’ ἀνδρὸς οἶσθά που· ὡς τοῖσιν ἐμπείροισι καὶ τὰς ξυμφορὰς ζώσας ὁρῶ μάλιστα τῶν βουλευμάτων. ἴθ’, ὦ βροτῶν ἄριστ’, ἀνόρθωσον πόλιν· ἴθ’, εὐλαβήθηθ’· ὡς σὲ νῦν μὲν ἥδε γῆ σωτῆρα κλῄζει τῆς πάρος προθυμίας, ἀρχῆς δὲ τῆς σῆς μηδαμῶς μεμνώμεθα στάντες τ’ ἐς ὀρθὸν καὶ πεσόντες ὕστερον. 29 Καδμεῖον LKZrΣL: –είων ADXrXs







31 ἰσούμενον] –ος Stanley: –οι Valckenaer 34 συναλλαγαῖς lDZrΣL: ξυν– AXrXs 35 γ’ la: τ’ Καδμεῖον lΣL: –είων aSu 36 ὃν] ᾗ Van Herwerden 39 ἧμιν ΣLΛG Elmsley: ἡμὶν Ω 40 δ᾿ r: τ᾿ Ω 42 εὑρεῖν ἧμιν Elmsley: εὑρεῖν ἡμίν a: εὑρεῖν ἡμῖν FSu: ἡμῖν εὑρεῖν l 43 που a: του l 44 ξυμφορὰς] συμ– HV 48 πάρος] πάλαι Lt προθυμίας Ω: προμηθ(ε)ίας GγρRCP 49 μεμνώμεθα la: –ήμεθα HO: –ῴμεθα Eu?: μεμνῄμεθα Nauck (nol. Elmsley) 50 τ᾿ ADXr1pcZr: γ᾿ Triclinius: om. lXs




ἀλλ’ ἀσφαλείᾳ τήνδ’ ἀνόρθωσον πόλιν. ὄρνιθι γὰρ καὶ τὴν τότ’ αἰσίῳ τύχην παρέσχες ἡμῖν, καὶ τανῦν ἴσος γενοῦ. ὡς εἴπερ ἄρξεις τῆσδε γῆς, ὥσπερ κρατεῖς, ξὺν ἀνδράσιν κάλλιον ἢ κενῆς κρατεῖν· ὡς οὐδέν ἐστιν οὔτε πύργος οὔτε ναῦς ἐρῆμος ἀνδρῶν μὴ ξυνοικούντων ἔσω. ὦ παῖδες οἰκτροί, γνωτὰ κοὐκ ἄγνωτά μοι προσήλθεθ’ ἱμείροντες· εὖ γὰρ οἶδ’ ὅτι νοσεῖτε πάντες. καὶ νοσοῦντες, ὡς ἐγὼ οὐκ ἔστιν ὑμῶν ὅστις ἐξ ἴσου νοσεῖ. τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὑμῶν ἄλγος εἰς ἕν’ ἔρχεται μόνον καθ’ αὑτὸν κοὐδέν’ ἄλλον, ἡ δ’ ἐμὴ ψυχὴ πόλιν τε κἀμὲ καὶ σ’ ὁμοῦ στένει. ὥστ’ οὐχ ὕπνῳ γ’ εὕδοντά μ’ ἐξεγείρετε, ἀλλ’ ἴστε πολλὰ μέν με δακρύσαντα δή, πολλὰς δ’ ὁδοὺς ἐλθόντα φροντίδος πλάνοις. ἣν δ’ εὖ σκοπῶν ηὕρισκον ἴασιν μόνην, ταύτην ἔπραξα· παῖδα γὰρ Μενοικέως Κρέοντ’, ἐμαυτοῦ γαμβρόν, ἐς τὰ Πυθικὰ ἔπεμψα Φοίβου δώμαθ’, ὡς πύθοιθ’ ὅ τι δρῶν ἢ τί φωνῶν τήνδ’ ἐρυσαίμην πόλιν. καί μ’ ἦμαρ ἤδη ξυμμετρούμενον χρόνῳ λυπεῖ τί πράσσει· τοῦ γὰρ εἰκότος πέρᾳ ἄπεστι, πλείω τοῦ καθήκοντος χρόνου. ὅταν δ’ ἵκηται, τηνικαῦτ’ ἐγὼ κακὸς

51 hab. laΣL: del. Ritter






54–7 hab. LK1maΣL: om. Kt, del. Van Deventer (56–7 del. M. Schmidt) 54 ὡς ΩΣL: ἀλλ᾿ Su ὥσπερ] ἧσπερ Valckenaer 57 ἔσω laEu: πόλιν St 59–60 sic interp. L 62 ἕν᾿] ἓν D, Teles 63–4 pro his versibus hab. ἐγὼ δ᾿ ἐμαυτὸν καὶ πόλιν καὶ σὲ στένω Teles 65 ὕπνῳ γ᾿ ΩEu: ὕπνων r, Reiske: ὕπνον γ᾿ Schütz εὕδοντα ΩEu: ἐνδόντα Badham 67 πλάνοις LpcΛKΣL: –αις LacXrXsZr: πάλαι D 68 ηὕρισκον Brunck: εὕ– la 72 ἐρυσαίμην Lpc: ῥυσάμην Lac: ἐρυσάμην Λ: ῥυσαίμην Ka 73–5 del. L. Dindorf 74 πέρᾳ LK: πέρα Λa: περᾷ Porson, qui etiam v. 75 delevit 75 χρόνου] –ον V, Purgold




μὴ δρῶν ἂν εἴην πάνθ’ ὅσ’ ἂν δηλοῖ θεός. ἀλλ’ εἰς καλὸν σύ τ’ εἶπας οἵδε τ’ ἀρτίως Κρέοντα προσστείχοντα σημαίνουσί μοι. ὦναξ Ἄπολλον, εἰ γὰρ ἐν τύχῃ γέ τῳ σωτῆρι βαίη λαμπρὸς ὥσπερ ὄμμα τι. ἀλλ’ εἰκάσαι μέν, ἡδύς· οὐ γὰρ ἂν κάρα πολυστεφὴς ὧδ’ εἷρπε παγκάρπου δάφνης. τάχ’ εἰσόμεσθα· ξύμμετρος γὰρ ὡς κλύειν. ἄναξ, ἐμὸν κήδευμα, παῖ Μενοικέως, τίν’ ἧμιν ἥκεις τοῦ θεοῦ φήμην φέρων;



ΚΡΕΩΝ ἐσθλήν· λέγω γὰρ καὶ τὰ δύσφορ’, εἰ τύχοι κατ’ ὀρθὸν ἐξιόντα, πάντ’ ἂν εὐτυχεῖν. ΟΙ. ἔστιν δὲ ποῖον τοὔπος; οὔτε γὰρ θρασὺς οὔτ’ οὖν προδείσας εἰμὶ τῷ γε νῦν λόγῳ. ΚΡ. εἰ τῶνδε χρῄζεις πλησιαζόντων κλύειν, ἑτοῖμος εἰπεῖν, εἴτε καὶ στείχειν ἔσω. ΟΙ. ἐς πάντας αὔδα. τῶνδε γὰρ πλέον φέρω τὸ πένθος ἢ καὶ τῆς ἐμῆς ψυχῆς πέρι. ΚΡ. λέγοιμ’ ἂν οἷ’ ἤκουσα τοῦ θεοῦ πάρα· ἄνωγεν ἡμᾶς Φοῖβος ἐμφανῶς ἄναξ μίασμα χώρας, ὡς τεθραμμένον χθονὶ ἐν τῇδ’, ἐλαύνειν μηδ’ ἀνήκεστον τρέφειν. ΟΙ. ποίῳ καθαρμῷ; τίς ὁ τρόπος †τῆς ξυμφορᾶς†; ΚΡ. ἀνδρηλατοῦντας, ἢ φόνῳ φόνον πάλιν λύοντας, ὡς τόδ’ αἷμα χειμάζον πόλιν.

77 ὅσ᾿ ἂν a: ὅσα l




78 σύ Lpca: εὖ l: σὺ εὖ r 79 προσστείχοντα R, Erfurdt: προσστοίχοντα C: προστείχοντα laΣL 81 ὥσπερ] ὡς ἐν rH ὄμμα τι Wex: ὄμματι la 82 εἰκάσαι μέν] εἰκάσαιμ᾿ ἄν r 86 ἧμιν Elmsley: ἡμὶν Ω φήμην] φάτιν Zc 87 δύσφορ᾿ ΩΣL: δύσφημα ΣL: δύσθρο᾿ Heimsoeth 88 ἐξιόντα SuZo: ἐξελθόντα ΩΣL 90 οὖν] αὖ C, Ritter 98 ἐν τῇδ᾿] ἐκ τῆσδ᾿ rC 99 τρόπος la: πόρος F. Schmidt ξυμφορᾶς lA: συμ– XsZr 101 χειμάζον LtΛaCΣL: –ει L1sKXrs



ΟΙ. ποίου γὰρ ἀνδρὸς τῇδε μηνύει τύχην; ΚΡ. ἦν ἧμιν, ὦναξ, Λάϊός ποθ’ ἡγεμὼν γῆς τῆσδε, πρὶν σὲ τήνδ’ ἀπευθύνειν πόλιν. ΟΙ. ἔξοιδ’ ἀκούων· οὐ γὰρ εἰσεῖδόν γέ πω. ΚΡ. τούτου θανόντος νῦν ἐπιστέλλει σαφῶς τοὺς αὐτοέντας χειρὶ τιμωρεῖν τινας. ΟΙ. οἱ δ’ εἰσὶ ποῦ γῆς; ποῦ τόδ’ εὑρεθήσεται ἴχνος παλαιᾶς δυστέκμαρτον αἰτίας; ΚΡ. ἐν τῇδ’ ἔφασκε γῇ. τὸ δὲ ζητούμενον ἁλωτόν, ἐκφεύγει δὲ τἀμελούμενον. ΟΙ. πότερα δ’ ἐν οἴκοις ἢ ’ν ἀγροῖς ὁ Λάϊος ἢ γῆς ἐπ’ ἄλλης τῷδε συμπίπτει φόνῳ; ΚΡ. θεωρός, ὡς ἔφασκεν, ἐκδημῶν πάλιν πρὸς οἶκον οὐκέθ’ ἵκεθ’, ὡς ἀπεστάλη. ΟΙ. οὐδ’ ἄγγελός τις οὐδὲ συμπράκτωρ ὁδοῦ κατεῖδ’, ὅτου τις ἐκμαθὼν ἐχρήσατ’ ἄν; ΚΡ. θνῄσκουσι γάρ, πλὴν εἷς τις, ὃς φόβῳ φυγὼν ὧν εἶδε πλὴν ἓν οὐδὲν εἶχ’ εἰδὼς φράσαι. ΟΙ. τὸ ποῖον; ἓν γὰρ πόλλ’ ἂν ἐξεύροι μαθεῖν, ἀρχὴν βραχεῖαν εἰ λάβοιμεν ἐλπίδος. ΚΡ. λῃστὰς ἔφασκε συντυχόντας οὐ μιᾷ ῥώμῃ κτανεῖν νιν, ἀλλὰ σὺν πλήθει χερῶν. ΟΙ. πῶς οὖν ὁ λῃστής, εἴ τι μὴ ξὺν ἀργύρῳ ἐπράσσετ’ ἐνθένδ’, ἐς τόδ’ ἂν τόλμης ἔβη; ΚΡ. δοκοῦντα ταῦτ’ ἦν· Λαΐου δ’ ὀλωλότος οὐδεὶς ἀρωγὸς ἐν κακοῖς ἐγίγνετο. ΟΙ. κακὸν δὲ ποῖον ἐμποδὼν τυραννίδος οὕτω πεσούσης εἶργε τοῦτ’ ἐξειδέναι; 102 τῇδε LΛ: τήνδε Ka






103 ἧμιν LΛ, Elmsley: ἡμίν Ka 104 ἀπευθύνειν ΩΛ: ἐπ– H, Blomfield πόλιν] χθόνα Zn 105 γέ πω] γέ που FVZc, Doederlein: γέ πως H: γ᾿ ἐγώ Hartung 106 νῦν] νυν Blaydes 107 τινας Λa: τινὰς LacK: τινα Lpc?, Chalcondylas 111 ἐκφεύγει ΩΛ: –ειν CΣL, Meineke 114 ἔφασκεν ΩΛ: –ον Markland: –ετ᾿ Blaydes 117 κατεῖδ᾿ Π1a: –δεν l 120 ἐξεύροι μαθεῖν Ω: ]υροιμαθ[ Π1: ἐξεύροι μαθών Van Herwerden: ἐξεύροις μαθών Groeneboom, J. Fraenkel 121 hab. LKma: om. Π1Kt 129 εἶργε] εἷ– KDZr



ΚΡ. ἡ ποικιλῳδὸς Σφὶγξ τὸ πρὸς ποσὶ σκοπεῖν μεθέντας ἡμᾶς τἀφανῆ προσήγετο. ΟΙ. ἀλλ’ ἐξ ὑπαρχῆς αὖθις αὔτ’ ἐγὼ φανῶ. ἐπαξίως γὰρ Φοῖβος, ἀξίως δὲ σὺ πρὸ τοῦ θανόντος τήνδ’ ἔθεσθ’ ἐπιστροφήν· ὥστ’ ἐνδίκως ὄψεσθε κἀμὲ σύμμαχον, γῇ τῇδε τιμωροῦντα τῷ θεῷ θ’ ἅμα. ὑπὲρ γὰρ οὐχὶ τῶν ἀπωτέρω φίλων ἀλλ’ αὐτὸς αὐτοῦ τοῦτ’ ἀποσκεδῶ μύσος. ὅστις γὰρ ἦν ἐκεῖνον ὁ κτανὼν τάχ’ ἂν κἄμ’ ἂν τοιαύτῃ χειρὶ τιμωρεῖν θέλοι. κείνῳ προσαρκῶν οὖν ἐμαυτὸν ὠφελῶ. ἀλλ’ ὡς τάχιστα, παῖδες, ὑμεῖς μὲν βάθρων ἵστασθε, τούσδ’ ἄραντες ἱκτῆρας κλάδους, ἄλλος δὲ Κάδμου λαὸν ὧδ’ ἀθροιζέτω, ὡς πᾶν ἐμοῦ δράσοντος. ἢ γὰρ εὐτυχεῖς σὺν τῷ θεῷ φανούμεθ’, ἢ πεπτωκότες. ΙΕ. ὦ παῖδες, ἱστώμεσθα· τῶνδε γὰρ χάριν καὶ δεῦρ’ ἔβημεν ὧν ὅδ’ ἐξαγγέλλεται. Φοῖβος δ’ ὁ πέμψας τάσδε μαντείας ἅμα σωτήρ θ’ ἵκοιτο καὶ νόσου παυστήριος.






ΧΟΡΟΣ ὦ Διὸς ἁδυεπὲς Φάτι, τίς ποτε τᾶς πολυχρύσου [str. 1 Πυθῶνος ἀγλαὰς ἔβας Θήβας; ἐκτέταμαι φοβερὰν φρένα δείματι πάλλων, ἰήϊε Δάλιε Παιών,

130 τὸ LKDΣL: τὰ ADglXrXsZr

134 πρὸ Lpca: πρὸς LacKZr1pc 135 σύμμαχον] ξυμ– LKD 138 αὐτοῦ] αὑ– LpcXrZr 139 ἐκεῖνον] –ος LacKSu 141 hab. LrKaΣL: om. Lac, del. Bergk 145 πᾶν] πάντ᾿ Triclinius δράσοντος] –αντος LacK 151 ἁδυεπὲς LacKacΣL: ἡδ– Fγρ: ἁδυεπὴς vel ἡδ– a 153 πάλλων ΩCΣL: πολλῷ Lrγρ 154 Παιών LloydJones et Wilson: Παιάν Ω



ἀμφὶ σοὶ ἁζόμενος· τί μοι ἢ νέον 155 ἢ περιτελλομέναις ὥραις πάλιν ἐξανύσεις χρέος; 156/7 εἰπέ μοι, ὦ χρυσέας τέκνον Ἐλπίδος, ἄμβροτε Φάμα. 158 πρῶτα σὲ κεκλόμενος, θύγατερ Διός, ἄμβροτ’ Ἀθάνα, [ant. 1 γαιάοχόν τ’ ἀδελφεὰν 160 Ἄρτεμιν, ἃ κυκλόεντ’ ἀγορᾶς θρόνον εὐκλέα θάσσει, καὶ Φοῖβον ἑκαβόλον, ἰώ, τρισσοὶ ἀλεξίμοροι προφάνητέ μοι· εἴ ποτε καὶ προτέρας ἄτας ὕπερ ὀρνυμένας πόλῃ 164/5 ἡνύσατ’ ἐκτοπίαν φλόγα πήματος, ἔλθετε καὶ νῦν. 166 ὢ πόποι, ἀνάριθμα γὰρ φέρω 167/8 [str. 2 πήματα· νοσεῖ δέ μοι πρόπας 168/9 στόλος, οὐδ’ ἔνι φροντίδος ἔγχος 169/70 ᾧ τις ἀλέξεται· οὔτε γὰρ ἔκγονα 171/2 κλυτᾶς χθονὸς αὔξεται οὔτε τόκοισιν 172/3 ἰηΐων καμάτων ἀνέχουσι γυναῖκες. 174 ἄλλον δ’ ἂν ἄλλῳ προσίδοις ἅπερ εὔπτερον ὄρνιν 175/6 κρεῖσσον ἀμαιμακέτου πυρὸς ὄρμενον 177 ἀκτὰν πρὸς ἑσπέρου θεοῦ· 177/8 ὧν πόλις ἀνάριθμος ὄλλυται· νηλέα δὲ γένεθλα πρὸς πέδῳ θαναταφόρα κεῖται ἀνοίκτως·

179 [ant. 2 180/1 181/2

159 πρῶτα σὲ Wunder: πρῶτά σε Ω̣Eu: πρώτην σε K: πρώταν γε Lrγρ

[Lac] κεκλόμενος Ω̣Eu: –ομένῳ A1sDXrrsXsZr (nol. ΣZc): κέκλομαι ὦ Blaydes ἄμβροτ᾿] ὄβριμ᾿ Heimsoeth 161 εὐκλέα LK: –εᾶ a: –εῆ Eu: Εὔκλεα Elmsley post Musgrave θάσσει] –εις Dawe 162 ἰὼ Heath: ἰὼ ἰὼ fere Ω: αἰτῶ Blaydes 164/5 ὕπερ ὀρνυμένας] ὑπερορνυμένας Musgrave πόλῃ scripsi post West: πόλει Ω 166 ἡνύσατ’ Willink post West: ἠ– ΩΣL 167/8 ὢ Willink: ὦ Ω 175/6 ἄλλῳ ΩΣL: ἄλλᾳ Dobree ἅπερ Zr: ᾇπερ Ω̣ 180/1 δὲ γένεθλα Π2AXrXs: δὲ γενέθλα Zrpc: δ᾿ ἁ γενέθλα L2pcKDΣL: δ᾿ ἀγενέθλα Lac 181/2 θαναταφόρα Π2K: –οφόρα CV –ηφόρα H: –αφόρῳ L?PaZc: –οφόρῳ r: –ηφόρῳ a



ἐν δ’ ἄλοχοι πολιαί τ’ ἐπὶ ματέρες ἀκτὰν πάρα βώμιον ἄλλοθεν ἄλλαι λυγρῶν πόνων ἱκετῆρες ἐπιστενάχουσιν. παιὼν δὲ λάμπει στονόεσσά τε γῆρυς ὅμαυλος· τῶν ὕπερ, ὦ χρυσέα θύγατερ Διός, εὐῶπα πέμψον ἀλκάν· Ἄρεά τε τὸν μαλερόν, ὃς νῦν ἄχαλκος ἀσπίδων φλέγει με περιβόητος ἀντιάζων, παλίσσυτον δράμημα νωτίσαι πάτρας, ἔπουρον εἴτ’ ἐς μέγαν θάλαμον Ἀμφιτρίτας εἴτ’ ἐς τὸν ἀπόξενον ὅρμων Θρῄκιον κλύδωνα· τελεῖν γάρ, εἴ τι νὺξ ἀφῇ, τοῦτ’ ἐπ’ ἦμαρ ἔρχεται· τόν, ὦ τᾶν πυρφόρων ἀστραπᾶν κράτη νέμων, ὦ Ζεῦ πάτερ, ὑπὸ σῷ φθίσον κεραυνῷ. Λύκει’ ἄναξ, τά τε σὰ χρυ– σοστρόφων ἀπ’ ἀγκυλᾶν βέλεα θέλοιμ’ ἂν ἀδάματ’ ἐνδατεῖσθαι ἀρωγὰ προσταθέντα, τάς τε πυρφόρους

183 ἐπὶ KAZr: ἔπι DXrXs: ἐπι L

183 184/5 185/6 187

190/1 [str. 3 191 192 193/4 194 195

200 200/1 201/2 203 [ant. 3 203/4 204/5 206/7

184/5 ἀκτὰν ΩΣL: ἀχὰν Nauck πάρα (παρὰ) βώμιον KDZr: παραβώμιον LAXrXs 185/6 ἱκετῆρες O, Par. gr. 2794: ἱκτῆρες Ω ἐπιστενάχουσι K: ἐπιστο– La 187 παιὼν Π2LacKΣL: παιὰν a 188 τῶν {Π2}, Kennedy: ὧν laΣL 192 ἀντιάζων] –ω Hermann 193/4 περιβόητος ΩΣL: –ατος Elmsley δράμημα] δρό– (Xs) 194 ἔπουρον LKΣL: ἄπ– aΣL 196 ὅρμων Doederlein: ὅρμον Ω 198 τελεῖν Hermann: τέλει ΩΣL: πέλει V: τελεῖ Kayser, qui post γὰρ interp. 200 τὸν, ὦ τᾶν Hermann: τὸν ὦ Π1LKaΣL: τᾶν ὦ r 203/4 ἀγκυλᾶν Elmsley: –ῶν r: ἀγκύλων ΩCEu 204/5 ἀδάματ᾿ Erfurdt: ἀδάμαστ᾿ ΩΣL



Ἀρτέμιδος αἴγλας, ξὺν αἷς Λύκι’ ὄρεα διᾴσσει· τὸν χρυσομίτραν τε κικλήσκω, τᾶσδ’ ἐπώνυμον γᾶς, οἰνῶπα Βάκχον, εὔιον Μαινάδων ὁμόστολον, πελασθῆναι φλέγοντ’ ἀγλαῶπι πεύκᾳ ’πὶ τὸν ἀπότιμον ἐν θεοῖς θεόν. ΟΙ.

αἰτεῖς· ἃ δ’ αἰτεῖς, τἄμ’ ἐὰν θέλῃς ἔπη κλύων δέχεσθαι τῇ νόσῳ θ’ ὑπηρετεῖν, ἀλκὴν λάβοις ἂν κἀνακούφισιν κακῶν· ἁγὼ ξένος μὲν τοῦ λόγου τοῦδ’ ἐξερῶ, ξένος δὲ τοῦ πραχθέντος· οὐ γὰρ ἂν μακρὰν ἴχνευον αὐτός, μὴ οὐκ ἔχων τι σύμβολον. νῦν δ’, ὕστερος γὰρ ἀστὸς εἰς ἀστοὺς τελῶ, ὑμῖν προφωνῶ πᾶσι Καδμείοις τάδε· ὅστις ποθ’ ὑμῶν Λάϊον τὸν Λαβδάκου κάτοιδεν ἀνδρὸς ἐκ τίνος διώλετο, τοῦτον κελεύω πάντα σημαίνειν ἐμοί· κεἰ μὲν φοβεῖται τοὐπίκλημ’ ὑπεξελὼν

αὐτὸς κατ’ αὐτοῦ· πείσεται γὰρ ἄλλο μὲν ἀστεργὲς οὐδέν, γῆς δ’ ἄπεισιν ἀβλαβής.

207/8 208/9 209/10 210/11 211





208/9 Λύκι᾿ LK: Λύκει᾿ a διᾴσσει Brunck: διαίσσει fere Ω 211 εὔιον] –ων Fac 212 ὁμόστολον LrγρKglXs: μονόστολον Ω 214 Wolff: J. Schmidt: Arndt 220 δὲ] τε Elmsley οὐ γὰρ ἂν ΩΣL: ὥστ᾿ οὐκ ἂν Blaydes 221 αὐτός a: αὐτό l οὐκ ἔχων ΩΛ: οὐ κιχὼν Headlam: οὐκ ἔχειν Blaydes 222 ὕστερος ΩΣL: –ον Zr, Blaydes ἀστὸς Ω̣Λ: αὐτὸς KacXrrγρZr, Elmsley τελῶ ΩΛΣL: τελῶν CacFHNOPZc 227 κεἰ μὲν φοβεῖται ΩΣL: καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθω Blaydes ὑπεξελὼν ΩΣL: –ελεῖν Halm: –έλοι Rauchenstein post hunc versum lacunam statuit Dindorf 228 κατ᾿ αὐτοῦ Bergk: καθ᾿ αὑτοῦ ΩCΣL 229 ἀβλαβής Ka: ἀσφαλής LΛ



εἰ δ’ αὖ τις ἄλλον οἶδεν ἐξ ἄλλης χθονὸς τὸν αὐτόχειρα, μὴ σιωπάτω· τὸ γὰρ κέρδος τελῶ ’γὼ χἠ χάρις προσκείσεται. εἰ δ’ αὖ σιωπήσεσθε, καί τις ἢ φίλου δείσας ἀπώσει τοὔπος ἢ χαὐτοῦ τόδε, ἃκ τῶνδε δράσω, ταῦτα χρὴ κλυεῖν ἐμοῦ. τὸν ἄνδρ’ ἀπαυδῶ τοῦτον, ὅστις ἐστί, γῆς τῆσδ’, ἧς ἐγὼ κράτη τε καὶ θρόνους νέμω, μήτ’ εἰσδέχεσθαι μήτε προσφωνεῖν τινά, μήτ’ ἐν θεῶν εὐχαῖσι μήτε θύμασιν κοινὸν ποεῖσθαι, μήτε χέρνιβος νέμειν· ὠθεῖν δ’ ἀπ’ οἴκων πάντας, ὡς μιάσματος τοῦδ’ ἧμιν ὄντος, ὡς τὸ Πυθικὸν θεοῦ μαντεῖον ἐξέφηνεν ἀρτίως ἐμοί. ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν τοιόσδε τῷ τε δαίμονι τῷ τ’ ἀνδρὶ τῷ θανόντι σύμμαχος πέλω. [κατεύχομαι δὲ τὸν δεδρακότ’, εἴτε τις εἷς ὢν λέληθεν εἴτε πλειόνων μέτα, κακὸν κακῶς νιν ἄμοιρον ἐκτρῖψαι βίον. ἐπεύχομαι δ’, οἴκοισιν εἰ ξυνέστιος ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς γένοιτ’ ἐμοῦ ξυνειδότος, παθεῖν ἅπερ τοῖσδ’ ἀρτίως ἠρασάμην.] ὑμῖν δὲ ταῦτα πάντ’ ἐπισκήπτω τελεῖν, ὑπέρ τ’ ἐμαυτοῦ, τοῦ θεοῦ τε, τῆσδέ τε γῆς ὧδ’ ἀκάρπως κἀθέως ἐφθαρμένης. οὐδ’ εἰ γὰρ ἦν τὸ πρᾶγμα μὴ θεήλατον, ἀκάθαρτον ὑμᾶς εἰκὸς ἦν οὕτως ἐᾶν

230 ἄλλον] ἀστὸν Vauvilliers







οἶδεν ΩΣL: εἶδεν OPa ἐξ] ἢ ᾿ξ Vauvilliers ἄλλης] ἀμῆς Seyffert 235 κλυεῖν West: κλύειν Ω 239 μήτε] μήτ᾿ ἐν AZr, Blaydes: μηδὲ Elmsley θύμασιν LZr: –σι Ka ̣ 240 χέρνιβος l: –ας a 242 ἧμιν Elmsley: ἡμὶν Ω 244–51 et 269–72 permut. Dawe [246–51] del. Wecklein ([248] iam Bentley): hab. ΩΛCΣL: post 272 trai. anon. 248 ἄμοιρον ΩΛCΣL: ἄμορον Porson 250 γένοιτ᾿ LpcADXrXs: γένοιτ᾿ ἂν lZr ξυνειδότος l: συν– a



ἀνδρός γ’ ἀριστέως βασιλέως τ’ ὀλωλότος, ἀλλ’ ἐξερευνᾶν· νῦν δ’ ἐπεὶ κυρῶ τ’ ἐγὼ ἔχων μὲν ἀρχάς, ἃς ἐκεῖνος εἶχε πρίν, ἔχων δὲ λέκτρα καὶ γυναῖχ’ ὁμόσπορον, κοινῶν τε παίδων κοίν’ ἄν, εἰ κείνῳ γένος μὴ ’δυστύχησεν, ἦν ἂν ἐκπεφυκότα— νῦν δ’ ἐς τὸ κείνου κρᾶτ’ ἐνήλαθ’ ἡ τύχη· ἀνθ’ ὧν ἐγὼ τάδ’ ὡσπερεὶ τοὐμοῦ πατρὸς ὑπερμαχοῦμαι κἀπὶ πάντ’ ἀφίξομαι ζητῶν τὸν αὐτόχειρα τοῦ φόνου λαβεῖν τῷ Λαβδακείῳ παιδὶ Πολυδώρου τε καὶ τοῦ πρόσθε Κάδμου τοῦ πάλαι τ’ Ἀγήνορος. καὶ ταῦτα τοῖς μὴ δρῶσιν εὔχομαι θεοὺς μήτ’ ἄροτον αὐτοῖς γῆς ἀνιέναι τινὰ μήτ’ οὖν γυναικῶν παῖδας, ἀλλὰ τῷ πότμῳ τῷ νῦν φθερεῖσθαι κἄτι τοῦδ’ ἐχθίονι. ὑμῖν δὲ τοῖς ἄλλοισι Καδμείοις, ὅσοις τάδ’ ἔστ’ ἀρέσκονθ’, ἥ τε σύμμαχος Δίκη χοἰ πάντες εὖ ξυνεῖεν εἰσαεὶ θεοί. ΧΟ. ὥσπερ μ’ ἀραῖον ἔλαβες, ὧδ’, ἄναξ, ἐρῶ. οὔτ’ ἔκτανον γὰρ οὔτε τὸν κτανόντ’ ἔχω δεῖξαι. τὸ δὲ ζήτημα τοῦ πέμψαντος ἦν Φοίβου τόδ’ εἰπεῖν ὅστις εἴργασταί ποτε. ΟΙ. δίκαι’ ἔλεξας· ἀλλ’ ἀναγκάσαι θεοὺς ἃν μὴ θέλωσιν οὐδ’ ἂν εἷς δύναιτ’ ἀνήρ. ΧΟ. τὰ δεύτερ’ ἐκ τῶνδ’ ἂν λέγοιμ’ ἁμοὶ δοκεῖ. ΟΙ. εἰ καὶ τρίτ’ ἐστί, μὴ παρῇς τὸ μὴ οὐ φράσαι. ΧΟ. ἄνακτ’ ἄνακτι ταὔθ’ ὁρῶντ’ ἐπίσταμαι 257 ἀριστέως scripsi: ἀρίστου Ω






τ᾿ a: om. LK 258 ἐπεὶ κυρῶ S, Laur. CS 66, Pierson: ἐπικυρῶ Ω τ᾿] γ᾿ Pierson 261 τε LΛa: δὲ K 263 ἐνήλαθ᾿] –λλ– CHN, v.l. ap. Choeroboscus 1.339.9 264 τάδ᾿] τοῦδ᾿ Mudge 269 θεοὺς] θεοῖς KpcXsac 270 ἄροτον ΩΣL: ἀροτὸν 2pc ac L P Zc γῆς Reiske: γῆν Ω 273 ὑμῖν a: ἡμῖν LK τοῖς Jernstedt Καδμείοις F. Schmidt 276 ἔλαβες] εἷλες Eu 281 ἃν Xr, Stephanus: ἂν Ω̣ ἂν Monac. gr. 500, Heath: om. Ω δύναιτ᾿ ADXsZr: δύνατ᾿ KXr: δύναται {Lac} 284 ταὔθ᾿ CΣL, Brunck: ταὐτὰ Xrrγρ: ταῦθ᾿ Ω




μάλιστα Φοίβῳ Τειρεσίαν, παρ’ οὗ τις ἂν σκοπῶν τάδ’, ὦναξ, ἐκμάθοι σαφέστατα. ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐν ἀργοῖς οὐδὲ τοῦτ’ ἐπραξάμην. ἔπεμψα γὰρ Κρέοντος εἰπόντος διπλοῦς πομπούς· πάλαι δὲ μὴ παρὼν θαυμάζεται. καὶ μὴν τά γ’ ἄλλα κωφὰ καὶ παλαί’ ἔπη. τὰ ποῖα ταῦτα; πάντα γὰρ σκοπῶ λόγον. θανεῖν ἐλέχθη πρός τινων ὁδοιπόρων. ἤκουσα κἀγώ· τὸν δὲ δρῶντ’ οὐδεὶς ὁρᾷ. ἀλλ’ εἴ τι μὲν δὴ δείματός γ’ ἔχει μέρος, τὰς σὰς ἀκούων οὐ μενεῖ τοιάσδ’ ἀράς. ᾧ μή ’στι δρῶντι τάρβος, οὐδ’ ἔπος φοβεῖ. ἀλλ’ οὑξελέγξων νιν πάρεστιν· οἵδε γὰρ τὸν θεῖον ἤδη μάντιν ὧδ’ ἄγουσιν, ᾧ τἀληθὲς ἐμπέφυκεν ἀνθρώπων μόνῳ. ὦ πάντα νωμῶν Τειρεσία, διδακτά τε ἄρρητά τ’ οὐράνιά τε καὶ χθονοστιβῆ, πόλιν μέν, εἰ καὶ μὴ βλέπεις, φρονεῖς δ’ ὅμως οἵᾳ νόσῳ σύνεστιν· ἧς σὲ προστάτην σωτῆρά τ’, ὦναξ, μοῦνον ἐξευρίσκομεν. Φοῖβος γάρ, εἰ καὶ μὴ κλύεις τῶν ἀγγέλων, πέμψασιν ἡμῖν ἀντέπεμψεν, ἔκλυσιν μόνην ἂν ἐλθεῖν τοῦδε τοῦ νοσήματος, εἰ τοὺς κτανόντας Λάϊον μαθόντες εὖ κτείναιμεν ἢ γῆς φυγάδας ἐκπεμψαίμεθα. σύ νυν φθονήσας μήτ’ ἀπ’ οἰωνῶν φάτιν μήτ’ εἴ τιν’ ἄλλην μαντικῆς ἔχεις ὁδόν, ῥῦσαι σεαυτὸν καὶ πόλιν, ῥῦσαι δ’ ἐμέ, ῥῦσαι δὲ πᾶν μίασμα τοῦ τεθνηκότος.

287 ἐπραξάμην]







–άξαμεν Shilleto 290 παλαί᾿] μάται᾿ SWaZg, Halbertsma 293 δρῶντ᾿ anon.: ἰδόντ᾿ Ω 294 γ᾿ ἔχει {Π1}, Turnebus: τ᾿ ἔχει Ω 295 post σὰς add. δ᾿ rH 297 οὑξελέγξων Π1{Lrs}A(D)XrXsZr: –έγχων LK νιν πάρεστιν Heimsoeth: αὐτὸν ἔστιν Ω: αὐτὸν εἶσιν Wecklein 305 καὶ] τι Stephani 307 τοῦδε] τήνδε Blaydes 310 σύ νυν Elmsley: σὺ νῦν Lac: σὺ δ’ οὖν L2pcKa



ἐν σοὶ γὰρ ἐσμέν· ἄνδρα δ’ ὠφελεῖν ἀφ’ ὧν ἔχοι τε καὶ δύναιτο κάλλιστος πόνων.




φεῦ φεῦ, φρονεῖν ὡς δεινὸν ἔνθα μὴ τέλη λύῃ φρονοῦντι. ταῦτα γὰρ καλῶς ἐγὼ εἰδὼς διώλεσ’· οὐ γὰρ ἂν δεῦρ’ ἱκόμην. τί δ’ ἔστιν; ὡς ἄθυμος εἰσελήλυθας. ἄφες μ’ ἐς οἴκους· ῥᾷστα γὰρ τὸ σόν τε σὺ κἀγὼ διοίσω τοὐμόν, ἢν ἐμοὶ πίθῃ. οὔτ’ ἔννομ’ εἶπας οὔτε προσφιλῆ πόλῃ τῇδ’, ἥ σ’ ἔθρεψε, τήνδ’ ἀποστερῶν φάτιν. ὁρῶ γὰρ οὐδὲ σοὶ τὸ σὸν φώνημ’ ἰὸν πρὸς καιρόν· ὡς οὖν μηδ’ ἐγὼ ταὐτὸν πάθω. μὴ πρὸς θεῶν φρονῶν γ’ ἀποστραφῇς, ἐπεὶ πάντες σε προσκυνοῦμεν οἵδ’ ἱκτήριοι. πάντες γὰρ οὐ φρονεῖτ’. ἐγὼ δ’ οὐ μή ποτε τἄμ’, ὡς ἂν εἴπω μὴ τὰ σ’, ἐκφήνω κακά. τί φῄς; ξυνειδὼς οὐ φράσεις, ἀλλ’ ἐννοεῖς ἡμᾶς προδοῦναι καὶ καταφθεῖραι πόλιν; ἐγὼ οὔτ’ ἐμαυτὸν οὔτε σ’ ἀλγυνῶ. τί ταῦτ’ ἄλλως ἐλέγχεις; οὐ γὰρ ἂν πύθοιό μου. οὐκ, ὦ κακῶν κάκιστε—καὶ γὰρ ἂν πέτρου φύσιν σύ γ’ ὀργάνειας—ἐξερεῖς ποτέ, ἀλλ’ ὧδ’ ἄτεγκτος κἀτελεύτητος φανῇ; ὀργὴν ἐμέμψω τὴν ἐμήν, τὴν σὴν δ’ ὁμοῦ ναίουσαν οὐ κατεῖδες, ἀλλ’ ἐμὲ ψέγεις. τίς γὰρ τοιαῦτ’ ἂν οὐκ ἂν ὀργίζοιτ’ ἔπη





315 πόνων LrsKADsXr: –ος LacDXsZr 317 λύῃ lΣL: λύει aEu εἶπας Ka: εἴπες LΛ προσφιλῆ 322 ἔννομ᾿ LpcADXrXs: ἔννομον ΛKZr Lt: –ὲς LrsKΛa πόλῃ scripsi post West: πόλει Ω 324 φώνημ᾿ ΩΛΣL: φρόνημ᾿ rCac, ΣrVZc 326–7 Oedipodi tribuunt LKΛΣL: choro a 332 ἐγὼ οὔτ᾿ {rN}, Athenaeus: ἔγωγ᾿ οὔτ᾿ Ks: ἐγώ τ᾿ φανῇ ΩΛ? LΛaΣL 336 κἀτελεύτητος ΩΣLEu: κἀπαραίτητος Sehrwald L ac? Σ Eu: φανεὶς Su 337 ὀργὴν] ὁρμὴν L



κλύων, ἃ νῦν σὺ τήνδ’ ἀτιμάζεις πόλιν; ΤΕ. ἥξει γὰρ αὐτά, κἂν ἐγὼ σιγῇ στέγω. ΟΙ. οὔκουν ἅ γ’ ἥξει καὶ σὲ χρὴ λέγειν ἐμοί; ΤΕ. οὐκ ἂν πέρα φράσαιμι. πρὸς τάδ’, εἰ θέλεις, θυμοῦ δι’ ὀργῆς ἥτις ἀγριωτάτη. ΟΙ. καὶ μὴν παρήσω γ’ οὐδέν, ὡς ὀργῆς ἔχω, ἅπερ ξυνίημ’. ἴσθι γὰρ δοκῶν ἐμοὶ καὶ ξυμφυτεῦσαι τοὔργον εἰργάσθαι θ’, ὅσον μὴ χερσὶ καίνων· εἰ δ’ ἐτύγχανες βλέπων, καὶ τοὔργον ἂν σοῦ τοῦτ’ ἔφην εἶναι μόνου. ΤΕ. ἄληθες; ἐννέπω σὲ τῷ κηρύγματι ᾧπερ προεῖπας ἐμμένειν, κἀφ’ ἡμέρας τῆς νῦν προσαυδᾶν μήτε τούσδε μήτ’ ἐμέ, ὡς ὄντι γῆς τῆσδ’ ἀνοσίῳ μιάστορι. ΟΙ. οὕτως ἀναιδῶς ἐξεκίνησας τόδε τὸ ῥῆμα; καὶ ποῦ τοῦτο φεύξεσθαι δοκεῖς; ΤΕ. πέφευγα· τἀληθὲς γὰρ ἰσχῦον τρέφω. ΟΙ. πρὸς τοῦ διδαχθείς; οὐ γὰρ ἔκ γε τῆς τέχνης. ΤΕ. πρὸς σοῦ· σὺ γάρ μ’ ἄκοντα προὐτρέψω λέγειν. ΟΙ. ποῖον λόγον; λέγ’ αὖθις, ὡς μᾶλλον μάθω. ΤΕ. οὐχὶ ξυνῆκας πρόσθεν; ἢ ’κπειρᾷ †λέγειν†; ΟΙ. οὐχ ὥστε γ’ εἰπεῖν γνωτόν· ἀλλ’ αὖθις φράσον. ΤΕ. φονέα σέ φημι τἀνδρὸς οὗ ζητεῖς κυρεῖν. ΟΙ. ἀλλ’ οὔ τι χαίρων δίς γε πημονὰς ἐρεῖς. ΤΕ. εἴπω τι δῆτα κἄλλ’, ἵν’ ὀργίζῃ πλέον; ΟΙ. ὅσον γε χρῄζεις· ὡς μάτην εἰρήσεται. ΤΕ. λεληθέναι σέ φημι σὺν τοῖς φιλτάτοις αἴσχισθ’ ὁμιλοῦντ’, οὐδ’ ὁρᾶν ἵν’ εἶ κακοῦ. ΟΙ. ἦ καὶ γεγηθὼς ταῦτ’ ἀεὶ λέξειν δοκεῖς; 342 οὔκουν Van Herwerden: οὐκοῦν Ω







345 ἔχω] ἔχων CFHOxPZc 346 ἅπερ] ὧνπερ Blaydes 347 θ᾿ Ka: δ᾿ LΛΣL 349 εἶναι] om. LacΛ, unde μόνου βροτῶν Schneidewin μόνου] μόνον KZrt 351 προεῖπας ? Reiske: προσ– ΩΛ 355 ποῦ] που Brunck 356 ἰσχῦον ΩΛ?: ἰσχυρὸν (O2pc)?St 360 ξυνῆκας] συν– LtΛ ἢ] ἦν Gγρ: ἦ Lloyd-Jones et s Wilson λέγειν] λόγου A ap. L : λόγων Ls, Brunck: σύ μου Harrison: λέγων Heath 361 γνωτόν Livineii ‘V’: γνωστόν Ω 368 ταῦτ᾿] ταὔτ᾿ Schneidewin



ΤΕ. εἴπερ τί γ’ ἐστὶ τῆς ἀληθείας σθένος. ΟΙ. ἀλλ’ ἔστι, πλὴν σοί· σοὶ δὲ τοῦτ’ οὐκ ἔστ’, ἐπεὶ τυφλὸς τά τ’ ὦτα τόν τε νοῦν τά τ’ ὄμματ’ εἶ. ΤΕ. σὺ δ’ ἄθλιός γε ταῦτ’ ὀνειδίζων, ἃ σοὶ οὐδεὶς ὃς οὐχὶ τῶνδ’ ὀνειδιεῖ τάχα. ΟΙ. μιᾶς τρέφῃ πρὸς νυκτός, ὥστε μήτ’ ἐμὲ μήτ’ ἄλλον, ὅστις φῶς ὁρᾷ, βλάψαι ποτ’ ἄν. ΤΕ. οὐ γάρ σε μοῖρα πρός γ’ ἐμοῦ πεσεῖν, ἐπεὶ ἱκανὸς Ἀπόλλων, ᾧ τάδ’ ἐκπρᾶξαι μέλει. ΟΙ. Κρέοντος, ἢ τοῦ ταῦτα τἀξευρήματα; ΤΕ. Κρέων δέ σοι πῆμ’ οὐδέν, ἀλλ’ αὐτὸς σὺ σοί. ΟΙ. ὦ πλοῦτε καὶ τυραννὶ καὶ τέχνη τέχνης ὑπερφέρουσα τῷ πολυζήλῳ βίῳ, ὅσος παρ’ ὑμῖν ὁ φθόνος φυλάσσεται, εἰ τῆσδέ γ’ ἀρχῆς οὕνεχ’, ἣν ἐμοὶ πόλις δωρητόν, οὐκ αἰτητόν, εἰσεχείρισεν, ταύτης Κρέων ὁ πιστός, οὑξ ἀρχῆς φίλος, λάθρᾳ μ’ ὑπελθὼν ἐκβαλεῖν ἱμείρεται, ὑφεὶς μάγον τοιόνδε μηχανορράφον, δόλιον ἀγύρτην, ὅστις ἐν τοῖς κέρδεσιν μόνον δέδορκε, τὴν τέχνην δ’ ἔφυ τυφλός. ἐπεὶ φέρ’ εἰπέ, ποῦ σὺ μάντις εἶ σαφής; πῶς οὐχ, ὅθ’ ἡ ῥαψῳδὸς ἐνθάδ’ ἦν κύων, ηὔδας τι τοῖσδ’ ἀστοῖσιν ἐκλυτήριον; καίτοι τό γ’ αἴνιγμ’ οὐχὶ τοὐπιόντος ἦν ἀνδρὸς διειπεῖν, ἀλλὰ μαντείας ἔδει· ἣν οὔτ’ ἀπ’ οἰωνῶν σὺ προὐφάνης ἔχων οὔτ’ ἐκ θεῶν του γνωτόν· ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ μολών, ὁ μηδὲν εἰδὼς Οἰδίπους, ἔπαυσά νιν, γνώμῃ κυρήσας οὐδ’ ἀπ’ οἰωνῶν μαθών·







375 βλάψαι] βλέψαι Π3{L}KtΛ?D 376 σε . . . γ᾿ ἐμοῦ Brunck: με . . . γε σοῦ Π3Ω 378 τοῦ Π3,ac Π3,s: σοῦ Π3,pcΩ 379 δέ ΩΛ: γε Brunck 380 τυραννὶ ΩΛ (πυ– Π3): –ὶς rpStGn 382 ὑμῖν ΩΛ: ἡμῖν A 384 αἰτητόν ΩEu: ὠνητόν G 385 οὑξ] ἐξ Π3Xr 388 κέρδεσιν LKZr: –σι ADXrXs 396 γνωτόν] γνωστόν COPaV 398 γνώμῃ] –ης LacΛ



ὃν δὴ σὺ πειρᾷς ἐκβαλεῖν, δοκῶν θρόνοις παραστατήσειν τοῖς Κρεοντείοις πέλας. κλαίων δοκεῖς μοι καὶ σὺ χὠ συνθεὶς τάδε ἀγηλατήσειν· εἰ δὲ μὴ ’δόκεις γέρων εἶναι, παθὼν ἔγνως ἂν οἷά περ φρονεῖς. ΧΟ. ἡμῖν μὲν εἰκάζουσι καὶ τὰ τοῦδ’ ἔπη ὀργῇ λελέχθαι καὶ τὰ σ’, Οἰδίπου, δοκεῖ. δεῖ δ’ οὐ τοιούτων, ἀλλ’ ὅπως τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ μαντεῖ’ ἄριστα λύσομεν, τόδε σκοπεῖν. ΤΕ. εἰ καὶ τυραννεῖς, ἐξισωτέον τὸ γοῦν ἴσ’ ἀντιλέξαι· τοῦδε γὰρ κἀγὼ κρατῶ. οὐ γάρ τι σοὶ ζῶ δοῦλος, ἀλλὰ Λοξίᾳ· ὥστ’ οὐ Κρέοντος προστάτου γεγράψομαι. λέγω δ’, ἐπειδὴ καὶ τυφλόν μ’ ὠνείδισας· σὺ καὶ δέδορκας κοὐ βλέπεις ἵν’ εἶ κακοῦ, οὐδ’ ἔνθα ναίεις, οὐδ’ ὅτων οἰκεῖς μέτα. ἆρ’ οἶσθ’ ἀφ’ ὧν εἶ; καὶ λέληθας ἐχθρὸς ὢν τοῖς σοῖσιν αὐτοῦ νέρθε κἀπὶ γῆς ἄνω, καί σ’ ἀμφιπλὴξ μητρός τε κἀπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐλᾷ ποτ’ ἐκ γῆς τῆσδε δεινόπους ἀρά, βλέποντα νῦν μὲν ὄρθ’, ἔπειτα δὲ σκότον. βοῆς δὲ τῆς σῆς ποῖος οὐκ ἔσται λιμήν, ποῖος Κιθαιρὼν οὐχὶ σύμφωνος τάχα, ὅταν καταίσθῃ τὸν ὑμέναιον, ὃν δόμοις ἄνορμον εἰσέπλευσας, εὐπλοίας τυχών; ἄλλων δὲ πλῆθος οὐκ ἐπαισθάνῃ κακῶν, ἅ σ᾿ ἐξισώσει σῷ τοκεῖ καὶ σοῖς τέκνοις. πρὸς ταῦτα καὶ Κρέοντα καὶ τοὐμὸν στόμα προπηλάκιζε. σοῦ γὰρ οὐκ ἔστιν βροτῶν κάκιον ὅστις ἐκτριβήσεταί ποτε.

401 συνθεὶς] ξυν– Π1







402 ἀγηλατήσειν] ἁ– LΣL 405 Οἰδίπου] –ους Elmsley 413 δέδορκας κοὐ] δεδορκὼς οὐ Reiske: δεδορκὼς κοὐ cod. incert. 415 καὶ] χὠς Schneidewin: κοὐ Bothe 417 κἀπὸ τοῦ Π1,s: καὶ τοῦ σοῦ ΩΛ: καὶ σοῦ G: κἀπὸ σοῦ Π1,t 421 del. West 425 σῷ τοκεῖ καί Nauck: σοί τε καὶ τοῖς Ω




ἦ ταῦτα δῆτ’ ἀνεκτὰ πρὸς τούτου κλυεῖν; οὐκ εἰς ὄλεθρον; οὐχὶ θᾶσσον αὖ πάλιν ἄψορρος οἴκων τῶνδ’ ἀποστραφεὶς ἄπει; οὐδ’ ἱκόμην ἔγωγ’ ἄν, εἰ σὺ μὴ ’κάλεις. οὐ γὰρ τί σ’ ᾔδη μῶρα φωνήσοντ’, ἐπεὶ σχολῇ σ’ ἂν οἴκους τοὺς ἐμοὺς ἐστειλάμην. ἡμεῖς τοιοίδ’ ἔφυμεν, ὡς μὲν σοὶ δοκεῖ, μῶροι, γονεῦσι δ’, οἵ σ’ ἔφυσαν, ἔμφρονες. ποίοισι; μεῖνον. τίς δέ μ’ ἐκφύει βροτῶν; ἥδ’ ἡμέρα φύσει σε καὶ διαφθερεῖ. ὡς πάντ’ ἄγαν αἰνικτὰ κἀσαφῆ λέγεις. οὔκουν σὺ ταῦτ’ ἄριστος εὑρίσκειν ἔφυς; τοιαῦτ’ ὀνείδιζ’ οἷς ἔμ’ εὑρήσεις μέγαν. αὕτη γε μέντοι σ’ ἡ τύχη διώλεσεν. ἀλλ’ εἰ πόλιν τήνδ’ ἐξέσωσ’, οὔ μοι μέλει. ἄπειμι τοίνυν· καὶ σύ, παῖ, κόμιζέ με. κομιζέτω δῆθ’· ὡς παρὼν σύ γ’ ἐμποδὼν ὀχλεῖς, συθείς τ’ ἂν οὐκ ἂν ἀλγύναις πλέον. εἰπὼν ἄπειμ’ ὧν οὕνεκ’ ἦλθον, οὐ τὸ σὸν δείσας πρόσωπον· οὐ γὰρ ἔσθ’ ὅπου μ’ ὀλεῖς. λέγω δέ σοι· τὸν ἄνδρα τοῦτον, ὃν πάλαι ζητεῖς ἀπειλῶν κἀνακηρύσσων φόνον τὸν Λαΐειον, οὗτός ἐστιν ἐνθάδε, ξένος λόγῳ μέτοικος· εἶτα δ’ ἐγγενὴς φανήσεται Θηβαῖος, οὐδ’ ἡσθήσεται τῇ ξυμφορᾷ· τυφλὸς γὰρ ἐκ δεδορκότος καὶ πτωχὸς ἀντὶ πλουσίου ξένην ἔπι







429 πρὸς τούτου ΩΛ: προσπόλου R: fort. λ supra τ alterum Π3 κλυεῖν West: κλύειν ΩΛ 430 αὖ Π3,t, Wolff: οὐ Π1Π3,sΩΛ 433 ᾔδη Π3,m, Par. gr. 2884, Heath post Dawes: ᾔδει l: ᾔδειν Π1a 434 σχολῇ σ᾿ Π3,pcΩΛ: ἐμούς Porson 435 μὲν σοὶ] σοὶ σχολῇ γ᾿ HSu: σχολησγ᾿ Π3,ac μὲν Schaefer 436 ἔμφρονες LΛa: εὔφρονες K 439 κἀσαφῆ] κοὐ σαφῆ r 441 εὑρήσεις] εὑρίσκεις Zc, Van Herwerden 442 τύχη] τέχνη Bentley 443 μοι] τοι ΣZc 445 σύ γ᾿] σύ μ᾿ Xs 446 ἀλγύναις] post σοι interp. Lpc, ἀλγύνοις N, Elmsley 449 σοι] τοι P [Lac] Schaefer



σκήπτρῳ προδεικνὺς γαῖαν ἐμπορεύσεται. φανήσεται δὲ παισὶ τοῖς αὑτοῦ ξυνὼν ἀδελφὸς αὑτὸς καὶ πατήρ, κἀξ ἧς ἔφυ γυναικὸς υἱὸς καὶ πόσις, καὶ τοῦ πατρὸς ὁμόσπορός τε καὶ φονεύς. καὶ ταῦτ’ ἰὼν εἴσω λογίζου· κἂν λάβῃς ἐψευσμένον, φάσκειν ἔμ’ ἤδη μαντικῇ μηδὲν φρονεῖν. ΧΟ. τίς ὅντιν’ ἁ θεσπιέπει– α Δελφὶς εἶπε πέτρα ἄρρητ’ ἀρρήτων τελέσαν– τα φοινίαισι χερσίν; ὥρα νιν ἀελλάδων ἵππων σθεναρώτερον φυγᾷ πόδα νωμᾶν. ἔνοπλος γὰρ ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ἐπενθρῴσκει πυρὶ καὶ στεροπαῖς ὁ Διὸς γενέτας, δειναὶ δ’ ἅμ’ ἕπονται Κῆρες ἀναπλάκητοι. ἔλαμψε γὰρ τοῦ νιφόεν– τος ἀρτίως φανεῖσα φήμα Παρνασοῦ τὸν ἄδη– λον ἄνδρα πάντ’ ἰχνεύειν. φοιτᾷ γὰρ ὑπ’ ἀγρίαν ὕλαν ἀνά τ’ ἄντρα καὶ πετραῖος ὁ ταῦρος, μέλεος μελέῳ ποδὶ χηρεύων, τὰ μεσόμφαλα γᾶς ἀπονοσφίζων 456 σκήπτρῳ ΩΛ: –ον F2s, cΣL


[str. 1 463/4 465 465/6 467 467/8 468 470

[ant 1. 473/4 475 475/6 477 477/8 478 480

ἐμπορεύσεται] ἐκ– Zr 457 αὑτοῦ ADXrZr: ἑαυτοῦ LΛ: αὐτοῦ KXs 458 αὑτὸς Xs1pc, Markland: αὐτὸς ΩΛ 461 λάβῃς LΛ, Aristides: λάβῃς μ᾿ Π1Ka 463/4 εἶπε ΩΛ?: εἶδε GCΣL: ᾖδε Powell [Lac] 467 ἀελλάδων He: ἀελλοπόδων ΩΛ 472 ἀναπλάκητοι lDΣL: ἀναμπλ– AXrXsZr 475 φήμα ΩΛ: φάμα Zr Παρνασοῦ] –σσ– Xr, Erfurdt (verum ΣXr) 478 πετραῖος ὁ Lac?: πετραῖος ὡς K: πέτραις ὡς GFNPa: πέτρας ὡς Λ?a



μαντεῖα· τὰ δ’ ἀεὶ ζῶντα περιποτᾶται. δεινά με νῦν, δεινὰ ταράσσει σοφὸς οἰωνοθέτας 483/4 [str. 2 οὔτε δοκοῦντ’ οὔτ’ ἀποφάσκονθ’, ὅ τι λέξω δ’ ἀπορῶ. 485/6 πέτομαι δ’ ἐλπίσιν οὔτ’ ἐν– 487/8 θάδ’ ὁρῶν οὔτ’ ὀπίσω. 488 τί γὰρ ἢ Λαβδακίδαις ἢ τῷ Πολύβου νεῖ– 489/90 κος ἔκειτ’ οὔτε πάροιθέν 490/1 ποτ’ ἔγωγ’ οὔτε τανῦν πω 491/2 ἔμαθον, πρὸς ὅτου δὴ 492/3 βασάνῳ 493 ἐπὶ τὰν ἐπίδαμον φάτιν εἶμ’ Οἰδιπόδα Λαβδακίδαις 495/6 ἐπίκουρος ἀδήλων θανάτων. 496/7 498/9 [ant. 2

ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν οὖν Ζεὺς ὁ τ’ Ἀπόλλων ξυνετοὶ καὶ τὰ βροτῶν εἰδότες· ἀνδρῶν δ’ ὅτι μάντις πλέον ἢ ’γὼ φέρεται, 500/1 κρίσις οὐκ ἔστιν ἀληθής· 502/3 σοφίᾳ δ’ ἂν σοφίαν 503 παραμείψειεν ἀνήρ. ἀλλ’ οὔποτ’ ἔγωγ’ ἄν, 504/5 πρὶν ἴδοιμ’ ὀρθὸν ἔπος, μεμ– 505/6 φομένων ἂν καταφαίην. 506/7 φανερὰ γὰρ ἐπ’ αὐτῷ 507/8 πτερόεσσ’ ἦλθε κόρα 508 ποτέ, καὶ σοφὸς ὤφθη

481 ἀεὶ] αἰεὶ Triclinius

483/4 με νῦν Bergk: μὲν οὖν ΩΣL: με νοῦν Nauck 493 lacunam statuit Musgrave: Wolff 507/8 γὰρ ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ hab. ΩΣL: del. Triclinius: γὰρ ἐπ᾿ ἀστοῖς Nauck 509 ποτέ] τότε Blaydes



βασάνῳ θ’ ἡδύπολις· τῶν ἀπ’ ἐμᾶς φρενὸς οὔποτ’ ὀφλήσει κακίαν. ΚΡ. ἄνδρες πολῖται, δείν’ ἔπη πεπυσμένος κατηγορεῖν μου τὸν τύραννον Οἰδίπουν πάρειμ’ ἀτλητῶν. εἰ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς ξυμφοραῖς ταῖς νῦν νομίζει πρός γ’ ἐμοῦ πεπονθέναι λόγοισιν εἴτ’ ἔργοισιν εἰς βλάβην φέρον, οὔτοι βίου μοι τοῦ μακραίωνος πόθος, φέροντι τήνδε βάξιν. οὐ γὰρ εἰς ἁπλοῦν ἡ ζημία μοι τοῦ λόγου τούτου φέρει, ἀλλ’ εἰς μέγιστον, εἰ κακὸς μὲν ἐν πόλῃ, κακὸς δὲ πρὸς σοῦ καὶ φίλων κεκλήσομαι. ΧΟ. ἀλλ’ ἦλθε μὲν δὴ τοῦτο τοὔνειδος, τάχ’ ἂν δ’ ὀργῇ βιασθὲν μᾶλλον ἢ γνώμῃ φρενῶν. ΚΡ. τοὔπος δ’ ἐφάνθη ταῖς ἐμαῖς γνώμαις ὅτι πεισθεὶς ὁ μάντις τοὺς λόγους ψευδεῖς λέγοι; ΧΟ. ηὐδᾶτο μὲν τάδ’, οἶδα δ’ οὐ γνώμῃ τίνι. ΚΡ. ἐξ ὀμμάτων δ’ ὀρθῶν τε κἀπ’ ὀρθῆς φρενὸς κατηγορεῖτο τοὐπίκλημα τοῦτό μου; ΧΟ. οὐκ οἶδ’· ἃ γὰρ δρῶσ’ οἱ κρατοῦντες οὐχ ὁρῶ. [αὐτὸς δ’ ὅδ’ ἤδη δωμάτων ἔξω περᾷ.] ΟΙ. οὗτος σύ, πῶς δεῦρ’ ἦλθες; ἦ τοσόνδ’ ἔχεις τόλμης πρόσωπον ὥστε τὰς ἐμὰς στέγας ἵκου, φονεὺς ὢν τοῦδε τἀνδρὸς ἐμφανῶς λῃστής τ’ ἐναργὴς τῆς ἐμῆς τυραννίδος; 510/11 θ᾿ LpcΛaCΣL: δ᾿ {Lac}K

510/11 511/12

513 515





ἡδύπολις] ἁδύ– Erfurdt τῶν Π1, CΣL: ἀπ᾿] πρὸς Elmsley: παρ᾿ Wolff 515 γὰρ ἐν Π1Ω: τι τῶ* L Λ : τῷ Ω̣ γὰρ Diggle 516 νομίζει Π1Ω: δοκεῖ τι Blaydes γ᾿ ἐμοῦ Lac?XrSu: τ᾿ ἐμοῦ 1 2 {Π }KADXsZr: τί τ᾿ ἐμοῦ O: τι gl. in L AD 521 εἰς Π1DXrSu: ἐς Ω̣ πόλῃ scripsi post West: πόλει Ω 523 δ᾿ Π1, M. Schmidt: om. Ω 524 βιασθὲν] ’κβιασθὲν Groeneboom 525 τοὔπος Π1K: τοῦ πρὸς LΛ: πρὸς τοῦ a 526 λέγοι LKAsDXrXsZr: λέγει At 528 δ᾿ Π1Su: om. Ω τε LacZr: 1 γε C: om. D: δὲ LKAXrXs κἀπ᾿ Π : κἀξ Ω 529 μου] μοι XrsZr 531 om. Π1: habent Ω 532 ἦ Elmsley: ἢ Ω 533 τὰς ἐμὰς] τάσδε τὰς Meineke 535 ἐναργὴς] –ῶς C, Blaydes ac





φέρ’ εἰπὲ πρὸς θεῶν, δειλίαν ἢ μωρίαν ἰδών τιν’ ἐν ἐμοὶ ταῦτ’ ἐβουλεύσω ποεῖν; ἦ τοὔργον ὡς οὐ γνωριοῖμί σου τόδε δόλῳ προσέρπον ἢ οὐκ ἀλεξοίμην μαθών; ἆρ’ οὐχὶ μῶρόν ἐστι τοὐγχείρημά σου, ἄνευ τε πλούτου καὶ φίλων τυραννίδα θηρᾶν, ὃ πλήθει χρήμασίν θ’ ἁλίσκεται; οἶσθ’ ὡς πόησον; ἀντὶ τῶν εἰρημένων ἴσ’ ἀντάκουσον, κᾆτα κρῖν’ αὐτὸς μαθών. λέγειν σὺ δεινός, μανθάνειν δ’ ἐγὼ κακὸς σοῦ· δυσμενῆ γὰρ καὶ βαρύν σ’ ηὕρηκ’ ἐμοί. τοῦτ’ αὐτὸ νῦν μου πρῶτ’ ἄκουσον ὡς ἐρῶ. τοῦτ’ αὐτὸ μή μοι φράζ’, ὅπως οὐκ εἶ κακός. εἴ τοι νομίζεις κτῆμα τὴν αὐθαδίαν εἶναί τι τοῦ νοῦ χωρίς, οὐκ ὀρθῶς φρονεῖς. εἴ τοι νομίζεις ἄνδρα συγγενῆ κακῶς δρῶν οὐχ ὑφέξειν τὴν δίκην, οὐκ εὖ φρονεῖς. ξύμφημί σοι ταῦτ’ ἔνδικ’ εἰρῆσθαι· τὸ δὲ πάθημ’ ὁποῖον φῂς παθεῖν δίδασκέ με. ἔπειθες, ἢ οὐκ ἔπειθες, ὡς χρείη μ’ ἐπὶ τὸν σεμνόμαντιν ἄνδρα πέμψασθαί τινα; καὶ νῦν ἔθ’ αὑτός εἰμι τῷ βουλεύματι. πόσον τιν’ ἤδη δῆθ’ ὁ Λάϊος χρόνον— δέδρακε ποῖον ἔργον; οὐ γὰρ ἐννοῶ. ἄφαντος ἔρρει θανασίμῳ χειρώματι; μακροὶ παλαιοί τ’ ἂν μετρηθεῖεν χρόνοι. τότ’ οὖν ὁ μάντις οὗτος ἦν ἐν τῇ τέχνῃ; σοφός γ’ ὁμοίως κἀξ ἴσου τιμώμενος. ἐμνήσατ’ οὖν ἐμοῦ τι τῷ τότ’ ἐν χρόνῳ;

537 ποεῖν LKDpc: ποιεῖν AXrXsZr






538 ἦ Schaefer: ἢ Ω γνωριοῖμι Elmsley: –ίσοιμι Ω 539 ἢ οὐκ Spengel: κοὐκ Ω 541 πλούτου anon.: πλήθους Ω 542 θηρᾶν] ζητῶν K ὃ] ἣ KXs1s 543 πόησον Lac: ποιήσον Pa, Canter: πο(ι)ήσων Ka ἀντὶ] κἀντὶ K 546 ηὕρηκ’ Elmsley: εὕρηκ’ Ω 547 νῦν] νυν Blaydes 549 τὴν aSu: τήνδ᾿ LK 552 δρῶν] –ντ᾿ ZrSt 555 χρείη NOV, Dawes: χρεῖ᾿ ἦ Ω 557 νῦν Blaydes ἔθ᾿ αὑτός LrmKΣL, Valckenaer: ἔτ᾿ αὐτός L?Λa




οὔκουν ἐμοῦ γ’ ἑστῶτος οὐδαμοῦ πέλας. ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἔρευναν τοῦ κτανόντος ἔσχετε; παρέσχομεν, πῶς δ’ οὐχί; κοὐκ ἠκούσαμεν. πῶς οὖν τόθ’ οὗτος ὁ σοφὸς οὐκ ηὔδα τάδε; οὐκ οἶδ’· ἐφ’ οἷς γὰρ μὴ φρονῶ σιγᾶν φιλῶ. τοσόνδε γ’ οἶσθα καὶ λέγοις ἂν εὖ φρονῶν— ποῖον τόδ’; εἰ γὰρ οἶδά γ’, οὐκ ἀρνήσομαι. ὁθούνεκ’, εἰ μὴ σοὶ ξυνῆλθε, τὰς ἐμὰς οὐκ ἄν ποτ’ εἶπε Λαΐου διαφθοράς. εἰ μὲν λέγει τάδ’, αὐτὸς οἶσθ’· ἐγὼ δέ σου μαθεῖν δικαιῶ ταὔθ’ ἅπερ κἀμοῦ σὺ νῦν. ἐκμάνθαν’· οὐ γὰρ δὴ φονεὺς ἁλώσομαι. τί δῆτ’; ἀδελφὴν τὴν ἐμὴν γήμας ἔχεις; ἄρνησις οὐκ ἔνεστιν ὧν ἀνιστορεῖς. ἄρχεις δ’ ἐκείνῃ ταὐτὰ γῆς ἴσον νέμων; ἃν ᾖ θέλουσα πάντ’ ἐμοῦ κομίζεται. οὔκουν ἰσοῦμαι σφῷν ἐγὼ δυοῖν τρίτος; ἐνταῦθα γὰρ δὴ καὶ κακὸς φαίνῃ φίλος. οὔκ, εἰ διδοίης γ’ ὡς ἐγὼ σαυτῷ λόγον. σκέψαι δὲ τοῦτο πρῶτον, εἴ τιν’ ἂν δοκεῖς ἄρχειν ἑλέσθαι ξὺν φόβοισι μᾶλλον ἢ ἄτρεστον εὕδοντ’, εἰ τά γ’ αὔθ’ ἕξει κράτη. ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν οὔτ’ αὐτὸς ἱμείρων ἔφυν τύραννος εἶναι μᾶλλον ἢ τύραννα δρᾶν, οὔτ’ ἄλλος ὅστις σωφρονεῖν ἐπίσταται. νῦν μὲν γὰρ ἐκ σοῦ πάντ’ ἄνευ φόβου φέρω, εἰ δ’ αὐτὸς ἦρχον, πολλὰ κἂν ἄκων ἔδρων. πῶς δῆτ’ ἐμοὶ τυραννὶς ἡδίων ἔχειν







566 κτανόντος Meineke: θανόντος ΩΛ: κανόντος Van Herwerden 568 τόθ’ οὗτος ὁ σοφὸς Ka: οὗτος τόθ’ ὁ σοφὸς LΛ: τόθ’ ὁ σοφὸς οὗτος Diggle τάδε ΩΛ: τόδε VSu 570 τοσόνδε] τὸ σὸν δέ LacK, Stephanus 572 τὰς] τάσδ᾿ Doederlein 575 ταὔθ᾿ Brunck: ταῦθ᾿ ΩΛ 576 φονεύς Blaydes 577 post δῆτ’ notam interrogationis pos. Heath 578 οὐκ ἔνεστιν] οὐκέτ᾿ ἐστίν NOpc 580 ἃν gl C L KADXrXs Zr Σ : ἂν LΛXs θέλουσα] –ῃ Hartung 581 οὔκουν . . .; Markland: οὐκοῦν ΩΛ 583 ἐγὼ] ἔχω Heimsoeth 587 ἱμείρων] –ειν Van Herwerden 590 φόβου ΩΛ: φθόνου Blaydes



ἀρχῆς ἀλύπου καὶ δυναστείας ἔφυ; οὔπω τοσοῦτον ἠπατημένος κυρῶ ὥστ’ ἄλλα χρῄζειν ἢ τὰ σὺν κέρδει καλά. νῦν πᾶσι χαίρω, νῦν με πᾶς ἀσπάζεται, νῦν οἱ σέθεν χρῄζοντες ἐκκαλοῦσί με· τὸ γὰρ τυχεῖν αὐτοῖσι πᾶν ἐνταῦθ’ ἔνι. πῶς δῆτ’ ἐγὼ κεῖν’ ἂν λάβοιμ’ ἀφεὶς τάδε; [οὐκ ἂν γένοιτο νοῦς κακὸς καλῶς φρονῶν.] ἀλλ’ οὔτ’ ἐραστὴς τῆσδε τῆς γνώμης ἔφυν οὔτ’ ἂν μετ’ ἄλλου δρῶντος ἂν τλαίην ποτέ. καὶ τῶνδ’ ἔλεγχον τοῦτο μὲν Πυθώδ’ ἰὼν πεύθου τὰ χρησθέντ’, εἰ σαφῶς ἤγγειλά σοι· τοῦτ’ ἄλλ’, ἐάν με τῷ τερασκόπῳ λάβῃς κοινῇ τι βουλεύσαντα, μή μ’ ἁπλῇ κτάνῃς ψήφῳ, διπλῇ δέ, τῇ τ’ ἐμῇ καὶ σῇ, λαβών, γνώμῃ δ’ ἀδήλῳ μή με χωρὶς αἰτιῶ. οὐ γὰρ δίκαιον οὔτε τοὺς κακοὺς μάτην χρηστοὺς νομίζειν οὔτε τοὺς χρηστοὺς κακούς. φίλον γὰρ ἐσθλὸν ἐκβαλεῖν ἴσον λέγω καὶ τὸν παρ’ αὑτῷ βίοτον, ὃν πλεῖστον φιλεῖ. ἀλλ’ ἐν χρόνῳ γνώσῃ τάδ’ ἀσφαλῶς, ἐπεὶ χρόνος δίκαιον ἄνδρα δείκνυσιν μόνος, κακὸν δὲ κἂν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ γνοίης μιᾷ. ΧΟ. καλῶς ἔλεξεν εὐλαβουμένῳ πεσεῖν, ἄναξ· φρονεῖν γὰρ οἱ ταχεῖς οὐκ ἀσφαλεῖς. ΟΙ. ὅταν ταχύς τις οὑπιβουλεύων λάθρᾳ χωρῇ, ταχὺν δεῖ κἀμὲ βουλεύειν πάλιν. εἰ δ’ ἡσυχάζων προσμενῶ, τὰ τοῦδε μὲν πεπραγμέν’ ἔσται, τἀμὰ δ’ ἡμαρτημένα.







597 ἐκκαλοῦσι ΩΛ: αἰκάλλουσι Musgrave με ΩΛ: ἐμέ Meineke αὐτοῖσι r: –οῖς LpcADXrXs1pc: –οὺς lZr: 598 hab. ΩΣL: del. Wecklein αἰτοῦσι Pearson πᾶν rC: ἅπαν l: ἅπαντ᾿ a [600] del. Wolff: hab. ΩΣL 604 πεύθου] πείθου ΛK: πύθου rF: πύθου καὶ Pa: πυθοῦ Nauck [Lac] 605 τοῦτ᾿] ταῦτ᾿ ΛKtZr 611–15 hab. ΩΣL: del. Van Deventer 612 αὑτῷ LADXrZr: αὐτῷ KXs: αὐτοῦ O 618 οὑπιβουλεύων] –εύσων (Xrrγρ)Zr 621 ἔσται] ἔστι K



ΚΡ. τί δῆτα χρῄζεις; ἦ με γῆς ἔξω βαλεῖν; ΟΙ. ἥκιστα· θνῄσκειν, οὐ φυγεῖν σε βούλομαι. desunt versus aliquot ΟΙ. ὅταν προδείξῃς οἷόν ἐστι τὸ φθονεῖν fortasse desunt versus aliquot ΚΡ. ὡς οὐχ ὑπείξων οὐδὲ πιστεύσων λέγεις; desunt versus aliquot ΚΡ. οὐ γὰρ φρονοῦντά σ’ εὖ βλέπω. Οι. τὸ γοῦν ἐμόν. ΚΡ. ἀλλ’ ἐξ ἴσου δεῖ κἀμόν. Οι. ἀλλ’ ἔφυς κακός. ΚΡ. εἰ δὲ ξυνίης μηδέν; Οι. ἀρκτέον γ’ ὅμως. ΚΡ. οὔτοι κακῶς γ’ ἄρχοντος. Οι. ὦ πόλις πόλις. ΚΡ. κἀμοὶ πόλεως μέτεστιν, οὐχὶ σοὶ μόνῳ. ΧΟ. παύσασθ’, ἄνακτες· καιρίαν δ’ ὑμῖν ὁρῶ τήνδ’ ἐκ δόμων στείχουσαν Ἰοκάστην, μεθ’ ἧς τὸ νῦν παρεστὸς νεῖκος εὖ θέσθαι χρεών.



ΙΟΚΑΣΤΗ τί τὴν ἄβουλον, ὦ ταλαίπωροι, στάσιν γλώσσης ἐπήρασθ’; οὐδ’ ἐπαισχύνεσθε γῆς οὕτω νοσούσης ἴδια κινοῦντες κακά; οὐκ εἶ σύ τ’ οἴκους σύ τε, Κρέων, κατὰ στέγας, καὶ μὴ τὸ μηδὲν ἄλγος εἰς μέγ’ οἴσετε; ΚΡ. ὅμαιμε, δεινά μ’ Οἰδίπους ὁ σὸς πόσις

post 623 lacunam statuit Campbell


624 Oedipodi trib. Haase, Creonti Ω post 624 lacunam statui 625 Creonti trib. Haase, Oedipodi ΩCΣL post 625 lacunam statuit Campbell 627 κἀμόν] τοὐμόν Van Herwerden 628 ξυνίης XrZr: –ίεις LKADXr1sXs μηδέν a: μηδὲ ἕν γ᾿] δ᾿ O 629 ἄρχοντος] ἄρχοντας {Lac}, Musgrave 630 LacK μέτεστιν Triclinius: μέτεστι τῆσδ᾿ Ω οὐχὶ] οὐ DZr, Brunck 631 καιρίαν {Lac}ADXsZr: κυρίαν LpcKXr ὑμῖν] ἡμῖν Xr 633 παρεστὸς LxK: –εστὼς a 634 τὴν] τήνδ᾿ Markland 635 ἐπήρασθ᾿ LacK: –ραθ᾿ F: Κρέων] –ον –ρατ᾿ Lpca 637 οἴκους ADXrXs: ἐς οἰκους L: εἰς οἰκους KZr Xr κατὰ LKADXrXs: om. Zr: τὰς σὰς Meineke



δρᾶσαι δικαιοῖ δυοῖν ἀποκρίνας κακοῖν, ἢ γῆς ἀπῶσαι πατρίδος, ἢ κτεῖναι λαβών. ΟΙ. ξύμφημι· δρῶντα γάρ νιν, ὦ γύναι, κακῶς εἴληφα τοὐμὸν σῶμα σὺν τέχνῃ κακῇ. ΚΡ. μή νυν ὀναίμην, ἀλλ’ ἀραῖος, εἴ σέ τι δέδρακ’, ὀλοίμην, ὧν ἐπαιτιᾷ με δρᾶν. ΙΟ. ὦ πρὸς θεῶν πίστευσον Οἰδίπους τάδε, μάλιστα μὲν τόνδ’ ὅρκον αἰδεσθεὶς θεῶν, ἔπειτα κἀμὲ τούσδε θ’ οἳ πάρεισί σοι.



ΧΟ. πιθοῦ θελήσας φρονή– [str. σας τ’, ἄναξ, λίσσομαι— 649/50 ΟΙ. τί σοι θέλεις δῆτ’ εἰκάθω; 651 ΧΟ. τὸν οὔτε πρὶν νήπιον νῦν τ’ ἐν ὅρκῳ μέγαν καταίδεσαι. 653/4 ΟΙ. οἶσθ’ οὖν ἃ χρῄζεις; Χο. οἶδα. Οι. φράζε δή· τί φῄς; 655 ΧΟ. τὸν ἐναγῆ φίλον μήποτέ σ’ αἰτίᾳ σὺν ἀφανεῖ λόγων ἄτιμον βαλεῖν. ΟΙ. εὖ νυν ἐπίστω, ταῦθ’ ὅταν ζητῇς, ἐμοὶ ζητῶν ὄλεθρον ἢ φυγὴν ἐκ τῆσδε γῆς. ΧΟ. οὐ τὸν πάντων θεῶν θεὸν πρόμον 660/1 Ἅλιον· ἐπεὶ ἄθεος ἄφιλος ὅ τι πύματον 661/3 ὀλοίμαν, φρόνησιν εἰ τάνδ’ ἔχω. 663/4 ἀλλά μοι δυσμόρῳ γᾶ φθίνου– 665/6 σα τρύχει καρδίαν, τάδ’ εἰ κακοῖς 666/7 προσάψει τοῖς πάλαι τὰ πρὸς σφῷν. 668 ΟΙ. ὁ δ’ οὖν ἴτω, κεἰ χρή με παντελῶς θανεῖν, 640 δυοῖν ἀποκρίνας] θἄτερον δυοῖν Dindorf: τοῖνδ᾿ ἓν ἀποκρίνας Hermann:

τοῖνδ᾿ ἀποκρίνας Elmsley 644 νυν Elmsley: νῦν Ω 656 φίλον] –ων ΣLNPtSu μήποτέ σ᾿ Nauck: μήποτ᾿ ἐν ΩCΣL 657 σύν βαλεῖν Triclinius λόγων KΣL: λόγῳ a: λόγον L: λόγῳ σ᾿ Hermann Su: ἐκβαλεῖν ΩΣL 658 νυν Elmsley: νῦν ΩΣL ζητῇς] χρήζῃς (G)R, Meineke 659 φυγὴν KADXr1sXsZr: φυγεῖν LXrt 660/1 οὐ ΩΣL: μὰ οὐ rHO, gl. in nonnullis θεῶν θεὸν Lac: θεὸν K: θεῶν Lpca 666/7 καρδίαν Hermann: ψυχὰν καὶ Ω τάδ᾿] τὰ δ᾿ Kennedy κακοῖς Brandscheid: κακοῖς κακὰ Ω





ἢ γῆς ἄτιμον τῆσδ’ ἀπωσθῆναι βίᾳ. 670 τὸ γὰρ σόν, οὐ τὸ τοῦδ’, ἐποικτίρω στόμα ἐλεινόν· οὗτος δ’ ἔνθ’ ἂν ᾖ στυγήσεται. στυγνὸς μὲν εἴκων δῆλος εἶ, βαρὺς δ’ ὅταν θυμοῦ περάσῃς. αἱ δὲ τοιαῦται φύσεις αὑταῖς δικαίως εἰσὶν ἄλγισται φέρειν. 675 οὔκουν μ’ ἐάσεις κἀκτὸς εἶ; Κρ. πορεύσομαι, σοῦ μὲν τυχὼν ἀγνῶτος, ἐν δὲ τοῖσδ᾿ ἴσος. γύναι, τί μέλλεις κομί– [ant. ζειν δόμων τόνδ’ ἔσω; 678/9 μαθοῦσά γ’ ἥτις ἡ τύχη. 680 δόκησις ἀγνὼς λόγων ἦλθε, δάπτει δὲ καὶ τὸ μὴ ’νδικον. 682/3 ἀμφοῖν ἀπ’ αὐτοῖν; Χο. ναίχι. Ιο. καὶ τίς ἦν λόγος; 684 ἅλις ἔμοιγ’, ἅλις, γᾶς προνοουμένῳ 685 φαίνεται, ἔνθ’ ἔληξεν, αὐτοῦ μένειν. ὁρᾷς ἵν’ ἥκεις, ἀγαθὸς ὢν γνώμην ἀνήρ, τοὐμὸν παριεὶς καὶ καταμβλύνων κέαρ; ὦναξ, εἶπον μὲν οὐχ ἅπαξ μόνον, 689/90 ἴσθι δὲ παραφρόνιμον, ἄπορον ἐπὶ φρόνιμα 690/2 πεφάνθαι μ’ ἄν, εἴ σ’ ἐνοσφιζόμαν, 692/3 ὅς γ’ ἐμὰν γᾶν φίλαν ἐν πόνοις 694/5 ἀλύουσαν κατ’ ὀρθὸν οὔρισας, 695/6 τανῦν δ’ εὔπομπος ἂν γένοιο. 697 πρὸς θεῶν δίδαξον κἄμ’, ἄναξ, ὅτου ποτὲ μῆνιν τοσήνδε πράγματος στήσας ἔχεις. ἐρῶ· σὲ γὰρ τῶνδ’ ἐς πλέον, γύναι, σέβω· 700 Κρέοντος, οἷά μοι βεβουλευκὼς ἔχει. λέγ’, εἰ σαφῶς τὸ νεῖκος ἐγκαλῶν ἐρεῖς.

671 ἐποικτίρω Nauck: ἐποικτείρω Ω

672 ἐλεινόν Porson: ἐλεεινόν Ω 673 στυγνὸς ΩΣL: –ῶς GFs 677 ἴσος LKDXsZrCΣL: ἴσοις CacPaac: ἴσως AXr 684 λόγος LK: ὁ λόγος a 685 προνοουμένῳ V, Blaydes: προπονουμένῳ rCH: προπονουμένας LKa 689/90 ὦναξ Dresdensis Da. 22, Triclinius: ὦ ἄναξ Gm: ἄναξ Ω 692/3 σ᾿ ἐνοσφιζόμαν Badham post Hartung: σε νοσφίζομαι ΩCΣL 694/5 γ᾿ OPa, Turnebus: τ᾿ Ω 695/6 ἀλύουσαν] σαλεύουσαν Dobree οὔρισας Π4rEu: οὔρησας ΩSu 697 δ᾿ LKZr: τ᾿ ADXrXs ἂν γένοιο Blaydes: εἰ δύναιο γενοῦ Ω: εἰ γένοιο Bergk





φονέα με φησὶ Λαΐου καθεστάναι. αὐτὸς ξυνειδώς, ἢ μαθὼν ἄλλου πάρα; μάντιν μὲν οὖν κακοῦργον εἰσπέμψας, ἐπεὶ τό γ’ εἰς ἑαυτὸν πᾶν ἐλευθεροῖ στόμα. σύ νυν, ἀφεὶς σεαυτὸν ὧν λέγεις πέρι, ἐμοῦ ’πάκουσον καὶ μάθ’ οὕνεκ’ ἔστι σοι βρότειον οὐδὲν μαντικῆς ἔχον τέχνης. φανῶ δέ σοι σημεῖα τῶνδε σύντομα. χρησμὸς γὰρ ἦλθε Λαΐῳ ποτ’, οὐκ ἐρῶ Φοίβου γ’ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ, τῶν δ’ ὑπηρετῶν ἄπο, ὡς αὐτὸν ἥξοι μοῖρα πρὸς παιδὸς θανεῖν, ὅστις γένοιτ’ ἐμοῦ τε κἀκείνου πάρα. καὶ τὸν μέν, ὥσπερ γ’ ἡ φάτις, ξένοι ποτὲ λῃσταὶ φονεύουσ’ ἐν τριπλαῖς ἁμαξιτοῖς· παιδὸς δὲ βλάστας οὐ διέσχον ἡμέραι τρεῖς, καί νιν ἄρθρα κεῖνος ἐνζεύξας ποδοῖν ἔρριψεν ἄλλων χερσὶν εἰς ἄβατον ὄρος. κἀνταῦθ’ Ἀπόλλων οὔτ’ ἐκεῖνον ἤνυσεν φονέα γενέσθαι πατρὸς οὔτε Λάϊον τὸ δεινὸν οὑφοβεῖτο πρὸς παιδὸς παθεῖν. τοιαῦτα φῆμαι μαντικαὶ διώρισαν, ὧν ἐντρέπου σὺ μηδέν· ἣν γὰρ ἂν θεὸς χρείαν ἐρευνᾷ ῥᾳδίως αὐτὸς φανεῖ. οἷόν μ’ ἀκούσαντ’ ἀρτίως ἔχει, γύναι, ψυχῆς πλάνημα κἀνακίνησις φρενῶν. ποίας μερίμνης τοῦθ’ ὑποστραφεὶς λέγεις; ἔδοξ’ ἀκοῦσαι σοῦ τόδ’, ὡς ὁ Λάϊος κατασφαγείη πρὸς τριπλαῖς ἁμαξιτοῖς. ηὐδᾶτο γὰρ ταῦτ’ οὐδέ πω λήξαντ’ ἔχει.







707 νυν Elmsley: νῦν Ω 713 ἥξοι LK: ἥξει a: ἕξοι Wunder post Canter 715 γ᾿] om. Zr ξένοι ποτὲ] inverso ordine Xr 716 τριπλαῖς LKAXrXsac: διπλαῖς DXspcZr ἁμαξιτοῖς] ἀ– XrZr 719 εἰς ἄβατον] inverso ordine Musgrave 722 παθεῖν Xr, 2γρ in LAD: θανεῖν KADXrglXsZr 724 ἣν] ὧν Musgrave 728 ὑποστραφεὶς] ἐπι– Valckenaer 730 τριπλαῖς AXr: διπλαῖς LKDXsZr ἁμαξιτοῖς] ἀ– Xr




καὶ ποῦ ’σθ’ ὁ χῶρος οὗτος οὗ τόδ’ ἦν πάθος; Φωκὶς μὲν ἡ γῆ κλῄζεται, σχιστὴ δ’ ὁδὸς ἐς ταὐτὸ Δελφῶν κἀπὸ Δαυλίας ἄγει. καὶ τίς χρόνος τοῖσδ’ ἐστὶν οὑξεληλυθώς; σχεδόν τι πρόσθεν ἢ σὺ τῆσδ’ ἔχων χθονὸς ἀρχὴν ἐφαίνου τοῦτ’ ἐκηρύχθη πόλῃ. ὦ Ζεῦ, τί μου δρᾶσαι βεβούλευσαι πέρι; τί δ’ ἐστί σοι τοῦτ’, Οἰδίπους, ἐνθύμιον; μήπω μ’ ἐρώτα· τὸν δὲ Λάϊον φύσιν τίν’ εἶχε φράζε, τίνα δ’ ἀκμὴν ἥβης ἔχων. μέλας, χνοάζων ἄρτι λευκανθὲς κάρα, μορφῆς δὲ τῆς σῆς οὐκ ἀπεστάτει πολύ. οἴμοι τάλας· ἔοικ’ ἐμαυτὸν εἰς ἀρὰς δεινὰς προβάλλων ἀρτίως οὐκ εἰδέναι. πῶς φῄς; ὀκνῶ τοι πρὸς σ’ ἀποσκοποῦσ’, ἄναξ. δεινῶς ἀθυμῶ μὴ βλέπων ὁ μάντις ᾖ. δείξεις δὲ μᾶλλον, ἢν ἓν ἐξείπῃς ἔτι. καὶ μὴν ὀκνῶ μέν, ἃ δ’ ἂν ἔρῃ μαθοῦσ’ ἐρῶ. πότερον ἐχώρει βαιός, ἢ πολλοὺς ἔχων ἄνδρας λοχίτας, οἷ’ ἀνὴρ ἀρχηγέτης; πέντ’ ἦσαν οἱ ξύμπαντες, ἐν δ’ αὐτοῖσιν ἦν κῆρυξ· ἀπήνη δ’ ἦγε Λάϊον μία. αἰαῖ, τάδ’ ἤδη διαφανῆ. τίς ἦν ποτε ὁ τούσδε λέξας τοὺς λόγους ὑμῖν, γύναι; οἰκεύς τις, ὅσπερ ἵκετ’ ἐκσωθεὶς μόνος. ἦ κἀν δόμοισι τυγχάνει τανῦν παρών; οὐ δῆτ’· ἀφ’ οὗ γὰρ κεῖθεν ἦλθε καὶ κράτη σέ τ’ εἶδ’ ἔχοντα Λάϊόν τ’ ὀλωλότα, ἐξικέτευσε τῆς ἐμῆς χειρὸς θιγὼν ἀγρούς σφε πέμψαι κἀπὶ ποιμνίων νομάς,

734 ἐς] εἰς D







κἀπὸ] κἀπὶ K 737 πόλῃ scripsi post West: πόλει Ω 741 εἶχε] εἷρπε Schneidewin: ἔτυχε Hartung 742 μέλας r{Cac} HNOPVpc: μέγας Ω λευκανθὲς] –εὶς GCF1pc(O) 747 ᾖ] ἦν Campe 749 ἃ δ᾿ ἂν] ἃν δ᾿ Tb, Laudianus gr. 54: ἃ δ᾿ Pa 752 δ᾿ αὐτοῖσι a: αὐτοῖσι δ᾿ l: δὲ τοῖσιν Blaydes




ὡς πλεῖστον εἴη τοῦδ’ ἄποπτος ἄστεως. κἄπεμψ’ ἐγώ νιν· ἄξιος γάρ, οἷ’ ἀνὴρ δοῦλος, φέρειν ἦν τῆσδε καὶ μείζω χάριν. πῶς ἂν μόλοι δῆθ’ ἧμιν ἐν τάχει πάλιν; πάρεστιν. ἀλλὰ πρὸς τί τοῦτ’ ἐφίεσαι; δέδοικ’ ἐμαυτόν, ὦ γύναι, μὴ πόλλ’ ἄγαν εἰρημέν’ ᾖ μοι, δι’ ἅ νιν εἰσιδεῖν θέλω. ἀλλ’ ἵξεται μέν· ἀξία δέ που μαθεῖν κἀγὼ τά γ’ ἐν σοὶ δυσφόρως ἔχοντ’, ἄναξ. κοὐ μὴ στερηθῇς γ’ ἐς τοσοῦτον ἐλπίδων ἐμοῦ βεβῶτος. τῷ γὰρ ἂν καὶ κρείσσονι λέξαιμ’ ἂν ἢ σοὶ διὰ τύχης τοιᾶσδ’ ἰών; ἐμοὶ πατὴρ μὲν Πόλυβος ἦν Κορίνθιος, μήτηρ δὲ Μερόπη Δωρίς. ἠγόμην δ’ ἀνὴρ ἀστῶν μέγιστος τῶν ἐκεῖ, πρίν μοι τύχη τοιάδ’ ἐπέστη, θαυμάσαι μὲν ἀξία, σπουδῆς γε μέντοι τῆς ἐμῆς οὐκ ἀξία. ἀνὴρ γὰρ ἐν δείπνοις μ’ ὑπερπλησθεὶς μέθῃ καλεῖ παρ’ οἴνῳ πλαστὸς ὡς εἴην πατρί. κἀγὼ βαρυνθεὶς τὴν μὲν οὖσαν ἡμέραν μόλις κατέσχον, θἠτέρᾳ δ’ ἰὼν πέλας μητρὸς πατρός τ’ ἤλεγχον· οἱ δὲ δυσφόρως τοὔνειδος ἦγον τῷ μεθέντι τὸν λόγον. κἀγὼ τὰ μὲν κείνοιν ἐτερπόμην, ὅμως δ’ ἔκνιζέ μ’ ἀεὶ τοῦθ’· ὑφεῖρπε γὰρ πολύ. λάθρᾳ δὲ μητρὸς καὶ πατρὸς πορεύομαι Πυθώδε, καί μ’ ὁ Φοῖβος ὧν μὲν ἱκόμην ἄτιμον ἐξέπεμψεν, ἄλλα δ’ ἀθλίῳ καὶ δεινὰ καὶ δύστηνα προὐφάνη λέγων,

762 ἄστεως L: –ος KaSu







763 οἷ᾿ Hermann: ὅ γ᾿ LA1pc: ὅδ᾿ KAs,pcZr: ὅδε γε DXrXs: ὧδ᾿ O: ὥς γ᾿ Musgrave: ὡς Laur. conv. soppr. 66, Hermann [At] 765 ἧμιν Elmsley: ἡμὶν Ω 766 τοῦτ᾿] τοῦδ᾿ Vpc, Van Herwerden 772 κρείσσονι Blaydes (κρείττονι Km): μείζονι ΩΛ? (L fort. p.c.) 773 λέξαιμ᾿ Ka: λέξοιμ᾿ L 778 hab. ΩΣL: om. Π4, del. Valckenaer 779 μέθῃ l: μέθης a 782 θἠτέρᾳ LΛ: θἀτέρᾳ Ka 786 ἀεὶ] αἰεὶ ADac?Xsac? 788 μ᾿ ὁ] με Heimsoeth 789 ἀθλίῳ fort. Lac, Van Herwerden: –ια Ω̣Λ 790 προὐφάνη] προὔφηνεν Hermann



ὡς μητρὶ μὲν χρείη με μειχθῆναι, γένος δ’ ἄτλητον ἀνθρώποισι δηλώσοιμ’ ὁρᾶν, φονεὺς δ’ ἐσοίμην τοῦ φυτεύσαντος πατρός. κἀγὼ ’πακούσας ταῦτα τὴν Κορινθίαν ἄστροις τὸ λοιπὸν τεκμαρούμενος χθόνα ἔφευγον, ἔνθα μήποτ’ ὀψοίμην κακῶν χρησμῶν ὀνείδη τῶν ἐμῶν τελούμενα. στείχων δ’ ἱκνοῦμαι τούσδε τοὺς χώρους ἐν οἷς σὺ τὸν τύραννον τοῦτον ὄλλυσθαι λέγεις. καί σοι, γύναι, τἀληθὲς ἐξερῶ. τριπλῆς ὅτ’ ἦ κελεύθου τῆσδ’ ὁδοιπορῶν πέλας, ἐνταῦθά μοι κῆρυξ τε κἀπὶ πωλικῆς ἀνὴρ ἀπήνης ἐμβεβώς, οἷον σὺ φῄς, ξυνηντίαζον· κἀξ ὁδοῦ μ’ ὅ θ’ ἡγεμὼν αὐτός θ’ ὁ πρέσβυς πρὸς βίαν ἠλαυνέτην. κἀγὼ τὸν ἐκτρέποντα, τὸν τροχηλάτην, παίω δι’ ὀργῆς· καί μ’ ὁ πρέσβυς, ὡς ὁρᾷ, ὄχους παραστείχοντα τηρήσας, μέσον κάρα διπλοῖς κέντροισί μου καθίκετο. οὐ μὴν ἴσην γ’ ἔτεισεν, ἀλλὰ συντόμως σκήπτρῳ τυπεὶς ἐκ τῆσδε χειρὸς ὕπτιος μέσης ἀπήνης εὐθὺς ἐκκυλίνδεται· κτείνω δὲ τοὺς ξύμπαντας. εἰ δὲ τῷ ξένῳ τούτῳ προσήκει Λαΐῳ τι συγγενές, τίς τοῦδέ γ’ ἀνδρὸς νῦν ἂν ἀθλιώτερος, τίς ἐχθροδαίμων μᾶλλον ἂν γένοιτ’ ἀνήρ, ὃν μὴ ξένων ἔξεστι μηδ’ ἀστῶν τινι






791 χρείη Pa1pc, CΣL, Heath: χρεῖ᾿ ἦ ΩΛ μειχθῆναι Nauck: μιχ– Ω δ᾿] τ᾿ Elmsley 792 δηλώσοιμ᾿ l: –αιμ᾿ a 795 τεκμαρούμενος CΣL?, Libanius: ἐκμετρούμενος Ω 797 χρησμῶν LΛDXsZr: χρησμῶν γ᾿ KAXr 800 om. LΛ 801 ἦ Elmsley: ἦν ΩΛ? 804 ξυνηντίαζον lXsZr: συν– ADXr 807– 8 sic interp. Kamerbeek 808 ὄχους Doederlein: ὄχου Ω{Λ}: ὄχον Stephanus 807–8 sic interp. Kamerbeek 810 ἔτεισεν Nauck: ἔτισεν Ω συντόμως] συντόνως Dobree 814 Λαΐῳ] Λαΐου Bothe (ΣLG τοῦ ὑπ᾿ ἐμοῦ φονευθέντος) 815 del. Dindorf νῦν ἂν Bergk: ἔστιν a: νῦν τινι Dindorf: τινα Ω ἔστ᾿ LK 817 ὃν Zggl, Schaefer et Dobree: ᾧ ΩΛ



δόμοις δέχεσθαι, μηδὲ προσφωνεῖν τινα, ὠθεῖν δ’ ἀπ’ οἴκων; καὶ τάδ’ οὔτις ἄλλος ἦν ἢ ’γὼ ’π’ ἐμαυτῷ τάσδ’ ἀρὰς ὁ προστιθείς. λέχη δὲ τοῦ θανόντος ἐν χεροῖν ἐμαῖν χραίνω, δι’ ὧνπερ ὤλετ’. ἆρ’ ἔφυν κακός; ἆρ’ οὐχὶ πᾶς ἄναγνος; εἴ με χρὴ φυγεῖν, καί μοι φυγόντι μὴ ’στι τοὺς ἐμοὺς ἰδεῖν μηδ’ ἐμβατεῦσαι πατρίδος, ἢ γάμοις με δεῖ μητρὸς ζυγῆναι καὶ πατέρα κατακτανεῖν Πόλυβον, ὃς ἐξέθρεψε κἀξέφυσέ με. ἆρ’ οὐκ ἀπ’ ὠμοῦ ταῦτα δαίμονός τις ἂν κρίνων ἐπ’ ἀνδρὶ τῷδ’ ἂν ὀρθοίη λόγον; μὴ δῆτα μὴ δῆτ’, ὦ θεῶν ἁγνὸν σέβας, ἴδοιμι ταύτην ἡμέραν, ἀλλ’ ἐκ βροτῶν βαίην ἄφαντος πρόσθεν ἢ τοιάνδ’ ἰδεῖν κηλῖδ’ ἐμαυτῷ συμφορᾶς ἀφιγμένην. ΧΟ. ἡμῖν μέν, ὦναξ, ταῦτ’ ὀκνήρ’· ἕως δ’ ἂν οὖν πρὸς τοῦ παρόντος ἐκμάθῃς, ἔχ’ ἐλπίδα. ΟΙ. καὶ μὴν τοσοῦτόν γ’ ἐστί μοι τῆς ἐλπίδος, τὸν ἄνδρα, τὸν βοτῆρα, προσμεῖναι μόνον. ΙΟ. πεφασμένου δὲ τίς ποθ’ ἡ προθυμία; ΟΙ. ἐγὼ διδάξω σ’· ἢν γὰρ εὑρεθῇ λέγων σοὶ ταὔτ’, ἔγωγ’ ἂν ἐκπεφευγοίην πάθος. ΙΟ. ποῖον δέ μου περισσὸν ἤκουσας λόγον; ΟΙ. λῃστὰς ἔφασκες αὐτὸν ἄνδρας ἐννέπειν ὥς νιν κατακτείναιεν. εἰ μὲν οὖν ἔτι λέξει τὸν αὐτὸν ἀριθμόν, οὐκ ἐγὼ ’κτανον· οὐ γὰρ γένοιτ’ ἂν εἷς γε τοῖς πολλοῖς ἴσος· 818 τινα] ἔτι Blaydes: ἐμέ Nauck







822 ὧνπερ Π4,sΩΛ: ἥνπερ Π4,t: αἷνπερ C, Blaydes 823 εἴ] ἦ Xr 824 μὴ ’στι (L): μήτε Π4Ω̣ 825 μηδ᾿ Dindorf: ἐμβατεῦσαι Π4: ἐμβατεύειν ΩΛ ἢ] εἰ HNacO? μή μ᾿ K: μήτ᾿ Lpca pc 4 V 827 del. Wunder ἐξέθρεψε κἀξέφυσε Π Zr: ἐξέφυσε κἀξέθρεψε lADXrXs 829 ἂν ὀρθοίη FPa1pc, Schaefer: ἀνορθοίη Ω 833 συμφορᾶς] ξυμ– HNO 836 γ᾿ Ka: om. L: τ᾿ V 837 προσμεῖναι] –βῆναι K 840 ταὔτ᾿] ταῦτ᾿ KXrZr 841 μου] μοι Triclinius 843 κατακτείναιεν KADXrXs: –ειαν Zr: –ειεν Λ [Lac] 845 del. Valckenaer τοῖς] τις Brunck





εἰ δ’ ἄνδρ’ ἕν’ οἰόζωνον αὐδήσει σαφῶς, τοῦτ’ ἐστὶν ἤδη τοὔργον εἰς ἐμὲ ῥέπον. ἀλλ’ ὡς φανέν γε τοὔπος ὧδ’ ἐπίστασο, κοὐκ ἔστιν αὐτῷ τοῦτό γ’ ἐκβαλεῖν πάλιν· πόλις γὰρ ἤκουσ’, οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνη, τάδε. εἰ δ’ οὖν τι κἀκτρέποιτο τοῦ πρόσθεν λόγου, οὔτοι ποτ’, ὦναξ, τόν γε Λαΐου φόνον φανεῖ δικαίως ὀρθόν, ὅν γε Λοξίας διεῖπε χρῆναι παιδὸς ἐξ ἐμοῦ θανεῖν. καίτοι νιν οὐ κεῖνός γ’ ὁ δύστηνός ποτε κατέκταν’, ἀλλ’ αὐτὸς πάροιθεν ὤλετο. ὥστ’ οὐχὶ μαντείας γ’ ἂν οὔτε τῇδ’ ἐγὼ βλέψαιμ’ ἂν οὕνεκ’ οὔτε τῇδ’ ἂν ὕστερον. καλῶς νομίζεις. ἀλλ’ ὅμως τὸν ἐργάτην πέμψον τινὰ στελοῦντα μηδὲ τοῦτ’ ἀφῇς. πέμψω ταχύνασ’· ἀλλ’ ἴωμεν ἐς δόμους. οὐδὲν γὰρ ἂν πράξαιμ’ ἂν ὧν οὐ σοὶ φίλον.

ΧΟ. εἴ μοι ξυνείη φέροντι μοῖρα τὰν εὔσεπτον ἁγνείαν λόγων ἔργων τε πάντων, ὧν νόμοι πρόκεινται ὑψίποδες, οὐρανίᾳ ’ν αἰθέρι τεκνωθέντες, ὧν Ὄλυμπος πατὴρ μόνος, οὐδέ νιν θνατὰ φύσις ἀνέρων ἔτικτεν, οὐδὲ μήποτε λάθα κατακοιμάσῃ· μέγας ἐν τούτοις θεός, οὐδὲ γηράσκει.

846 post σαφῶς interp. Dawe




863/4 [str. 1 864 865 866/7 868 868/9 869/70 871/2

847 εἰς ἐμὲ] ὡς ἐμοὶ r: εἰς ἡμᾶς Triclinius 849 αὐτῷ] αὐτὸ Zr 852 τόν γε] τόνδε r 855–8 del. Nasser 861 ἐς] εἰς D 862 οὐ σοὶ] οὔ σοι Lac 866–866/7 οὐρανίᾳ ᾿ν αἰθέρι Enger: οὐρανίαν δι᾿ αἰθέρα Ω, nisi quod οὐρανίας (vel –ου) δι᾿ αἰθέρος LglA1sXrrs 868/9 θνατὰ a: θνατὴ FHNOV: θνητὴ LK 869/70 μήποτε Zf, Elmsley: μήν ποτε Ω: μίν ποτε rC λάθα a: λάθρᾳ l κατακοιμάσῃ l: –άσει a



ὕβρις φυτεύει τύραννον· ὕβρις, εἰ 873/4 [ant. 1 πολλῶν ὑπερπλησθῇ μάταν 874 ἃ μὴ ’πίκαιρα μηδὲ συμφέροντα, 875 ἀκρότατα γεῖσ’ ἀναβᾶσ’ ἀπότομον ὤρουσεν εἰς ἀνάγκαν 876/7 ἔνθ’ οὐ ποδὶ χρησίμῳ 878 χρῆται. τὸ καλῶς δ’ ἔχον 878/9 πόλῃ πάλαισμα μήποτε λῦσαι θεὸν αἰτοῦμαι· 879/80 θεὸν οὐ λήξω ποτὲ προστάταν ἴσχων. 881/2 εἰ δέ τις ὑπέροπτα χερσὶν ἢ λόγῳ πορεύεται, Δίκας ἀφόβητος, οὐδὲ δαιμόνων ἕδη σέβων, κακά νιν ἕλοιτο μοῖρα, δυσπότμου χάριν χλιδᾶς, εἰ μὴ τὸ κέρδος κερδανεῖ δικαίως καὶ τῶν ἀσέπτων εἴρξεται, ἢ τῶν ἀθίκτων θίξεται ματᾴζων. τίς ἔτι ποτ’ ἐν τοῖσδ’ ἀνὴρ θεῶν βέλη ψυχᾶς ἀμύνοι; εἰ γὰρ αἱ τοιαίδε πράξεις τίμιαι, τί δεῖ με χορεύειν; οὐκέτι τὸν ἄθικτον εἶμι γᾶς ἐπ’ ὀμφαλὸν σέβων, οὐδ’ ἐς τὸν Ἀβαῖσι ναόν,

883 [str. 2 885

890 892 893/4 894/5 896 [ant. 2

873/4 ὕβρις . . . τύραννον] ὕβριν . . . τυραννίς Blaydes 876 ἀκρότατα γεῖσ᾿ ἀναβᾶσ᾿ Wolff: ἀκροτάταν εἰσαναβᾶσ᾿ fere ΩΛ 876/7 ἀπότομον] ἄποτμον ApcZr ὤρουσεν] ἀνώρουσεν Triclinius 879/80 πόλῃ scripsi post West: πόλει Ω 883 ὑπέροπτα] –οπλα Cac, Dobree (verum C1pc) 890 εἴρξεται Elmsley: ἔρξεται LAD: ἕρ– KXrXsZr 891 ἢ] καὶ Su θίξεται Blaydes: ἕξεται Ω 892 τοῖσδ᾿ La: τούτοις K post ἀνήρ hab. ἔρξεται LA, ἕ– KDXrXsZr: del. Hermann 893/4 θεῶν Hermann: θυμῷ ΩΛ: θυμοῦ DrsXsrgl ἀμύνοι Hartung: ἀμύνειν Ω 896 χορεύειν Ka: χορεύειν πονεῖν ἢ τοῖς θεοῖς LΛ 899 ἐς] εἰς Zr: om FH



οὐδὲ τὰν Ὀλυμπίαν, εἰ μὴ τάδε χειρόδεικτα πᾶσιν ἁρμόσει βροτοῖς. ἀλλ’, ὦ κρατύνων, εἴπερ ὄρθ’ ἀκούεις, Ζεῦ, πάντ’ ἀνάσσων, μὴ λάθοι σὲ τάν τε σὰν ἀθάνατον αἰὲν ἀρχάν. φθίνοντα γὰρ Λαΐου θέσφατ’ ἐξαιροῦσιν ἤδη, κοὐδαμοῦ τιμαῖς Ἀπόλλων ἐμφανής· ἔρρει δὲ τὰ θεῖα. ΙΟ.

χώρας ἄνακτες, δόξα μοι παρεστάθη ναοὺς ἱκέσθαι δαιμόνων, τάδ’ ἐν χεροῖν στέφη λαβούσῃ κἀπιθυμιάματα. ὑψοῦ γὰρ αἴρει θυμὸν Οἰδίπους ἄγαν λύπαισι παντοίαισιν· οὐδ’ ὁποῖ’ ἀνὴρ ἔννους τὰ καινὰ τοῖς πάλαι τεκμαίρεται, ἀλλ’ ἐστὶ τοῦ λέγοντος, ἢν φόβους λέγῃ. ὅτ’ οὖν παραινοῦσ’ οὐδὲν ἐς πλέον ποιῶ, πρὸς σ’, ὦ Λύκει’ Ἄπολλον, ἄγχιστος γὰρ εἶ, ἱκέτις ἀφῖγμαι τοῖσδε σὺν κατεύγμασιν, ὅπως λύσιν τιν’ ἧμιν εὐαγῆ πόρῃς· ὡς νῦν ὀκνοῦμεν πάντες ἐκπεπληγμένον κεῖνον βλέποντες ὡς κυβερνήτην νεώς.

ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ ἆρ’ ἂν παρ’ ὑμῶν, ὦ ξένοι, μάθοιμ’ ὅπου τὰ τοῦ τυράννου δώματ’ ἐστὶν Οἰδίπου; 903 ὄρθ᾿] ὀρθὸν LΛ


905 907/8 908/9 910




904 πάντ᾿ ἀνάσσων] παντανάσσων Hartung 906 φθίνοντα ΩΛ: φθίνων ΣLγρ γὰρ Schneidewin Λαΐου LΛ: Λαΐου παλαιὰ AXrXs: παλαιὰ Λαΐου DZr: πάλαι Λαΐου NOt: παλαιὰ post θέσφατα hab. K2pc 913 λαβούσῃ] –οῦσαν Elmsley 914 ἄγαν] ἄναξ Triclinius: ἅμα Hac 917 ἢν LpcΛKa: εἰ r [Lac] λέγῃ LrsKa: –οι t rCP [L F] 918 ἐς] εὖ L ποιῶ a: ποῶ l 920 ἱκέτις LpcKADXrZr: κατεύγμασιν ΩΛ: κατάργμασιν Wunder 921 ἧμιν Eu: –έτης LacΛXs ἡμὶν Ω πόρῃς ΩΛ?: πόροις KEu



μάλιστα δ’ αὐτὸν εἴπατ’ εἰ κάτισθ’ ὅπου. ΧΟ. στέγαι μὲν αἵδε, καὐτὸς ἔνδον, ὦ ξένε· γυνὴ δὲ μήτηρ θ’ ἥδε τῶν κείνου τέκνων. ΑΓ. ἀλλ’ ὀλβία τε καὶ ξὺν ὀλβίοις ἀεὶ γένοιτ’, ἐκείνου γ’ οὖσα παντελὴς δάμαρ. ΙΟ. αὔτως δὲ καὶ σύ γ’, ὦ ξέν’· ἄξιος γὰρ εἶ τῆς εὐεπείας οὕνεκ’. ἀλλὰ φράζ’ ὅτου χρῄζων ἀφῖξαι χὤτι σημῆναι θέλων. ΑΓ. ἀγαθὰ δόμοις τε καὶ πόσει τῷ σῷ, γύναι. ΙΟ. τὰ ποῖα ταῦτα; πρὸς τίνος δ’ ἀφιγμένος; ΑΓ. ἐκ τῆς Κορίνθου. τὸ δ’ ἔπος οὑξερῶ τάχα, ἥδοιο μὲν πῶς δ’ οὐκ ἄν; ἀσχάλλοις δ’ ἴσως. ΙΟ. τί δ’ ἔστι; ποίαν δύναμιν ὧδ’ ἔχει διπλῆν; ΑΓ. τύραννον αὐτὸν οὑπιχώριοι χθονὸς τῆς Ἰσθμίας στήσουσιν, ὡς ηὐδᾶτ’ ἐκεῖ. ΙΟ. τί δ’; οὐχ ὁ πρέσβυς Πόλυβος ἐγκρατὴς ἔτι; ΑΓ. οὐ δῆτ’, ἐπεί νιν θάνατος ἐν τάφοις ἔχει. ΙΟ. πῶς εἶπας; ἦ τέθνηκε ; ΑΓ. εἰ μὴ λέγω τἀληθές, ἀξιῶ θανεῖν. ΙΟ. ὦ πρόσπολ’, οὐχὶ δεσπότῃ τάδ’ ὡς τάχος μολοῦσα λέξεις; ὦ θεῶν μαντεύματα, ἵν’ ἐστέ. τοῦτον Οἰδίπους πάλαι τρέμων τὸν ἄνδρ’ ἔφευγε μὴ κτάνοι· καὶ νῦν ὅδε πρὸς τῆς τύχης ὄλωλεν οὐδὲ τοῦδ’ ὕπο. ΟΙ. ὦ φίλτατον γυναικὸς Ἰοκάστης κάρα, τί μ’ ἐξεπέμψω δεῦρο τῶνδε δωμάτων; ΙΟ. ἄκουε τἀνδρὸς τοῦδε, καὶ σκόπει κλύων τὰ σέμν’ ἵν’ ἥκει τοῦ θεοῦ μαντεύματα. ΟΙ. οὗτος δὲ τίς ποτ’ ἐστὶ καὶ τί μοι λέγει; 926 κάτισθ᾿






AXrXsZr: κάτοισθ᾿ LKD 928 θ᾿ CΣL, Sy: om. Ω 930 γένοιτ᾿] γένοι᾿ Wecklein 931 αὔτως C: αὐτῶ Paac?: αὕτως δ᾿] ΩPapc 933 χὤτι] χὤς τι Lac 935 πρὸς ADXrXs: παρὰ LKZr om. L 936 τάχα ΩEu: τάχ᾿ ἂν Brunck 938 ποίαν] ποῖον Earle, Raynen 942 τάφοις] δόμοις K 943 lacunam post τέθνηκε statui: Πολύβος; LKADXrXs: που Πόλυβος γέρων; Zr: Πόλυβος, ὦ γέρον; Bothe: –ν Οἰδίπου πατήρ; Nauck 944 μὴ λέγω Zr: δὲ μὴ λέγω γ᾿ ἐγὼ (vel λέγω ᾿γὼ) Ω̣ 948 κτάνοι LK: –ῃ Lsa 954 τίς ποτ᾿] ποδαπός M. Schmidt




ἐκ τῆς Κορίνθου, πατέρα τὸν σὸν ἀγγελῶν ὡς οὐκέτ’ ὄντα Πόλυβον, ἀλλ’ ὀλωλότα. ΟΙ. τί φῄς, ξέν’; αὐτός μοι σὺ σημάντωρ γενοῦ. ΑΓ. εἰ τοῦτο πρῶτον δεῖ μ’ ἀπαγγεῖλαι σαφῶς, εὖ ἴσθ’ ἐκεῖνον θανάσιμον βεβηκότα. ΟΙ. πότερα δόλοισιν ἢ νόσου ξυναλλαγῇ; ΑΓ. σμικρὰ παλαιὰ σώματ’ εὐνάζει ῥοπή. ΟΙ. νόσοις ὁ τλήμων, ὡς ἔοικεν, ἔφθιτο. ΑΓ. καὶ τῷ μακρῷ γε συμμετρούμενος χρόνῳ. ΟΙ. φεῦ φεῦ, τί δῆτ’ ἄν, ὦ γύναι, σκοποῖτό τις τὴν πυθόμαντιν ἑστίαν, ἢ τοὺς ἄνω κλάζοντας ὄρνις, ὧν ὑφ’ ἡγητῶν ἐγὼ κτανεῖν ἔμελλον πατέρα τὸν ἐμόν; ὁ δὲ θανὼν κεύθει κάτω δὴ γῆς· ἐγὼ δ’ ὅδ’ ἐνθάδε ἄψαυστος ἔγχους, εἴ τι μὴ τὠμῷ πόθῳ κατέφθιθ’· οὕτω δ’ ἂν θανὼν εἴη ’ξ ἐμοῦ. τὰ δ’ οὖν παρόντα συλλαβὼν θεσπίσματα κεῖται παρ’ Ἅιδῃ Πόλυβος ἄξι’ οὐδενός. ΙΟ. οὔκουν ἐγώ σοι ταῦτα προὔλεγον πάλαι; ΟΙ. ηὔδας· ἐγὼ δὲ τῷ φόβῳ παρηγόμην. ΙΟ. μή νυν ἔτ’ αὐτῶν μηδὲν ἐς θυμὸν βάλῃς. ΟΙ. καὶ πῶς τὸ μητρὸς λέκτρον οὐκ ὀκνεῖν με δεῖ; ΙΟ. τί δ’ ἂν φοβοῖτ’ ἄνθρωπος ᾧ τὰ τῆς τύχης κρατεῖ, πρόνοια δ’ ἐστὶν οὐδενὸς σαφής; εἰκῇ κράτιστον ζῆν, ὅπως δύναιτό τις. σὺ δ’ εἰς τὰ μητρὸς μὴ φοβοῦ νυμφεύματα· πολλοὶ γὰρ ἤδη κἀν ὀνείρασιν βροτῶν μητρὶ ξυνηυνάσθησαν. ἀλλὰ ταῦθ’ ὅτῳ παρ’ οὐδέν ἐστι, ῥᾷστα τὸν βίον φέρει. ΟΙ. καλῶς ἅπαντα ταῦτ’ ἂν ἐξείρητό σοι, 957 σημάντωρ







LrγρKa: σημήνας Lac [Lpc] 962–3 del. L. Dindorf 966 ὄρνις] –εις FH ὑφ᾿ ἡγητῶν Xr: ὑφηγητῶν Ω̣ ἐγὼ Lpca: δ᾿ ἐγὼ LacK 967 κτανεῖν] κτενεῖν XrZr: κανεῖν Paac? 968 δὴ] om. LacKXs 970 δ᾿] γ᾿ Blaydes 975 νυν Elmsley: νῦν Ω ἐς] εἰς Zr 976 λέκτρον LrsKADXrXs: λέχος LtZr 979 εἰκῇ L: εἰκῆ KA 982 ξυνηυνάσθησαν Elmsley: ξυνευ– Ω





εἰ μὴ ’κύρει ζῶσ’ ἡ τεκοῦσα· νῦν δ’ ἐπεὶ ζῇ, πᾶσ’ ἀνάγκη, κεἰ καλῶς λέγεις, ὀκνεῖν. καὶ μὴν μέγας ὀφθαλμὸς οἱ πατρὸς τάφοι. μέγας, ξυνίημ’· ἀλλὰ τῆς ζώσης φόβος. ποίας δὲ καὶ γυναικὸς ἐκφοβεῖσθ’ ὕπερ; Μερόπης, γεραιέ, Πόλυβος ἧς ᾤκει μέτα. τί δ’ ἔστ’ ἐκείνης ὗμιν ἐς φόβον φέρον; θεήλατον μάντευμα δεινόν, ὦ ξένε. ἦ ῥητόν; ἢ οὐ θεμιστὸν ἄλλον εἰδέναι; μάλιστά γ’· εἶπε γάρ με Λοξίας ποτὲ χρῆναι μιγῆναι μητρὶ τἠμαυτοῦ, τό τε πατρῷον αἷμα χερσὶ ταῖς ἐμαῖς ἑλεῖν. ὧν οὕνεχ’ ἡ Κόρινθος ἐξ ἐμοῦ πάλαι μακρὰν ἀπῳκεῖτ’· εὐτυχῶς μέν, ἀλλ’ ὅμως τὰ τῶν τεκόντων ὄμμαθ’ ἥδιστον βλέπειν. ἦ γὰρ τάδ’ ὀκνῶν κεῖθεν ἦσθ’ ἀπόπτολις; πατρός γε χρῄζων μὴ φονεὺς εἶναι, γέρον. τί δῆτ’ ἐγὼ οὐχὶ τοῦδε τοῦ φόβου σ’, ἄναξ, ἐπείπερ εὔνους ἦλθον, ἐξελυσάμην; καὶ μὴν χάριν γ’ ἂν ἀξίαν λάβοις ἐμοῦ. καὶ μὴν μάλιστα τοῦτ’ ἀφικόμην, ὅπως σοῦ πρὸς δόμους ἐλθόντος εὖ πράξαιμί τι. ἀλλ’ οὔποτ’ εἶμι τοῖς φυτεύσασίν γ’ ὁμοῦ. ὦ παῖ, καλῶς εἶ δῆλος οὐκ εἰδὼς τί δρᾷς. πῶς, ὦ γεραιέ; πρὸς θεῶν δίδασκέ με. εἰ τῶνδε φεύγεις οὕνεκ’ εἰς οἴκους μολεῖν. ταρβῶν γε μή μοι Φοῖβος ἐξέλθῃ σαφής. ἦ μὴ μίασμα τῶν φυτευσάντων λάβῃς; τοῦτ’ αὐτό, πρέσβυ, τοῦτό μ’ εἰσαεὶ φοβεῖ.







985 ’κύρει XrZr: κύρει LKADXs: κυρῆ r 987 Johnson ὀφθαλμὸς] οἰωνὸς Wolff 989 ἐκφοβεῖσθ’] εὐλαβεῖσθ᾿ K 991 ὗμιν Elmsley: ὑμὶν Ω 993 θεμιστὸν Johnson: θεμιτὸν Ω 994 ποτὲ] πάλαι Triclinius 1001 γε CHN?, Hermann: om. V: τε Ω 1002 ἐγὼ οὐχὶ Livineii ‘p’: ἔγωγ᾿ οὐχὶ ἐξέλθῃ LacKAXrXs: ἔγωγ᾿ οὐ LpcDZr 1011 ταρβῶν SUY: ταρβῶ Ω KADXrXs: –οι LZr




ἆρ’ οἶσθα δῆτα πρὸς δίκης οὐδὲν τρέμων; πῶς δ’ οὐχί, παῖς γ’ εἰ τῶνδε γεννητῶν ἔφυν; ὁθούνεκ’ ἦν σοι Πόλυβος οὐδὲν ἐν γένει. πῶς εἶπας; οὐ γὰρ Πόλυβος ἐξέφυσέ με; οὐ μᾶλλον οὐδὲν τοῦδε τἀνδρός, ἀλλ’ ἴσον. καὶ πῶς ὁ φύσας ἐξ ἴσου τῷ μηδενί; ἀλλ’ οὔ σ’ ἐγείνατ’ οὔτ’ ἐκεῖνος οὔτ’ ἐγώ. ἀλλ’ ἀντὶ τοῦ δὴ παῖδά μ’ ὠνομάζετο; δῶρόν ποτ’, ἴσθι, τῶν ἐμῶν χειρῶν λαβών. κᾆθ’ ὧδ’ ἀπ’ ἄλλης χειρὸς ἔστερξεν μέγα; ἡ γὰρ πρὶν αὐτὸν ἐξέπεισ’ ἀπαιδία. σὺ δ’ ἐμπολήσας ἢ τυχών μ’ αὐτῷ δίδως; εὑρὼν ναπαίαις ἐν Κιθαιρῶνος πτυχαῖς. ὡδοιπόρεις δὲ πρὸς τί τούσδε τοὺς τόπους; ἐνταῦθ’ ὀρείοις ποιμνίοις ἐπεστάτουν. ποιμὴν γὰρ ἦσθα κἀπὶ θητείᾳ πλάνης; σοῦ δ’, ὦ τέκνον, σωτήρ γε τῷ τότ’ ἐν χρόνῳ. τί δ’ ἄλγος ἴσχοντ’ ἐν χεροῖν με λαμβάνεις; ποδῶν ἂν ἄρθρα μαρτυρήσειεν τὰ σά. οἴμοι, τί τοῦτ’ ἀρχαῖον ἐννέπεις κακόν; λύω σ’ ἔχοντα διατόρους ποδοῖν ἀκμάς. δεινόν γ’ ὄνειδος σπαργάνων ἀνειλόμην. ὥστ’ ὠνομάσθης ἐκ τύχης ταύτης ὃς εἶ. ὦ πρὸς θεῶν, πρὸς μητρός, ἢ πατρός; φράσον. οὐκ οἶδ’· ὁ δοὺς δὲ ταῦτ’ ἐμοῦ λῷον φρονεῖ. ἦ γὰρ παρ’ ἄλλου μ’ ἔλαβες οὐδ’ αὐτὸς τυχών; οὔκ, ἀλλὰ ποιμὴν ἄλλος ἐκδίδωσί μοι. τίς οὗτος; ἦ κάτοισθα δηλῶσαι λόγῳ; τῶν Λαΐου δήπου τις ὠνομάζετο.







1025 τυχών Markland: τεκών Ω 1030 δ᾿ G: γ᾿ Ω: om. O: τ᾿ Hermann τότ᾿ ἐν] τότε Zr 1031 χεροῖν F2γρWγρ, M. Schmidt: καιροῖς L: κακοῖς Ka με] om. L 1035 δεινόν] καλόν Eu 1038 φρονεῖ] φράσει vel φανεῖ Nauck 1039 ἦ Lpc: ἢ Λ? 1040 ποιμήν Van Herwerden post ἄλλος habent σ᾿ rF




ἦ τοῦ τυράννου τῆσδε γῆς πάλαι ποτέ; μάλιστα· τούτου τἀνδρὸς οὗτος ἦν βοτήρ. ἦ κἄστ’ ἔτι ζῶν οὗτος, ὥστ’ ἰδεῖν ἐμέ; ὑμεῖς γ’ ἄριστ’ εἰδεῖτ’ ἂν οὑπιχώριοι. ἔστιν τις ὑμῶν τῶν παρεστώτων πέλας ὅστις κάτοιδε τὸν βοτῆρ’ ὃν ἐννέπει, εἴτ’ οὖν ἐπ’ ἀγρῶν εἴτε κἀνθάδ’ εἰσιδών; σημήναθ’, ὡς ὁ καιρὸς ηὑρῆσθαι τάδε. ΧΟ. οἶμαι μὲν οὐδέν’ ἄλλον ἢ τὸν ἐξ ἀγρῶν ὃν κἀμάτευες πρόσθεν εἰσιδεῖν· ἀτὰρ ἥδ’ ἂν τάδ’ οὐχ ἥκιστ’ ἂν Ἰοκάστη λέγοι. ΟΙ. γύναι, νοεῖς ἐκεῖνον, ὅντιν’ ἀρτίως μολεῖν ἐφιέμεσθα; τόνδ’ οὗτος λέγει; ΙΟ. τί δ’ ὅντιν’ εἶπε; μηδὲν ἐντραπῇς. τὰ δὲ ῥηθέντα βούλου μηδὲ μεμνῆσθαι μάτην. ΟΙ. οὐκ ἂν γένοιτο τοῦθ’, ὅπως ἐγὼ λαβὼν σημεῖα τοιαῦτ’ οὐ φανῶ τοὐμὸν γένος. ΙΟ. μὴ πρὸς θεῶν, εἴπερ τι τοῦ σαυτοῦ βίου κήδῃ, ματεύσῃς τοῦθ’· ἅλις νοσοῦσ’ ἐγώ. ΟΙ. θάρσει· σὺ μὲν γὰρ οὐδ’ ἐὰν τρίτης ἐγὼ μητρὸς φανῶ τρίδουλος, ἐκφανῇ κακή. ΙΟ. ὅμως πιθοῦ μοι, λίσσομαι, μὴ δρᾶ τάδε. ΟΙ. οὐκ ἂν πιθοίμην μὴ οὐ τάδ’ ἐκμαθεῖν σαφῶς. ΙΟ. καὶ μὴν φρονοῦσά γ’ εὖ τὰ λῷστά σοι λέγω. ΟΙ. τὰ λῷστα τοίνυν ταῦτά μ’ ἀλγύνει πάλαι. ΙΟ. ὦ δύσποτμ’, εἴθε μήποτε γνοίης ὃς εἶ. ΟΙ. ἄξει τις ἐλθὼν δεῦρο τὸν βοτῆρά μοι; ταύτην δ’ ἐᾶτε πλουσίῳ χαίρειν γένει.







1046 γ᾿ ADXrXs: γὰρ lZr: om. Triclinius εἰδεῖτ᾿ ἂν Monac. gr. 507, Laur. gr. 32.2: εἰδῆτ᾿ ἂν KADXrXs: ἂν εἰδῆτ᾿ ΛZr [L] 1050 ηὑρῆσθαι Elmsley: εὑ– ΩΛ 1052 κἀμάτευες Zn: κἀμάστευες P: καὶ ᾿μάτευες XrZr: καὶ μάτευες LΛAXs: καὶ μάστευες KD: καὶ ματεύεις Elmsley 1055 τόνδ᾿ OPa, Reisig: τόν θ᾿ Ω 1056 τί δ᾿ lA: τίν᾿ Pa: τίς δ᾿ DXrXsZr 1061 ἐγώ rPa, ΣL: ἔχω ΩΛ 1062 θάρσει Brunck: θάρρει ΩΛ ἐὰν Hermann: ἐὰν ἐκ Monac. gr. 507: ἂν ἐκ ΩΛ 1064 δρᾶ lZr: δρᾶν ADXrXs 1070 χαίρειν ΩΛ: χλίειν Subkow




ἰοὺ ἰού, δύστηνε· τοῦτο γάρ σ’ ἔχω μόνον προσειπεῖν, ἄλλο δ’ οὔποθ’ ὕστερον. ΧΟ. τί ποτε βέβηκεν, Οἰδίπους, ὑπ’ ἀγρίας ᾄξασα λύπης ἡ γυνή; δέδοιχ’ ὅπως μὴ ’κ τῆς σιωπῆς τῆσδ’ ἀναρρήξει κακά. ΟΙ. ὁποῖα χρῄζει ῥηγνύτω· τοὐμὸν δ’ ἐγώ, κεἰ σμικρόν ἐστι, σπέρμ’ ἰδεῖν βουλήσομαι. αὕτη δ’ ἴσως, φρονεῖ γὰρ ὡς γυνὴ μέγα, τὴν δυσγένειαν τὴν ἐμὴν αἰσχύνεται. ἐγὼ δ’ ἐμαυτὸν παῖδα τῆς Τύχης νέμων τῆς εὖ διδούσης οὐκ ἀτιμασθήσομαι. τῆς γὰρ πέφυκα μητρός· οἱ δὲ συγγενεῖς μῆνές με μικρὸν καὶ μέγαν διώρισαν. τοιόσδε δ’ ἐκφὺς οὐκ ἂν ἐξέλθοιμ’ ἔτι ποτ’ ἄλλος, ὥστε μὴ ’κμαθεῖν τοὐμὸν γένος.




ΧΟ. εἴπερ ἐγὼ μάντις εἰ– [str. μι καὶ κατὰ γνώμαν ἴδρις, 1086/7 οὐ τὸν Ὄλυμπον ἀπείρων, 1088 ὦ Κιθαιρών, οὐκ ἔσῃ τὰν αὔριον 1089/90 πανσέληνον μὴ οὐ σέ γε καὶ πατριώταν Οἰδίπου 1090/1 καὶ τροφὸν καὶ ματέρ’ αὔξειν, 1092 καὶ χορεύεσθαι πρὸς ἡμῶν ὡς ἐπίηρα φέροντα 1094/5 τοῖς ἐμοῖς τυράννοις. 1095 ἰήϊε Φοῖβε, σοὶ δὲ 1096/7 ταῦτ’ ἀρέστ’ εἴη. 1097

1074 ᾄξασα Brunck: ἀΐ– Ω

1075 ἀναρρήξει Xs: –ῃ Ω̣ 1078 αὕτη F? HO, Hermann: αὐτὴ Ω 1079 ἐμὴν LpcKADXrXs: ἐμὴν δ᾿ {Lac}ΛZr, unde ἐμήν γ᾿ Dawe 1084 τοιόσδε ΩΛ: τοιᾶσδε Platt δ᾿ KAXr: γ᾿ Triclinius: κ᾿ F: om. LΛDXsZr 1086/7 γνώμαν K: –ην La 1088 οὐ τὸν] μὰ τὸν rC: οὐ μὰ τὸν Zr: μὰ gl. in nonnullis (etiam LKA) 1090/1 Οἰδίπου ΩΛ: –ουν Voelcker 1092 ματέρ᾿ Dindorf: μητέρ᾿ ΩΛ 1094/5 ἐπίηρα] ἐπὶ ἦρα Jebb


ΣΟΦΟΚΛΕΟΥΣ ΟΙΔΙΠΟΥΣ 1098 [ant. τίς σε, τέκνον, τίς σ’ ἔτικ– τε τᾶν μακραιώνων ἄρα 1098/9 Πανὸς ὀρεσσιβάτα πατ– 1100/1 ρὸς πελασθεῖσ’; ἢ σέ γ’ εὐνάτειρά τις 1101/2 Λοξίου; τῷ γὰρ πλάκες ἀγρόνομοι πᾶσαι φίλαι· 1102/3 εἴθ’ ὁ Κυλλάνας ἀνάσσων, 1104 εἴθ’ ὁ Βακχεῖος θεὸς ναί– 1105 ων ἐπ’ ἄκρων ὀρέων εὕ– 1106/7 ρημα δέξατ’ ἔκ του 1107 Νυμφᾶν ἑλικωπίδων, αἷς 1107/9 πλεῖστα συμπαίζει; 1109


εἰ χρή τι κἀμὲ μὴ συναλλάξαντά πω, πρέσβεις, σταθμᾶσθαι, τὸν βοτῆρ’ ὁρᾶν δοκῶ ὅνπερ πάλαι ζητοῦμεν. ἔν τε γὰρ μακρῷ γήρᾳ ξυνᾴδει τῷδε τἀνδρὶ σύμμετρος, ἄλλως τε τοὺς ἄγοντας ὥσπερ οἰκέτας ἔγνωκ’ ἐμαυτοῦ· τῇ δ’ ἐπιστήμῃ σύ μου προὔχοις τάχ’ ἄν που, τὸν βοτῆρ’ ἰδὼν πάρος. ΧΟ. ἔγνωκα γάρ, σάφ’ ἴσθι· Λαΐου γὰρ ἦν εἴπερ τις ἄλλος πιστὸς ὡς νομεὺς ἀνήρ. ΟΙ. σὲ πρῶτ’ ἐρωτῶ, τὸν Κορίνθιον ξένον, ἦ τόνδε φράζεις; Αγ. τοῦτον, ὅνπερ εἰσορᾷς. ΟΙ. οὗτος σύ, πρέσβυ, δεῦρό μοι φώνει βλέπων ὅσ’ ἄν σ’ ἐρωτῶ. Λαΐου ποτ’ ἦσθα σύ;

1098/9 τᾶν




Schneidewin: τῶν Ω ἄρα K, Heath: ἆρα La: κορᾶν Blaydes 1100/1 ὀρεσσιβάτα LKA1sXr{Xsac}: ὀρεσι– AtXspc 1100/1–1101/2 πατρὸς πελασθεῖσ᾿ Lachmann: προσπελασθεῖσ᾿ ΩΛ εὐνάτειρά τις Arndt: θυγάτηρ L{Λ}: τις θυγάτηρ Ka 1102/3 ἀγρόνομοι Zr: –νόμοι Ω̣Λ 1104 West 1106/7 ὀρέων Dindorf 1107/9 ἑλικωπίδων Wilamowitz: Ἑλικωνίδων Aac, Porson: Ἑλικωνιάδων Ω̣ΛApc 1110 συναλλάξαντα LKADXs: ξυν– XrZr 1111 πρέσβεις {Lac}K1pc: –ει LpcAtDs: –υ Xrac: –υς Kac: –υν A1sDtXr1pcXsZrt 1113 σύμμετρος CS: ξυμ– ΩΛ 1114 ὥσπερ] ὄντας Nauck 1117 γάρ] μέν r





ἦ, δοῦλος οὐκ ὠνητός, ἀλλ’ οἴκοι τραφείς. ἔργον μεριμνῶν ποῖον ἢ βίον τίνα; ποίμναις τὰ πλεῖστα τοῦ βίου συνειπόμην. χώροις μάλιστα πρὸς τίσι ξύναυλος ὤν; ἦν μὲν Κιθαιρών, ἦν δὲ πρόσχωρος τόπος. τὸν ἄνδρα τόνδ’ οὖν οἶσθα τῇδέ που μαθών; τί χρῆμα δρῶντα; ποῖον ἄνδρα καὶ λέγεις; τόνδ’ ὃς πάρεστιν· ἦ συνήλλαξας τί πω; οὐχ ὥστε γ’ εἰπεῖν ἐν τάχει μνήμης ὕπο. κοὐδέν γε θαῦμα, δέσποτ’. ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ σαφῶς ἀγνῶτ’ ἀναμνήσω νιν. εὖ γὰρ οἶδ’ ὅτι κάτοιδεν ἦμος τὸν Κιθαιρῶνος τόπον ὁ μὲν διπλοῖσι ποιμνίοις, ἐγὼ δ’ ἑνὶ

ἐπλησίαζον τῷδε τἀνδρὶ τρεῖς ὅλους ἐξ ἦρος εἰς ἀρκτοῦρον ἑκμήνους χρόνους· χειμῶνι δ’ ἤδη τἀμά τ’ εἰς ἔπαυλ’ ἐγὼ ἤλαυνον οὗτός τ’ εἰς τὰ Λαΐου σταθμά. λέγω τι τούτων ἢ οὐ λέγω πεπραγμένον; λέγεις ἀληθῆ, καίπερ ἐκ μακροῦ χρόνου. φέρ’ εἰπέ νυν, τότ’ οἶσθα παῖδά μοί τινα δούς, ὡς ἐμαυτῷ θρέμμα θρεψαίμην ἐγώ; τί δ’ ἔστι; πρὸς τί τοῦτο τοὔπος ἱστορεῖς; ὅδ’ ἐστίν, ὦ τᾶν, κεῖνος ὃς τότ’ ἦν νέος. οὐκ εἰς ὄλεθρον; οὐ σιωπήσας ἔσῃ; ἆ, μὴ κόλαζε, πρέσβυ, τόνδ’, ἐπεὶ τὰ σὰ

1123 ἦ






Σ Hom.: ἦν ΩΛ οἴκοι τραφείς] οἰκοτραφής Σ Hom. 1125 συνειπόμην LΛZr: ξυν– KADXrXs 1130 ἦ LΛRADXrXs: ἢ KZr συνήλλαξας A: ξυν– VZc: συναλλάξας (vel ξυν–) la ̣ πω ΛLa: πω* L: που Ba 1131 ὕπο] ἄπο Reiske 1135 post hunc versum lacunam statuit Reiske (post 1134 Scaliger): ex. gr. Lloyd-Jones 1137 ἑκμήνους Porson, Schaefer: ἐκμ– E: ἐμμήνους ΩΛ 1138 χειμῶνι KADXrXs: –α LΛZr, gl. in DXrXs 1142 νυν Triclinius: νῦν ΩΛ τότ᾿] τόδ᾿ O, Blaydes 1144 τοῦτο τοὔπος ἱστορεῖς] τοὔπος ἱστορεῖς τόδε rO




δεῖται κολαστοῦ μᾶλλον ἢ τὰ τοῦδ’ ἔπη. τί δ’, ὦ φέριστε δεσποτῶν, ἁμαρτάνω; οὐκ ἐννέπων τὸν παῖδ’ ὃν οὗτος ἱστορεῖ. λέγει γὰρ εἰδὼς οὐδέν, ἀλλ’ ἄλλως πονεῖ. σὺ πρὸς χάριν μὲν οὐκ ἐρεῖς, κλαίων δ’ ἐρεῖς. μὴ δῆτα, πρὸς θεῶν, τὸν γέροντά μ’ ᾀκίσῃ. οὐχ ὡς τάχος τις τοῦδ’ ἀποστρέψει χέρας; δύστηνος, ἀντὶ τοῦ; τί προσχρῄζων μαθεῖν; τὸν παῖδ’ ἔδωκας τῷδ’ ὃν οὗτος ἱστορεῖ; ἔδωκ’· ὀλέσθαι δ’ ὤφελον τῇδ’ ἡμέρᾳ. ἀλλ’ εἰς τόδ’ ἥξεις μὴ λέγων γε τοὔνδικον. πολλῷ γε μᾶλλον, ἢν φράσω, διόλλυμαι. ἁνὴρ ὅδ’ ὡς ἔοικεν εἰς τριβὰς ἐλᾷ. οὐ δῆτ’ ἔγωγ’, ἀλλ’ εἶπον ὡς δοίην πάλαι. πόθεν λαβών; οἰκεῖον ἢ ’ξ ἄλλου τινός; ἐμὸν μὲν οὐκ ἔγωγ’, ἐδεξάμην δέ του. τίνος πολιτῶν τῶνδε κἀκ ποίας στέγης; μὴ πρὸς θεῶν, μή, δέσποθ’, ἱστόρει πλέον. ὄλωλας, εἴ σε ταῦτ’ ἐρήσομαι πάλιν. τῶν Λαΐου τοίνυν τις ἦν γεννημάτων. ἦ δοῦλος, ἢ κείνου τις ἐγγενὴς γεγώς; οἴμοι, πρὸς αὐτῷ γ’ εἰμὶ τῷ δεινῷ λέγειν. κἄγωγ’ ἀκούειν· ἀλλ’ ὅμως ἀκουστέον. κείνου γέ τοι δὴ παῖς ἐκλῄζεθ’· ἡ δ’ ἔσω κάλλιστ’ ἂν εἴποι σὴ γυνὴ τάδ’ ὡς ἔχει. ἦ γὰρ δίδωσιν ἥδε σοι; Θε. μάλιστ’, ἄναξ. ὡς πρὸς τί χρείας; Θε. ὡς ἀναλώσαιμί νιν. τεκοῦσα τλήμων; Θε. θεσφάτων γ’ ὄκνῳ κακῶν.







1151 εἰδὼς οὐδέν KADXrXs: inverso ordine LΛZr 1153 μ᾿] γ᾿ P, Blaydes ᾀκίσῃ scripsi: αἰκίσῃ Ω 1155 προσχρῄζων ΩΛ: –εις Blaydes 1157 τῇδ᾿ Zr: τῇδ᾿ ἐν Ω̣Λ 1160 ἁνὴρ Hermann: ἀ– Ω εἰς] ἐς L 1166 ταῦτ᾿] ταὔτ᾿ Schaefer 1167 γεννημάτων ΩΛ: βλάστη δόμων Barrett 1169 λέγειν] –ων O 1170 ἀκούειν Zgs, Livineii ‘pV’, Plut.: –ων ΩΛ 1171 γέ Ka: δέ ΛHNPaV [L] 1172 κάλλιστ᾿ ΩΛ: μάλιστ᾿ HNac, Nauck 1175 γ᾿ ὄκνῳ κακῶν LKADXrXs: ὄκνῳ κακῶν Triclinius: κακῶν ὄκνῳ Zr



ΟΙ. ποίων; Θε. κτενεῖν νιν τοὺς τεκόντας ἦν λόγος. ΟΙ. πῶς δῆτ’ ἀφῆκας τῷ γέροντι τῷδε σύ; ΘΕ. κατοικτίσας, ὦ δέσποθ’, ὡς ἄλλην χθόνα δοκῶν ἀποίσειν, αὐτὸς ἔνθεν ἦν· ὁ δὲ κάκ’ εἰς μέγιστ’ ἔσωσεν. εἰ γὰρ αὑτὸς εἶ ὅν φησιν οὗτος, ἴσθι δύσποτμος γεγώς. ΟΙ. ἰοὺ ἰού· τὰ πάντ’ ἂν ἐξήκοι σαφῆ. ὦ φῶς, τελευταῖόν σε προσβλέψαιμι νῦν, ὅστις πέφασμαι φύς τ’ ἀφ’ ὧν οὐ χρῆν, ξὺν οἷς τ’ οὐ χρῆν ὁμιλῶν, οὕς τέ μ’ οὐκ ἔδει κτανών. ΧΟ. ἰὼ γενεαὶ βροτῶν, ὡς ὑμᾶς ἴσα καὶ τὸ μη– δὲν ζώσας ἐναριθμῶ. τίς γάρ, τίς ἀνὴρ πλέον τᾶς εὐδαιμονίας φέρει ἢ τοσοῦτον ὅσον δοκεῖν καὶ δόξαντ’ ἀποκλῖναι; τὸν σόν τοι παράδειγμ’ ἔχων, τὸν σὸν δαίμονα, τὸν σόν, ὦ τλᾶμον Οἰδιπόδα, βροτῶν οὐδὲν μακαρίζω· ὅστις καθ’ ὑπερβολὰν τοξεύσας ἐκράτησας τοῦ πάντ’ εὐδαίμονος ὄλβου, ὦ Ζεῦ, κατὰ μὲν φθίσας τὰν γαμψώνυχα παρθένον χρησμῳδόν, θανάτων δ’ ἐμᾷ



[str. 1 1187/8 1189 1190

1194/5 1195 [ant. 1 1196/7 1197 1198/9 1199/1200

1178 ὡς] εἰς C 1179 δοκῶν Blaydes 1180 αὑτὸς Markland: οὗτος ΩΛ 1182 ἐξήκοι ΛXr: –ίκοι Ω̣ 1185 post χρῆν hab. μ᾿ ADXrXs, θ᾿ C 1186 ἰὼ AXrXsZr: ἰὼ ἰὼ KRD: ὦ LΛ 1189 τίς γάρ, τίς] τί γάρ τις Elmsley 1191 δοκεῖν ΩΛ?: –εῖ OSt 1192 δόξαντ᾿] δόξαν Stobaeus: δόξαν γ᾿ Dawe 1193 τὸν CΣL, Camerarius: τὸ ΩΛ 1195 οὐδὲν Cac?, Hermann: οὐδένα ΩΛ 1196/7 ἐκράτησας τοῦ ΩΛ: ἐκράτησε τοῦ Ambros. L. 39 sup., Hermann: ἐκράτησας εἰς idem



χώρᾳ πύργος ἀνέστας· ἐξ οὗ καὶ βασιλεὺς καλῇ ἐμὸς καὶ τὰ μέγιστ’ ἐτι– μάθης, ταῖς μεγάλαισιν ἐν Θήβαισιν ἀνάσσων. τανῦν δ’ ἀκούειν τίς ἀθλιώτερος, τίς †ἐν πόνοις τίς ἄταις ἀγρίαις† ξύνοικος ἀλλαγᾷ βίου; ἰὼ κλεινὸν Οἰδίπου κάρα, ᾧ μέγας λιμὴν αὑτὸς ἤρκεσεν παιδὶ καὶ πατρὶ θαλαμηπόλῳ πεσεῖν, πῶς ποτε πῶς ποθ’ αἱ πατρῷ– αί σ’ ἄλοκες φέρειν, τάλας, σῖγ’ ἐδυνάθησαν ἐς τοσόνδε; ἐφηῦρέ σ’ ἄκονθ’ ὁ πάνθ’ ὁρῶν Χρόνος, δικάζει τὸν ἄγαμον γάμον πάλαι τεκνοῦντα καὶ τεκνούμενον. ἰὼ Λαΐειον τέκνον, εἴθε σ’ εἴθε σε μήποτ’ εἰδόμαν· ὡς σ᾿ ὀδύρομαι περίαλλ’ ἰὰν χέων

1200 1201/2 1202/3 1203 [str. 2 1205

1208a 1208b 1209a 1209b 1210 1210/11 1212 [ant. 2 1215 1217a 1217b 1218/19

1200 ἀνέστας Kpca: ἀνέστα l: ἀναστάς Elmsley 1201–1201/2 καλῇ ἐμὸς] ἐμὸς καλῇ Elmsley: καλεῖ τ᾿ ἐμὸς Blaydes: κλύεις ἐμὸς Heimsoeth 1203 Θήβαισιν D, Heath: Θήβαις Ω̣Λ 1205 τίς ἄταις ἀγρίαις, τίς ἐν πόνοις Hermann 1208b αὑτὸς Markland: αὐτ– ΩΛ 1209a πατρὶ] πόσει nol. Wunder 1209b πεσεῖν ΩΛ: ’μπεσεῖν Hartung 1212 ἐδυνάθησαν NpcS: –ήθησαν XrglZr: –άσθησαν Ω̣(Λ) 1213 ἐφηῦρε Elmsley: ἐφεῦ– ΩΛ ἄκονθ᾿ ΩΛ: ἄκων Wilamowitz 1216 ἰὼ ΩΛ: ὦ Triclinius Erfurdt τέκνον ΩΛ: γένος K 1217a σε O, Wunder: om. Ω 1217b εἰδόμαν Triclinius: ἰδόμην LΛt: ἰδόμαν ΩΛsKa 1218 ὡς σ᾿ ὀδύρομαι Diggle post Kamerbeek: ὀδύρομαι γὰρ ὡς ΩΛ 1218/19 ἰὰν χέων Fritzsche: ἰαχέων ΩΛ



ἐκ στομάτων. τὸ δ’ ὀρθὸν εἰ– πεῖν, ἀνέπνευσά τ’ ἐκ σέθεν καὶ κατεκοίμασα τοὐμὸν ὄμμα.

1219/20 1220/1 1221/2

ΕΞΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ ὦ γῆς μέγιστα τῆσδ’ ἀεὶ τιμώμενοι, οἷ’ ἔργ’ ἀκούσεσθ’, οἷα δ’ εἰσόψεσθ’, ὅσον δ’ ἀρεῖσθε πένθος, εἴπερ εὐγενῶς ἔτι τῶν Λαβδακείων ἐντρέπεσθε δωμάτων. οἶμαι γὰρ οὔτ’ ἂν Ἴστρον οὔτε Φᾶσιν ἂν νίψαι καθαρμῷ τήνδε τὴν στέγην, ὅσα κεύθει, τὰ δ’ αὐτίκ’ εἰς τὸ φῶς φανεῖ κακὰ ἑκόντα κοὐκ ἄκοντα. τῶν δὲ πημονῶν μάλιστα λυποῦσ’ αἳ φανῶσ’ αὐθαίρετοι. ΧΟ. λείπει μὲν οὐδ’ ἃ πρόσθεν ᾔδεμεν τὸ μὴ οὐ βαρύστον’ εἶναι· πρὸς δ’ ἐκείνοισιν τί φῄς; ΕΞ. ὁ μὲν τάχιστος τῶν λόγων εἰπεῖν τε καὶ μαθεῖν, τέθνηκε θεῖον Ἰοκάστης κάρα. ΧΟ. ὢ δυστάλαινα, πρὸς τίνος ποτ’ αἰτίας; ΕΞ. αὐτὴ πρὸς αὐτῆς. τῶν δὲ πραχθέντων τὰ μὲν ἄλγιστ’ ἄπεστιν· ἡ γὰρ ὄψις οὐ πάρα. ὅμως δ’, ὅσον γε κἀν ἐμοὶ μνήμης ἔνι, πεύσῃ τὰ κείνης ἀθλίας παθήματα. ὅπως γὰρ ὀργῇ χρωμένη παρῆλθ’ ἔσω θυρῶνος, ἵετ’ εὐθὺ πρὸς τὰ νυμφικὰ λέχη, κόμην σπῶσ’ ἀμφιδεξίοις ἀκμαῖς· πύλας δ’, ὅπως εἰσῆλθ’, ἐπιρράξασ’ ἔσω, καλεῖ τὸν ἤδη Λάϊον πάλαι νεκρόν, 1221/2 κατεκοίμασα Heath: κατεκοίμησα LΛA: –μισα Ω̣

1223 1225





1225 ἀρεῖσθε a: αἰ– vel αἱ– l εὐγενῶς Hartung: ἐγγενῶς ΩΣ: ἐμπέδως Hirzel 1231 αἳ l: αἳ ᾿ν a 1232 ᾔδεμεν Zct, Elmsley: ᾔδειμεν ΩΛ 1233 δ᾿ ἐκείνοισιν] δὲ κ– C 1236 ὢ Reeve: ὦ Ω 1237 αὐτῆς LKDXsac: αὑ– 1pc AXrXs Zr 1240 τὰ κείνης Xs: τἀκείνης Ω̣Λ 1242 ἵετ᾿ Ω̣(Λ): ἵκετ᾿ εὐθὺ LpcAD1pcXrXs1pc: εὐθὺς {Lac}ΛK{Xs}Zr 1244 ἐπιρράξασ᾿ ADac rs L , Dobree: –ήξασ᾿ ΩΛΣ 1245 καλεῖ W, Pierson: κάλει Ω



μνήμην παλαιῶν σπερμάτων ἔχουσ’, ὑφ’ ὧν θάνοι μὲν αὐτός, τὴν δὲ τίκτουσαν λίποι τοῖς οἷσιν αὐτοῦ δύστεκνον παιδουργίαν. γοᾶτο δ’ εὐνάς, ἔνθα δύστηνος διπλῇ ἐξ ἀνδρὸς ἄνδρα καὶ τέκν’ ἐκ τέκνων τέκοι. χὤπως μὲν ἐκ τῶνδ’ οὐκέτ’ οἶδ’ ἀπόλλυται· βοῶν γὰρ εἰσέπαισεν Οἰδίπους, ὑφ’ οὗ οὐκ ἦν τὸ κείνης ἐκθεάσασθαι κακόν, ἀλλ’ εἰς ἐκεῖνον περιπολοῦντ’ ἐλεύσσομεν. φοιτᾷ γὰρ ἡμᾶς ἔγχος ἐξαιτῶν πορεῖν, γυναῖκά τ’ οὐ γυναῖκα, μητρῴαν δ’ ὅπου κίχοι διπλῆν ἄρουραν οὗ τε καὶ τέκνων. λυσσῶντι δ’ αὐτῷ δαιμόνων δείκνυσί τις· οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἀνδρῶν οἳ παρῆμεν ἐγγύθεν. δεινὸν δ’ ἀΰσας ὡς ὑφ’ ἡγητοῦ τινος πύλαις διπλαῖς ἐνήλατ’, ἐκ δὲ πυθμένων ἔκλινε κοῖλα κλῇθρα κἀμπίπτει στέγῃ. οὗ δὴ κρεμαστὴν τὴν γυναῖκ’ ἐσείδομεν, πλεκταῖσιν αἰώραισιν ἐμπεπλεγμένην. ὃ δ’ ὡς ὁρᾷ νιν, δεινὰ βρυχηθεὶς τάλας χαλᾷ κρεμαστὴν ἀρτάνην. ἐπεὶ δὲ γῇ ἔκειτο τλήμων, δεινά γ’ ἦν τἀνθένδ’ ὁρᾶν. ἀποσπάσας γὰρ εἱμάτων χρυσηλάτους περόνας ἀπ’ αὐτῆς, αἷσιν ἐξεστέλλετο, ἄρας ἔπαισεν ἄρθρα τῶν αὑτοῦ κύκλων, αὐδῶν τοιαῦθ’, ὁθούνεκ’ οὐκ ὄψοιντό νιν οὔθ’ οἷ’ ἔπασχεν οὔθ’ ὁποῖ’ ἔδρα κακά, 1249 διπλῇ






P: –ᾶς K: –ᾶ Os: –οῦς Ω̣Λ 1250 ἄνδρα] –ας ADXrXs 1252 εἰσέπαισεν AXrXspcZr: εἰσέπεσεν LKD 1254 ἐλεύσσομεν AXr: ἐλεύσομεν LΛK1pcDZr 1255 φοιτᾷ] φοίτα NO, anon. 1260 ὑφ᾿ ἡγητοῦ LXrXs: ὑφηγητοῦ KAZr 1262 κλῇθρα K: κλεῖθρα La 1264 πλεκταισιν W, Ambros. L. 39 sup., Nauck: –αῖς ΩEu αἰώραισιν W, Nauck: αἰώραις (vel αἱ–) (Zr): ἐώραις (vel ἑ–) LKA1pcDXsEu [Aac] 1265 ὃ δ᾿ ὡς Blaydes: ὁ δὲ | ὅπως a: ὁ δὲ | ὅπως δ᾿ l 1266 ἐπεὶ a: ἐπὶ l 1267 ἔκειτο DXspc: ἔκειθ᾿ ἡ Xr: ἔκειθ᾿ ὁ KAZr [L] γ᾿ D: δ᾿ Ω̣ 1270 αὑτοῦ XrXspc: αὐ– Ω̣Λ? 1271 ὄψοιντο AXrZr: ὄψοιτο LKDXs



ἀλλ’ ἐν σκότῳ τὸ λοιπὸν οὓς μὲν οὐκ ἔδει ὀψοίαθ’, οὓς δ’ ἔχρῃζεν οὐ γνωσοίατο. τοιαῦτ’ ἐφυμνῶν πολλάκις τε κοὐχ ἅπαξ ἤρασσε περόναις βλέφαρα. φοίνιαι δ’ ὁμοῦ γλῆναι γένει’ ἔτεγγον, οὐδ’ ἀνίεσαν. [φόνου μυδώσας σταγόνας, ἀλλ’ ὁμοῦ μέλας ὄμβρος χαλάζης αἵματος ἐτέγγετο. τάδ’ ἐκ δυοῖν ἔρρωγεν οὐ μόνου κακά, ἀλλ’ ἀνδρὶ καὶ γυναικὶ συμμιγῆ κακά.] ὁ πρὶν παλαιὸς δ’ ὄλβος ἦν πάροιθε μὲν ὄλβος δικαίως, νῦν δὲ τῇδε θἠμέρᾳ στεναγμός, ἄτη, θάνατος, αἰσχύνη, κακῶν ὅσ’ ἐστὶ πάντων ὀνόματ’, οὐδέν ἐστ’ ἀπόν. ΧΟ. νῦν δ’ ἔσθ’ ὁ τλήμων ἔν τινι σχολῇ κακοῦ; ΕΞ. βοᾷ διοίγειν κλῇθρα καὶ δηλοῦν τινα τοῖς πᾶσι Καδμείοισι τὸν πατροκτόνον, τὸν μητρός—αὐδῶν ἀνόσι’ οὐδὲ ῥητά μοι, ὡς ἐκ χθονὸς ῥίψων ἑαυτὸν οὐδ’ ἔτι μενῶν δόμοις ἀραῖος, ὡς ἠράσατο. ῥώμης γε μέντοι καὶ προηγητοῦ τινος δεῖται· τὸ γὰρ νόσημα μεῖζον ἢ φέρειν. δείξει δὲ καὶ σοί. κλῇθρα γὰρ πυλῶν τάδε διοίγεται· θέαμα δ’ εἰσόψῃ τάχα τοιοῦτον οἷον καὶ στυγοῦντ’ ἐποικτίσαι. ΧΟ. ὦ δεινὸν ἰδεῖν πάθος ἀνθρώποις, ὦ δεινότατον πάντων ὅσ’ ἐγὼ






1276 ἤρασσε περόναις Housman: ἤρασσ᾿ ἐπαίρων Ω 1278–9 del. West 1279 χαλάζης (–αζῆς Bergk post Hermann) αἵματος] χάλαζά θ᾿ αἱματοῦσσ᾿ Porson (αἵματός τ᾿ Zrpc) 1280–1 del. Dindorf (1281 iam Markland) 1280 ἐκ . . . κακά] ἐς . . . κάρα Pearson οὐ μόνου κακά] οὐ μόνου κάτα Otto: οὐχ ἑνὸς μόνου Porson: οὐ μονούμενα Wilamowitz 1284 ἄτη a: ἄται GHNac(Opc)PPaZc: ἅτε L?Λ? K 1286 τινι Mudge: τίνι Ω 1287 κλῇθρα lDXs: κλεῖθρα AZr 1290 οὐδ᾿ ἔτι La: οὐδέ τι K 1291 μενῶν LADpcXrXsZr: μένων κλῇθρα lDXrXs: K 1294 δείξει] δόξει Xr, Reiske (verum Xrγρ) κλεῖθρα AZr γὰρ] γε LΛ: om. Zr



προσέκυρσ’ ἤδη. τίς σ’, ὦ τλῆμον, προσέβη μανία; τίς ὁ πηδήσας 1300 μείζονα δαίμων τῶν μηκίστων πρὸς σῇ δυσδαίμονι μοίρᾳ; φεῦ φεῦ δύστην’, ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ἐσιδεῖν δύναμαί σ’, ἐθέλων πόλλ’ ἀνερέσθαι, πολλὰ πυθέσθαι, πολλὰ δ’ ἀθρῆσαι· 1305 τοίαν φρίκην παρέχεις μοι. ΟΙ. αἰαῖ αἰαῖ, δύστανος ἐγώ, 1307/8 ποῖ γᾶς φέρομαι τλάμων; πᾷ μοι 1308/10 φθογγὰ διαπωτᾶται φοράδαν; 1310 ἰὼ δαῖμον, ἵν’ ἐξήλου. ΧΟ. ἐς δεινόν, οὐδ’ ἀκουστόν, οὐδ’ ἐπόψιμον. ΟΙ. ἰὼ σκότου 1313 [str. 1 νέφος ἐμὸν ἀπότροπον ἐπιπλόμενον ἄφατον 1313/14 ἀδάματόν τε καὶ δυσούριστον . 1315/16 οἴμοι, 1316 οἴμοι μάλ’ αὖθις· οἷον εἰσέδυ μ’ ἅμα κέντρων τε τῶνδ’ οἴστρημα καὶ μνήμη κακῶν. ΧΟ. καὶ θαῦμά γ’ οὐδὲν ἐν τοσοῖσδε πήμασιν διπλᾶ σε πενθεῖν καὶ διπλᾶ φρονεῖν κακά. 1320 ΟΙ. ἰὼ φίλος, [ant. 1 σὺ μὲν ἐμὸς ἐπίπολος ἔτι μόνιμος· ἔτι γὰρ 1321/2

1299 σ᾿

AXrXs: om. lDZr τλῆμον Ka: τλήμων L: τλᾶμον Λ 1301 μείζονα δαίμων] μάσσονα δαίμων Blaydes: δαίμων μείζονα Triclinius μηκίστων Xsgl: μακίστων LpcKacA1pcDZr: κακίστων {Lac}ΛKpc ac [A ] 1303 δύστην᾿ Bothe: δύσταν᾿ Triclinius: δύστηνος C: δύστανος ΩΛ 1306 τοίαν Π4AtXrXsZr: οἵαν r: ποίαν lA1sD: ὁποῖαν Xrgl 1307/8 ante δύστανος habent φεῦ αἲ vel αἶ quater Π4DXr: ter lAXsZr: bis CZc semel Zr, bis Π4Ω̣Λ: del. Hermann 1308/10 ποῖ] πᾷ lmΣNHPa πᾷ] ποῖ CZc 1310 διαπωτᾶται Π4pc?, Musgrave: –πέταται Π4ac?LΣLADXsZr: –πέπταται KrXr φοράδαν Page: –ην Ω 1311 ἐξήλου] –ήλω Xr: –ήλλου CS, Hermann 1312 ἐς] εἰς Zr: ὡς H, Van Herwerden prius οὐδ᾿] οὐκ K 1313/14 ἐπιπλόμενον KDZr: –ώμενον LΛAXrXs 1315/16 ἀδάματον Hermann: –αστον ΩΛ Hermann 1320 φρονεῖν XrXsrγρ, Bergk: φορεῖν lADXs: φέρειν Zr: θροεῖν Nauck 1321/2 ἐμὸς ἐπίπολος ΩEu: ἐμοῖς ἐπὶ πόνοις Lrγρ



ὑπομένεις με τὸν τυφλὸν κηδεύων. φεῦ φεῦ· οὐ γάρ με λήθεις, ἀλλὰ γιγνώσκω σαφῶς, καίπερ σκοτεινός, τήν γε σὴν αὐδὴν ὅμως. ΧΟ. ὦ δεινὰ δράσας, πῶς ἔτλης τοιαῦτα σὰς ὄψεις μαρᾶναι; τίς σ’ ἐπῆρε δαιμόνων; ΟΙ. Ἀπόλλων τάδ’ ἦν, Ἀπόλλων, φίλοι, ὁ κακὰ κακὰ τελῶν ἐμὰ τάδ’ ἐμὰ πάθεα. ἔπαισε δ’ αὐτόχειρ νιν οὔ– τις, ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ τλάμων. τί γὰρ ἔδει μ’ ὁρᾶν, ὅτῳ γ’ ὁρῶντι μηδὲν ἦν ἰδεῖν γλυκύ; ΧΟ. ἦν τᾷδ’ ὅπωσπερ καὶ σὺ φῄς. ΟΙ. τί δῆτ’ ἐμοὶ βλεπτὸν ἢ στερκτόν, ἢ προσήγορον ἔτ’ ἔστ’ ἀκούειν ἡδονᾷ, φίλοι; ἀπάγετ’ ἐκτόπιον ὅτι τάχιστά με, ἀπάγετ’, ὦ φίλοι, τὸν μέγ’ ὀλέθριον, τὸν καταρατότατον, ἔτι δὲ καὶ θεοῖς ἐχθρότατον βροτῶν. ΧΟ. δείλαιε τοῦ νοῦ τῆς τε συμφορᾶς ἴσον, ὡς σ’ ἠθέλησα μηδαμὰ γνῶναί ποτ’ ἄν. ΟΙ. ὄλοιθ’ ὅστις ἦν ὃς ἀγρίας πέδας νομὰς ἐπιποδίου λάβε μ᾿ ἀπό τε φόνου ἔρυτο κἀνέσωσεν, οὐ– δὲν εἰς χάριν πράσσων.

1323/4 1324 1325

[str. 2 1330/1 1332/3 1333 1335

1340/1 1342/3 1344/5 1346

[ant. 2 1350/1 1352/3 1353

1323/4 με τὸν Erfurdt: ἐμὲ τὸν ΩΛ: τόν γε Triclinius κηδεύων] κηδεμών Ebner 1329 φίλοι LΛZr: ὦ φίλοι Ω̣ 1330/1 κακὰ bis KADXr: semel LΛXsZr prius ἐμὰ] om. LΛ 1336 τᾷδ᾿ Nauck: τάδ᾿ L(Λ): ταῦθ᾿ Ka 1337 δῆτ᾿ KDac: δή ποτ᾿ Ω̣ ἢ ΩΛ: ἦν Wilamowitz 1339 ἡδονᾷ] ἁδονᾷ Dindorf 1342/3 μέγ᾿ ὀλέθριον Erfurdt: ὀλέθριον μέγα Xr: ὀλέθριον μέγαν Ω̣Λ: ὄλεθρόν με γᾶς Bergk 1348 ἠθέλησ᾿ ἄ Elmsley μηδαμὰ γνῶναι Valckenaer: μήδ᾿ ἀναγνῶναι Ω ἄν] om. ADXrXs 1349 ὃς Triclinius: ὃς ἀπ᾿ Ω 1350/1 νομὰς Hartung: νομάδος Ω ἐπιποδίου Diggle: ἐπιποδίας ΩΛ λάβε μ᾿ Diggle: ἔλαβέ μ᾿ LacΛ: ἔλυσεν L1pca: ἔλυσέ μ᾿ K:: μ᾿ ἔλαβ᾿ Linwood post Elmsley: μ᾿ ἔλυσ᾿ Hermann 1352/3 ἔρυτο κἀνέσωσεν] –σέ μ᾿ Campbell O2pcV, Hartung: ἔρρ– Ω



τότε γὰρ ἂν θανὼν οὐκ ἦ φίλοισιν οὐδ’ ἐμοὶ τοσόνδ’ ἄχος. ΧΟ. θέλοντι κἀμοὶ τοῦτ’ ἂν ἦν. ΟΙ. οὔκουν πατρός γ’ ἂν φονεὺς ἦλθον, οὐδὲ νυμφίος βροτοῖς ἐκλήθην ὧν ἔφυν ἄπο. νῦν δ’ ἄθεος μέν εἰμ’, ἀνοσίων δὲ παῖς, ὁμογενὴς δ’ ἀφ’ ὧν αὐτὸς ἔφυν τάλας. εἰ δέ τι πρεσβύτερον ἔτι κακοῦ κακόν, τοῦτ’ ἔλαχ’ Οἰδίπους. ΧΟ. οὐκ οἶδ’ ὅπως σε φῶ βεβουλεῦσθαι καλῶς· κρείσσων γὰρ ἦσθα μηκέτ’ ὢν ἢ ζῶν τυφλός. ΟΙ. ὡς μὲν τάδ’ οὐχ ὧδ’ ἔστ’ ἄριστ’ εἰργασμένα, μή μ’ ἐκδίδασκε, μηδὲ συμβούλευ’ ἔτι. ἐγὼ γὰρ οὐκ οἶδ’ ὄμμασιν ποίοις βλέπων πατέρα ποτ’ ἂν προσεῖδον εἰς Ἅιδου μολών, οὐδ’ αὖ τάλαιναν μητέρ’, οἷν ἐμοὶ δυοῖν ἔργ’ ἐστὶ κρείσσον’ ἀγχόνης εἰργασμένα. ἀλλ’ ἡ τέκνων δῆτ’ ὄψις ἦν ἐφίμερος, βλαστοῦσ’ ὅπως ἔβλαστε, προσλεύσσειν ἐμοί; οὐ δῆτα τοῖς γ’ ἐμοῖσιν ὀφθαλμοῖς ποτε· οὐδ’ ἄστυ γ’, οὐδὲ πύργος, οὐδὲ δαιμόνων ἀγάλμαθ’ ἱερά, τῶν ὁ παντλήμων ἐγὼ κάλλιστ’ ἀνὴρ εἷς ἔν γε ταῖς Θήβαις τραφεὶς ἀπεστέρησ’ ἐμαυτόν, αὐτὸς ἐννέπων ὠθεῖν ἅπαντας τὸν ἀσεβῆ, τὸν ἐκ θεῶν φανέντ’ ἄναγνον καὶ γένους τοῦ Λαΐου. τοιάνδ’ ἐγὼ κηλῖδα μηνύσας ἐμὴν ὀρθοῖς ἔμελλον ὄμμασιν τούτους ὁρᾶν;


1360/1 1362/3 1364/5 1366





1355 ἦ Dindorf: ἦν Ω ἄχος Π4?AXrXsZr: ἄχθος lD 1360/1 ἄθεος Elmsley, Erfurdt, Seidler: ἄθλιος ΩΛ 1362/3 ὁμογενὴς Ω̣Λ: ὁ μονογενὴς DXs: ὁμολεχὴς Meineke 1364/5 ἔτι Hermann: ἔφυ Ka: ἔφυι L 1368 ἦσθ᾿ Porson, Purgold 1376 προσλεύσσειν] προσβλέπειν K: προσβλέψειν H 1379 ἱερά, τῶν] ἱερά θ᾿, ὧν Valckenaer, Pierson 1380 del. Van Deventer 1383 γένους] γένος Δ, quo recepto τὸν pro τοῦ Blaydes 1385 τούτους LADXrXs: τούτοις KZr



ἥκιστά γ’· ἀλλ’ εἰ τῆς ἀκουούσης ἔτ’ ἦν πηγῆς δι’ ὤτων φαργμός, οὐκ ἂν ἐσχόμην τὸ μὴ ἀποκλῇσαι τοὐμὸν ἄθλιον δέμας, ἵν’ ἦ τυφλός τε καὶ κλύων μηδέν· τὸ γὰρ τὴν φροντίδ’ ἔξω τῶν κακῶν οἰκεῖν γλυκύ. ἰὼ Κιθαιρών, τί μ’ ἐδέχου; τί μ’ οὐ λαβὼν ἔκτεινας εὐθύς, ὡς ἔδειξα μήποτε ἐμαυτὸν ἀνθρώποισιν ἔνθεν ἦ γεγώς; ὦ Πόλυβε καὶ Κόρινθε καὶ τὰ πάτρια λόγῳ παλαιὰ δώμαθ’, οἷον ἆρά με κάλλος κακῶν ὕπουλον ἐξεθρέψατε. νῦν γὰρ κακός τ’ ὢν κἀκ κακῶν εὑρίσκομαι. ὦ τρεῖς κέλευθοι καὶ κεκρυμμένη νάπη δρυμός τε καὶ στενωπὸς ἐν τριπλαῖς ὁδοῖς, αἳ τοὐμὸν αἷμα τῶν ἐμῶν χειρῶν ἄπο ἐπίετε πατρός, ἆρά μου μέμνησθ’ ἔτι οἷ’ ἔργα δράσας ὗμιν εἶτα δεῦρ’ ἰὼν ὁποῖ’ ἔπρασσον αὖθις; ὦ γάμοι γάμοι, ἐφύσαθ’ ἡμᾶς, καὶ φυτεύσαντες πάλιν ἀνεῖτε ταὐτὸν σπέρμα, κἀπεδείξατε πατέρας ἀδελφούς, παῖδας αἷμ’ ἐμφύλιον, νύμφας γυναῖκας μητέρας τε, χὠπόσα αἴσχιστ’ ἐν ἀνθρώποισιν ἔργα γίγνεται. ἀλλ’, οὐ γὰρ αὐδᾶν ἔσθ’ ἃ μηδὲ δρᾶν καλόν, ὅπως τάχιστα πρὸς θεῶν ἔξω μέ που καλύψατ’, ἢ φονεύσατ’, ἢ θαλάσσιον ἐκρίψατ’, ἔνθα μήποτ’ εἰσόψεσθ’ ἔτι. ἴτ’, ἀξιώσατ’ ἀνδρὸς ἀθλίου θιγεῖν· πείθεσθε, μὴ δείσητε· τἀμὰ γὰρ κακὰ 1387 φαργμός Dindorf: φραγμός ΩΛ






ἂν ἐσχόμην Brunck: ἀνεσχόμην LKa ̣: ἠνεσχόμην Xr 1388 τὸ μὴ] τοῦ μὴ HVZc ἀποκλῇσαι Elmsley: –εῖσαι Ω 1389 ἦ Dac, Elmsley: ἦν Ω̣ 1393 ἦ Elmsley: ἦν Ω 1395 μ᾿ Zielin´ski 1401 ἆρά μου] ἄρ᾿ ἐμοῦ Brunck ἔτι DglXsrγρS: ὅταν rγρ γρ L Λ : ὅτι la: τι Elmsley 1402 ὗμιν Elmsley: ὑμὶν Ω 1405 ταὐτὸν] ταὐτὸ [Longinus]: ταὐτοῦ Jebb 1406 sic interp. Macleod 1409 οὐ γὰρ ΩΛ: οὐδέ γ᾿ Su καλόν] καλά St 1414 πείθεσθε ΩΛ: πί– Elmsley



οὐδεὶς οἷός τε πλὴν ἐμοῦ φέρειν βροτῶν. ΧΟ. ἀλλ’ ὧν ἐπαιτεῖς ἐς δέον πάρεσθ’ ὅδε Κρέων τὸ πράσσειν καὶ τὸ βουλεύειν, ἐπεὶ χώρας λέλειπται μοῦνος ἀντὶ σοῦ φύλαξ. ΟΙ. οἴμοι, τί δῆτα λέξομεν πρὸς τόνδ’ ἔπος; τίς μοι φανεῖται πίστις ἔνδικος; τὰ γὰρ πάρος πρὸς αὐτὸν πάντ’ ἐφηύρημαι κακός. ΚΡ. οὐχ ὡς γελαστής, Οἰδίπους, ἐλήλυθα, οὐδ’ ὡς ὀνειδιῶν τι τῶν πάρος κακῶν. ἀλλ’ εἰ τὰ θνητῶν μὴ καταισχύνεσθ’ ἔτι γένεθλα, τὴν γοῦν πάντα βόσκουσαν φλόγα αἰδεῖσθ’ ἄνακτος Ἡλίου, τοιόνδ’ ἄγος ἀκάλυπτον οὕτω δεικνύναι, τὸ μήτε γῆ μήτ’ ὄμβρος ἱερὸς μήτε φῶς προσδέξεται. ἀλλ’ ὡς τάχιστ’ ἐς οἶκον ἐσκομίζετε· τοῖς ἐν γένει γὰρ τἀγγενῆ μάλισθ᾿ ὁρᾶν μόνοις τ’ ἀκούειν εὐσεβῶς ἔχει κακά. ΟΙ. πρὸς θεῶν, ἐπείπερ ἐλπίδος μ’ ἀπέσπασας, ἄριστος ἐλθὼν πρὸς κάκιστον ἄνδρ’ ἐμέ, πιθοῦ τί μοι· πρὸς σοῦ γάρ, οὐδ’ ἐμοῦ, φράσω. ΚΡ. καὶ τοῦ με χρείας ὧδε λιπαρεῖς τυχεῖν; ΟΙ. ῥῖψόν με γῆς ἐκ τῆσδ’ ὅσον τάχισθ’, ὅπου θνητῶν φανοῦμαι μηδενὸς προσήγορος. ΚΡ. ἔδρασ’ ἂν εὖ τοῦτ’ ἴσθ’ ἄν, εἰ μὴ τοῦ θεοῦ πρώτιστ’ ἔχρῃζον ἐκμαθεῖν τί πρακτέον. ΟΙ. ἀλλ’ ἥ γ’ ἐκείνου πᾶσ’ ἐδηλώθη φάτις, τὸν πατροφόντην, τὸν ἀσεβῆ μ’ ἀπολλύναι. ΚΡ. οὕτως ἐλέχθη ταῦθ’· ὅμως δ’ ἵν’ ἕσταμεν χρείας ἄμεινον ἐκμαθεῖν τί δραστέον.







1415 post πλὴν add. γ᾿ Zr 1416 ἐς] εἰς AXrZr 1421 ἐφηύρημαι Elmsley: ἐφεύρημαι Ω 1422 οὐχ ADXrXs: οὔτ᾿ Lac: οὐ* Lpc: οὔθ᾿ KZrSu 1423 οὐδ᾿ LacADXrXs: οὔθ᾿ ΛKZrSu [Lpc] 1424–[1530] del. Boivin 1424 καταισχύνεσθ᾿ ἔτι] –εσθέ τι Elmsley 1428 προσδέξεται] προσδέρξεται Korais 1429 ἐς] εἰς KD ἐσκομίζετε] εἰσ– Aac? 1430 μάλισθ᾿] μόνοις θ᾿ Pflugk post Dobree 1437 φανοῦμαι] θανοῦμαι Meineke



ΟΙ. οὕτως ἄρ’ ἀνδρὸς ἀθλίου πεύσεσθ’ ὕπερ; ΚΡ. καὶ γὰρ σὺ νῦν γ’ ἂν τῷ θεῷ πίστιν φέροις. ΟΙ. καὶ σοί γ’ ἐπισκήπτω τε καὶ προτρέψομαι, τῆς μὲν κατ’ οἴκους αὐτὸς ὃν θέλεις τάφον θοῦ—καὶ γὰρ ὀρθῶς τῶν γε σῶν τελεῖς ὕπερ— ἐμοῦ δὲ μήποτ’ ἀξιωθήτω τόδε πατρῷον ἄστυ ζῶντος οἰκητοῦ τυχεῖν, ἀλλ’ ἔα με ναίειν ὄρεσιν, ἔνθα κλῄζεται οὑμὸς Κιθαιρὼν οὗτος, ὃν μήτηρ τέ μοι πατήρ τ’ ἐθέσθην ζῶντι κύριον τάφον, ἵν’ ἐξ ἐκείνων οἵ μ’ ἀπωλλύτην θάνω. καίτοι τοσοῦτόν γ’ οἶδα, μήτε μ’ ἂν νόσον μήτ’ ἄλλο πέρσαι μηδέν· οὐ γὰρ ἄν ποτε θνῄσκων ἐσώθην, μὴ ’πί τῳ δεινῷ κακῷ. ἀλλ’ ἡ μὲν ἡμῶν μοῖρ’, ὅποιπερ εἶσ’, ἴτω· παίδων δὲ τῶν μὲν ἀρσένων μή μοι, Κρέων, προσθῇ μέριμναν· ἄνδρες εἰσίν, ὥστε μὴ σπάνιν ποτὲ σχεῖν, ἔνθ’ ἂν ὦσι, τοῦ βίου· ταῖν δ’ ἀθλίαιν οἰκτραῖν τε παρθένοιν ἐμαῖν, αἷν οὔποθ’ ἡμὴ χωρὶς ἐστάθη βορᾶς τράπεζ’ ἄνευ τοῦδ’ ἀνδρός, ἀλλ’ ὅσων ἐγὼ ψαύοιμι, πάντων τώδ’ ἀεὶ μετειχέτην· αἷν μοι μέλεσθαι· καὶ μάλιστα μὲν χεροῖν ψαῦσαί μ’ ἔασον κἀποκλαύσασθαι κακά. ἴθ’ ὦναξ, ἴθ’ ὦ γονῇ γενναῖε. χερσί τἂν θιγὼν δοκοῖμ’ ἔχειν σφας, ὥσπερ ἡνίκ’ ἔβλεπον. τί φημι;







1445 νῦν γ᾿ ἂν K: γ᾿ ἂν νῦν O: νῦν τἂν La 1446 τε ADXrXs: σε V: om. O: γε lZr προτρέψομαι K1pcADXrXs: προτρέπομαι Kac: προστρέψομαι LΛ? Zr: προστρέπομαι CNacV 1453 ζῶντι Pa, Reiske, Pierson: ζῶντε ΩΛ 1454 ἀπωλλύτην AXrXs1pcZr: ἀπο– lDXsac 1455 μ᾿ ἂν] ἔμ᾿ ἂν AXrZr: ἐμὰν D 1458 ὅποιπερ lDXr: ὅπηπερ AXsZr: ὅπουπερ C 1459 Κρέων LΛ: –ον Ka 1460 προσθῇ lAXs: πρόσθει Gt: πρόσθου GsRO: προὔθη Pa: προθῇ Elmsley 1465 τώδ᾿ Schneidewin: τῶνδ᾿ Ω 1466 αἷν ΩΛ: ταῖν Zr, Heath 1469 γονῇ] γονὴν Musgrave τἂν LsKa ̣: δ᾿ ἂν LΛZr 1470 ἔχειν] ἰδεῖν Blaydes



οὐ δὴ κλύω που πρὸς θεῶν τοῖν μοι φίλοιν δακρυρροούντοιν, καί μ’ ἐποικτίρας Κρέων ἔπεμψέ μοι τὰ φίλτατ’ ἐκγόνοιν ἐμοῖν; λέγω τι; ΚΡ. λέγεις· ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμ’ ὁ πορσύνας τάδε, γνοὺς τὴν παροῦσαν τέρψιν ἥ σ’ εἶχεν πάλαι. ΟΙ. ἀλλ’ εὐτυχοίης, καί σε τῆσδε τῆς ὁδοῦ δαίμων ἄμεινον ἢ ’μὲ φρουρήσας τύχοι. ὦ τέκνα, ποῦ ποτ’ ἐστέ; δεῦρ’ ἴτ’, ἔλθετε ὡς τὰς ἀδελφὰς τάσδε τὰς ἐμὰς χέρας, αἳ τοῦ φυτουργοῦ πατρὸς ὗμιν ὧδ’ ὁρᾶν τὰ πρόσθε λαμπρὰ προὐξένησαν ὄμματα· ὃς ὗμιν, ὦ τέκν’, οὔθ’ ὁρῶν οὔθ’ ἱστορῶν πατὴρ ἐφάνθην ἔνθεν αὐτὸς ἠρόθην. καὶ σφὼ δακρύω—προσβλέπειν γὰρ οὐ σθένω— νοούμενος τὰ πικρὰ τοῦ λοιποῦ βίου, οἷον βιῶναι σφὼ πρὸς ἀνθρώπων χρεών. ποίας γὰρ ἀστῶν ἥξετ’ εἰς ὁμιλίας, ποίας δ’ ἐορτάς, ἔνθεν οὐ κεκλαυμέναι πρὸς οἶκον ἵξεσθ’ ἀντὶ τῆς θεωρίας; ἀλλ’ ἡνίκ’ ἂν δὴ πρὸς γάμων ἥκητ’ ἀκμάς, τίς οὗτος ἔσται, τίς παραρρίψει, τέκνα, τοιαῦτ’ ὀνείδη λαμβάνων, ἃ †τοῖς ἐμοῖς† γονεῦσιν ἔσται σφῷν θ’ ὁμοῦ δηλήματα; τί γὰρ κακῶν ἄπεστι; τὸν πατέρα πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἔπεφνε· τὴν τεκοῦσαν ἤροσεν,

1473 ἐποικτίρας Nauck: ἐποικτείρας ΩΛ






1474 ἐκγόνοιν ZZn, Valckenaer: ἐκγόνων G2γρ: ἐγκόνοιν Xr: ἐν γόνοιν K: ἐγγόνοιν LΛa ̣ 1477 ἥ σ᾿ εἶχεν {Lac} Λ: ἣν εἶχες {Lpc}a: ἧς εἶχες H: ἥ σ᾿ εἶχε K: ἥ σ᾿ ἔχει Zg 1480 ἴτ᾿] om. LΛ 1481 ὡς ΩΛ: εἰς Ks, Elmsley 1482 ὗμιν Elmsley: ὑμὶν Ω 1484 ὗμιν Elmsley: ὑμίν Ω 1485 πατὴρ ΩΛ: ἀροτὴρ Van Herwerden ἔνθεν αὐτὸς] inverso ordine Dawe 1487 πικρὰ . . . λοιποῦ K: λοιπὰ . . . πικροῦ La 1490 ἐορτάς scripsi post West: ἑορτάς Ω 1491 ἵξεσθ᾿ a: ἥξεθ᾿ {Lac}: ἥξεσθ᾿ (Λ)K 1492 ἥκητ᾿ ΩΛ: ἵκητ᾿ KDXrXsZr 1493 ἔσται, τίς] ἐστιν ὃς Elmsley 1494 λαμβάνων ΩΛ: –ειν Blaydes τοῖς ἐμοῖς ΩΛ: τοῖσί τε Van Herwerden 1495 θ᾿ LΛa: δ᾿ K



ὅθεν περ αὐτὸς ἐσπάρη, κἀκ τῶν ἴσων ἐκτήσαθ’ ὑμᾶς ὧνπερ αὐτὸς ἐξέφυ. τοιαῦτ’ ὀνειδιεῖσθε. κᾆτα τίς γαμεῖ; 1500 οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδείς, ὦ τέκν’, ἀλλὰ δηλαδὴ χέρσους φθαρῆναι κἀγάμους ὑμᾶς χρεών. ὦ παῖ Μενοικέως, ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ μόνος πατὴρ ταύταιν λέλειψαι, νὼ γάρ, ὣ ’φυτεύσαμεν, ὀλώλαμεν δύ’ ὄντε, μή σφε †παρίδῃς† 1505 πτωχὰς ἀνάνδρους ἐγγενεῖς ἀλωμένας, μηδ’ ἐξισώσῃς τάσδε τοῖς ἐμοῖς κακοῖς. ἀλλ’ οἴκτισόν σφας, ὧδε τηλικάσδ’ ὁρῶν πάντων ἐρήμους, πλὴν ὅσον τὸ σὸν μέρος. ξύννευσον, ὦ γενναῖε, σῇ ψαύσας χερί. 1510 σφῷν δ’, ὦ τέκν’, εἰ μὲν εἰχέτην ἤδη φρένας, πόλλ’ ἂν παρῄνουν· νῦν δὲ τοῦτ’ εὔχεσθέ μοι, οὗ καιρὸς ἀεὶ ζῆν, βίου δὲ λῴονος ὑμᾶς κυρῆσαι τοῦ φυτεύσαντος πατρός. ΚΡ.ἅλις ἵν’ ἐξήκεις δακρύων· ἀλλ’ ἴθι στέγης ἔσω. 1515 ΟΙ. πειστέον, κεἰ μηδὲν ἡδύ. Κρ. πάντα γὰρ καιρῷ καλά. ΟΙ. οἶσθ’ ἐφ’ οἷς οὖν εἶμι; Κρ. λέξεις, καὶ τότ’ εἴσομαι κλυών. ΟΙ. γῆς μ’ ὅπως πέμψεις ἄποικον. Κρ. τοῦ θεοῦ μ’ αἰτεῖς δόσιν. ΟΙ. ἀλλὰ θεοῖς γ’ ἔχθιστος ἥκω. Κρ. τοιγαροῦν τεύξῃ τάχα. ΟΙ. φῂς τάδ’ οὖν; Κρ. ἃ μὴ φρονῶ γὰρ οὐ φιλῶ λέγειν μάτην. ΟΙ. ἄπαγέ νύν μ’ ἐντεῦθεν ἤδη. Κρ. στεῖχέ νυν, τέκνων δ’ ἀφοῦ. ΟΙ.μηδαμῶς ταύτας γ’ ἕλῃ μου. Κρ. πάντα μὴ βούλου κρατεῖν· καὶ γὰρ ἁκράτησας οὔ σοι τῷ βίῳ ξυνέσπετο.

1502 χέρσους] χήρους r

1505 παρίδῃς ΩΛ: πάτερ, ἴδῃς Jackson: περιίδῃς Scaliger 1506 ἐγγενεῖς Elmsley 1512 μοι lAXsZr: με DXr: ἐμὲ Van Deventer 1513 ἀεὶ ΩΛ: ᾖ Meineke: ἐᾷ Dindorf βίου HO: τοῦ βίου ΩΛ 1515–23 del. Van Deventer 1517 οὖν] νῦν editio Londinensis a. 1747 εἶμι Heath: εἰμί Ω κλυών West: κλύων 1518 πέμψεις LΛADXrZr: –ῃς KXr1sXs ἄποικον ArγρDrγρXrrγρ: ἀπ᾿ οἴκων ΩΛ μ᾿ αἰτεῖς] μενεῖς K 1519 γ᾿] om. Zr 1522 μου] με Elmsley



[ΧΟ. ὦ πάτρας Θήβης ἔνοικοι, λεύσσετ’, Οἰδίπους ὅδε, ὃς τὰ κλείν’ αἰνίγματ’ ᾔδει καὶ κράτιστος ἦν ἀνήρ, ὅστις οὐ ζήλῳ πολιτῶν καὶ τύχαις ἐπιβλέπων εἰς ὅσον κλύδωνα δεινῆς συμφορᾶς ἐλήλυθεν. ὥστε θνητὸν ὄντ’ ἐκείνην τὴν τελευταίαν ἰδεῖν ἡμέραν ἐπισκοποῦντα μηδέν’ ὀλβίζειν πρὶν ἂν τέρμα τοῦ βίου περάσῃ μηδὲν ἀλγεινὸν παθών.] [1524] λεύσσετ᾿ AXs: λεύσετ᾿ LKDXrZr



[1525] ᾔδει LsKa: ᾔδη Lt [1526] ὅστις] οὗ τίς Martin καὶ] ταῖς Canter ἐπιβλέπων] ἐπέβλεπεν Musgrave [1528] ἰδεῖν] ἔδει Stanley [1529] μηδέν᾿ . . . ἂν] πάντα προσδοκᾶν ἕως ἂν LrγρΛγρ



COMMENTARY ΟΙΔΙΠΟΥΣ: The play that we know as Oedipus the King, Oedipus Tyrannus, or Oedipus Rex, entitled Οἰδίπους Τύραννος in our manuscripts, was known to Sophocles and his contemporaries, and to many later in antiquity, simply as Oedipus. Thus Aristotle (Poetics 1452a24 etc.), whose practice is followed by Athenaeus centuries later (7.276a). The hypothesis to Oedipus at Colonus by Sallustius (mid-to-late-fourth century ad) calls Oedipus the King ‘the other Oedipus’, a common type of designation in discussions of homonymous plays (see Butrica (2001) 56–7), and one which indicates that Sallustius could refer to each play simply as Oedipus. The need for specific names for homonymous plays by the same author will have been prompted by reperformances and by the book trade. Both were under way already in the fifth century, and became even more important in the fourth (for reperformances see Finglass (2015c)). A deme putting on a production of Sophocles’ Oedipus or Philoctetes may have wanted to inform potential spectators exactly which play was to be reperformed; purchasers of books, too, will have needed to know what they were getting (see Aj. n. on title, p. 135). Our play may have acquired a sobriquet as early as the first performance of the drama that we know as Oedipus at Colonus in 401. Some members of the audience in their conversations before or after the performance presumably mentioned the earlier Oedipus, and ὁ πρότερος Οἰδίπους would have been a designation natural enough. That title is attested in an anonymous hypothesis (not to be attributed to Dicaearchus, and possibly to be attributed to Sallustius; see Verhasselt (2015) 612–14, 615–17), which states that it was given on account of the relative dating of the plays and their subject matter (διὰ τοὺς χρόνους τῶν διδασκαλιῶν καὶ διὰ τὰ πράγματα). The same hypothesis gives different explanations of the surtitle familiar today, Τύραννος: either to distinguish the play from Oedipus at Colonus, or because the play was the outstanding example of Sophoclean poetry (χαριέντως δὲ Τύραννον ἅπαντες αὐτὸν ἐπιγράφουσιν, ὡς ἐξέχοντα πάσης τῆς Σοφοκλέους ποιήσεως). The former (also attested in another, shorter hypothesis) was the original reason for the addition of the sobriquet; the latter reason is an interesting piece of ancient literary criticism, which may even



have helped that title win out over others, now forgotten. The choice of Τύραννος is probably related to the appearance of this word alongside Oedipus’ name twice in the play (514 τὸν τύραννον Οἰδίπουν, 925 τοῦ τυράννου . . . Οἰδίπου), and to the frequency elsewhere of words on the τύρανν- stem (380, 408, 535, 541, 588, 592, 799, 873/4, 939, 1043, 1095; for the tone see 873/4–878/9n.); βασιλεύς, by contrast, occurs only twice, once in association with Oedipus (257, 1201). It was natural for the surtitle to focus on Oedipus’ status as ruler, since this is important within the drama and also forms an effective contrast with the blind beggar of the later Oedipus. But other possibilities were available: Oedipus at Thebes, for example. The intelligent discussion in a second hypothesis of how the term τύραννος is attested in the time of Archilochus, but not in Homer or Hesiod, suggests a piece of ancient, perhaps Alexandrian, scholarship; that would indicate a relatively early date for the surtitle. Other attestations are few and late. Epictetus’ comment that the actor Polus played τὸν τύραννον Οἰδίποδα as well as τὸν ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ ἀλήτην καὶ πτωχόν (fr. 11 Schenkl) may reflect knowledge of the extended titles. Firm attestations in datable sources are not found until the fifth century ad, in Stobaeus and Hesychius, but these authors will have drawn on earlier work.

PROLOGUE (1–150) 1–150 The play opens with a suppliant tableau. The central orchestra altar is surrounded on every side by children sitting on its steps (a characteristic suppliant posture: Naiden (2006) 36–41, Griffin (2007) 194–6, Aj. 1173–5n.) and clutching suppliant branches (cf. Aesch. Suppl. 481–5, Naiden (2006) 56–7). An old man, dressed in robes that identify him as a priest, sits at the central altar or stands near by; if he is sitting, he should stand when he addresses Oedipus at 14. The reasons for positing this set of personnel are as follows. Oedipus addresses the suppliants as τέκνα (1, 6) and παῖδες (58, 142), emphasising their youth by calling them Κάδμου τοῦ πάλαι νέα τροφή (‘ancient Cadmus’ latest offspring’); he addresses the Priest as ὦ γεραιέ (9), declaring that he is fit to speak on behalf of the group. The Priest, too, calls his fellow-suppliants παῖδες (32, 147). This suggests a group of children accompanied by a single priest. If there were adult men, or old men (apart from the Priest),


C O M M E N T A R Y : 1– 3

among the suppliants, it would be odd for the group as a whole to be addressed as παῖδες; and the readiness with which Oedipus turns to the Priest as spokesman suggests that he is the only other adult present. The Priest’s description of the suppliants (15–19) is marred by probable corruption, but change of a single letter restores sense to the passage and consistency with the picture of the crowd established by the other data (18–19n.). For a discussion of the supplication scene and its importance in the play as a whole see the Introduction, pp. 41–8. 1–3 Oedipus enters from the skênê, with attendants. ὦ τέκνα, Κάδμου τοῦ πάλαι νέα τροφή, | τίνας ποθ’ ἕδρας τάσδε μοι θοάζετε | ἱκτηρίοις κλάδοισιν ἐξεστεμμένοι; ‘Children, ancient Cadmus’ latest offspring, why ever are you sitting like this before me, wreathed in suppliant branches?’ The plain, homely address ὦ τέκνα (cf. 6; used by speakers other than the addressee’s parents ‘only when they want to indicate a special bond with the addressee’, as Dickey (1996) 69 notes), demonstrating from the outset Oedipus’ tender paternal concern for the children, and by extension for the Theban people (cf. Brock (2013) 111–12 with 129 n. 34, citing Near Eastern parallels), is combined with a more elaborate vocative phrase that emphasises their ancient dignity. Most Thebans were not descended from Cadmus (cf. the distinction drawn between his lineage and the city more generally at Stes. fr. 97.228–9 F. γένος τε καὶ ἄστυ . . . | Κάδμου ἄνακτος), but it is legitimate to speak of the city’s founder as a kind of universal father (cf. 29). The apparently foreign-born Oedipus is not counted a descendant of Cadmus even by this looser definition; but at the play’s end this line will apply to him all too literally. The people of Thebes are regularly called ‘Cadmeians’, not ‘Thebans’, in tragedy (cf. 144, 223, 273, 1288), although the city can be called ‘Thebes’ (153, 1203, 1380; contrast 29, 35) and individuals or groups within it can be referred to as ‘Theban’ (453; thus Sommerstein (1989) 432–4). For the adverb πάλαι modifying a substantive accompanied by the article cf. 268, 1043, Eur. Ion 1429, Phoen. 342 (coni.), Braswell on Pind. P. 4.258–9(b). τροφή ‘offspring’ is poetic (cf. fr. 314.232 TrGF θηρὸς εὐναί[ου] τ ̣ρο ̣[φ]ῆς, Eur. Cycl. 189 μηκάδων ἀρνῶν τροφαί). The question in line 2 literally means ‘what is this sitting, what does it amount to?’; cf. 151–3, El. 328–9 τίνα . . . τήνδε . . . φωνεῖς . . . φάτιν;, Diggle (1981a) 42. θοάζω ‘sit’ is attested at Aesch. Suppl. 595–6 ὑπ’ ἀρχᾷ δ’ οὔτινος θοάζων | τὸ μεῖον κρεισσόνων κρατύνει (pace FJ/W) and Emped. 31 B 3.8 D–K (i 310.7) σοφίης ἐπ᾿ ἄκροισι θοάζειν; in Euripides the word occurs several times, always meaning ‘speed’ (whether transitive or intransitive; see FJ/W). ‘Speed’ suits derivation


CO MMENT ARY: 4– 8 from θοός, ‘sit’ suggests a relationship with θᾶκος. For the verb of sitting with ἕδρα as the object cf. Eur. Hcld. 55 καθῆσθαι τήνδ’ ἕδραν, Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 512–13. The suppliant branches (1–150n.) observed by Oedipus provide a partial answer to his question, but the reason for the supplication remains unclear. ἱκτ– (rather than ἱκετ–) is a characteristically tragic form (cf. 185/6, Aj. 1171–2n.). ἐκστέφω (cf. 19) should mean ‘deck with garlands’, but although ἐξεστεμμένοι qualifies the suppliants, they will hardly have been wearing the garlands themselves. The expression as a whole must rather be taken as a compendium for ‘holding garlanded suppliant branches’; that is, branches entwined with wool (cf. 913, Aesch. Suppl. 21–2 σὺν τοῖσδ’ ἱκετῶν ἐγχειριδίοις ἐριοστέπτοισι [anon.: ἱερο– cod.] κλάδοισιν with FJ/W, Garvie on Cho. 1035). 4–5 πόλις δ’ ὁμοῦ μὲν θυμιαμάτων γέμει, | ὁμοῦ δὲ παιώνων τε καὶ στεναγμάτων· ‘The city is full, both of incense and of paeans and groaning.’ Repetition of ὁμοῦ ‘stresses the antithesis’ (Arnott on Alexis fr. 163.1–2 PCG), here between the smell of the incense and the sound of the people; that sound includes both prayers to Apollo and lamentation (juxtaposed as at 187). The reference to paeans prepares for the parodos, which is probably to be identified as a paean (151–215n.). According to Swift (2010) 75, ‘the juxtaposition between the paian and the “groans” of the suffering Thebans . . . strikes an inauspicious note, suggesting a connection between paianes and mourning which is usually avoided’; but the apotropaic paean was familiar enough (cf. 154, Xen. Hell. 4.7.4, where the Spartans sing τὸν περὶ τὸν Ποσειδῶ παιᾶνα after an earthquake, Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 1036, Käppel (1992) 44–5, I. Rutherford (2001) 36–8, and the parodos to this play). παιώνων is restored by Ll-J/W (apparatus) for manuscript παιάνων. The Attic form is παιών, not παιάν (see the works cited by I. Rutherford (2001) 11 n. 2), and that seems to have been the preferred form in Sophoclean lyric, as we learn from 187, where it is attested in Π2 (elsewhere an accurate papyrus), as well as in LK and the scholia, with παιάν only in a; Aeschylean lyric seems to have followed the same pattern (see Aesch. Ag. 247 with West’s Teubner, p. xlix and West (1999b) 54, 60). Lyric attestations with alpha (e.g. 154) are less significant, since an Attic dialectal form such as παιών would tend to be corrupted into the koinê form παιάν, and not the reverse. If tragic lyric preferred the Attic form, a fortiori we should expect it in spoken sections too. 6–8 ἁγὼ δικαιῶν μὴ παρ’ ἀγγέλων, τέκνα, | ἄλλων ἀκούειν αὐτὸς ὧδ’ ἐλήλυθα, | ὁ πᾶσι κλεινὸς Οἰδίπους καλούμενος. ‘Not thinking it right, my children, to hear these things from other messengers, I have come


COMMENTARY: 9 –1 1 here myself, Oedipus famous in the sight of all, as I am called.’ Oedipus’ concern for his people (emphasised by repetition of the tender address τέκνα: 1–3n.) leads him to take the initiative in asking why they are distressed. Autopsy was considered the most reliable method of acquiring information (El. 761–3n.), and so Oedipus comes in person; cf. 704, Aesch. Pers. 266 καὶ μὴν παρών γε κοὐ λόγους ἄλλων κλύων with Garvie, Eur. Or. 532–3, [Hes.] fr. 199.3 M–W εἶδος οὔ τι ἰδών, ἀλλ᾿ ἄλλων μῦθον ἀκούων, Euangelus fr. 1.4 PCG, Hdt. 2.104.1 νοήσας δὲ πρότερον αὐτὸς ἢ ἀκούσας ἄλλων λέγω, Pearson (1917) 60, Diggle (1973) 262 n. 60 = (1994) 81 n. 60, (1981a) 17–18. The expression παρ’ ἀγγέλων . . . ἄλλων, literally ‘from other messengers’, is strictly illogical (hence ἐμῶν coni. Meineke (1863) 219–20, with misplaced emphasis in the possessive pronoun), but ἄλλος in the rejected alternative is idiomatic in such expressions (cf. the passages just cited, adding Wilkins on Eur. Hcld. 847–8, Arnott on Alexis fr. 290.2 PCG); the adjective is virtually in apposition to its noun (‘from messengers, other people’). The self-description that follows is far from gratuitous (so rightly Schneidewin1); Oedipus encourages his people by reminding them of his fame, and by implication the resourcefulness that lies behind it. But the line, ‘an emphatic, ringing “I”, indissoluble from his name’ (Gould (1996) 222 = (2001) 386, comparing 397), also ‘show[s] the audience right at the beginning of the play what Oedipus thought of himself. He is a man of supreme confidence in his own abilities’ (Renehan (1992) 358; cf. Aj. 98n., adding R. Rutherford (2012) 95n. 79, and contrast 1364/5–1366n.). The chorus reference to Oedipus’ glory at 1207 may encourage recollection of this passage (thus J. Mossman ap. Ll-J/W, So.), as Oedipus there achieves a terrifying notoriety that cancels out his earlier fame. For the dative of judgment πᾶσι κλεινός cf. 40, 616, Hom. Od. 12.70 Ἀργὼ πασιμέλουσα, K–G i 421–2; for the same meaning with ἐν plus dative see 676–7n. Deleting the line (thus Markland (1758–76); for a similar, likelier proposed interpolation cf. Eur. Tro. 862–3) holds no attraction. Wunder2 too removed it on the grounds that no other Sophoclean prologue-speaker identifies himself by name (prob. Reeve (1970) 286–8, Barrett (2007) 372), and that the line is excessively boastful. But our sample of plays is too small to turn the former tendency into a rule; and as for alleged boastfulness, we cannot assume that modern European attitudes to modesty prevailed in the ancient world (‘frank acknowledgement of one’s own achievements was often socially acceptable’: Aj. 421–6n., with reference to epic). 9–11 ἀλλ’, ὦ γεραιέ, φράζ’, ἐπεὶ πρέπων ἔφυς | πρὸ τῶνδε φωνεῖν, τίνι τρόπῳ καθέστατε, | δείσαντες ἢ στέρξαντες; ‘Come, tell me, old man,


COMMENTARY: 11– 13 since it is proper for you to speak on behalf of these people, in what state are you – one of fear, or of desire?’ For ἔφυς with a participle (‘are by nature’, by virtue of being an old man and a priest) cf. 587–8, Phil. 1052, Ant. 501. In πρὸ τῶνδε the preposition denotes ‘in front of’ and thus ‘on behalf of’, as at OC 811 ἐρῶ γὰρ καὶ πρὸ τῶνδε (Oedipus speaking to Creon on behalf of the chorus), Hdt. 8.26.1 εἷς δέ τις πρὸ πάντων ἦν ὁ εἰρωτῶν αὐτοὺς ταῦτα (for this sense of πρό in general cf. 134, Davies on Tr. 504). The Priest’s location on stage, perhaps between Oedipus and the altar where the suppliants are gathered, will reflect his status as the group’s spokesman, just as Oedipus in the OC passage will be interposed between Creon and the chorus. στέργω covers a wide semantic range, from love to acquiescence (Finglass (2009d) 86); here desire (for whatever help Oedipus can offer) is at issue, just as at OC 1093/4–1095, where the chorus, after singing of Apollo and Artemis, declare στέργω διπλᾶς ἀρωγὰς | μολεῖν γᾷ τᾷδε καὶ πολίταις. The idea that the group is merely acquiescing in suffering, by contrast, would be inconsistent with the existence of the supplication, which implies a desire for an improvement in their situation (so rightly Jebb). στέργοντες (coni. DaweC1, text) implies corruption into the verbal aspect of the preceding participle, but the participle ‘may be aorist simply because δείσαντες has by its nature necessarily to be so’ (Dawe, STS i 205; for the aorist participle δείσας used as if it were a present see Dawe’s commentary). The variant στέξαντες in the a group must mean ‘enduring’, a sense attested for στέγω only in later Greek (LSJ9 s.v. A 3); στέρξαντες is misinterpreted as ἤδη πεπονθότες in the scholia (p. 162.20 Papageorgius) and could have been changed at a later stage in the transmission to give a verb with this sense. 11–13 ὡς θέλοντος ἂν | ἐμοῦ προσαρκεῖν πᾶν· δυσάλγητος γὰρ ἂν | εἴην τοιάνδε μὴ οὐ κατοικτίρων ἕδραν. ‘since I want to give every form of assistance. For I would be callous if I did not feel pity at such a supplication.’ The genitive absolute, accompanied by ὡς without change to the sense (Aj. 281n.), depends on φράζε understood from 9; understanding the imperative is possible since ὡς can stand for ἴσθι ὡς (Aj. 39n.). δυσάλγητος is literally ‘incapable of feeling pain’, as at fr. 952 TrGF ὅστις γὰρ ἐν κακοῖσιν ἱμείρει βίου, | ἢ δειλός ἐστιν ἢ δυσάλγητος φρένας (cf. ἀνάλγητος at Aj. 946, 1333); it occurs in an unknown context at Eupol. fr. 446 PCG, and δυσαλγής means ‘painful’ at Aesch. Ag. 1165. Oedipus’ pity for the suppliants begins a chain of events that will demonstrate his capability of experiencing the most bitter pain imaginable (see Introduction, pp. 41–51). κατοικτίρων (thus Nauck8 for manuscript –είρων, to give the orthography attested in classical Attic inscriptions; see Threatte ii 648) takes


C OM M E N TAR Y : 14– 17 μή because it is conditional; a participle or infinitive with this negative takes οὐ in addition if the main verb of the sentence is itself negative (cf. 220–1, 283, 1065, 1089/90–1092, 1232–3, K–G ιι 214 Anm. 8, Moorhouse (1959) 62), and in this case δυσάλγητος counts as a virtual negative. Unfamiliarity with the construction, perhaps accompanied by failure to realise that μὴ οὐ could scan as a single syllable, led to the omission of οὐ in a few witnesses (a common error: Aj. 96n.). 14–57 The Priest begins by identifying the suppliants, both those present and those elsewhere in Thebes (14–21). He describes the terrible state of the city (22–30) before appealing to Oedipus, whose unrivalled record of helping the Thebans in their distress he praises (31–46); he ends by pointing out that Oedipus’ reputation will be tarnished if the city falls (47–53), and that being a ruler requires subjects to govern (54–7). The speech is an effective piece of rhetoric designed to move its hearer. The news that suppliants have occupied all the holy sites of Thebes emphasises the extent of the present peril; that peril is then described in vivid language. When the Priest turns to Oedipus, he begins with a section of pure praise before shifting to the warning, delicately expressed, that praise will no longer be his unless he acts. Such words convey the seriousness of the situation, one so dire that even the respectful Priest must speak freely to his king; they contain in addition a proleptic irony, in that it is precisely Oedipus’ eagerness to help his people that will lead to the obliteration of his present glory. The rising emotion across the speech is indicated by intensification of the vocatives (14, 40, 45). From the audience’s point of view, the Priest’s words indicate the central position that Oedipus occupies in the political life of the city and in the hearts of its citizens; simultaneously, they show just how far he has to fall. 14–17 ἀλλ’, ὦ κρατύνων Οἰδίπους χώρας ἐμῆς, | ὁρᾷς μὲν ἡμᾶς ἡλίκοι προσήμεθα | βωμοῖσι τοῖς σοῖς, οἱ μὲν οὐδέπω μακρὰν | πτέσθαι σθένοντες, οἱ δὲ σὺν γήρᾳ βαρεῖς· ‘Oedipus, ruler of my land, you see how old we are who are sitting at your altars, some not yet strong enough to fly far, others heavy with old age.’ ἀλλά introduces speeches when ‘a person asked to speak conveys his readiness to speak by speaking: particularly when the answer is to be a long and elaborate one, the speaker winds himself up, as it were’ (Denniston 18, comparing e.g. Phil. 232). The vocative phrase surrounding Oedipus’ name dignifies the address and conveys the Priest’s respect; cf. Eur. Phoen. 88 ὦ κλεινὸν οἴκοις Ἀντιγόνη θάλος πατρί with Mastronarde. κρατύνω ‘rule’ is largely tragic and exclusively poetic (LSJ9 s.v. ii 1), with the participle appearing at the


COMMENTARY: 14– 17 start of addresses to kings at Eur. Bacch. 660, Tr. Adesp. fr. 668.11 TrGF; καρτύνομαι ‘strengthen’ appears in epic, and κρατύνω, κρατύνομαι have the same sense in classical prose. The Priest begins by emphasising not the number, but the age of the suppliants (ἡλίκοι); his polar expression including young and old suggests the universality of the city’s appeal to its leader and draws attention to two groups within it that especially need his protection (cf. Iolaus’ words at Eur. Hcld. 39–44, again emphasising that a supplication consists of young and old). The brief metaphor in πτέσθαι equating the children to chicks emphasises their vulnerability; cf. ibid. 238–9 (Demophon to Iolaus, giving the reasons why he has agreed to his supplication) τὸ μὲν μέγιστον Ζεύς, ἐφ’ οὗ σὺ βώμιος | θακεῖς νεοσσῶν τήνδ’ ἔχων πανήγυριν, Her. 70–2, Parker on Alc. 401–3, Diggle on Theophr. Char. 2.6, the Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe (nineteenth century) B 235 (p. 132 Allen), with the note in Parkinson’s translation, p. 50n. 63, ‘the description of his mature children as chicks is tender’ (his italics). For the altars see 1–150n.; σοῖς means ‘belonging to you’, but may additionally signify ‘in honour of you’, given the king’s near-divine status (so rightly Dawe). Oedipus’ implicit acceptance of the group as personal suppliants contrasts with the attitude of Aeschylus’ Pelasgus, who emphasises that the chorus are suppliants of the state as a whole rather than of him personally (Suppl. 365–9; cf. Konstan (2005) 61). μέν corresponds to δέ in 19. The bare feminine adjective μακράν denotes distance, just as the same idiom can denote time (cf. 220, Lobeck (1837) 363, Aj. 208–9n.). The vocalism of πτέσθαι is unexpected since everywhere else in tragedy the aorist stem is πτα– (including the only other tragic occurrence of the infinitive, Eur. Med. 1 διάπτασθαι; cf. Olson on Ar. Ach. 865–6), and as a result Elmsley (1805/6 edn) writes πτάσθαι. But Sophocles may have been influenced by the usage of Homer, who has a single instance of ἐπιπτέσθαι (Il. 4.126) alongside aorists in πτα–; in comedy, too, both forms are well attested (Dunbar on Ar. Av. 46–8). The plural expression introduced by οἱ δέ denotes a single individual (pace e.g. Konstan (2013) 69, who argues that the phrase indicates ‘children on one side, aged men on the other’); the construction seems influenced by the preceding ἡλίκοι. For βαρύς ‘heavy’ of old age cf. Aj. 1017–18n., Eur. Her. 119–20 βαρὺ . . . κῶλον, Ar. Ach. 220 τὸ σκέλος βαρύνεται. For σύν with the dative denoting causal attendant circumstances cf. OC 1663–4 σὺν νόσοις | ἀλγεινός, Moorhouse 126. The notion of old age as something that accompanies a person recurs at OC 7–8 στέργειν γὰρ αἱ πάθαι με χὠ χρόνος ξυνὼν | μακρὸς διδάσκει; for related metaphors see Braswell (1980) 215–16.


C OM M E N TAR Y : 18– 21 18–19 ἱερεὺς ἐγὼ μὲν Ζηνός, οἵδε τ’ ᾐθέων | λεκτοί· ‘I am a priest of Zeus, and these others are chosen men from the young.’ ἱερεύς is owed to Bentley (pre-1742) 246; O’s gloss ἱερεὺς ὑπάρχων could be a trace of the correct reading (for possible instances of glosses preserving the truth cf. 722, 772, 817, 1301, 1401, Aj. 146n.). Manuscript ἱερεῖς (itself in need of emendation to ἱερῆς, as printed by Elmsley, 1805/6 edn, to give correct orthography: Aj. 188–90n.) would be a clumsy addition to what had preceded, turning the neat antithesis between young and old into a less effective one between young people and old priests. The corruption (which involves only one letter) may have been encouraged by a feeling that a new sense unit must begin with ἐγώ so that μέν could come in its expected second place. Instead of ἐγὼ μέν Van Herwerden (p. 81) suggests ἐγώ εἰμι, with synizesis; at Phil. 585 the manuscripts are split between these two readings, and the latter is probably right (thus Dawe (1999b) 418 = (2007) 267), and synizesis has caused textual problems at 332 and 1002. But since in this instance the manuscripts are unanimous and the text makes sense, the synizesis remains no more than an enticing conjecture. By reinterpreting the paradosis to give οἵδε τ᾿, Erfurdt1a (text) rids us of the illicit ‘epic’ τε in the majority reading οἱ δέ τ᾿ (further corrupted in other manuscripts to οἱ δ᾿) and the semantically problematic ἔτι in R’s οἵδ᾿ ἔτ᾿. The demonstrative is itself attractive since it could be accompanied by the Priest indicating the young men to Oedipus. For manuscript errors involving word division cf. 966, Aj. 177–8n. ᾐθέων is Bentley’s reinterpretation of manuscript ἠϊθέων, the epic form, unmetrical here; a similar change is required at Eur. Phoen. [945]. The term (which here refers to the children) is used in an expression denoting both young and old at Hom. Od. 11.38 νύμφαι τ’ ἠΐθεοί τε πολύτλητοί τε γέροντες; it occurs in lyric and prose as well as epic. The news that the children present were specially selected hints at the planning that has gone into this supplication, and thus at the extent of the city’s plight. 19–21 τὸ δ’ ἄλλο φῦλον ἐξεστεμμένον | ἀγοραῖσι θακεῖ, πρός τε Παλλάδος διπλοῖς | ναοῖς, ἐφ’ Ἱσμηνοῦ τε μαντείᾳ σποδῷ. ‘The rest of the people, with their suppliant branches, sit in the agoras, by the two temples of Pallas, and by the prophetic ashes of Ismenus.’ Even to members of the audience unfamiliar with Theban topography, references to so many locations emphasise that the supplication spans the city. Variation of syntax and elevation of diction keep the list interesting: a locative dative, πρός with the dative, ἐπί with the dative; connecting τε first immediately after its preposition, then delayed until after a genitive; διπλόος as a poetic substitute for δύο; and a concluding poetic


COMMENTARY: 22– 24 paraphrase complete with the poetic adjective μαντεῖος instead of the usual μαντικός. φῦλον usually denotes an entire class of beings (cf. Ant. 343–4 φῦλον ὀρνίθων, fr. 591.1 TrGF ἓν φῦλον ἀνθρώπων, probably also fr. 314.22, Hom. Il. 5.441–2); by applying it to the inhabitants of a single city, Sophocles implies the universality of the appeal. For the suppliant branches, and for ἐξεστεμμένον, see 1–3n. ἀγοραῖσι could either be a poetic plural or denote more than one agora; later the chorus mention an agora associated with Artemis (160–1n.). Xenophon refers to a Theban agora somewhere outside the Cadmeia, the citadel in the south-west corner of the city (Hell. 5.2.29); and according to Pausanias, there was an agora on the Cadmeia (9.12.3). But we do not know whether either or both of these correspond to anything in Sophocles’ day. There was a temple to Athena Onka near one of the gates (cf. Aesch. Sept. 501–2 Ὄγκα Παλλάς, ἥτ’ ἀγχίπτολις | πύλαισι γείτων, 486–7, 164–5), and Athena was also worshipped in the city under the titles Ἱσμηνία, Καδμεία (both Σ p. 163.14–17 Papageorgius), and Ζωστηρία (Paus. 9.17.3); again, we do not know whether these latter titles were current in the time of Sophocles or, if they were, whether any gave their name to a temple (see further Schachter (1981–94) i 129–33, Berman (2015) 109–11). The Ismenion, which with the Ptoion made up the two shrines of Apollo at Thebes, lay south-east of the Cadmeia, beside the river Ismenus (Paus. 9.10.2–3); the temple there in the fifth century had been built in the seventh after a previous one was destroyed by fire in about 700 (Schachter (1981–94) i 81; see further Pind. P. 11.6 n., Berman (2015) 105–8). Divination there involved the observation of burnt offerings (cf. Hdt. 8.134.1); near by was an altar to Apollo Σπόδιος, ‘of Ashes’ (Paus. 9.11.7), which may have influenced Sophocles’ choice of language. The reference looks forward to the news that Oedipus has already consulted Apollo’s most important shrine, namely Delphi (68–72). ἐφ᾿ Ἱσμηνοῦ (coni. DaweT1, apparatus, for manuscript ἐπ᾿ Ἰσ–) restores the expected orthography (for which see Pind. P. 11.6n., adding Wachter (2001) 106–7 on an inscription Ηυσμένα on a neckamphora from Caere, dated to c. 560 and attributed to the Tydeus painter, Paris, Louvre E 640). 22–4 πόλις γάρ, ὥσπερ καὐτὸς εἰσορᾷς, ἄγαν | ἤδη σαλεύει κἀνακουφίσαι κάρα | βυθῶν ἔτ’ οὐχ οἵα τε φοινίου σάλου ‘For the city, as you too can see for yourself, is already tossing, and no longer able to lift its head above the depths of the bloody surge’. γάρ marks the transition; having identified the suppliants, the Priest explains why they are supplicating.


C OM M E N TAR Y : 25– 27 His familiar ‘ship of state’ metaphor (cf. 922–3, Archil. frr. 105–6 IEG, Alcaeus frr. 6, 73, 208 Voigt, Theogn. [667–82], Aesch. Sept. 2–3, S. Ant. 162–3 τὰ μὲν δὴ πόλεος ἀσφαλῶς θεοὶ | πολλῷ σάλῳ σείσαντες ὤρθωσαν πάλιν with Griffith, Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 859–60, N/H’s commentary on Horace Odes 1, p. 180, Brock (2013) 53–67, Corrêa (2016) 295–9; also the Egyptian Discourses of the Eloquent Peasant (nineteenth century) B1 298–9 (p. 300 Allen) ‘You are the rudder of the entire land; the land sails as you command’, The Dialogue of Ipuur and the Lord of All (seventeenth century) 2.12 (p. 172 Parkinson) ‘the ship of the [South] is in chaos, towns are ravaged; Upper Egypt has become empty’, 12.5 (p. 185) ‘there is no Pilot in their hour of duty – where is He today?’, and West (1997) 531–2 on Old Testament parallels) is given new life by being combined with the picture of a drowning swimmer (implied by κάρα; for ἀνακουφίσαι cf. 46, 51 ἀνόρθωσον) and the blood-stained waves (cf. Eur. IT 300 αἱματηρὸν πέλαγος, Juv. 10.185–6 cruentis | fluctibus, Val. Flacc. 2.541; also 100–1n. for Creon’s reference to a storm of blood).1 ὥσπερ καὐτὸς εἰσορᾷς as it were merges the real world with the world of the simile; the marine imagery is almost visible. But it also tactfully emphasises that the Priest is merely reminding Oedipus of the city’s peril, and thus eliminates any possible reproach to Oedipus for carelessness or indifference. 25–7 φθίνουσα μὲν κάλυξιν ἐγκάρποις χθονός, | φθίνουσα δ’ ἀγέλαις βουνόμοις, τόκοισί τε | ἀγόνοις γυναικῶν· ‘with a blight on the fruitful buds of the land, with a blight on the herds of oxen at their pasture, and on the abortive births of women.’ Fertile crops, animals, and women distinguish a just society and a virtuous ruler (cf. Hom. Od. 19.109–14, Hes. Op. 225–47, Meltzer (1903), West (1997) 136–7); their simultaneous failure (cf. 171/2–174, 254, 269–72, 665/6–666/7) signals that the state’s relationship with the gods is out of joint (cf. Eur. Hel. 1327– 34 βροτοῖσι δ’ ἄχλοα πεδία γᾶς | | οὐ καρπίζουσ’ ἀρότοις, | λαῶν δὲ φθείρει γενεάν, | ποίμναις δ’ οὐχ ἵει θαλερὰς | βοσκὰς εὐφύλλων ἑλίκων· | πόλεων δ’ ἀπέλειπε βίος, οὐδ’ ἦσαν θεῶν θυσίαι, | βωμοῖς δ’ ἄφλεκτοι πελανοί, Hdt. 6.139.1 ἀποκτείνασι δὲ τοῖσι Πελασγοῖσι τοὺς σφετέρους παῖδάς τε καὶ γυναῖκας οὔτε γῆ καρπὸν ἔφερε οὔτε γυναῖκές τε καὶ ποῖμναι ὁμοίως ἔτικτον καὶ πρὸ τοῦ, Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1.23.2–3, Philostr. Vit. Ap. 3.20.1; in the second and third parallels, as in


M. L. West ap. Obbink (2014) 45 compares with our passage Sappho P. Sapph. Obbink 17–18 αἴ κε τὰν κεφάλα ̣ν ἀέρρη̣ | Λάριχος, but that passage seems to ̣ denote the young man’s growing confidence rather than evoking the picture of a swimmer.


COMMENTARY: 27– 29 Sophocles, the people afflicted consult an oracle). The combination features in curses, as at 269–72, where Oedipus wishes this fate on anyone disobeying his proclamation; cf. Aesch. Eum. 785, where the Erinyes threaten Athens with a λειχὴν ἄφυλλος ἄτεκνος (see Sommerstein), Hdt. 3.65.7 ταῦτα μὲν ποιεῦσι ὑμῖν γῆ τε καρπὸν ἐκφέροι καὶ γυναῖκές τε καὶ ποῖμναι τίκτοιεν . . . μὴ δὲ ἀνασωσαμένοισι τὴν ἀρχὴν . . . τὰ ἐναντία τούτοισι ἀρῶμαι ὑμῖν γενέσθαι, Aeschin. 3.111 ἐπεύχεται αὐτοῖς μήτε γῆν καρποὺς φέρειν μήτε γυναῖκας τέκνα τίκτειν γονεῦσιν ἐοικότα, ἀλλὰ τέρατα, μήτε βοσκήματα κατὰ φύσιν γονὰς ποιεῖσθαι, and Aesch. Eum. 907–9, the opposite of a curse, where Athena asks the Erinyes to guarantee καρπόν τε γαίας καὶ βοτῶν ἐπίρρυτον | ἀστοῖσιν εὐθενοῦντα μὴ κάμνειν χρόνῳ, | καὶ τῶν βροτείων σπερμάτων σωτηρίαν. See further West on Hes. Op. 235, Olson on Ar. Pax 1324–7. Anaphora of φθίνω (with linking μὲν . . . δέ: cf. 219–20, 259–60, Diggle (1981a) 55) emphasises the totality of the devastation; cf. OC 610 φθίνει μὲν ἰσχὺς γῆς, φθίνει δὲ σώματος. The phrase ἀγέλαις βουνόμοις as it were stands for ἀγέλαις νεμομένων βοῶν (so Campbell). The oxymoron τόκοισι . . . ἀγόνοις stresses the paradox that the event that should bring new life promotes death. 27–9 ἐν δ’ ὁ πυρφόρος θεὸς | σκήψας ἐλαύνει, λοιμὸς ἔχθιστος, πόλιν, | ὑφ’ οὗ κενοῦται δῶμα Καδμεῖον· ‘In the midst of this the firebearing god, a most hateful plague, falls on the city and drives it headlong; by this the house of Cadmus is emptied out.’ For adverbial ἐν δ’ cf. 183, Aj. 675–6n. πυρφόρος connects the plague with fire (cf. 177, 192, and the term πυρετός ‘fever’, first attested at Hom. Il. 22.31); contrast πυρφόρος at 200 and 206/7, where it describes the weapons of the gods called on to dispel the plague (so too of Dionysus’ torch at 213–14/15), as if by the principle ‘one fire drives out one fire’ (Shakespeare, Coriolanus 4.7.54; present in e.g. the Telephus myth, and cf. 162n.). σκήψας suggests the suddenness of the plague’s onset (cf. Aesch. Pers. 715 λοιμοῦ τις ἦλθε σκηπτὸς ἢ στάσις πόλῃ;, Eur. Andr. 1044–6, Thuc. 2.47.3); σκήπτω in this sense is ‘often associated with evil divine visitations’ (Sommerstein on Aesch. Eum. 800–2 ὑμεῖς δὲ μήτε τῇδε γῇ βαρὺν κότον | σκήψητε . . . μηδ’ ἀκαρπίαν | τεύξητ’, another passage where the verb is connected with a blight on the land). For the whole description, especially the appositional phrase λοιμὸς ἔχθιστος, cf. Semon. fr. 7.101–2 IEG οὐδ’ αἶψα Λιμὸν οἰκίης ἀπώσεται, | ἐχθρὸν συνοικητῆρα, δυσμενέα θεῶν. The ‘house of Cadmus’ is used by extension for Thebes as a whole, dignifying the sufferers (1–3n.); the plague may be emptying Cadmus’ house, but Oedipus’ response will lead to that house’s unexpected and terrible augmentation. Adjectival Καδμεῖον (in place of expected Κάδμου) is


C OM M E N TAR Y : 29– 34 poetic; the minority variant –είων reverts to the syntax expected in prose (for the error cf. 35). 29–30 μέλας δ’ | Ἅιδης στεναγμοῖς καὶ γόοις πλουτίζεται. ‘and black Hades is enriched by groaning and lamentation.’ Black is the defining colour of the underworld (see Aj. 394a–395n., adding FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 154–5, Stinton (1975a) 90–1 = (1990) 108–9); there may be an allusion (via the association of black and darkness) to Hades as the unseen god (Aj. 606–607/8n.). Elision at the end of a line in tragedy is found only in Sophocles (cf. 332, 523, 785, 791, 1184, 1224, El. 1017n., where the list of words so elided should read ‘δέ, τε, and ταῦτα’, Arnott on Alexis fr. 187.5–6 PCG, Parker on Eur. IT 961–3; OC 1164, where in the manuscripts μολόντα is so elided, may be corrupt); it exemplifies his ‘tendency . . . to ignore the constraints normally associated with periodend’ (West (1982) 84), for which cf. 298–9, 555–6, 1084–5, 1234–5, Aj. 985–7n. Since Πλούτων is an alternative name for Ἅιδης (cf. Ant. 1199– 1200, Pl. Crat. 403a), there is a grim pun in πλουτίζεται, paralleled (and perhaps imitated) by Stat. Theb. 2.50 nigri . . . Iovis vacua atria ditat | mortibus. For the association of the name Πλούτων with wealth cf. Ar. fr. 504.1–2 PCG καὶ μὴν πόθεν Πλούτων γ’ ἂν ὠνομάζετο, | εἰ μὴ τὰ βέλτιστ’ ἔλαχεν;, Pl. Crat. 403a, Cic. Nat. Deor. 2.66 with Pease. There are two near-synonymous words denoting lamentation; cf. El. 104, Kaimio (1977) 183. 31–4 θεοῖσι μέν νυν οὐκ ἰσούμενόν σ’ ἐγὼ | οὐδ’ οἵδε παῖδες ἑζόμεσθ’ ἐφέστιοι, | ἀνδρῶν δὲ πρῶτον ἔν τε συμφοραῖς βίου | κρίνοντες ἔν τε δαιμόνων συναλλαγαῖς· ‘Now neither I nor these children seated at the altar supplicate you as someone equated with the gods, but rather judging you the foremost among men in the vicissitudes of life and in dealings with divine powers.’ The Priest’s language is designed to avert the divine envy that might result from excessive praise (cf. the rejection of compliments by Odysseus at Hom. Od. 16.187 οὔ τίς τοι θεός εἰμι· τί μ’ ἀθανάτοισιν ἐΐσκεις; and Agamemnon at Aesch. Ag. 925 λέγω κατ’ ἄνδρα, μὴ θεόν, σέβειν ἐμέ; contrast Antigone’s hyperbole at OC 247–8, addressed to the chorus), but by making such a disclaimer he indicates the uniqueness of Oedipus’ reputation; the audience may even take this to be part of his rhetorical intention. For the combination ἑζόμεσθ’ ἐφέστιοι cf. Aesch. Suppl. 365 οὔτοι κάθησθε δωμάτων ἐφέστιοι, Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 851. ἐφέστιος means ἐπιβώμιος, just as ἑστία can stand for βωμός (examples at Diggle (1981a) 33–4); for other adjectives ending –ιος used predicatively instead of a preposition with a noun see Braswell on Pind. P. 4.39(a). The phrase governs the opening accusatives, as if equivalent to ἱκετεύομεν; this is


COMMENTARY: 35– 39 better than taking the accusatives with κρίνοντες, since the latter is so late in the sentence, and because ἑζόμεσθ’ ἐφέστιοι denotes the action which might lead an observer to think that the group did regard Oedipus as a god. Conjectures aimed at turning the passive ἰσούμενον into a middle (–ος Stanley testibus Ll-J/W, apparatus; –οι Valckenaer (pre-1775) and T. Johnson, 1746 edn, p. 203), and thus making it parallel to κρίνοντες, founder on the sense of the middle, which, as Jebb notes, would have to mean ‘making myself, ourselves equal’. συναλλαγαῖς appears as ξυν– in a few witnesses. Elsewhere, when manuscripts are divided, ξυν– is metrically guaranteed at 360, and συν– at 135, 1113; in cases where either is possible (44, 99, 250, 360, 401, 804, 833, 1110, 1125, 1130), I print the better-attested reading, although since συν– was standard in the koinê and later Greek (B/O on Ar. Vesp. 359–61), ξυν– might be preferable as the lectio difficilior. 35–9 ὅς γ’ ἐξέλυσας ἄστυ Καδμεῖον μολὼν | σκληρᾶς ἀοιδοῦ δασμὸν ὃν παρείχομεν, | καὶ ταῦθ’ ὑφ’ ἡμῶν οὐδὲν ἐξειδὼς πλέον | οὐδ’ ἐκδιδαχθείς, ἀλλὰ προσθήκῃ θεοῦ | λέγῃ νομίζῃ θ’ ἧμιν ὀρθῶσαι βίον. ‘you who came to the city of Cadmus and paid off in full the tribute that we were rendering to the harsh singer, and that with no special knowledge or instruction from us, but thanks to the addition of divine aid you are said and believed to have made straight our lives for us’ (cf. Lloyd-Jones). The Priest cites Oedipus’ past services to Thebes before specifying (in 40–3) his request in the present emergency; for this pattern cf. 694/5– 697, Hdt. 8.101.4 σὺ ὦν ἐμοί (καὶ γὰρ περὶ τῆς ναυμαχίης εὖ συνεβούλευσας τῆς γενομένης οὐκ ἐῶσα ποιέεσθαι) νῦν συμβούλευσον ὁκότερα ποιέων ἐπιτύχω εὖ βουλευσάμενος. Since this pattern (‘da quia dedisti’) is familiar in prayers (164/5–166, Aj. 1–2n., adding FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 85, A/O on Ar. Thesm. 1157–9, Harder on Call. Aet. fr. 64.12, West (2007a) 320, Metcalf (2015) 126–8), it is remarkable to see the Priest employing it immediately after disclaiming any desire to compare Oedipus to a god; the same could be said of his use of a relative clause detailing the achievements of his subject, which is typical of hymns (cf. 161, Philoctetes’ words to his saviour Neoptolemus at Phil. 663–4 ὅς γ᾽ ἡλίου τόδ᾽ εἰσορᾶν ἐμοὶ φάος | μόνος δέδωκας, ὃς χθόν᾽ Οἰταίαν ἰδεῖν κτλ., Norden (1913) 168–76, A/O on Ar. Thesm. 316, Metcalf (2015) 117–19). For ὅς γ’ quippe qui cf. 694/5, 853, Denniston 141–2. Elmsley (1805/6 edn) champions the scholia’s reading ὅς τ’ (p. 164.20 Papageorgius) on the ground that this coordinates better with 40–3; but in 40 we should read νῦν δ’ rather than νῦν τ’, which renders coordinating τε here unnecessary. For corruption of γε to τε cf. 294,


C OM M E N TAR Y : 35– 39 516, 694/5, 836, 1001, 1445 (to τοι in crasis), Aj. 1070, 1312, El. 1416; for the reverse, 528, 1446. ἐξέλυσας is ‘probably a financial metaphor (“paid off in full”)’ (Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 695 καίτοι ποδῶν σῶν μόχθον ἐκλύει παρών, where also the verb governs an accusative and means ‘put an end to’); for this sense cf. Plut. Caes. 12.3 ἄχρι ἂν οὕτως ἐκλυθῇ τὸ δάνειον, Xen. Ag. 2.31 μισθὸν . . . λύσει τοῖς Ἕλλησιν, and also 316–18n. Stinton (1986b) 422 = (1990) 424 suggests taking ἐξέλυσας with ἄστυ, assuming that δασμόν represents an original δασμοῦ attracted into the case of the following relative (giving ‘you freed the city from the tribute . . .’); but the supposed attraction would be unusual (it does not match the categories of attraction identified at El. 653n.) and difficult to follow (would anyone on hearing the words have supposed that this accusative stood for an original genitive?). By changing ὅν to ᾗ Van Herwerden (apparatus and p. 84) gives ‘freed the city from the Sphinx, to whom we were paying tribute’; but that turns the last part of 36 into a rather weak appendage. For the bare accusative of motion towards in ἄστυ Καδμεῖον μολών cf. 151–3, 434, 637, 1178–9, K–G i 311–12. Καδμεῖον is in the two oldest manuscripts; for the variant –είων see 27–9n. σκληρᾶς ἀοιδοῦ denotes the Sphinx, who is repeatedly described as a singer (cf. 130, 391, 1198– 1199/1200, Eur. Phoen. 1506–7, Oedipus fr. 540a.20–1 TrGF); the expression may indicate the paradox that singers are usually associated with pleasure (cf. Hom. Od. 1.346–7, 8.44–5, 17.385, Hes. Th. 917, Theogn. 791, Bacchyl. 13.230, Ar. Ran. 674–5). δασμός is similarly pointed, since the tribute paid to a hostile power is usually distinct from a singer’s fees. καὶ ταῦτα ‘add[s] a circumstance heightening the force of what has been said’ (LSJ9 s.v. οὗτος C viii 2); cf. Ant. 322, El. 614. In οὐδὲν ἐξειδὼς πλέον | οὐδ’ ἐκδιδαχθείς the two participles are not mutually exclusive, but the latter intensifies the former, emphasising that the achievement was Oedipus’ alone; Oedipus himself makes the same point, boastfully, at 396–8 (n.). προσθήκῃ θεοῦ detracts nothing from Oedipus’ glory, since divine action works alongside human initiative without diminishing its importance (244–5n., 1329–33n., Aj. 489–90n., Cairns (2013b) 136–42); for προσθήκη cf. OC 1332 (Polynices to Oedipus) οἷς ἂν σὺ προσθῇ, τοῖσδ᾽ ἔφασκ᾽ εἶναι κράτος. The combination λέγῃ νομίζῃ θ’ emphasises that Oedipus’ public repute is a matter not of mere words, but of sincere belief. ἧμιν is so written by Elmsley (1805/6 edn), instead of the ἡμίν found in the manuscripts; for the accentuation of the enclitic see El. 17n., Aj. 216–17n.


COMMENTARY: 40– 43 40–3 νῦν δ’, ὦ κράτιστον πᾶσιν Οἰδίπου κάρα, | ἱκετεύομέν σε πάντες οἵδε πρόστροποι | ἀλκήν τιν’ εὑρεῖν ἧμιν, εἴτε του θεῶν | φήμην ἀκούσας εἴτ’ ἀπ’ ἀνδρὸς οἶσθά που· ‘Now, Oedipus, mightiest in the sight of all, we suppliants all entreat you to find some defence for us, whether you have heard a report from one of the gods, or whether you perhaps know something from a man.’ Gods and men are the two possible sources for the information that could save the city, as at Hom. Od. 1.282–3, where Athena disguised as Mentes tells Telemachus to search for news of his father ἤν τίς τοι εἴπῃσι βροτῶν, ἢ ὄσσαν ἀκούσῃς | ἐκ Διός, ἥ τε μάλιστα φέρει κλέος ἀνθρώποισι; there is an implied compliment to the effect that Oedipus is most likely to be aware of divine will. νῦν δ’ introduces the Priest’s request for the first time; we thus need δ᾿ (only in r) to mark the fresh point, not the majority reading τ᾿ (prob. Meinel (2015) 50 n. 119), which would emphasise coordination with what has come before (for instances of the reverse confusion, real or alleged, cf. 220, 261, 347, 528, Aj. 836). κράτιστος is an elevated term of praise for gods and heroes (cf. [1525], Diggle on Theophr. Char. 5.2). For πᾶσιν see 6–8n. The periphrasis Οἰδίπου κάρα, with the head used by metonymy for the whole person (for parallels in other literatures see Onians (1954) 96–122), indicates ‘a moment of emotional peak’ (Davidson (1991) 88), as at 1207 (the chorus’s address to their fallen leader), Ant. 1 (Antigone’s opening appeal to her sister to help bury their brother), 899, 915 (her final addresses to her brother), El. 1164 (Electra’s address to her apparently dead brother), OC 1631 (Oedipus’ dramatic appeal to Theseus), Eurypylus fr. 215.3–4 TrGF (probably an address to Telephus, accompanied in the previous line by νῦν δ’ and thus marking some climactic request or statement). Oedipus’ use of the periphrasis to address Jocasta at 950 occurs in a less obviously emotive context – he has merely been summoned from the palace – but perhaps reflects the frantic state of his mind as previously described by his wife (914–17), as well as the closeness of the bond between them, which that scene is about to shatter. The periphrasis also occurs in statements, again with a notably emotional edge: cf. 1235 (the announcement of Jocasta’s death), OC 321 (the recognition of Ismene, where the term includes the literal meaning ‘face’), and 1657 (the reference to Theseus as sole guarantor of Oedipus’ burial-place). Such periphrases are found in both Aeschylus and Euripides (discussed by Davidson), perhaps influenced by expressions such as Hom. Il. 8.281 Τεῦκρε φίλη κεφαλή, 23.94 τίπτέ μοι ἠθείη κεφαλὴ δεῦρ’ εἰλήλουθας; πρόστροπος occurs elsewhere only at Phil. 773, again in a supplicatory context; the commoner term is προστροπαῖος (Aj. 1173–5n.), a


C OM M E N TAR Y : 44– 45 mainly tragic word. Like ἱκετεύω, which derives from the root meaning ‘approach’, πρόστροπος derives from προστρέπω ‘turn towards’, denoting the motion of the suppliant (Naiden (2006) 241). For the accentuation of ἧμιν (owed to Elmsley, 1805/6 edn) see 35–9n. Only a has εὑρεῖν ἡμίν, which is the text that Elmsley reaccents; the variants εὑρεῖν ἡμῖν and ἡμῖν εὑρεῖν are unmetrical. που has become του in LK, a palaeographical corruption facilitated here by του in the previous line; του in both these parallel clauses would be rather pedestrian. 44–5 ὡς τοῖσιν ἐμπείροισι καὶ τὰς ξυμφορὰς | ζώσας ὁρῶ μάλιστα τῶν βουλευμάτων. ‘Since I see that in the case of experienced people, the issue of their plans too is especially efficacious’. Thus the scholia: ἐν τοῖς συνετοῖς τὰς συντυχίας καὶ τὰς ἀποβάσεις τῶν βουλευμάτων ὁρῶ ζώσας καὶ οὐκ ἀπολλυμένας, οὐ σφάλλεται ἀλλὰ τὸ ἀποβησόμενον στοχάζεται καλῶς (p. 165.9–12 Papageorgius). The Priest tells Oedipus that thanks to his past record of helping Thebes (35–9), whatever plan he comes up with on the basis of any information that he has (40–3) will lead to a successful result. For ξυμφοραί (corrupted to συμ– in a couple of witnesses: 31–4n.) with the genitive in this derivational sense cf. Thuc. 1.140.1 ἐνδέχεται γὰρ τὰς ξυμφορὰς τῶν πραγμάτων οὐχ ἧσσον ἀμαθῶς χωρῆσαι ἢ καὶ τὰς διανοίας τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (cited by Musgrave); also 169/ 70 φροντίδος ἔγχος (with 168/9–171/2n.). For ζῶ cf. 479–82n., Ant. 455–7 νόμιμα . . . ἀεί ποτε | ζῇ, Kohl (1984) 197, 214–15n. 68. The overall idea resembles that of Hdt. 7.157.3 τῷ δὲ εὖ βουλευθέντι πρήγματι τελευτὴ ὡς τὸ ἐπίπαν χρηστὴ ἐθέλει ἐπιγίνεσθαι. Others take ξυμφοράς in the sense ‘comparisons’; thus several scholars cited by Jebb pp. 211–12, as corrected by Campbell, PS, and thus apparently Ll-J/W (So.), who argue that Oedipus ‘is an experienced man, so that when he “brings together” such counsels as he may get from gods or men . . . he will do so effectively’, comparing Aesch. Pers. 527–8 ὑμᾶς δὲ χρὴ . . . | πιστοῖσι πιστὰ ξυμφέρειν βουλεύματα. But the Priest is not asking Oedipus merely to contribute advice (which is what the Queen asks of the Persian nobles), or to choose between paths suggested by others, but to show leadership; and if τὰς ξυμφοράς denotes simply ‘bringing together’, it is odd for it to be dignified with such a powerful metaphor as ζώσας. (Jebb pp. 207–19 refutes the hypothesis at greater length.) Dawe, STS i 208 suggested a lacuna after 44 (or after 45), to give something like ‘for men of experience even disasters of advice I observe to be particularly effective’. This would account for the difficulty of the language; compare Ant. 1165–6 for a passage from which, for all its obscurity, modern editors would no doubt attempt to wring sense, if it were not known, thanks to the secondary tradition, that the language is


COMMENTARY: 46– 48 obscure only because a line is missing. But Dawe does not cite an exempli gratia line or lines that would give the sense he desires; and the expression ‘the content of plans’ seems prosaic (and unworthy of metaphorical ζώσας) when compared with the paradosis. 46–7 ἴθ’, ὦ βροτῶν ἄριστ’, ἀνόρθωσον πόλιν· | ἴθ’, εὐλαβήθηθ’· ‘Go, best of men, raise up the city once more! Go, have a care!’ Anaphora of ἴθι or ἴτε at the start of successive lines (cf. 1468–9, Eur. Suppl. 73–4, Ba. 152– 3, Satyrus A.P. 10.6.7–8 = 335–6 FGE) or repeated almost instantaneously in the same line (Ant. 1108, Phil. 832, fr. 314.201 TrGF, Aesch. Sept. 108, Eur. Hec. 144, Ba. 83, 977) usually intensifies what is in effect the same command. The repetition here certainly highlights the direct emotional appeal after the complicated language of the preceding lines. But despite the repetition, the clauses are not exactly parallel, and in fact mark a transition from a general exhortation to Oedipus to save his city to a more specific warning (expanded in the following lines) that he should look to his reputation. Similarly at OC 106–7, Oedipus employs repeated ἴτ᾽, ὦ to pivot from a prayer to the Erinyes to an invocation of the city of Athens. ἀνόρθωσον (repeated in 51) may look back to the ‘ship of state’ image in 22–4 (n.). 47–8 ὡς σὲ νῦν μὲν ἥδε γῆ | σωτῆρα κλῄζει τῆς πάρος προθυμίας ‘For this land now calls you its saviour on account of your previous goodwill’. Calling a man σωτήρ did not credit him with divine power (cf. 1030, El. 1354–5; also OR 80–1), but the term was regularly used of the gods (cf. Phil. 738, 1470–1, Hdt. 8.138.1), especially Zeus (Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 1387); in this play it is associated with Apollo and his mouthpiece Tiresias (149–50, 303–4). The Priest’s recent dissociation of Oedipus from divinity (31–3) will paradoxically have emphasised this particular resonance. For the causal genitive τῆς πάρος προθυμίας cf. 183–185/6, 698–9, 1478–9, K–G i 388–91, Moorhouse 71, Aj. 41n.; we do not need (coni. DaweC2, text). In L πάρος has become πάλαι; both are equally possible, and so we may as well print the better attested reading. The minority variant προμηθ(ε)ίας may result from the intrusion of a gloss (for real or alleged examples of this phenomenon cf. 67, 75, 86, 88, 101, 229, 239, 276, 290, 297, 322, 349, 463/4, 478, 515, 516, 542, 660/1, 666/7, 697, 795, 866, 892, 896, 906, 942, 943, 1062, 1088, 1138, 1157, 1167, 1267, 1310, 1329, 1349, 1494, Aj. 28n.); its earliest attestation is in fact as a gloss in G. For the corruption cf. [Aesch.] PV 341, Eur. Andr. 1252, and, in reverse, S. El. 990, 1036, 1350, Eur. Phoen. 1466. The gloss may have originated from a feeling that it was Oedipus’


C OM M E N TAR Y : 49– 51 wisdom, not his enthusiasm, that saved the state (thus Wunder2, printing the variant). As W. S. Barrett notes (ap. Ll-J/W, So.), since ὡς ‘ought to introduce the whole complex as the reason why Oedipus should “have a care”’, there should be a comma rather than a colon after προθυμίας. 49–50 ἀρχῆς δὲ τῆς σῆς μηδαμῶς μεμνώμεθα | στάντες τ’ ἐς ὀρθὸν καὶ πεσόντες ὕστερον. ‘and let us not remember your rule as a time when we stood up straight only to fall down later.’ That is, Oedipus’ reign should be free from the instability that often characterises human affairs (cf. Eur. fr. 262.2–3 TrGF ὃς γὰρ ἂν σφαλῇ, | εἰς ὀρθὸν ἔστη, χὠ πρὶν εὐτυχῶν πίτνει). There is an implicit contrast between μεμνώμεθα and νῦν in 47, encouraging Oedipus to imagine what future people will make of his rule. This form of the verb, the majority reading, is a perfect subjunctive deriving from the perfect indicative μέμνημαι. For the first person subjunctive in a prohibition cf. Tr. 802 μηδ᾽ αὐτοῦ θάνω, Thuc. 3.9.3 μηδέ τῳ χείρους δόξωμεν εἶναι, K–G ιi 220. The minority variant μεμνήμεθα implies the perfect optative μεμνῄμεθα (coni. Nauck3 p. 157; nol. Elmsley1 p. 83); μεμνῴμεθα, which may appear in Eustathius’s citation of the line (Il. Comm. 1305.48, 1332.20 = iv 747.23, 845.11 Van der Valk; the mark under the omega may not be an iota subscript, as VdV. points out), would also be a perfect optative, although μεμνῄ– is the usual classical form (cf. Andoc. 1.142, Ar. Plut. 991, Pl. Resp. 518a, Hom. Il. 24.745, K–B ii 100; in Aristophanes μεμνῇτο has become μεμνῷτο in a couple of manuscripts, and the latter is the only form attested in the manuscripts of Xenophon, on which see Persson (1915) 27–8; the different optatives found in Aristophanes and Xenophon are noted by Σa Hom. Il. 23.361a = v 426.18–427.28 Erbse). But as Elmsley points out, ‘let us not remember’ (subjunctive) is more natural than ‘may we not remember’ (optative); Lloyd-Jones shows this when he translates ‘let it not be our memory’ even though he prints the optative. μεμνώμεθα here takes both a genitive of object and a participle with a slight anacoluthon (thus Longo). In 50 omission of τ᾿ in some manuscripts renders the text unmetrical; Triclinius’s γ᾿ is a stopgap offering inferior sense. For στάντες . . . ἐς ὀρθόν cf. Eur. Suppl. 1229–30 (Theseus to Athena) μόνον σύ με | ἐς ὀρθὸν ἵστη, Or. 231, Talboy and Sommerstein on S. Triptolemus fr. 612 TrGF. 51 ἀλλ’ ἀσφαλείᾳ τήνδ’ ἀνόρθωσον πόλιν. ‘No, raise up this city again so that it falls no more.’ This line closes a section of ring composition (46–51): the Priest tells Oedipus to raise up the city, reminds him that his reputation depends on the city’s recovery, and concludes by telling


COMMENTARY: 52– 57 him to raise up the city. The repetition of ἀνόρθωσον πόλιν (46–7n.) highlights this structure, but in other respects the later line is no mere copy. The proleptic construction of ἀσφαλείᾳ (‘ut firma stet’: Wunder1) looks Sophoclean enough (cf. Ant. 162–3 τὰ μὲν δὴ πόλεος ἀσφαλῶς θεοὶ | πολλῷ σάλῳ σείσαντες ὤρθωσαν πάλιν, where ἀσφαλῶς describes the end result brought about by the action; and, for this dative with an imperative, cf. Phil. 1465 καί μ᾽ εὐπλοίᾳ πέμψον ἀμέμπτως), and its ‘primary notion . . . (“not slipping”) is brought out by πεσόντες and ἀνόρθωσον’ (Jebb). The demonstrative τήνδ’ is appropriately anaphoric (cf. De Jong (2012) 69), picking up the original reference to the πόλις in 46. ἀνόρθωσον recalls not just the same imperative in 46, but also στάντες . . . ἐς ὀρθόν in 50, which refers to Oedipus’ original rescue of the city. The line also connects well with the following γάρ, since 52–3 give a reason why he should strive to save the city. The deletion by Ritter (text) shatters this careful arrangement. 52–3 ὄρνιθι γὰρ καὶ τὴν τότ’ αἰσίῳ τύχην | παρέσχες ἡμῖν, καὶ τανῦν ἴσος γενοῦ. ‘For it was by a good omen that you provided that past fortune to us; now too be equal to the same!’ For ὄρνις ‘omen’, deriving from the common use of birds as omens (for which cf. 310–11, 395–8, 483/4, 965–6, Dillon (1996a), West (1997) 47 with n. 198, Collins (2002), D. Smith (2013), Metcalf (2015) 205–7), see Kannicht on Eur. Hel. 1051– 2, Braswell on Pind. P. 4.19(a); the dative recurs in similar expressions at Hippon. fr. 16 IEG ἐγὼ δὲ δεξιῷ παρ’ Ἀρήτην | κνεφαῖος ἐλθὼν ’ρῳδιῷ κατηυλίσθην, Iamb. Adesp. fr. 52 ἐγὼ μὲν ὦ Λεύκιππε δεξιῇ σίττῃ, Call. Ia. fr. 191.56 Pfeiffer α ̣ἰσίῳ σίττῃ. For the interlaced word order cf. 108–9, 1244–5n., Aj. 859 ὦ γῆς ἱερὸν οἰκείας πέδον, 356–357/8n., Diggle (1993) 136–7 = (1994) 419–20. 54–7 ὡς εἴπερ ἄρξεις τῆσδε γῆς, ὥσπερ κρατεῖς, | ξὺν ἀνδράσιν κάλλιον ἢ κενῆς κρατεῖν· | ὡς οὐδέν ἐστιν οὔτε πύργος οὔτε ναῦς | ἐρῆμος ἀνδρῶν μὴ ξυνοικούντων ἔσω. ‘For if you are going to continue to rule this land, as you do govern it, it is better to govern a land with men than an empty one; since neither a fortification nor a fleet is worth anything if it is desolate of men dwelling within.’ For the combination of synonyms in ἄρξεις . . . κρατεῖς cf. 296n., 584–6n., Ant. 69–70 οὔτ᾽ ἄν, εἰ θέλοις ἔτι | πράσσειν, ἐμοῦ γ᾽ ἂν ἡδέως δρῴης μέτα, Aj. 458–9, El. 986–7, Eur. Cycl. 259, Alc. 338, fr. 781.55 TrGF, Bruhn §218. By ὥσπερ κρατεῖς the Priest emphasises that his previous clause in no way challenges Oedipus’ right to rule; ἧσπερ (coni. Valckenaer (1743–6) 37 verso) turns the clause into one merely of definition (‘this land, which you rule’). For κενός in this context cf. Aesch. Suppl. 659–60 μήποτε λοιμὸς ἀνδρῶν | τάνδε πόλιν κενώσαι. The formal redundancy in the final line is typically


C OM M E N TAR Y : 58– 59 Sophoclean: cf. 221, Aj. 463–5n. For the idea that men are what matter, not buildings or fortifications, cf. Alcaeus fr. 112.10 Voigt, Thuc. 7.77.7, Lardinois (1997) 216; ‘in a city suffering from an epidemic the human dimension is necessarily to the fore’ (Millett (1998) 205; see further Dougherty (2014)). These lines were deleted by Van Deventer (1851) 5, who objects to the repetition of ὡς and of κρατεῖς / κρατεῖν, to the inelegance of ξὺν ἀνδράσιν as opposed to e.g. πλήρους, to the tautology in the last line, and to the untragic sentiment as a whole. M. Schmidt (text) deletes just 56–7, lines omitted in the main text of K (cf. Finglass (2008) 444), although that omission is probably owing to scribal error rather than to preservation of ancient tradition. Reeve (1970) 289–90 also suspects the ending, pointing out that ‘men do not “dwell together” in ships, hardly even in embattled towers’. Van Deventer’s arguments are trivial, and several are well countered by Ll-J/W, So.; Reeve’s is subjective, but might be right. Line 55 would be an effective ending, with its grim understatement that a populated city is ‘better, fairer’ than an empty one; by contrast, 56–7 seem rather wordy, and in particular it is hard to see what the πύργος and ναῦς are doing here. But overall the case is insufficient to justify deletion. The variants in the secondary tradition ἀλλ᾿ (in the Suda, for 54 ὡς) and πόλιν (in Stob. Flor. 4.7.2 = iv 249.15 W/H, for 57 ἔσω) are not textually significant. 58–9 ὦ παῖδες οἰκτροί, γνωτὰ κοὐκ ἄγνωτά μοι | προσήλθεθ’ ἱμείροντες· ‘Pitiable children, you have come here with desires known and not unknown to me.’ Instead of replying directly to the Priest, Oedipus turns compassionately to the children; his address reiterates both his quasi-paternal concern (1–3n.) and his pity for his people’s sufferings (Introduction, pp. 44–7). According to Nooter (2012) 84, ‘though the priest has indicated that there are elders among the townspeople (17), Oedipus configures them all as infantile inferiors (if tenderly)’; but the Priest is probably the only old man on stage (1–150n.), while characterising ὦ παῖδες οἰκτροί as an address to ‘infantile inferiors’ seriously misreads the tone. Emphatic repetition ‘x and not not-x’ may ‘deprecate an opposite impression in the mind of the hearer: “known, and not (as you perhaps think) unknown”’ (Jebb, comparing e.g. OC 397 ἥξοντα βαιοῦ κοὐχὶ μυρίου χρόνου, where Oedipus warns his audience against regarding the prospect of Creon’s arrival with complacency). Usually the negative expression involves a synonym rather than exactly the same term (cf. 1275, Hdt. 7.46.3 πολλάκις καὶ οὐκὶ ἅπαξ; further examples at El. 929n., Bekker (1872) 222–3, West on Hes. Th. 102–3, Fehling (1969) 272–3). But the pattern found here recurs at 1230 ἑκόντα κοὐκ ἄκοντα (for


COMMENTARY: 59– 64 parallels for that particular combination see Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 630, Willink on Eur. Or. 613–14). Verbal adjectives formed from γιγνώσκω without sigma are attested here and at 396, Ant. 875, fr. 1130.13 TrGF (a second-century ad papyrus), Aesch. fr. 204c.5 TrGF (another second-century papyrus), and Eur. Hel. 41, and with sigma at 361, Aesch. Cho. 702, and twelve times in Euripides. (I disregard fragments known only from the secondary tradition, as the additional interference from the traditions of the citing authors renders their evidence valueless; papyrus fragments, on the other hand, provide older and better testimony than the mediaeval manuscripts.) The Iliad has –γνωτ– throughout (except for 3.174, where testimony is divided). At line 396 of our play a form in –γνωτ– has a weakly attested variant in –γνωστ–, and at 361 the form without sigma may be attested in one manuscript. This distribution suggests that –γνωτ– should be generalised for Sophocles, as well as for Aeschylus (cf. West’s Teubner, p. xliii). 59–61 εὖ γὰρ οἶδ’ ὅτι | νοσεῖτε πάντες. καὶ νοσοῦντες, ὡς ἐγὼ | οὐκ ἔστιν ὑμῶν ὅστις ἐξ ἴσου νοσεῖ. ‘For I am well aware that you are all sick. And yet although you are sick, there is no one of you who is as sick as I am.’ καί ‘and yet’ (cf. 567, 715, Denniston 292) is followed by a nominative participle which turns out to be syntactically distinct from the main verb. Such anacoluthon, ‘the stuff of natural speech’ (Barrett on Eur. Hipp. 23), lends force to Oedipus’ strong negative statement; for the same pattern cf. Aesch. Eum. 95–8 ἐγὼ δ’ ὑφ’ ὑμῶν ὧδ’ ἀπητιμασμένη | ἄλλοισιν ἐν νεκροῖσιν, ὧν μὲν ἔκτανον | ὄνειδος ἐν φθιτοῖσιν οὐκ ἐκλείπεται, | αἰσχρῶς δ’ ἀλῶμαι, 100–2 παθοῦσα δ’ οὕτω δεινὰ πρὸς τῶν φιλτάτων | οὐδεὶς ὑπέρ μου δαιμόνων μηνίεται | κατασφαγείσης πρὸς χερῶν μητροκτόνων, Eur. Her. 185–6 Δίρφυν τ’ ἐρωτῶν ἥ σ’ ἔθρεψ’ Ἀβαντίδα, | οὐκ ἄν σ’ ἐπαινέσειεν, IT 947–8 ἐλθὼν δ’ ἐκεῖσε πρῶτα μέν μ’ οὐδεὶς ξένων | ἑκὼν ἐδέξαθ’ ὡς θεοῖς στυγούμενον, Cycl. 329–31, Isocr. 4.107–9, Pl. Phil. 19b, and, for the phenomenon more generally, 159n., FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 446, Slings (1992) 96–9, K–G ii 105–7, S–D ii 403. The challenging syntax continues by means of the combination of ὡς ἐγώ and ἐξ ἴσου, which involves ‘a confusion of οὕτως ὡς ἐγώ and ἐξ ἴσου ἐμοί’ (Campbell); Oedipus pushes against the boundaries of Greek to express the unique extent of his sickness. 62–4 τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὑμῶν ἄλγος εἰς ἕν’ ἔρχεται | μόνον καθ’ αὑτὸν κοὐδέν’ ἄλλον, ἡ δ’ ἐμὴ | ψυχὴ πόλιν τε κἀμὲ καὶ σ’ ὁμοῦ στένει. ‘For your grief comes to each one of you alone, and to no-one else, but my soul groans for the city, for you, and for me.’ For the thought cf. Ap. Rh. 2.633–6 σὺ δ’ εὐμαρέως ἀγορεύεις, | οἶον ἑῆς ψυχῆς ἀλέγων ὕπερ· αὐτὰρ ἔγωγε | εἷο μὲν


C OM M E N TAR Y : 65– 67 οὐδ’ ἠβαιὸν ἀτύζομαι, ἀμφὶ δὲ τοῖο | καὶ τοῦ ὁμῶς καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλων δείδι’ ἑταίρων. Oedipus gives the lie to Pindar’s remark that compassion for others’ misfortunes is a temporary suffering when compared to the anguish of personal grief (N. 1.53–4 τὸ γὰρ οἰκεῖον πιέζει πάνθ’ ὁμῶς· | εὐθὺς δ’ ἀπήμων κραδία κᾶδος ἀμφ’ ἀλλότριον, where see Braswell). A ruler was expected to care for his people (cf. Agamemnon at Hom. Il. 1.117 βούλομ’ ἐγὼ λαὸν σόον ἔμμεναι ἠ’ ἀπολέσθαι, and the familiar image ‘shepherd of the people’, illustrated at West (1997) 226–7, (2007a) 131), but Oedipus’ concern far exceeds that, as the following lines emphasise. Greek does not need to put ‘I/me’ in last position, as English would (cf. 253–4, 332, 648, Phil. 581 πρὸς σὲ κἀμὲ τούσδε τε, Eur. Phoen. 437 παῦσαι πόνων σὲ κἀμὲ καὶ πᾶσαν πόλιν); there is nothing egotistical in Oedipus’ ordering of pronouns. The emphatic but conventional combination of μόνος and negated ἄλλος (cf. 1071–2, Ant. 707–8, fr. 837.3–4 TrGF, Eur. Alc. 293–4, Or. 305–6, Diggle on Theophr. Char. 26.2) is strengthened by the addition of ἕνα and καθ’ αὑτόν. According to Stob. Flor. 4.32a.21 (v 787.3–4 W– H), Teles (of Megara, third century bc) wrote ἕν in 62 (now found in D), and in place of 63–4 wrote ἐγὼ δ᾿ ἐμαυτὸν καὶ πόλιν καὶ σὲ στένω; there is no reason to regard this as anything other than a simplification of Sophocles’ original. 65 ὥστ’ οὐχ ὕπνῳ γ’ εὕδοντά μ’ ἐξεγείρετε ‘So you do not rouse me slumbering in sleep’. Sleep can be applied metaphorically to culpable inactivity and inattention (cf. OC 306–7 βραδὺς | εὕδει, Aesch. Ag. 1356– 7 χρονίζομεν γάρ, οἳ δὲ τῆς μελλοῦς κλέος | πέδον πατοῦντες οὐ καθεύδουσιν χερί, Hom. Il. 4.223 ἔνθ’ οὐκ ἂν βρίζοντα ἴδοις Ἀγαμέμνονα δῖον, LSJ9 s.v. καθεύδω ii 1); aversion to sleep can be a characteristic of the good leader (cf. Aesch. Sept. 3 βλέφαρα μὴ κοιμῶν ὕπνῳ, Hom. Il. 2.24–5 = 2.61–2 οὐ χρὴ παννύχιον εὕδειν βουληφόρον ἄνδρα, | ᾧ λαοί τ’ ἐπιτετράφαται καὶ τόσσα μέμηλεν). For the verb with a sleeper as its object cf. Soph. Epigoni P.Oxy. 4807 col. ii 10 (the shuttle) ἣ τοὺς εὕδοντας ἐγείρει, Mülke (2007) 25. For the emphatic pleonasm ὕπνῳ γ’ εὕδοντα cf. Ant. 427 γόοισιν ἐξῴμωξεν, Tr. 176 φόβῳ . . . ταρβοῦσαν, Phil. 225–6 ὄκνῳ | δείσαντες, OC 1625 φόβῳ δείσαντας, Eur. Her. 971. In this light, there is no good reason to adopt the conjectures ὕπνον γ᾿ (Schütz) or ἐνδόντα (Badham, Plato edition, p. x), or the minority variant ὕπνων (coni. Reiske (1753) 20). γ’ goes with the whole phrase ὕπνῳ εὕδοντα; cf. 80, 712, 1066, Denniston 149, 582. 66–7 ἀλλ’ ἴστε πολλὰ μέν με δακρύσαντα δή, | πολλὰς δ’ ὁδοὺς ἐλθόντα φροντίδος πλάνοις. ‘No, be sure that I have wept many tears and travelled many roads in the wanderings of thought.’ In tragedy, ‘the


COMMENTARY: 68– 69 vast majority [of tears] are prompted by personal grief or sympathy for the grief of others’ (Suter (2009) 63), as here. Men and women ‘both weep in Greek tragedy, for the same reasons, and for the most part without shame or criticism’ (ibid. 70); by referring openly to his tears, Oedipus shows that he is not afraid to demonstrate emotion, or to act on it. The parallelism πολλὰ μέν . . . | πολλὰς δ’ suits a context of lamentation (El. 88–9n.; for δή at moments of strong emotion see Denniston 214–15) and emphasises how Oedipus’ passionate reaction has encouraged, not hindered, his intellectual striving to set things right. The road metaphor suggests thoughtful planning (cf. Aesch. Suppl. 93–5 δαυλοὶ γὰρ πραπίδων | δάσκιοί τε τείνουσιν πόροι, κατιδεῖν ἄφραστοι, Eum. 988–9 ἆρα φρονοῦσιν γλώσσης ἀγαθῆς | ὁδὸν εὑρίσκειν;, Eur. Hec. 744 σῶν ὁδὸν βουλευμάτων, Hipp. 391 τῆς ἐμῆς γνώμης ὁδόν, Ar. Nub. 75–6 νῦν οὖν ὅλην τὴν νύκτα φροντίζων ὁδοῦ | μίαν ηὗρον ἀτραπὸν δαιμονίως ὑπερφυᾶ, Pind. O. 9.104–7 ἐντὶ γὰρ ἄλλαι | ὁδῶν ὁδοὶ περαίτεραι, | μία δ’ οὐχ ἅπαντας ἄμμε θρέψει | μελέτα, Hdt. 3.156.3 τὰς διεξόδους τῶν βουλευμάτων, Sansone (1975a) 29–31; also Eur. Or. 632–3 Μενέλαε, ποῖ σὸν πόδ’ ἐπὶ συννοίᾳ κυκλεῖς, | διπλῆς μερίμνης διπτύχους ἰὼν ὁδούς;), the reference to wandering a less controlled stirring of the imagination (cf. 727, OC 316 ἆρ᾽ ἔστιν; ἆρ᾽ οὐκ ἔστιν; ἦ γνώμη πλανᾷ;, Eur. Hipp. 283 πλάνον φρενῶν): all Oedipus’ mental resources are devoted to the task. Manuscripts are evenly divided between the synonyms πλάνοις and πλάναις. At OC 1114 Sophocles uses πλάνος; at Phil. 758–9 πλάνοις ἴσως | ὡς ἐξεπλήσθη (‘sated by its wanderings’) the minority variant πλάνης looks like a facilior lectio introduced by someone who thought that the word was governed by ἐξεπλήσθη; at fr. 314.338 TrGF τίς ἔχει πλά]ν ̣η ̣ σ ̣ε; is only a possible supplement (by Hunt (1912) 59). Neither word appears in Aeschylus; Euripides has πλάνος six times (πλάνη is a minority variant at Eur. Hipp. 283); the Prometheus poet uses πλάνη seven times (πλάνος is a minority variant at 577 and 585), and Critias has it too (TrGF 43 F 17.8). So both forms are classical, and at least two tragedians use only one of them. In our passage πλάνοις seems preferable on the grounds that Sophocles uses πλάνος twice elsewhere, and because πλάνος was more likely to be corrupted into πλάνη than the reverse, since the latter form is the commoner in Imperial Greek. The scholium ἀντὶ τοῦ πλάναις θηλυκῶς (p. 167.1 Papageorgius) suggests how πλάναις might be the result of an intrusive gloss (47–8n.). 68–9 ἣν δ’ εὖ σκοπῶν ηὕρισκον ἴασιν μόνην, | ταύτην ἔπραξα· ‘The sole cure that I have found during my careful investigations is what I have put into effect.’ For the form and language cf. Phil. 282–3 πάντα δὲ σκοπῶν | ηὕρισκον οὐδὲν πλὴν ἀνιᾶσθαι παρόν, 86–7 ἐγὼ μὲν οὓς ἂν τῶν


C OM M E N TAR Y : 69– 72 λόγων ἀλγῶ κλύων, | Λαερτίου παῖ, τούσδε καὶ πράσσειν στυγῶ, Ar. Nub. 75–7. Brunck (1779 edn) restores ηὕρισκον for manuscript εὕ– (cf. 546, 982, 1050, 1213, 1421, El. 1093n.). For emphatic μόνην cf. 307, Phil. 61 μόνην γ᾽ ἔχοντες τήνδ᾽ ἅλωσιν Ἰλίου. 69–72 παῖδα γὰρ Μενοικέως | Κρέοντ’, ἐμαυτοῦ γαμβρόν, ἐς τὰ Πυθικὰ | ἔπεμψα Φοίβου δώμαθ’, ὡς πύθοιθ’ ὅ τι | δρῶν ἢ τί φωνῶν τήνδ’ ἐρυσαίμην πόλιν. ‘For I have sent the son of Menoeceus, Creon, my brother-inlaw, to the Pythian house of Apollo, to inquire what I need to do or say to rescue this city.’ The man who wanted to learn his people’s sufferings at first hand (6–7) has sent to Delphi no ordinary herald, but his own brother-in-law (thus Σ p. 167.2–3 Papageorgius οὐ τὸν τυχόντα ἔπεμψα ἀλλὰ τὸν ἀναγκαῖον). Nevertheless, Oedipus highlights his own agency (ἔπεμψα and ἐρυσαίμην versus Creon’s mere πύθοιθ’). State inquiries at the major oracles are attested from the late sixth century, at Miletus (see I. Rutherford (2013) 96–7); for the consultation of oracles and seers in times of sickness cf. Holmes (2010) 80 n. 167, and for recent work on the Delphic oracle see Raphals (2013) 113–17, with references to earlier contributions. The phonetic similarity between Πυθικά and πύθοιθ’ (evident despite the difference in quantity of the upsilon) is also exploited at 603–4, Hdt. 1.54 ὁ Κροῖσος . . . πέμψας αὖτις ἐς Πυθὼ Δελφοὺς δωρέεται, πυθόμενος αὐτῶν τὸ πλῆθος, Cornutus Theol. Graec. 32 (p. 67.9–11 Lang) τὸν Ἀπόλλωνα προσωνόμασαν Πύθιον ἀπὸ τοῦ δεῦρο ἐρχομένους τοὺς ἀνθρώπους πυνθάνεσθαι τὰ καθ’ ἑαυτούς (compared by Pearson (1929a) 90), Plut. De E ap. Delph. 385b Πύθιος . . . ἐστι τοῖς ἀρχομένοις μανθάνειν καὶ διαπυνθάνεσθαι. It arises from the Greek belief that ὄνομα reveals φύσις (cf. 924–6n., 1036n., Aj. 430–1n.); in this case Delphi is the place par excellence for consultation. For ‘the house of Phoebus’ as a description for Delphi cf. Pind. P. 4.53 with Braswell. For the hyperbaton of the main indicative verb cf. Eur. Med. 473–4 ἐγώ τε γὰρ λέξασα κουφισθήσομαι | ψυχὴν κακῶς σέ; also 644–5n., 1251n. The combination ὅ τι δρῶν ἢ τί φωνῶν suggests the whole field of human agency by the familiar juxtaposition between word and deed (cf. Hom. Il. 9.443 μύθων τε ῥητῆρ’ ἔμεναι πρηκτῆρά τε ἔργων, Aesch. Cho. 315–19), either of which Oedipus is prepared to deploy. It recurs in the context of response to prophecy at [Aesch.] PV 658–60 ὃ δ’ εἴς τε Πυθὼ κἀπὶ Δωδώνην πυκνοὺς | θεοπρόπους ἴαλλεν, ὡς μάθοι τί χρὴ | δρῶντ’ ἢ λέγοντα δαίμοσιν πράσσειν φίλα; deeds alone are mentioned at Hdt. 1.158.1 πέμψαντες ὦν οἱ Κυμαῖοι ἐς τοὺς Βραγχίδας θεοπρόπους εἰρώτων περὶ Πακτύην ὁκοῖόν τι ποιέοντες θεοῖσι μέλλοιεν χαριεῖσθαι. τήνδ’ ἐρυσαίμην (‘save’; cf. 1352/3) and τήνδε ῥυσαίμην are both possible interpretations of the paradosis, ἐρύομαι and ῥύομαι being


COMMENTARY: 73– 75 variant forms of the same verb (cf. LSJ9 s.v. ἐρύω (B)). But if the second syllable of τήνδε ῥυσαίμην is long, there is a breach of Porson’s Law; yet it can hardly be short, since outside Prometheus Bound there is no secure instance in iambics of word-final short vowel followed by ῥ– yielding a short syllable (cf. Dawe, STS i 209–10, Diggle (1994) 457). Hence τήνδ’ ἐρυσαίμην is preferable, even though this is the only instance of ἐρύομαι in tragedy. ῥυσοίμην (coni. Linwood1, notes) would represent an original future ῥύσομαι, and so ‘would imply that [Oedipus] was confident of a successful result, and doubtful only concerning the means’ (Jebb, his italics); this too is metrically unacceptable. 73–5 καί μ’ ἦμαρ ἤδη ξυμμετρούμενον χρόνῳ | λυπεῖ τί πράσσει· τοῦ γὰρ εἰκότος πέρᾳ | ἄπεστι, πλείω τοῦ καθήκοντος χρόνου. ‘And already the day measured against the time makes me anxious as to how he is getting on. For he has been away beyond what is reasonable, for more than the appropriate time.’ χρόνῳ refers to the time that Creon has been away; for ξυμμετρούμενον cf. 963 καὶ τῷ μακρῷ γε συμμετρούμενος χρόνῳ, where the dead man is ‘measured against’ the long time that he had lived, 1112–13, Ant. 387 ποίᾳ ξύμμετρος προὔβην τύχῃ;, and for related expressions cf. 561n., Collard on Eur. Suppl. 1118–19. For similar inferences based on the passing of time (all more straightforward, and perhaps less poetic, thanks to their use of the definite article with χρόνος) cf. Eur. Or. 1214 καὶ δὴ πέλας νιν δωμάτων εἶναι δοκῶ· | τοῦ γὰρ χρόνου τὸ μῆκος αὐτὸ συντρέχει, Ion 547 τῷ χρόνῳ γε συντρέχει, Hdt. 1.116.1 ὁ . . . χρόνος τῆς ἐκθέσιος τῇ ἡλικίῃ τοῦ παιδὸς ἐδόκεε συμβαίνειν. The whole expression ἦμαρ . . . ξυμμετρούμενον χρόνῳ governs λυπεῖ, as at Pind. P. 11.22–3 Ἰφιγένει’ ἐπ’ Εὐρίπῳ | σφαχθεῖσα . . . ἔκνισεν βαρυπάλαμον ὄρσαι χόλον (with n.). For bare τί after λυπεῖ cf. Aj. 794 καὶ μὴν θυραῖος, ὥστε μ’ ὠδίνειν τί φῄς, Eur. Hec. 184–5 δειμαίνω . . . τί ποτ’ ἀναστένεις. LK have πέρᾳ, an orthography attested in L at El. [1506], Phil. 666, 1277, 1286, in K at Phil. 1277, at Crat. fr. 69 PCG, and in a manuscript of Plato (thus Usener (1865) 256–7 = (1912–14) ii 111; see further S–D i 550); it should be preferred to the variant πέρα as the earlier attested form. Porson (pre-1808b) 216 writes περᾷ and deletes the following line, claiming that πλείω τοῦ καθήκοντος χρόνου is a gloss intended to explain τοῦ . . . εἰκότος (47–8n.); this gives ‘he is gone beyond what is appropriate’. But the apparent redundancy involved in having both τοῦ . . . εἰκότος πέρα and πλείω τοῦ καθήκοντος χρόνου is expressive both of Oedipus’ foresight (he has calculated with great care the appropriate duration of Creon’s journey) and of his impatience. The wholesale deletion of 73–5 by L. Dindorf (1878) 321 is still less justifiable.


C OM M E N TAR Y : 76– 79 The weakly attested minority variant χρόνον (coni. Purgold (1802) 204) will result from confusion either of cases or between upsilon and nu. Admittedly, if Sophocles wrote χρόνον (agreeing with πλείω), it could have been corrupted into the genitive under the influence of the preceding phrase; but since the corruption is possible in either direction we should print the better attested reading. 76–7 ὅταν δ’ ἵκηται, τηνικαῦτ’ ἐγὼ κακὸς | μὴ δρῶν ἂν εἴην πάνθ’ ὅσ’ ἂν δηλοῖ θεός. ‘When he comes, I shall be a bad man if I do not do everything that the god reveals.’ ὅσ᾿ ἄν has become the unmetrical ὅσα in l, a reminder of how such a word can be lost even in the oldest mediaeval manuscripts, especially when repeated (for the repetition cf. 281 (where also ἄν is lost), 339, 815–16, 862, 1281, El. 333–4n., A/O on Ar. Thesm. 195–7, B/O on Vesp. 72–3; for missing ἄν cf. 1348 and possibly 936, but see n.). 78–9 Some of the children point out to the Priest that Creon is approaching from eisodos A, wearing a crown of laurel (82–3n.). ἀλλ’ εἰς καλὸν σύ τ’ εἶπας οἵδε τ’ ἀρτίως | Κρέοντα προσστείχοντα σημαίνουσί μοι. ‘Well, your words and the arrival of Creon, which these children have just this moment signalled to me, are beautifully timed’ (Dawe; commas mine). Creon’s entrance follows almost immediately after the mention of his name, ‘a minor coincidence in a life shaped by momentous twists of fate’ (Fletcher (2012) 112). The same device is later used in the case of Tiresias (284–99; cf. 1416–18, and for further examples from tragedy and comedy see Nünlist (1993) 266, Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 525–6). Their appearance so soon after Oedipus mentions that they have been summoned maintains a fast pace and suggests, however irrationally, that Oedipus is in control of events, when in fact these arrivals only speed him to his doom. εἰς καλόν (= καλῶς; cf. εἰς καιρόν, illustrated at Aj. 1168–70n.) accompanies both the clauses coordinated by τε and emphasises the pleasure of the coincidence; for the phrase with εἶπας cf. Pl. Hipp. Mai. 286c καὶ γάρ με εἰς καλὸν ὑπέμνησας, and, with προσστείχοντα, cf. Eur. Her. 728–9 ἐς καλὸν | στείχει, Men. Sam. 280 ἀλλ’ εἰς καλὸν γὰρ τουτονὶ προσιόνθ’ ὁρῶ with Sommerstein, Dysc. 773 εἰς καλὸν δ’ ὁρῶ παρόντα τὸν πατέρα, fr. 246.2–4 PCG, Pl. Symp. 174e εἰς καλὸν ἥκεις, Hipp. Mai. 286d, Meno 89e, Xen. Symp. 1.4 εἰς καλόν γε ὑμῖν συντετύχηκα, An. 4.7.3. Since the children have to point out the arrival of Creon to the Priest, the latter may not be facing in the direction of eisodos A; he now turns that way in preparation for Creon’s arrival.


COMMENTARY: 80– 81 σύ has become εὖ in l (and r has σὺ εὖ, combining both variants), which offends both metre and sense; confusion of epsilon and lunate sigma would not be hard, not least because εὖ is a natural accompaniment to εἶπας. R’s προσστείχοντα (coni. Erfurdt1a, text) is written προστείχοντα in most manuscripts (except for προσστοίχοντα in C), but πρός, not πρό, indicates motion towards. The same error is found with the other occurrences of the word at OC 30 and 320. 80–1 ὦναξ Ἄπολλον, εἰ γὰρ ἐν τύχῃ γέ τῳ | σωτῆρι βαίη λαμπρὸς ὥσπερ ὄμμα τι. ‘Lord Apollo, may he come attended by some saving fortune, radiant like some source of comfort!’ The invocation provides an early hint of Apollo’s role in Oedipus’ fall (see Introduction, pp. 74–6). For the wish that a newcomer’s message is good cf. Soph. Tereus fr. 583+P. Oxy. 5292.17–18 with Finglass (2016d) 63, 68–9. σωτῆρι (47–8n.) accompanies τύχῃ . . . τῳ without taking on a distinctively feminine form (σωτείρᾳ); cf. Ant. 1074–5 λωβητῆρες . . . Ἐρινύες, Phil. 1470–1, El. 850, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 1040, Ernst Fraenkel (1910–12) ii 49– 50. For the phrase cf. Aesch. Ag. 664 Τύχη δὲ σωτὴρ ναῦν θέλουσ’ ἐφέζετο, also with reference to a successful journey. γε goes with the whole expression ἐν τύχῃ τῳ σωτῆρι (65n.). The paradosis ΟΜΜΑΤΙ (Sophocles did not write marks for accents and breathings, or spaces between words) can be interpreted as either ὄμμα τι (thus Wex, prob. Hoek (1944), Lloyd-Jones (1993) 303–4 = (2005) 113–14) or ὄμματι (as in the manuscripts). The two expressions could scarcely have been distinguished orally; but an audience hearing this phrase would more naturally have understood it as the former. The noun ὄμμα, literally ‘thing seen, sight’, can have the extended sense ‘source of light, comfort’ (El. 903n., Aj. 191/2–192/3n.), which Lloyd–Jones advocates for our passage. Twice elsewhere in Sophocles this usage appears in the context of good news brought by messengers; so at Tr. 202–4 Deianira tells the chorus to cry out because of the ‘unexpected comfort’ (ἄελπτον ὄμμα) caused by the news of Heracles’ return, and at OR 987 ὀφθαλμός is used to the same effect. τις in such a comparison is unexceptional (El. 107n.). ὄμματι, by contrast, would give the sense ‘radiant as he is radiant in his face’ or ‘radiant to look at’ (for ὄμμα ‘act of seeing’, and then ‘face’ or ‘eye’ see Barrett (2007) 359; for the technique of conditioning an audience into seeing an expression not visible on a mask, Easterling and Garvie ap. Liapis (2009) 153 compare Ant. 526–30; and for the idea of a bright face cf. Ar. Eq. 550 φαιδρὸς λάμποντι μετώπῳ, Thesm. 126–126/8 φάος ἔσσυτο δαιμονίοις | ὄμμασιν, Pind. N. 7.66 ὄμματι δέρκομαι λαμπρόν). But the


C OM M E N TAR Y : 82– 84 bare phrase ὥσπερ ὄμματι is elliptical; its starkness may have led to ὥσπερ becoming ὡς ἐν in a few manuscripts. Moreover, this interpretation is harder to reconcile with the surrounding dialogue. As Dawe remarks, ‘it remains awkward that Oedipus can discern the features of Creon’s face before the priest mentions the larger and, one would think, more clearly visible sign of the laurel wreath, and that the priest should hazard a guess . . . based on a wreath when the much less ambigous evidence of Creon’s own face has already been spoken of’ (so also Edmunds (1976) 42). 82–3 ἀλλ’ εἰκάσαι μέν, ἡδύς· οὐ γὰρ ἂν κάρα | πολυστεφὴς ὧδ’ εἷρπε παγκάρπου δάφνης. ‘Well, at a guess, the news is good; for otherwise he would not be coming here with his head thickly covered with the fruits of the laurel.’ For the absolute infinitive cf. 1219/20–1220/1, El. 410 ἐκ δείματός του νυκτέρου, δοκεῖν ἐμοί, fr. 479.1–2 TrGF σὺν θεῷ | εἰπεῖν, Dem. 19.47 ἀκοῦσαι μὲν γὰρ οὑτωσὶ παγκάκως ἔχει, K–G ii 18–19, Pearson (1930) 157, Tzamali (2000) 141–2; the construction commonly occurs with ὡς, as at OC 16 ὡς σάφ᾽ εἰκάσαι. The absence of ὡς, combined with the one-word description, suggests that the Priest is aiming at maximum efficiency of communication before Creon comes into earshot; the unusually staccato quality of the utterance may have encouraged the minority variant εἰκάσαιμ᾿ ἄν. Messengers with good news sometimes wore wreaths of foliage, as an act of celebration and perhaps to signal glad tidings from afar; cf. Tr. 178–9 εὐφημίαν νῦν ἴσχ᾽· ἐπεὶ καταστεφῆ | στείχονθ᾽ ὁρῶ τιν᾽ ἄνδρα πρὸς χαρὰν λόγων, Aesch. Ag. 493–4 κήρυκ’ ἀπ’ ἀκτῆς τόνδ’ ὁρῶ κατάσκιον | κλάδοις ἐλαίας, Chaeremon TrGF 71 F 11 στεφάνους ἑτοιμάζουσιν, οὓς εὐφημίας | κήρυκας εὐχαῖς προὐβάλοντο δαιμόνων. The same was apparently true of people returning from oracular consultation. So in Euripides’ Hippolytus Theseus enters wearing a garland, having just come back from visiting an oracle (see Barrett on 790). He tears this from his head when he realises that his wife is dead and that he is thus a δυστυχὴς θεωρός (807). Cf. Plut. Arist. 20.5–6, I. Rutherford (2013) 174–5 with nn. 3–4. The laurel worn by Creon is the plant sacred to Apollo (cf. Eur. Tro. 329–30, Ion 103–4, 113–15, Ar. Plut. 213, Hom. Hym. 3.395–6, Hdt. 4.15.4). For γάρ meaning ‘for otherwise’ cf. 318, Aj. 1330–1n., Arnott on Alexis fr. 288.2 PCG. Adjectives in –στεφής take a genitive ‘when there is a notion of fullness’ (Barrett on Eur. Hipp. 468–9; cf. S. El. 895–6, Hom. Il. 8.232, Archil. fr. 21.2 IEG, Alcm. fr. 19.2 PMGF); that notion is reinforced by πολύ– (cf. Aesch. Eum. 39). 84 τάχ’ εἰσόμεσθα· ξύμμετρος γὰρ ὡς κλύειν. ‘I shall soon know, as he is close enough for us to hear’. Oedipus’ reply retains the Priest’s


COMMENTARY: 85– 90 telegraphic style. His curt τάχ’ εἰσόμεσθα contrasts with the elaborate four-line utterance introduced with the same phrase by the chorus at Aesch. Ag. 489–92. 85–6 Creon arrives on stage. ἄναξ, ἐμὸν κήδευμα, παῖ Μενοικέως, | τίν’ ἧμιν ἥκεις τοῦ θεοῦ φήμην φέρων; ‘Lord, my kinsman, son of Menoeceus, what message have you come to bring from the god?’ ‘A solemn and formal address, appropriate to a man upon whose answer so much hangs’ (Dawe). For the inquiry cf. Tr. Adesp. P.Oxy. 5184.6–7 τέκνον, . . . | ποταπὸν λόγιον θεὸς Ἀπόλλ[ων . . . (perhaps with a phrase after τέκνον indicating the addressee’s recent arrival: cf. W. Henry (2014) 8). For the accentuation of ἧμιν (owed to Elmsley, 1805/6 edn) see 35–9n. φήμην has become φάτιν in Zc by substitution of a synonym; Pearson prints φέρων φάτιν (cf. 310, 1440, Eur. Phoen. 23), alleging that φήμην is an intrusive gloss (47–8n.), but φήμη is a standard term for an oracular response (cf. Tr. 1150, Eur. Ion 180; so rightly Körte (1925) 1414). 87–8 ἐσθλήν· λέγω γὰρ καὶ τὰ δύσφορ’, εἰ τύχοι | κατ’ ὀρθὸν ἐξιόντα, πάντ’ ἂν εὐτυχεῖν. ‘A good one. I say that even troubles hard to bear, if they chance to turn out well, can have a wholly fortunate outcome.’ Creon’s first utterance exemplifies ‘the messenger’s insistence on opening his news with a word of good omen’ (Davies on Tr. 229 ἀλλ᾽ εὖ μὲν ἵγμεθ᾽, εὖ δὲ προσφωνούμεθα; cf. 934, 958–9, Eur. El. 230 ζῇ· πρῶτα γάρ σοι τἀγάθ’ ἀγγέλλειν θέλω, where as in our passage the key opening word is followed by a strong pause, and see further Bond on Eur. Her. 538). But whereas usually messengers with good news are keen to announce the details right at the start (Soph. Aj. 719–21n.), Creon’s vague truism suggests reluctance to share his information. The scholia paraphrase δύσφορ᾿ as τὰ δύσφημα (p. 168.2 Papageorgius), but neither δύσφημ’ (for the apparent breach of Porson’s Law see Aj. 1100–1n.) nor δύσθρο᾿ (coni. Heimsoeth (1865) 43) is a likely emendation: they ‘would suggest rather the rumour than the reality of evils’ (Campbell). ἐξιόντα is only in the Suda and Zonaras; the manuscripts of Sophocles have ἐξελθόντα. Nevertheless, ἐξιόντα is likely to be right, since ἰών is frequently glossed by ἐλθών and not the other way around; ἐξελθόντα is thus probably an intrusive gloss (47–8n.; so rightly Pearson (1919) 120–1). For the construction cf. 1011, 1084 (both ἐξελθών), 1182 (ἐξήκων), West on Hes. Op. 218, Kane (1982) 140 (‘to emerge as this or that in the wake of some test’). 89–90 ἔστιν δὲ ποῖον τοὔπος; οὔτε γὰρ θρασὺς | οὔτ’ οὖν προδείσας εἰμὶ τῷ γε νῦν λόγῳ. ‘What kind of response is it? I am neither confident


C OM M E N TAR Y : 91– 94 nor fearful on the basis of your current story.’ The question word is delayed by ἔστι (cf. Eur. Hec. 763 ἔστιν δὲ τίς σῶν οὗτος, ὦ τλῆμον, τέκνων;, Dik (2007) 146–8), although the nuance is hard to determine. At any rate, the brevity of the question suggests Oedipus’ impatience, as does his subsequent explicit remark that he remains emotionally neutral despite Creon’s opening word. οὖν appears with equal frequency in both members of an οὔτε . . . οὔτε expression (cf. 270–1, Denniston 419–20), but its sense is unclear; Denniston suggests that the particle ‘emphasizes the duality, or plurality, of the ideas negatived’. οὖν in an εἴτε . . . εἴτε expression (such as at 1049), usually occurs in the first member, again with unclear force (at El. 199n. I tentatively agreed with Denniston’s view that it expresses indifference between the alternatives, but as Parker on Eur. Alc. 138–40 shows, in some instances the member with οὖν seems to be emphasised). C’s αὖ (coni. Ritter, apparatus) for οὖν is a straightforward corruption (Aj. 961–2n.), encouraged by failure to understand how οὖν fitted into the sentence. προ– ‘“beforehand”, stresses an idea implicit in the concept of fear for the future’ (FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 1044, with examples from verse and prose). 91–2 εἰ τῶνδε χρῄζεις πλησιαζόντων κλύειν, | ἑτοῖμος εἰπεῖν, εἴτε καὶ στείχειν ἔσω. ‘If you want to hear with these people near by I am ready to speak, and also if you want to go inside.’ Where Oedipus had addressed the suppliants directly, Creon refers disdainfully to them in the third person; where Oedipus had asked after the cause of their plight, Creon is reluctant to tell them its cure. Formally Creon’s words do not lean towards either of the alternatives that he mentions (cf. OC 638–9 εἰ δ᾽ ἐνθάδ᾽ ἡδὺ τῷ ξένῳ μίμνειν, σέ νιν | τάξω φυλάσσειν, εἴτ᾽ ἐμοῦ στείχειν μέτα), but his hesitation about speaking out, despite Oedipus’ bewildered inquiry, indicates his preference; καί in the second element (cf. Aesch. Suppl. 186, Ag. 843, Cho. 768, Eur. Tro. 942, Denniston 305; for εἰ . . . εἴτε cf. 515–17, K–G ii 535, Denniston 506) draws attention to the availability of another option. Ellipse of εἰμί is common with ἕτοιμος (Aj. 813n.). 93–4 ἐς πάντας αὔδα. τῶνδε γὰρ πλέον φέρω | τὸ πένθος ἢ καὶ τῆς ἐμῆς ψυχῆς πέρι. ‘Speak to everyone; for the sorrow that I bear for them is greater even than that for my own life.’ Oedipus’ direct command, telling Creon to address the group as a whole (cf. Eur. Suppl. 668 κῆρυξ δὲ Θησέως εἶπεν ἐς πάντας τάδε, Hdt. 3.80.6, 8.26.3), contrasts with his brother-in-law’s elaborate conditionals. He then restates what he had said to the suppliants (62–4) in even stronger terms; for the


COMMENTARY: 95– 98 idea of valuing something more than one’s life cf. Aesch. Suppl. 1013 with FJ/W. 95 λέγοιμ’ ἂν οἷ’ ἤκουσα τοῦ θεοῦ πάρα· ‘Then I will say what I heard from the god.’ The first person optative with ἄν ‘signifies that the speaker, whatever his own inclinations, is consenting to a course which somebody else desires’ (R. Lattimore (1979) 211); cf. 282, 343–4n., Aj. 88n., and further instances at Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 838. 96–8 ἄνωγεν ἡμᾶς Φοῖβος ἐμφανῶς ἄναξ | μίασμα χώρας, ὡς τεθραμμένον χθονὶ | ἐν τῇδ’, ἐλαύνειν μηδ’ ἀνήκεστον τρέφειν. ‘Lord Phoebus openly commands us to drive out from the land the pollution, which has been nourished in this country, and not to nourish it until it cannot be healed.’ The god’s response is highlighted by being introduced in asyndeton (cf. El. 35–7). ἐμφανῶς emphasises that this oracle, contrary to usual practice, apparently leaves no room for ambiguity (cf. 106 σαφῶς); cf. this word in the description of a divine prophecy at Eur. Or. 365. Firnhaber (1847) 156 advocates punctuating around ἄναξ to create a vocative, but the apparently unmotivated separation of ἄναξ from its noun is paralleled by Tr. 155–6 ὁδὸν γὰρ ἦμος τὴν τελευταίαν ἄναξ | ὡρμᾶτ’ ἀπ’ οἴκων Ἡρακλῆς and Eur. Tro. 41–2 ἣν δὲ παρθένον | μεθῆκ’ Ἀπόλλων δρομάδα Κασσάνδραν ἄναξ (OR 284–5 and Eur. Tro. 277 Ἰθάκης Ὀδυσσεὺς ἔλαχ’ ἄναξ δούλην σ’ ἔχειν are not comparable, since the word order there is rhetorically effective, allowing in the latter a juxtaposition of ἄναξ and δούλην; for the former, see 284–6n.). Moreover, the solemn expression ‘Lord Phoebus’ suits the moment when the god’s response is at last revealed, whereas the vocative might indicate an unbecoming determination on Creon’s part to defy Oedipus’ order at 93–4 by focusing his response on Oedipus alone; vocatives are similarly absent from the opening of narratives at 711 and 774 which themselves are preceded by statements indicating the speaker’s intention to narrate. μίασμα denotes ‘not the murderer . . . but the pollution inherent in him’ (Barrett (2007) 357), which in turn defiles the land. A person who had committed homicide was regarded as polluted (cf. 241–2, 313, 353, 1012, El. 275–6, Antiph. 5.11, 2.1.2–3 ἡμεῖς . . . οἱ ἐπεξερχόμενοι τὸν φόνον οὐ τὸν αἴτιον ἀφέντες τὸν ἀναίτιον διώκομεν· σαφῶς γὰρ οἴδαμεν ὅτι πάσης τῆς πόλεως μιαινομένης ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ, ἕως ἂν διωχθῇ, τό τ’ ἀσέβημα ἡμέτερον γίγνεται, τῆς θ’ ὑμετέρας ἁμαρτίας ἡ ποινὴ εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς μὴ δικαίως διώκοντας ἀναχωρεῖ. ἅπαντος δὲ τοῦ μιάσματος ἀναχωροῦντος εἰς ἡμᾶς κτλ., R. Parker (1983) 104–43); in this case the pollution would have been more serious since the dead man was a ruler. ὡς introduces a


C O M M EN T A R Y : 99 –1 01 phrase explicitly marked as the words of the god (however paraphrased) rather than a gloss from the speaker. The repetition τεθραμμένον . . . τρέφειν lays strong emphasis on the idea of nourishment; the killer will indeed turn out to have been not just nourished, but born in the land of Thebes. For τρέφω ‘with a persistent evil as object’ see Aj. 501–3n. Instead of ἐν τῇδ᾿ a few manuscripts have ἐκ τῆσδ᾿, but there is no reason to prefer this to the majority reading. For ἐλαύνειν in this context cf. Thuc. 1.126.2 οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι ἐκέλευον τοὺς Ἀθηναίους τὸ ἄγος ἐλαύνειν τῆς θεοῦ, and the verb ἀγηλατέω (401–3n.). 99 ποίῳ καθαρμῷ; τίς ὁ τρόπος †τῆς ξυμφορᾶς†; ‘By what means of purification? What is the nature of . . .?’ For καθαρμοί as a response to pollution see R. Parker (1983) 207–34. The second question, as transmitted, apparently means ‘What is the nature of the event/misfortune?’, which provides neither a suitable response to 96–8, nor a parallel question to the first two words of this line. τίς ὁ τρόπος is a standard phrase (JD compares fr. 314.126 TrGF τίς ὑμῶν ὁ τρόπος;, Eur. Her. 965–6 τίς ὁ τρόπος ξενώσεως | τῆσδ’;, Phoen. 390, Ar. Av. 94, Pl. Resp. 449c, 532d, Leg. 871c, Crat. 424b, 435e, Parm. 135d, Phaedr. 258d, Prot. 336b, Men. 96d, and add Ar. Vesp. 30 λέγε νυν ἁνύσας τι τὴν τρόπιν τοῦ πράγματος, where B/O compare our passage), and so emending τρόπος to πόρος (coni. F. Schmidt (1864) 26) to give ‘What is the way out of the catastrophe?’ (cf. Eur. Alc. 213 πόρος κακῶν) is unattractive. The problem is likely to lie in ξυμφορᾶς (συμ– in some manuscripts: 31– 4n.); Ll-J/W (So.) try προσφορᾶς, but neither of the senses that they mention (‘addition’, ‘application’) is suitable. 100–1 ἀνδρηλατοῦντας, ἢ φόνῳ φόνον πάλιν | λύοντας, ὡς τόδ’ αἷμα χειμάζον πόλιν. ‘By exile, or by paying back killing with killing, since it is this blood that brings a storm on the city.’ ἀνδρηλατέω (< ἀνήρ + ἐλαύνω; verbs in –ηλατέω are first found in Aeschylus, as Wackernagel (1889) 43 = (1953–79) ii 939 notes) is attested elsewhere only in Aeschylus (Sept. 637, Ag. 1419, Eum. 221) and Plato (Resp. 565e). In the Agamemnon passage Clytemnestra asks the chorus, after referring to Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his daughter, οὐ τοῦτον ἐκ γῆς τῆσδε χρῆν σ’ ἀνδρηλατεῖν | μιασμάτων ἄποιν’; Here too the verb is used for the putative exile of a polluted killer; for other killers driven into exile see R. Parker (1983) 375–92, Nünlist (2011). Capital punishment for a killer is expressed by polyptoton in tragedy elsewhere at Phil. 959 φόνον φόνου δὲ ῥύσιον τείσω τάλας, Eur. Her. 40 ὡς φόνῳ σβέσῃ φόνον, Or. 510–11 φόνῳ φόνον | λύσει. The same literary device is used in descriptions of purification by bloodshed, a concept mocked by Heraclitus (D–K 22 B 5 = i 151.11–152.2) but persistent in


C O M M E N T A R Y : 102– 104 classical Greek culture, and present in our passage; cf. Eur. IT 1223–4 ὡς φόνῳ φόνον | μυσαρὸν ἐκνίψω, Aesch. Eum. 448–52, fr. 327 TrGF, Pl. Leg. 870c, 872e–873a τοῦ γὰρ κοινοῦ μιανθέντος αἵματος οὐκ εἶναι κάθαρσιν ἄλλην, οὐδὲ ἔκπλυτον ἐθέλειν γίγνεσθαι τὸ μιανθὲν πρὶν φόνον φόνῳ ὁμοίῳ ὅμοιον ἡ δράσασα ψυχὴ τείσῃ, R. Parker (1983) 370–4, Petrovic and Petrovic (2016) 689, and also Wills (1996) 192–3. Distinguish passages where φόνον is combined with φόνῳ to express cumulation of bloodshed (cf. OR 175/6, El. 235n., Aj. 866n., Eur. Her. 1085 τάχα φόνον ἕτερον ἐπὶ φόνῳ βαλών, IT 197, Phoen. 1495, Or. 1579, [1587], Willink on Eur. Or. 335–6). πάλιν is often associated with retributive justice (cf. El. 247n., Eur. Suppl. 557 (coni.), Hom. Od. 1.379 παλίντιτα ἔργα, Xen. Cyr. 6.1.11). Instead of τόδ’ Z. Mudge ap. B. Heath (1762) 26 writes τήνδε, on the basis that τόδ’ αἷμα is impermissible since there has been no previous mention of blood; but φόνον provides an adequate antecedent. For the accusative absolute with a personal verb and ὡς see Diggle (1982a) 60 = (1994) 225, Wilkins on Eur. Hcld. 693, Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 1461–2, Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 143–5, K–G ii 95–6. The minority variant χειμάζει is first attested as an interlinear gloss, and that is probably its origin (for intrusive glosses see 47–8n.): the rare construction naturally required explanation. The picture implied by χειμάζον of a storm of blood (cf. Aesch. Ag. 1533–4 δέδοικα δ’ ὄμβρου κτύπον δομοσφαλῆ | τὸν αἱματηρόν; also the bloody rain at Hom. Il. 11.53–4, 16.459, compared with Joel 2.30 by West (1997) 375), continues similar imagery found in the Priest’s speech (22–4n.). 102 ποίου γὰρ ἀνδρὸς τῇδε μηνύει τύχην; ‘What kind of man’s fate does he reveal in this way?’ τῇδε is in our oldest witnesses, and gives better sense than the majority reading τήνδε. Since τῇδε meaning ‘thus’ (cf. Phil. 1336, El. 1302n.) is not common, and since τύχην follows the word so closely, corruption from τῇδε into τήνδε would be understandable; the same does not hold for the reverse. 103–4 ἦν ἧμιν, ὦναξ, Λάϊός ποθ’ ἡγεμὼν | γῆς τῆσδε, πρὶν σὲ τήνδ’ ἀπευθύνειν πόλιν. ‘Once, my lord, Laius was the ruler of this land, before you guided this city.’ Creon’s answer begins with a statement whose relevance to Oedipus’ question is made clear only at 106–7 (cf. Eur. Med. 682–5, Mastronarde (1979) 43–4). For the accentuation of ἧμιν (owed to Elmsley, 1805/6 edn) see 35–9n. ποτε introduces a narrative (Aj. 1142–3n.). ἀπευθύνειν has a weakly attested variant ἐπ– (coni. Blomfield on Aesch. Pers. 867), which brings no advantages. Instead of πόλιν Zn has χθόνα, showing the substitution of a metrically equivalent virtual synonym.


C OMMENTARY : 105– 109 105 ἔξοιδ’ ἀκούων· οὐ γὰρ εἰσεῖδόν γέ πω. ‘I know from hearsay, as I never saw him.’ πω must be ‘never’, not its usual meaning ‘not yet’, since there is no question of a future encounter (cf. El. 403n.); 594 is another possible example (n.). The usage ‘is part of the Homeric-Ionic vocabulary which was taken over by the Attic Tragedians’ (Pearson (1929a) 91, citing e.g. Hom. Il. 3.306). Unfamiliarity with this unusual sense has prompted various manuscript errors and conjectures (γέ που FVZc, coni. Doederlein (1846) 4; γέ πως H; γ᾿ ἐγώ coni. Hartung, text). 106–7 τούτου θανόντος νῦν ἐπιστέλλει σαφῶς | τοὺς αὐτοέντας χειρὶ τιμωρεῖν τινας. ‘This man is dead; and now he clearly commands that violent vengeance should be taken on the murderers, whoever they may be.’ The whole city’s afflictions are the result of the crimes of a band of men; cf. Hes. Op. 240–1 πολλάκι καὶ ξύμπασα πόλις κακοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἀπηύρα, | ὅστις ἀλιτραίνει καὶ ἀτάσθαλα μηχανάαται with West. Instead of νῦν Blaydes1 writes νυν, but the temporal sense is in order: now is the time to find this out. The subject of ἐπιστέλλει is unexpressed but clear from the context; emendations aimed at making this explicit (106 θεός coni. Nauck5 p. 160 for σαφῶς; 107 θεός coni. Nauck4 p. 157 for τινας) present no obvious rationale for the corruptions alleged. For σαφῶς see 96–8n. The combination of τούς and τινας refers to the killers, the first indicating that a particular group of people is meant, the second that their identity is unknown; cf. 618–21n., OC 288–9 ὅταν δ᾽ ὁ κύριος | παρῇ τις, ὑμῶν ὅστις ἐστὶν ἡγεμών, Ant. 252 ἄσημος οὑργάτης τις ἦν, Aesch. Sept. 491 ὁ σηματουργὸς δ’ οὔ τις εὐτελὴς ἄρ’ ἦν, Kannicht on Eur. Hel. 98, K–G i 662–3. The minority variant τινα (coni. Demetrius Chalcondylas in his unpaginated edition of the Suda s.v. ἐπιστέλλει) looks like the result of failure to understand the construction; the resulting sense (‘. . . commands that someone should take . . .’) is weak. χειρί accompanies τιμωρεῖν also at 140. αὐτοέντης here means simply ‘killer’, but usually this term and related αὐτο– compounds such as αὐτοφόντης (El. 272, where αὐτοέντης is a variant reading) refer to the killing of self or kin (El. 272n., Newton (1978–9) 233 n. 10, Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 873); the term thus foreshadows the eventual discovery that Laius was killed by his son (cf. Carawan (1999) 195). 108–9 οἱ δ’ εἰσὶ ποῦ γῆς; ποῦ τόδ’ εὑρεθήσεται | ἴχνος παλαιᾶς δυστέκμαρτον αἰτίας; ‘Where in the world are they? Where will this trace of ancient guilt, hard to track down, be found?’ ἴχνος has a demonstrative, even though it has not been mentioned before, because


C O M M E N T A R Y : 110– 115 it is implied by Apollo’s command expressed in 106–7, which can be fulfilled only if some trace of evidence materialises. παλαιός emphasises the problem of finding evidence from so distant a time (cf. 290). In its other classical occurrences, δυστέκμαρτος is associated with divine activity (Eur. Hel. 712) and the interpretation of sacrifices ([Aesch.] PV 497); it suggests a problem of more than mortal difficulty. For the interlaced word order in 109 see 52–3n. 110–11 ἐν τῇδ’ ἔφασκε γῇ. τὸ δὲ ζητούμενον | ἁλωτόν, ἐκφεύγει δὲ τἀμελούμενον. ‘He said that they were in this land. What is searched for can be caught, but what is neglected escapes.’ Creon replies to Oedipus’ two questions one by one (cf. Aj. 797–9, Mastronarde (1979) 41), almost exactly matching their respective lengths in his responses; he offers first information given by the oracle, and then a remark that recalls his fondness for sententious language (cf. 87–8; for the thought cf. Men. Dysc. 862–3 ἁλωτὰ γίνετ’ ἐπιμελείᾳ καὶ πόνῳ | ἅπαντ’ and, for the concluding rhyme, Aj. 807–8n.). ἐκφεύγειν (coni. Meineke (1863) 221; attributed to Valckenaer by Nauck5 p. 161, but not traced by Austin (2006) 106, 107 n. 17) may have been an ancient variant reading, as we could infer from the scholium which says that ἔφασκε should be taken with both parts of Creon’s utterance (p. 169.6 Papageorgius ἀπὸ κοινοῦ δὲ τὸ ἔφασκε); if it is right, Creon represents his entire message as the instructions of the god. But everywhere else Apollo’s language, as conveyed by Creon, is to the point (96–8, 100–1, 106–7, 110); the only portentous maxim has come from Creon himself (87–8). And although the play as a whole is based on unexpected coincidences, it would seem excessively prophetic even for Apollo to anticipate Oedipus’ second, general query (itself more of a despairing exclamation than a question) and to supply Creon with the (rather obvious) solution. 112–13 πότερα δ’ ἐν οἴκοις ἢ ’ν ἀγροῖς ὁ Λάϊος | ἢ γῆς ἐπ’ ἄλλης τῷδε συμπίπτει φόνῳ; ‘Was Laius at home, in the country, or in another land when he fell victim to this murder?’ 114–15 θεωρός, ὡς ἔφασκεν, ἐκδημῶν πάλιν | πρὸς οἶκον οὐκέθ’ ἵκεθ’, ὡς ἀπεστάλη. ‘He was out of the country in order to visit an oracle, as he said, but after he set out he did not come back.’ For the dangers involved in journeys for the purpose of θεωρία see I. Rutherford (1995), (2013) 185–7; nevertheless, kings sometimes undertook these trips themselves (ibid. 36, citing parallels from Sumerian times onwards). Rutherford suggests that ‘the point may be to emphasise the enormity of the crime: not just parricide but sacrilege’ (p. 100), perhaps rightly; when Oedipus later suspects that he may be the killer,


C OMMENTARY : 116– 121 Laius’ status as a θεωρός is not mentioned, and it has been completely overshadowed by the time that he learns that it involves parricide. Instead of ἔφασκεν Markland (1758–76) conjectures ἔφασκον (‘as they said’) and Blaydes1 (notes) ἔφασκετ᾿ (‘as was said’), but there is no reason to deny the claim to Laius. οὐκέθ’ denotes ‘not the further, and perhaps expected, step’ (Dawe, with copious examples; cf. 1251, 1370, 1424, El. 611n.). 116–17 οὐδ’ ἄγγελός τις οὐδὲ συμπράκτωρ ὁδοῦ | κατεῖδ’, ὅτου τις ἐκμαθὼν ἐχρήσατ’ ἄν; ‘Didn’t either some messenger or fellow-traveller see anything, from whom one would have learned something, putting him to use?’ συμπράκτωρ ὁδοῦ ‘defines more precisely the general ἄγγελος’ (Garvie on Aesch. Pers. 14–15 κοὔτε τις ἄγγελος οὔτε τις ἱππεὺς ἄστυ τὸ Περσῶν ἀφικνεῖται, comparing our passage). For χράομαι cf. Tr. 60 πάρεστι χρῆσθαι τἀνδρὶ τοῖς τ᾽ ἐμοῖς λόγοις. 118–19 θνῄσκουσι γάρ, πλὴν εἷς τις, ὃς φόβῳ φυγὼν | ὧν εἶδε πλὴν ἓν οὐδὲν εἶχ’ εἰδὼς φράσαι. ‘No, because they are dead – apart from one, who fled in fear and was not able to state anything reliably about what he had seen, except for one thing.’ For εἰδώς denoting sure knowledge cf. 1151, El. 41 ὅπως ἂν εἰδὼς ἧμιν ἀγγείλῃς σαφῆ. 120–1 τὸ ποῖον; ἓν γὰρ πόλλ’ ἂν ἐξεύροι μαθεῖν, | ἀρχὴν βραχεῖαν εἰ λάβοιμεν ἐλπίδος. ‘What is that? One thing might lead to the discovery of many for us to learn, if we could grasp some brief beginning of hope.’ The sententious remark is more relevant than Oedipus realises, since the information provided by the witness is centred on the distinction between singular and plural. For τὸ ποῖον, τὰ ποῖα introducing a question cf. 291, 935, El. 671n. The accusative πολλά is the direct object of ἐξεύροι, and the infinitive μαθεῖν is epexegetic; exactly the same construction is found at Hdt. 1.196.5 ὁ μέν νυν κάλλιστος νόμος οὗτός σφι ἦν, οὐ μέντοι νῦν γε διατέλεε ἐών, ἄλλο δέ τι ἐξευρήκασι νεωστὶ γενέσθαι, Alexis fr. 190.2–3 PCG. For ἐξευρίσκω followed by μανθάνω cf. Ar. Thesm. 22–4 πῶς ἂν οὖν | πρὸς τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς τούτοισιν ἐξεύροιμ’ ὅπως | ἔτι προσμάθοιμι χωλὸς εἶναι τὼ σκέλει; Line 121 is probably omitted in Π1, as it certainly is omitted in the text of K; in the latter it is added in the margin, perhaps by the scribe (thus Battezzato (2003) 28). The papyrus has ]. . μ., in a place about five letters to the right of where we would expect the mu in λάβοιμεν ἐλπίδος; the traces before the mu are not consistent with οι, either. But they do suit upsilon (thus Barrett (2007) 374–5), and the relative placing of the mu and the text of 120 invites the hypothesis that the manuscript has lines 120 and 122, but not 121 (thus Battezzato (2003) 27). So 121 is probably absent from the main text of two of our three oldest witnesses;


C O M M E N T A R Y : 122– 127 nor is the line required for the sense. Nevertheless, it is indispensable, since its removal would violate the two-line stichomythia which prevails from 106 until 131. Oedipus has three one-line contributions at 99, 102, and 105, but they are in succession and so reinforce each other; they provide no support for a single-line utterance in 120. Ll-J/W (So.) suggest instead that the papyrus is evidence that the mediaeval text of 120–1 is corrupt; noting μαθών, . . . λάβοι τις conjectured by Van Herwerden (1862) 114, they conjecture ἐξεύροις μαθών, . . . λάβοις προθυμίας. But enthusiasm is not relevant here; and ‘it is simpler to assume that a line is missing . . . than to suggest a variant text’ (Finglass (2008) 444 n. 30). 122–3 λῃστὰς ἔφασκε συντυχόντας οὐ μιᾷ | ῥώμῃ κτανεῖν νιν, ἀλλὰ σὺν πλήθει χερῶν. ‘He said that robbers encountered and killed him, not by the strength of one man, but with a multitude of hands.’ For θεωροί assaulted by bandits cf. IGSK xi/1 2.1–11 (c. 350–300), Plut. Aet. Gr. 304ef, I. Rutherford (2013) 100. For σύν denoting the means or instrument cf. 124, 643, 656–7, Moorhouse 126. 124–5 πῶς οὖν ὁ λῃστής, εἴ τι μὴ ξὺν ἀργύρῳ | ἐπράσσετ’ ἐνθένδ’, ἐς τόδ’ ἂν τόλμης ἔβη; ‘So how could the robber have reached such a pitch of daring, if there had not been some intrigue involving bribery from here?’ Despite Creon’s insistence on the plurality of the robbers, Oedipus shifts into the generic singular (cf. Moorhouse 1–2, 145–6), ‘wholly careless about the number of the persons, which is afterwards his only refuge’ (Campbell, after Schneidewin1; cf. 292–3, and contrast [246–7]). Something must lie behind the robbers’ boldness (cf. Theseus’ words to Creon at OC 1028–31 ὡς ἔξοιδά σε | οὐ ψιλὸν οὐδ᾽ ἄσκευον ἐς τοσήνδ᾽ ὕβριν | ἥκοντα τόλμης τῆς παρεστώσης τανῦν, | ἀλλ᾽ ἔσθ᾽ ὅτῳ σὺ πιστὸς ὢν ἔδρας τάδε, with the same construction), and Oedipus jumps to the conclusion that Laius’ enemies lay within the Theban state; the accusation of bribery will later be laid at Creon’s door (380–9), with a similarly shaky foundation. τι is the subject of ἐπράσσετ’, as at Thuc. 4.121.2 καί τι αὐτῷ καὶ ἐπράσσετο ἐς τὰς πόλεις ταύτας προδοσίας πέρι, 5.83.1 ὑπῆρχε δέ τι αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Ἄργους αὐτόθεν πρασσόμενον. Contrast εἴ τι μή at 969, denoting an afterthought or hesitation (see Headlam on Herod. 2.101, Garvie on Aesch. Pers. 158). For σύν denoting the means or instrument see 122–3n. 126–7 δοκοῦντα ταῦτ’ ἦν· Λαΐου δ’ ὀλωλότος | οὐδεὶς ἀρωγὸς ἐν κακοῖς ἐγίγνετο. ‘That seemed to be the case; but once Laius was dead no helper appeared in the midst of our troubles.’ For the periphrasis δοκοῦντα . . . ἦν (present participle plus imperfect verb) cf. Aj. 1324


C OMMENTARY : 128– 132 δρῶν . . . ἦν, Diggle (1981a) 103; for similar periphrases with a present tense verb cf. 274, 580, 1045, A/O on Ar. Thesm. 76–7. ἐγίγνετο (which has become ἐγείνετο in K; for the corruption see FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 793), giving literally ‘no-one became a helper’, is unusual; ἐφαίνετο (coni. Nauck3 p. 157) gives better sense, but the corruption would be unexplained. 128–9 κακὸν δὲ ποῖον ἐμποδὼν τυραννίδος | οὕτω πεσούσης εἶργε τοῦτ’ ἐξειδέναι; ‘What sort of trouble could have hindered this investigation when a regime had fallen like this?’ κακόν picks up Creon’s ἐν κακοῖς, and emphatically precedes its question word; for ποῖος finding fault with a term used by the previous speaker cf. Eur. IA 835–7, Bond on Her. 518, Diggle (1981a) 50–1. Unaspirated εἶργε is correct; see Aj. 752–5n. 130–1 ἡ ποικιλῳδὸς Σφὶγξ τὸ πρὸς ποσὶ σκοπεῖν | μεθέντας ἡμᾶς τἀφανῆ προσήγετο. ‘The Sphinx with her perplexing song led us to examine what lay before our feet and neglect what was unseen.’ At 567 Creon says that a search was in fact undertaken, but that it did not reveal anything. The Sphinx, frequently described as a singer (35–9n.), is ποικιλῳδός because of the beautiful variety of her song (cf. Pind. O. 3.8, 6.87, N. 4.14) and the difficulty of the riddle that it contained (cf. Ar. Eq. 195–6, Pl. Symp. 182a); the term does not imply deception here (pace Schein on Phil. 130 and Worman there cited). [Aesch.] PV 661–2 αἰολοστόμους | χρησμούς has a similar effect. For τὸ πρὸς ποσί cf. Eur. IT 1312 αὖθις τὰ τῶνδε σημανῶ· τὰ δ’ ἐν ποσὶν | παρόντ’ ἄκουσον, Andr. 397–8 (perhaps spurious), Tro. 938 οὔπω με φήσεις αὐτὰ τἀν ποσὶν λέγειν, Alc. 739 τοὐν ποσὶν γὰρ οἰστέον κακόν, Pind. I. 8.12–14; also Ant. 1327 βράχιστα γὰρ κράτιστα τἀν ποσὶν κακά. The minority variant τά shows corruption to the more familiar expression, but τό nicely emphasises that the Thebans were faced with one big problem (in contrast to the plural τἀφανῆ, even though the killing of Laius was strictly a single problem too); similarly Admetus in the Alcestis passage just cited refers to the single trouble that outweighs all others, the death of his wife. 132 ἀλλ’ ἐξ ὑπαρχῆς αὖθις αὔτ’ ἐγὼ φανῶ. ‘Well, starting afresh I will make the matter clear again.’ Oedipus says αὖθις because ‘what became ἀφανής [cf. 131] will now be rendered φανερός again’ (Dawe). ἐξ ὑπαρχῆς recurs several times in Aristotle (e.g. Part. anim. 685b29–30 πάλιν . . . ἐξ ὑπαρχῆς περὶ τῶν ἐναίμων καὶ ζῳοτόκων ἐπισκεπτέον) and at e.g. [Dem.] 40.16; perhaps it had a prosaic, businesslike tone. For αὐτά without a specific antecedent cf. El. 1268/9–70 δαιμόνιον | αὐτὸ τίθημ’ ἐγώ, Diggle on Eur. Pha. 52.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 133– 140 133–4 ἐπαξίως γὰρ Φοῖβος, ἀξίως δὲ σὺ | πρὸ τοῦ θανόντος τήνδ’ ἔθεσθ’ ἐπιστροφήν· ‘Worthily has Phoebus, worthily have you shown this care on behalf of the dead man.’ The anaphora ἐπαξίως . . . ἀξίως is emphatically complimentary, not just to the god, but also to Creon, whom Oedipus has just addressed in somewhat stern tones and may now wish to conciliate. The lack of a prefix on the second iteration does not mark Creon’s actions as less worthy than the god’s, since the prefix is as it were understood by means of a common idiom (cf. 346–9n., 1075–6, Wackernagel (1926–8) ii 176–7 = (2009) 619–20, Fraenkel’s edition of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, ii 175 n. 3, Diggle (1973) 265 = (1994) 84, (1981a) 18, (1990a) 117 = (1994) 389–90, Wills (1996) 319–20, 349, 438–43, and Parker on Eur. Alc. 400 ὑπάκουσον ἄκουσον for lyric examples; for the phenomenon in reverse cf. 566–7, 575–6, 988–9, 1038–41, 1128–34, El. 923n.). Manuscripts are split between πρό and πρός, and the required sense ‘on behalf of’ demands the former (9–11n.). ἔθεσθ’ is plural because of the combination of Φοῖβος and σύ, and second person because that takes precedence over the third (cf. K–G i 82). ἐπιστροφή denotes ‘turning round to give something your attention’ (Dawe; cf. 728n., Diggle (1984a) 60–1 = (1994) 289–91). 135–6 ὥστ’ ἐνδίκως ὄψεσθε κἀμὲ σύμμαχον, | γῇ τῇδε τιμωροῦντα τῷ θεῷ θ’ ἅμα. ‘So you will, as is just, see me too as an ally, vindicating the land and the god together.’ σύμμαχον has a well-attested, but unmetrical, variant ξυμ– (31–4n.). 137–8 ὑπὲρ γὰρ οὐχὶ τῶν ἀπωτέρω φίλων | ἀλλ’ αὐτὸς αὐτοῦ τοῦτ’ ἀποσκεδῶ μύσος. ‘For on behalf of no distant friends, but on my own behalf will I myself dispel this pollution’. Over the course of these two lines it becomes clear that οὐχί qualifies the entire phrase ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀπωτέρω φίλων, which then balances Oedipus’ reference to himself. But when spectators first hear line 137, many would take οὐχί closely with τῶν ἀπωτέρω, which would mean that Oedipus is acting ‘on behalf of φίλοι who are not distant from him’ (cf. Tr. 44–5 χρόνον γὰρ οὐχὶ βαιόν, ἀλλ᾽ ἤδη δέκα | μῆνας πρὸς ἄλλοις πέντ᾽ ἀκήρυκτος μένει, where οὐχί goes closely with the following word); this is literally true, since Laius is his father (thus Schneidewin1). The order of the clauses, and the position of οὐχί, seem calculated to create the irony. For the absence of aspiration in αὐτοῦ see El. 285n. 139–40 ὅστις γὰρ ἦν ἐκεῖνον ὁ κτανὼν τάχ’ ἂν | κἄμ’ ἂν τοιαύτῃ χειρὶ τιμωρεῖν θέλοι. ‘For whoever the man was who killed him, he might want to kill me too with just such an act of violence.’ ἐκεῖνον appears as ἐκεῖνος in our oldest witnesses, but ὅστις . . . ἐκεῖνος would be clumsy, and


C OMMENTARY : 141– 145 whereas original ἐκεῖνον could be corrupted to ἐκεῖνος under the influence of the surrounding nominatives, the reverse corruption is harder to motivate. τιμωρεῖν (accompanied by χειρί also at 107) usually means ‘punish’, ‘take vengeance on’, but must be used here to mean simply ‘kill’, since Oedipus has no reason to think that he has done anything that the killer of Laius would wish to avenge. In the event, the verb will be all too appropriate, as Oedipus punishes himself for the killing of Laius with the same hands that killed his father. 141 κείνῳ προσαρκῶν οὖν ἐμαυτὸν ὠφελῶ. ‘So by helping this man, I aid myself.’ The line is omitted in the main text of L, and added by the scholiast; Bergk (p. xlviii) suggested its deletion. The irony is not as subtle as in 137–8 or 139–40 (nn.), but that is no reason to reject the line; L’s omission will be just a slip. For the postpositive after the caesura cf. 297, 809, West (1982) 83, Parker on Eur. IT 695–8. 142–5 ἀλλ’ ὡς τάχιστα, παῖδες, ὑμεῖς μὲν βάθρων | ἵστασθε, τούσδ’ ἄραντες ἱκτῆρας κλάδους, | ἄλλος δὲ Κάδμου λαὸν ὧδ’ ἀθροιζέτω, | ὡς πᾶν ἐμοῦ δράσοντος. ‘But with all speed, children, stand up from the steps, lifting these suppliant boughs, and let another man gather the people of Cadmus here, since I intend to do everything.’ By telling the suppliants to get up, Oedipus formally accepts their request: cf. Hom. Il. 24.515–16 (see Introduction, p. 45), Hdt. 5.71.2, Thuc. 3.75.5, Naiden (2006) 108–9. The removal of the boughs has the same effect: cf. Eur. Suppl. 359–60 (Theseus to the suppliant women, also at the end of a scene) ἀλλ’, ὦ γεραιαί, σέμν’ ἀφαιρεῖτε στέφη | μητρός, and contrast ibid. 258–62, where Adrastus had told the women to leave their boughs on the altar to show the apparent failure of their supplication. ἵστασθε is used where prose would say ἀνίστασθε; for the poetic use of forms without the prefix cf. 147, Aj. 1376–7n. For the genitive absolute with ὡς accompanying an imperative cf. 241–2, Aj. 281n., Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 1421–4. The variant δράσαντος (LacK) would mean ‘since I have done everything’ (sc. that you asked for in your supplication), but Oedipus’ emphasis throughout is on future action; the people of Cadmus are summoned not to applaud what he has already done, but to witness his ongoing efforts. Instead of πᾶν Triclinius writes πάντ᾿, but even if the latter were an actual variant we should prefer πᾶν as the form more likely to be corrupted; the plural would spring naturally to a scribe’s mind.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 145– 150 145–6 ἢ γὰρ εὐτυχεῖς | σὺν τῷ θεῷ φανούμεθ’, ἢ πεπτωκότες. ‘For either we will manifestly succeed with the god’s help, or we will manifestly fail.’ The concluding word is ominous (thus Campbell), as also the concluding phrase at Tr. 83–5 (omitting the probably interpolated line 84) ἢ σεσώμεθα | κείνου βίον σώσαντος, ἢ οἰχόμεσθ᾽ ἅμα. 147–8 ὦ παῖδες, ἱστώμεσθα· τῶνδε γὰρ χάριν | καὶ δεῦρ’ ἔβημεν ὧν ὅδ’ ἐξαγγέλλεται. ‘Children, let us get up; for we came here in order to obtain what this man is promising.’ By rising, the suppliants indicate that their supplication has been successful (142–5n.). For ἱστώμεσθα instead of ἀνιστώμεσθα see 142–5n. καί ‘binds the [preceding] demonstrative more closely to the following words’ (Denniston 307), as at 582. For ἐξαγγέλλεται ‘promise, declare’ cf. Eur. Hcld. 531; ἀγγέλλομαι is used in the same sense at Aj. 1376. 149–50 Φοῖβος δ’ ὁ πέμψας τάσδε μαντείας ἅμα | σωτήρ θ’ ἵκοιτο καὶ νόσου παυστήριος. ‘May Phoebus, who has sent these prophecies, come at the same time as both a saviour and a deliverer from the disease.’ The departure of the Priest and the children is accompanied by a prayer to Apollo asking him, now that he has sent his oracles, to come in person (thus ἅμα, connecting πέμψας and ἵκοιτο); this leads into the parodos, which begins with Apollo’s prophecies before moving to a series of cletic invocations (151–215n.). For σωτήρ see 47–8n. Although they highlight by contrast Oedipus’ conclusion on a word of ill fortune (145–6n.), the Priest’s closing words nevertheless contain their own unintended note of ill-omen; for in praying to Apollo to end the plague he is thereby encouraging ‘the process of revealing Oedipus as the murderer of Laius, as an incestuous parricide’ (Cairns (2013b) 130). Oedipus leaves via the skênê, with attendants; Creon, the Priest, and the suppliants leave via eisodos B. According to Mastronarde (1979) 33, Oedipus remains on stage, because ‘he must hear some of the chorus’ prayer’, but that would make the chorus’s failure to mention him (151–215n.) highly peculiar. Oedipus’ words at the start of the first episode show that he is aware that the chorus is requesting deliverance from the plague, but he does not need to have heard the parodos to have realised that; he himself has summoned the chorus to witness the action that he is going to take to secure that deliverance. An empty stage during the parodos is more in keeping with tragic convention, and allows Oedipus to make a powerful re-entrance at 216 (emphasising the parallelism between that scene and the start of the play) as if in answer to the chorus’s prayer.


C OMMENTARY : 151– 215

PARODOS (151–215) 151–215 For a second time the audience sees a group representing the Theban people and urging a response to the plague. In the prologue this group was static, crowded around the central altar; it consisted of silent children, on whose behalf a solitary Priest addressed the city’s leader. The parodos, by contrast, presents a mobile band of adult men, dancing and singing their appeal to the gods. The peril of the moment is brought out by the reprise in a livelier format, and in more emotive language, of key ideas from the prologue (cf. 15–21 ~ 183–185/6, 25–7 ~ 171/2–174, 29–30 ~ 179–181/2, Ax (1932) 425, McDevitt (1970) 31–2, Burton (1980) 142–3). Yet the chorus provide more than an animated repetition of the previous scene. They arrive because of Oedipus’ summons (144) and have heard that an oracle has come from Delphi (151–8), but never mention Oedipus in their song. Whereas the Priest had begged his king to save his city, the chorus focus on the gods alone. Oedipus had called together the Theban people to hear his formal response to the oracle; yet that oracle, which begins the chorus’s lyric and which offers the prospect of release from the suffering that they so eloquently describe (151–3n., 158n.), is dismissed after the opening strophe. The chorus fail even to mention its content, evidently unaware of what this is (so rightly Gardiner (1987) 98 n. 25). The prologue had emphasised the power of men, particularly of Oedipus himself, to cope with and react to vicissitudes sent by the gods; the parodos consists of a direct, impassioned appeal to divine power (cf. Scully (1999) 77). This does not imply a lack of confidence in Oedipus’ abilities; subsequent scenes and songs will demonstrate the chorus’s respect and admiration for their king and his service to the city. But the song does offer a subtly different perspective on recent events, one which looks to divine intervention rather than to human ingenuity as the likeliest source of deliverance. After a brief mention of the oracle, the chorus invoke three divinities, Athena, Artemis, and Apollo, to alleviate their distress. The song can be characterised as a cletic hymn: the worshippers call upon a god or gods to come to their aid (cf. Ax (1932), Kranz (1933) 186–7, Dover, Clouds, p. 173, Bond on Eur. Her. 781–97, Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 224–32, Metcalf (2015) 150–2).


C O M M E N T A R Y : 151– 215

The invocation is followed by a description of the sufferings of Thebes; the final section is devoted to an attack on Ares, whom the chorus blame for the civic distress, and a plea to Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, and Dionysus to restrain him. Prayers to multiple divinities at a moment of extreme danger to Thebes recall the parodos of Aeschylus’ Seven against Thebes (78–181), which takes place shortly before the Argive attack on the city. That song is more despairing, however, sung as it is in dochmiacs, and by a female chorus whose frenzied, staccato cries suggest an emotional outpouring beyond what we find in Sophocles. Aeschylus’ chorus meets with King Eteocles’ forthright condemnation, a reaction which characterises him as insufficiently sanguine in the face of imminent peril; in Sophocles the chorus’s agitated prayers to the gods are answered by, and contrasted with, the calm majesty of Oedipus’ edict. The list of gods whose help the chorus request appears conventional enough. Artemis and Apollo appear in both invocations; Apollo is found three times, featuring as he does in the opening reference to the oracle from Delphi. This focus on Apollo, coupled with the paeanic refrain (153–5n.) and the explicit reference to the paean (187), suggests that the song should itself be characterised as a paean, a type of song with prominently apotropaic associations (4–5n.). The paean as a literary form is employed by Sophocles in other plays (cf. 1086–1109n., Phil. 827–32, Tr. 205/6–223/4 and, for the paean elsewhere in Athenian literature, perhaps Pindar’s Paean Five, which according to I. Rutherford (2004) 84–5 may have been performed by Athenians) and outside tragedy too (fr. 737 PMG, to Asclepius). Apollo is the natural god to invoke: he has sent the oracle, and is particularly associated with the averting of evil (163n.). The characterisation of Ares as the source of the plague is more surprising; disease does not elsewhere appear among the troubles that he brings. Whether or not the chorus is alluding to some aspect of his divinity now unknown to us, the emphasis on the war-god implicitly equates the danger posed by the plague to that of an invading army, and ‘create[s] a contrast between a noble death in war, and a helpless death from plague’ (Millington (2013) 551). But after this song there is no further reference to Ares or to the fantastic conflict among the gods; and as for Apollo, his interventions will have consequences altogether different from what the chorus are hoping for.


C OMMENTARY : 151– 215

METRICAL ANALYSIS first strop hic pair (151–8 ~ 159–66) (1) 151 159 qwwqwwqwwqwwqwwqqU (2) 152 160 qqwqwqwq (3) 153 161 qyqwwqwwqwwqwwqqU (4) 154 162 qqwwqwwqq (5) 155 163 qwwqwwqwwqww (6) 156/7 164/5 qwwqwwqqqwwqwwqww (7) 158 166 qwwqwwqwwqwwqwwqq|||

6da 2ia 6da qDq 4da 6da 6da

This, ‘the longest ode sung by the chorus alone in Sophocles’ extant plays . . . displays a remarkably lucid rhythmic pattern’ (Burton (1980) 143). The first strophic pair consists mainly of dactylic runs, ‘a favourite [metre] of the paean’ (Haldane (1963) 55, comparing the Erythraean and Macedonian paeans, CA pp. 136–9; cf. I. Rutherford (1994/5) 128); (2) and (4) vary this pattern, with single-short rhythm appearing only in (2). Such an alternation ‘has a heritage stemming from the epodes of Archilochus’ (Willink (2002) 72 n. 68 = (2010) 412–13 n. 68, citing Archil. frr. 168–71, 182–7 IEG, Eur. Andr. 117–46). For the colon (4) in an otherwise dactylic context cf. Ar. Nub. 290 ~ 313 (compared by L. Parker (1997) 188–9); it reappears at (10) and (23) below (for other occurrences see Diggle (1994) 458 n. 73). According to Dale (1964) 34 = (1969) 207 (cf. (1971–83) iii 271), the arrangement found in Pearson’s edition, ‘with separate tetrameters and dimeters, consorts better with the whole ode than running them together where possible into hexameters’, and for parallels for such an arrangement see Diggle (1984a) 55 = (1994) 281; but the first two hexameters of the song are clearly felt, and encourage a hexametric interpretation of the closing run of dactyls, confirmed by word end and sense pauses. Each of the dactylic lengths has a caesura after the fifth element, each of the hexameters one after the fourth dactyl (cf. L. Parker (1997) 264–5, and her remark on p. 50 that ‘patterns of caesura and bucolic diaeresis are quite often used to harmonize different dactylic lengths’, for which she compares Alcm. fr. 56 PMGF, Eur. Hcld. 608–10 ~ 619–21; for the caesura in (6) see 164/5–166n.).


C O M M E N T A R Y : 151– 215

second strophic pair (167/8–177/8 ~ 179–89) (8) 167/8 179 qrwrwqwq 2ia (9) 168/9 180/1 qrwywqwq 2ia (10) 169/70 181/2 wwqwwqwwqqU an an^ (11) 171/2 183 qwwqwwqwwqww 4da (12) 172/3 184/5 aqwwqwwqwwqqU xD2q (13) 174 185/6 qqwqwwqwwqwwqqU ia an an^ (14) 175/6 187 qqwqqwwqwwqwwqqU ia 4da (= pe an an^) (15) 177 188 qwwqwwqwwqww 4da (16) 177/8 189 qqwqwqq||| ia ia^ The iambics found in the first strophic pair point forward to the second, where this rhythm is more prominent; here too we continue to find runs of dactyls, now accompanied by anapaestic sequences, which in this context ‘are most obviously identified as acephalous dactylic’ (L. Parker (1997) 54, comparing e.g. Aesch. Eum. 1043 ~ 1047). The iambic cola (8–9) which open this strophic pair each begin qr, where the resolution perhaps associates the iambics with the dactyls that continue to dominate; for this intermingling of the two metres cf. El. 209–12, Raven (1965) 230–1. At the end of (10) the change of metre, coupled with the strong sense pause in the antistrophe, indicates period end (thus Diggle (1981b) 91 = (1994) 207); apart from initial double short instead of a long this colon is identical to (4) and (23). At (11–12) and (15–16) a dactylic tetrameter is followed in synapheia by a colon opening with anceps, a phenomenon commoner in Sophocles’ later plays (see Dale (1964) 34–6 = (1969) 207–9, Parker (1997) 53–4). The colon in (14) regularly has caesura after the fifth element (cf. Aesch. Ag. 108/9 ~ 126/7, Fraenkel (1917–18) 334 n. 1 = (1964) i 215 n. 1). third strophic pair (190/1–201/2 ~ 203–214/15) (17) 190/1 203 wtwqrwq ia ^ia (18) 191 203/4 qwqwqwq lec (19) 192 204/5 wywtwywqwqqUH 2ia ia^ (20) 193/4 206/7 wqwqwqwqwqwq 3ia (21) 194 207/8 uywqqwq ia ^ia (22) 195 208/9 rwywqq ith


C OMMENTARY : 151– 153

209/10 210/11 211 212 213 214 214/15

qqwwqwwqq qwqwqqU uqwqwqwq qwqwqwq wqqqwq qwqwqwq qqwrwqwqwqq||| ü

(23) 196 (24) 197 (25) 198 (26) 199 (27) 200 (28) 200/1 (29) 201/2

qDq ith 2ia lec ia^ ^ia lec 2ia ia^

Apart from a lonely enoplian length at (23), the final strophic pair consists almost completely of iambic rhythms, a phenomenon rare in Sophocles (cf. Tr. 132–139/40, 205/6–223/4, L. Parker (1997) 32), and for the first time in the ode showing nonclausular syncopation. The iambics do not even show the dactylic openings found in the second strophic pair, with the exception of the antistrophe at (21). The ode as a whole thus neatly moves from one dominant metrical form to another. 151–3 The chorus enter from eisodos B. ὦ Διὸς ἁδυεπὲς Φάτι, τίς ποτε τᾶς πολυχρύσου | Πυθῶνος ἀγλαὰς ἔβας | Θήβας; ‘Sweet-speaking Oracle of Zeus, why ever have you come from Pytho, rich in gold, to lovely Thebes?’ The mention of the oracle picks up the Priest’s reference immediately before the parodos (149–50; see Stinton (1976) 121–2 = (1990) 197–8 for other passages, such as Phil. 825–7 and Aesch. Cho. 781–7, where ‘a chorus . . . take[s] their cue from the last words of the preceding dialogue’), smoothing the break between the two styles of delivery. But whereas the Priest described the oracle as having been sent by Apollo, the more florid world of lyric confers motion and intention on the message itself, personifying the words of the god (cf. 158n., Tr. Adesp. P.Oxy. 5184.8 ὦ χρησμέ [from choral anapaests: cf. W. Henry (2014) 6], S. El. 1066 ὦ χθονία βροτοῖσι Φάμα with n.; also 711–14n.). That god is Zeus, even though the oracle came from Delphi, because Apollo’s prophetic power is linked to his status as his son (cf. 469–70, 498/9–500/1, OC 623 εἰ Ζεὺς ἔτι Ζεὺς χὠ Διὸς Φοῖβος σαφής, Aesch. Eum. 19 Διὸς προφήτης δ’ ἐστὶ Λοξίας πατρός, 616–18, 713–14, fr. 86 TrGF, Hom. Hym. 3.132 χρήσω τ’ ἀνθρώποισι Διὸς νημερτέα βουλήν, 4.471–2 καὶ τιμὰς σέ γέ φασι δαήμεναι ἐκ Διὸς ὀμφῆς | μαντείας, Ἑκάεργε, Διὸς πάρα θέσφατα πάντα). The word Διός is also an auspicious opening, since Zeus, as first among the gods, was associated with beginnings (Aj. 823–4n.; also 159n. below). The message is ‘sweetspeaking’ (with semantic overlap between adjective and noun; cf. 518, 1127, Tr. 81 βίοτον εὐαίων᾽, 791 δυσπάρευνον λέκτρον, Aesch. Pers.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 153– 155 262/3–264 μακροβίοτος . . . αἰών, 711 βίοτον εὐαίωνα [both with Garvie], FJ/W on Suppl. 29–30, Jackson (1955) 243) because it offers the hope (158n.) of respite from suffering; for sweetness predicated of prophecy cf. El. 479–81 ὕπεστί μοι θάρσος | ἁδυπνόων κλύουσαν | ἀρτίως ὀνειράτων, and for the same predicated of the word of god cf. Psalm 119.103 ‘How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’, 19.9–10 ‘the judgments of the Lord are . . . sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb’. For φάτις of an oracle or other divine message see 85–6n.; uncertainty about a message often motivates the entry of the tragic chorus (Aj. 134–200n.). τίς implies ‘what do you amount to?’, and thus in effect ‘why?’ (1–3n.; cf. Eur. El. 1303–4 τίς δ’ ἔμ’ Ἀπόλλων, ποῖοι χρησμοὶ | φονίαν ἔδοσαν μητρὶ γενέσθαι;). Delphi was rich (cf. Hom. Il. 9.404–5, Braswell on Pind. P. 4.53(c)) thanks to the many offerings at the shrine from the mid-seventh century onwards (cf. M. Scott (2010) 41–5). In general ‘in tragic lyrics and anapaests a geographical name can have the article if it also has an attr’ (FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 634), although there are a couple of Sophoclean exceptions (900, El. 183). For the bare ablatival genitive without a preposition denoting motion from cf. 193/4, El. 324n.; for the bare accusative denoting motion towards see 35–9n. The epic/lyric adjective ἀγλαός appears elsewhere in tragedy only at Eur. Andr. 135 θεᾶς Νηρηΐδος ἀγλαὸν ἕδραν (also in lyric, also of a place). Thebes is not especially lovely at the moment; the optimistic word expresses the chorus’s expectation of a positive outcome thanks to the oracle. 153–5 ἐκτέταμαι φοβερὰν φρένα δείματι πάλλων, | ἰήϊε Δάλιε Παιών, | ἀμφὶ σοὶ ἁζόμενος· ‘I lie prostrate, shaking my fearful mind with terror, iêie Paean of Delos, in awe of you.’ ἐκτέταμαι ‘I am stretched out’ implies ‘I am prostrate’, as literally at Phil. 858 ἐκτέταται νύχιος and metaphorically at Eur. Med. 585 ἓν γὰρ ἐκτενεῖ σ’ ἔπος; the chorus’s dance may even have incorporated some kind of motion towards the ground at this point. Jebb, noting φρένα, prefers a reference to mental tension (‘I am on the rack’; for a mental sense in more positive contexts cf. Pind. P. 11.54 ξυναῖσι δ’ ἀμφ’ ἀρεταῖς τέταμαι, I. 1.49 γαστρὶ δὲ πᾶς τις ἀμύνων λιμὸν αἰανῆ τέταται); but lying prostrate is a natural concomitant to extreme emotional states (cf. Hom. Il. 18.26–7, where Achilles lies in the dust on hearing the news of Patroclus’ death; also Hom. Hym. 2.281, where Metanira’s ‘knees are loosened’ in terror at Demeter’s appearance), and πάλλων emphasises the chorus’s physical response to their fear. Divine epiphanies characteristically inspire fear, whether or not the god is malevolent (cf. Hom. Il. 24.169–70 στῆ δὲ παρὰ Πρίαμον Διὸς ἄγγελος ἠδὲ προσηύδα | τυτθὸν φθεγξαμένη· τὸν δὲ τρόμος ἔλλαβε γυῖα,


C OMMENTARY : 155– 157 Exodus 3.6, Pfister (1924) 317–18, Richardson on Hom. Hym. 2.188– 90); so the chorus’s terror does not imply anticipation of a disastrous outcome from the oracle, and indeed the rest of their language would be inconsistent with such a view (151 ἁδυεπές, 152 ἀγλαάς, 158 χρυσέας τέκνον Ἐλπίδος). For φρένα as the object of πάλλων (the minority variant πολλῷ, ‘with great fear’, is weak by comparison) cf. [Aesch.] PV 881 κραδία δὲ φόβῳ φρένα λακτίζει; usually in such expressions πάλλω appears in the passive, often, as here, accompanied by a dative denoting fear (cf. Hom. Il. 22.451–2 ἐν δέ μοι αὐτῇ | στήθεσι πάλλεται ἦτορ ἀνὰ στόμα, 461 παλλομένη κραδίην, Hom. Hym. 2.293 δείματι παλλόμεναι, Aesch. Suppl. 566–7 χλωρῷ δείματι θυμὸν | πάλλοντ’ ὄψιν ἀήθη, 785, Cho. 410, 524, Hdt. 7.140.3 [from an oracle] δείματι παλλόμενοι, Ap. Rh. 4.53, Mosch. 2.16–17). The emotional cry ἰὴ ἰέ (found at Pind. fr. 52b.35–6, 71–2, 107–8 S–M ἰὴ ἰὲ Παιάν, ἰὴ ἰέ· Παιὰν δὲ μήποτε λείποι; for paeanic refrains in general see Käppel (1992) 66–7) led to the creation of an independent vocative ἰήϊε (found here and at 1096/7, of Phoebus), as if from an adjective ἰήϊος (cf. Aesch. Ag. 147 ἰήϊον δὴ καλέω Παιῶνα, Timoth. fr. 791.198 Hordern, Harder on Call. Aet. fr. 18.6; also 174, meaning ‘mournful’, i.e. ‘something that would prompt one to deliver an apotropaic paean’, for which see 4–5n.). For Παιών (coni. Ll-J/W, OCT apparatus) instead of manuscript Παιάν see 4–5n. Apollo is invoked as Delian in a variety of contexts (Aj. 702–5n.), and immediately after a reference to a paean at Bacchyl. 17.128–30. For ἀμφὶ σοί cf. [Aesch.] PV 182 δέδια δ’ ἀμφὶ σαῖς τύχαις, S. Aj. 302–4n. ἅζομαι conveys the idea of profound awe (cf. OC 133–4, Eur. Hcld. 600, pace FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 652, for whom the word here is ‘well on its way to simply meaning “fear”’). 155–156/7 τί μοι ἢ νέον ἢ περιτελλομέναις ὥραις πάλιν ἐξανύσεις χρέος; ‘What obligation will you exact from me, a new one, or one that comes back as the seasons revolve?’ The chorus anticipate that the oracle will require the Thebans to fulfil some task to rid themselves of the plague; they wonder if that task will be a fresh one, or the revival of an old obligation wrongly fallen into desuetude. For χρέος ‘obligation, debt’ in tragedy cf. OC 234/5–235/6 αὖθις ἄφορμος ἐμᾶς χθονὸς ἔκθορε, | μή τι πέρα χρέος | ἐμᾷ πόλῃ προσάψῃς, Aesch. Suppl. 472 εἰ μὲν γὰρ ὑμῖν μὴ τόδ’ ἐκπράξω χρέος (‘exact this debt’, not ‘perform this service’: so rightly FJ/W); for the idea of a χρέος that can be imposed on later generations cf. Pind. O. 7.39–41 τότε καὶ φαυσίμβροτος δαίμων Ὑπεριονίδας | μέλλον ἔντειλεν φυλάξασθαι χρέος | παισὶν φίλοις. Sophocles’ language is compressed, but the opposition between two


C O M M E N T A R Y : 158– 159 different time periods, strongly marked by ἢ . . . ἢ . . ., seems to require this sense. The problem of taking χρέος to mean simply ‘thing’ is brought out by Lloyd-Jones’s translation ‘wondering what thing you will accomplish, perhaps new, perhaps coming again with the revolving seasons’, where the purpose of the last clause is obscure; if the question is simply ‘what will the oracle cause to happen?’, then presumably that thing has to be new, and so the reference to the passing of time has less point. περιτελλομέναις ὥραις recurs at Ar. Av. 696; for the dative of attendant circumstances cf. also Crat. fr. 9 PCG εἶτ’ ἀμφιετηριζομέναις | ὥραις τε καὶ χρόνῳ μακρῷ, Pind. I. 3.18–18b αἰὼν δὲ κυλινδομέναις ἁμέραις ἄλλ’ ἄλλοτ’ ἐξ | ἄλλαξεν, K–G i 435. For related expressions denoting the passage of time, especially with reference to revolving, cf. Hes. Th. 58–9 ἀλλ’ ὅτε δή ῥ’ ἐνιαυτὸς ἔην, περὶ δ’ ἔτραπον ὧραι | μηνῶν φθινόντων, περὶ δ’ ἤματα πόλλ’ ἐτελέσθη (with West), Hom. Od. 11.294–5 = 14.293–4 = Hom. Hym. 3.349–50 ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ μῆνές τε καὶ ἡμέραι ἐξετελεῦντο | ἂψ περιτελλομένου ἔτεος καὶ ἐπήλυθον ὧραι, Onians (1954) 443, Katz (1994) 165–6n. 136. 158 εἰπέ μοι, ὦ χρυσέας τέκνον Ἐλπίδος, ἄμβροτε Φάμα. ‘Tell me, child of golden Hope, immortal Message.’ Hope personified (cf. Hes. Op. 96–8, Pind. fr. 214.3 S–M) is parent of the oracle. The personification of the oracle (151–3n.) is intensified as it is given both a parent and immortality (for the latter predicated of an oracle cf. 481–2, Posidip. fr. 118.13–14 A–B; contrast 906–908/9n.). Hope is a suitable mother because it was in hope of a response that Oedipus requested the counsel of Delphi. Gold is ‘used metaphorically of much-appreciated words or messages’ (Harder on Call. Aet. fr. 54.5–6, citing Aesch. Cho. 372, Ar. Plut. 268; add Lucr. 3.12–13 aurea dicta, | aurea, Shakespeare Macbeth 1.7.33 ‘golden opinions’). As a whole, the invocation repeated from the start of the strophe marks its conclusion (cf. Tr. 102 εἴπ᾽, ὦ κρατιστεύων κατ᾽ ὄμμα, Eur. Hcld. 917, [Eur.] Rhes. 231–2, Kranz (1933) 179–80). The lyric vocalism φάμα is attested elsewhere in S. at El. 1066, with the hybrid φήμα (cf. Björck (1950) 368–70 on such hybrid forms) found at 475 and Phil. 846 (in both places φάμα is weakly attested); φήμα is the sole form found in Aeschylus (Suppl. 697), and both occur in Euripides. The data do not allow us to generalise either way. 159 πρῶτα σὲ κεκλόμενος, θύγατερ Διός, ἄμβροτ’ Ἀθάνα ‘First calling on you, daughter of Zeus, immortal Athena’. Athena was worshipped at Thebes under various titles (19–21n.). πρῶτα ‘suggests a well-organized and extended prayer’ (Harder on Call. Aet. fr. 18.2), and suits an opening invocation to a divinity immediately characterised


C OMMENTARY : 160– 161 as the daughter of Zeus, the god most associated with beginnings (151– 3n.). Describing Athena as θύγατερ Διός (same phrase, in the nominative, at Hom. Od. 22.205 = 24.502) prudently honours her while asking for a favour (thus Ax (1932) 414; cf. Hom. Il. 5.115 κλῦθί μευ αἰγιόχοιο Διὸς τέκος Ἀτρυτώνη, Eur. Cycl. 350–1 ὦ Παλλάς, ὦ δέσποινα Διογενὲς θεά, | νῦν νῦν ἄρηξον, Phoen. 1373–5); a reference to her paternity recurs at the end of the second strophic pair (188), closing a section within the hymn by ring composition. πρῶτα σέ is owed to Wunder1 (text), who reinterprets πρῶτά σε in the manuscripts to give the pronoun its due emphasis (i.e. equal to that of πρῶτα); the variants πρώτην σε (K) and πρώταν γε (Lrγρ) are unmetrical. The reduplicated present form κεκλόμενος is an epicism occasionally found in tragedy (see FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 40). The participle is left hanging, never meeting a main verb; the syntax changes with the sudden command τρισσοὶ ἀλεξίμοροι προφάνητέ μοι in 163. Hence attempts to supply a verb, such as κέκλομαι ὦ (coni. Blaydes1, text), and κεκλόμεθ᾿, ὦ (Musgrave, notes); hence also the minority variant κεκλομένῳ, a dative participle agreeing with the far distant μοι in 163. But the hanging participle is attested in tragic lyric; cf. Aesch. Suppl. 40– 47/8 νῦν δ’ ἐπικεκλομένα | Δῖον πόρτιν ὑπερπόντιον τιμάορα κτλ., Cho. 382–5, Eum. 780–3 (as well as 59–61n. on anacolutha more generally), and contrast Psychagogoi fr. 273a.7–9 TrGF, where, in the chorus’s instructions to Odysseus on how to invoke the dead, ἐπικεκλόμενος is eventually followed by αἰ]τοῦ. Moreover, the overall effect of the transmitted text is impressively dramatic, with the command coming more powerfully than any main verb could have done. The repetition of ἄμβροτ᾿ from the previous line, where it appears in the same place, has generated suspicion (hence ὄβριμ᾿ coni. Heimsoeth (1865) 159–60, citing her epithet ὀβριμοπάτρη at e.g. Hom. Il. 5.747). ἄμβροτος is not used of Athena elsewhere, but cf. Hom. Il. 20.358 οὐδέ κ’ Ἄρης, ὅς περ θεὸς ἄμβροτος, οὐδέ κ’ Ἀθήνη; and in any case Sophocles was not bound to follow epic precedent. Ancient authors were in general less troubled by repeating a word across a short interval than are modern ones (cf. 519–20, El. 335–6n.); in this case the repetition may have had the stylistic goal of linking the invocation of the gods to the invocation of the oracle, enhancing the unity of the song. 160–1 γαιάοχόν τ’ ἀδελφεὰν | Ἄρτεμιν, ἃ κυκλόεντ’ ἀγορᾶς θρόνον εὐκλέα θάσσει ‘and your sister who possesses the land, Artemis, who sits on her circular glorious throne of the agora’. τε is the regular connector in lists of divinities in prayers (cf. 206/7, 209/10, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 42). Athena herself refers to Artemis as her sister at Eur. IT 1488–9; and, like her sister, Artemis is honoured with epithets as she is invoked.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 160– 161 γαιάοχος is usually applied to Poseidon, with the sense ‘he who carries the earth’ (Stes. fr. 114.6n.), but this meaning would not be appropriate of Artemis, or Zeus, whom it qualifies at Aesch. Suppl. 815/16; in these cases the ‘land’ in question is presumably the local territory which acknowledges the divinity as overlord. There follows a relative clause specifying the goddess’s local cult centre; cf. Hom. Il. 1.37–8 κλῦθί μευ ἀργυρότοξ’, ὃς Χρύσην ἀμφιβέβηκας | Κίλλαν τε ζαθέην Τενέδοιό τε ἶφι ἀνάσσεις, and see 35–9n. for relative clauses used in hymns to describe the attributes or achievements of a deity. Usually we would expect the second person in a hymnic relative clause (35–9n.), whence Dawe’s θάσσεις (STS i 215); but the third person probably results from ἀδελφεάν, which ensures that this section is formally still part of the address to Athena. The seat or throne was a characteristic locus of divine power (cf. 237, Ant. 1041, OC 1267, Aesch. Suppl. 101–102/3, Ag. 182–3, 518–19, Eum. 229, 511–12, fr. 281a.10 TrGF, Hom. Il. 8.442–3, Od. 6.42 θεῶν ἕδος ἀσφαλὲς αἰεί, Hom. Hym. 3.9, Pind. N. 4.66–8 εἶδεν δ’ εὔκυκλον ἕδραν, | τὰν οὐρανοῦ βασιλῆες πόντου τ’ ἐφεζόμενοι | δῶρα καὶ κράτος ἐξέφαναν ἐγγενὲς αὐτῷ, Jung (1982), West (1997) 563) as well as for mortals (cf. 237, 399, El. 267–8). In this case the seat is ‘the circular throne of (i.e. consisting of) the agora’, or perhaps by enallage (Aj. 7–8n.) ‘the throne of the circular agora’, for which cf. Eur. Or. 919 ὀλιγάκις ἄστυ κἀγορᾶς χραίνων κύκλον, Hom. Il. 18.503–4 οἱ δὲ γέροντες | εἵατ’ ἐπὶ ξεστοῖσι λίθοις ἱερῷ ἐνὶ κύκλῳ, Onians (1954) 444. The entire agora is imagined to be Artemis’ seat, a poetic expression removed by emending to ἀγοραῖς (coni. Musgrave, notes). εὐκλέα has a short alpha, as in anapaests at Tr. Adesp. P.Oxy. 5184.5 (cf. W. Henry (2014) 7–8), and in lyric at Pind. N. 5.15, 6.29; the variants –εᾶ and –εῆ are unmetrical. The epithet probably evokes a cult of Artemis Eukleia. Pausanias refers to her temple at Thebes (9.17.1), and according to Plutarch Eukleia had an altar and cult image in every agora in Boeotia and Locris (Arist. 20.6–8); but Pausanias refers to a cult image by Scopas, and so it is possible that the temple, and perhaps the cult too, is no older than the fourth century (thus Schachter (1981–94) i 104). The cult of Eukleia was established at Athens after the battle of Marathon (Paus. 1.14.5; for cults in Plataea and Corinth see Braund (1980) 184). Rather than predicating the title of Artemis directly, Sophocles applies it to her seat, thus providing a more subtle allusion to the cult. Musgrave (notes) wanted to read Εὔκλεια, but realised that metre forbade it; Elmsley1 p. 85, supported by Pearson (1929a) 91, wrote Εὔκλεα, but the name always has –εια with a penultimate long syllable, and the


C O M M E N T A R Y : 162 resulting sense is rather clumsy (‘and your sister Artemis, who, as Eukleia, sits . . .’). 162 καὶ Φοῖβον ἑκαβόλον, ἰώ ‘and Phoebus who shoots from afar, iô’. Apollo was worshipped at Thebes with the title Βοηδρόμιος (‘who runs to give help’), an appropriately apotropaic title (163n.). ἑκηβόλος is applied to Apollo from epic onwards (Hom. Il. 23.872, Hes. Th. 94, Sappho fr. 44.33 Voigt, [Hes.] fr. 64.16 M–W, Pind. fr. 52f.111 S–M, Hdt. 5.60) and occurs particularly frequently in the opening episode of the Iliad (1.14 etc.), where Apollo afflicts the Greek army with plague by striking it with his arrows (48–53). The chorus later implore Apollo to use his shafts to ward off the disease (203–206/7), and in subsequent tradition Apollo the archer was associated with deliverance from sickness (cf. [Orph.] Hym. 12.14–16, from the third century ad, ἐλθέ, μάκαρ, νούσων θελκτήρια πάντα κομίζων . . . πτηνοῖς τ’ ἰοβόλοις κῆρας χαλεπὰς ἀπόπεμπε, and the many statues of Apollo the archer set up across the east in response to the plague of ad 166, for which see Faraone (1992) 61–6; also Lucian 42.36 Φοῖβος ἀκειρεκόμης λοιμοῦ νεφέλην ἀπερύκει, without a reference to his weapons). The apparent paradox of the arrows that both cause and remedy disease arises from the ancient idea that the weapon which caused a wound could also cure it (27–9n.). ἰώ for manuscript ἰὼ ἰώ is owed to B. Heath (1762) 27. The paradosis is unmetrical, and it is simplest to posit that the exclamation (which appears immediately before the climactic imperative addressed to the deities, emphasising the chorus’s emotional state) has been incorrectly geminated; for the error cf. 1186, Aj. 891, Ant. 869, Tr. 1026 (compared by Willink (2002) 73 n. 73 = (2010) 413–14 n. 73; and for the confusion in both directions see Diggle (1974) 23 = (1994) 118–19). ἰώ has a long iota in lyric at El. 150 and Tr. 1030/1, both times in a dactylic context; see also FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 162. αἰτῶ (coni. Blaydes1, notes) would yield a verb to accompany the hanging participle in 159, but that solves what is not a problem (n.), and the supposed corruption would be hard to explain (cf. S. Stelluto ap. Ferrari et al. (1992) 400–2). The verb would in fact complicate the syntax, since until encountering it, the audience would naturally assume that all the deities in the accusative were governed by κεκλόμενος. Moreover, ‘“I ask” is . . . feeble in a context calling for an impassioned appeal’ (Willink, ibid.); tellingly, in Electra’s prayer to Apollo at El. 1380 αἰτῶ, προπίτνω, λίσσομαι (n.), αἰτῶ is the first, and weakest, of three verbs of requesting, and in the passage cited at 159n. from Aeschylus’ Psychagogoi the context is much less emotive.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 163– 166 163 τρισσοὶ ἀλεξίμοροι προφάνητέ μοι· ‘Appear to me as three defenders against death.’ The command ‘appear’ is frequent in a cletic hymn; cf. Ant. 1149/50 προφάνηθ᾽ (of Dionysus), Aj. 695–8n., Alcaeus fr. 34.3 Voigt, A/O on Ar. Thesm. 312–14, and also 164/5–166n. on ἔλθετε. The two adjectives are predicative (thus Barrett on Eur. Hipp. 528–9; cf. Aj. 695–8n.); the chorus are not identifying three protectors and then telling them to appear, but telling the gods already named to appear as three protectors. Images of this particular trio were dedicated at Delphi by the Phocians from spoils taken from the Thessalians, presumably in the midfourth century (Paus. 10.13.4; see further Usener (1903) 13–15 for groups of three gods offering healing or protection). τρισσός is used by Euripides three times of the goddesses judged by Paris (Hec. 645–5 κρίνει τρισσὰς μακάρων | παῖδας ἀνὴρ βούτας, Tro. 924, Hel. 708), and is applied to divinities at Eur. Or. 1650 Εὐμενίσι τρισσαῖς and Hom. Hym. 5.7; although it can be found in unremarkable contexts (e.g. Eur. fr. 752g.25–6 TrGF τέκνων ἀρότο[ι]σιν | τρισσοῖς ἔλιπεν κρά[τος), it might nevertheless have a numinous edge suitable for the chorus’s prayer (as possibly at OC 479 τρισσάς γε πηγάς, in a ritual context). In ἀλεξίμορος the –μορος element means ‘death’ (Finglass (2006) 263); the word does not appear elsewhere before Nonnus, but cf. fr. 737(b)(i).1 PMG (ὦ) Φλεγύα] κούρα περιώνυμε μᾶτερ ἀλεξιπό[ν]ο[ιο] θεοῦ (i.e. Coronis, mother of Asclepius), Pind. P. 5.90–1 Ἀπολλωνίαις | ἀλεξιμβρότοις . . . πομπαῖς (‘in processions that honour Apollo and bring succour to mortals’: Race, adapted), and ἀλεξίκακος of various divinities (e.g. Hermes at Ar. Pax 422; cf. Dover on Nub. 1372). Apollo in particular is ‘the apotropaic god par excellence’ (Aj. 186–7n., with examples); the cult of Apollo Ἀλεξίκακος was known in Athens from at least the second quarter of the fifth century (Paus. 1.3.4 attributes the cult statue to the sculptor Calamis, active at that time; he links the introduction of the cult with the Periclean plague, but that was well after Calamis’ time, as noted by R. Parker (1996) 186 with n. 121). 164/5–166 εἴ ποτε καὶ προτέρας ἄτας ὕπερ ὀρνυμένας πόλῃ ἠνύσατ’ ἐκτοπίαν φλόγα πήματος, ἔλθετε καὶ νῦν. ‘If ever, on account of destruction attacking the city, you cast out the fire of suffering, come also now.’ The chorus appeal to these gods on the basis of help provided in the past, via the prayer form da quia dedisti (35–9n.). The Priest’s use of the same form explicitly identified this past menace as the Sphinx, and some have assumed that the same enemy is implied here (thus Σ p. 173.7 Papageorgius, McDevitt (1969) 82 n. 9); but there is no good reason to limit the gods’ previous favour to this one instance, which in any case is associated with Oedipus’ action rather than with any specific divine intervention. The combination of εἴ ποτε (referring to


C O M M E N T A R Y : 166 previous assistance) and νῦν (focusing on the present) recurs at e.g. Hom. Il. 5.116–17 εἴ ποτέ μοι καὶ πατρὶ φίλα φρονέουσα παρέστης | δηΐῳ ἐν πολέμῳ, νῦν αὖτ’ ἐμὲ φῖλαι Ἀθήνη, Pind. I. 6.42–5 εἴ ποτ’ ἐμᾶν, ὦ Ζεῦ πάτερ, | θυμῷ θέλων ἀρᾶν ἄκουσας, | νῦν σε, νῦν εὐχαῖς ὑπὸ θεσπεσίαις | λίσσομαι, Maccabees 2.13.10 παρήγγειλεν τῷ πλήθει δι’ ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς ἐπικαλεῖσθαι τὸν κύριον, εἴ ποτε καὶ ἄλλοτε, καὶ νῦν ἐπιβοηθεῖν. The last of these examples has the καὶ νῦν found in our passage, where καί emphasises the addition of present help to past benefits; cf. Hom. Il. 1.453–5 ἠμὲν δή ποτ’ ἐμέο πάρος ἔκλυες εὐξαμένοιο· | τίμησας μὲν ἐμέ, μέγα δ’ ἴψαο λαὸν Ἀχαιῶν· | ἠδ’ ἔτι καὶ νῦν μοι τόδ’ ἐπικρήηνον ἐέλδωρ, Sappho fr. 1.25 Voigt ἔλθε μοι καὶ νῦν, Eur. IT 1082–4 ὦ πότνι’, ἥπερ μ’ Αὐλίδος κατὰ πτυχὰς | δεινῆς ἔσωσας ἐκ πατροκτόνου χερός, | σῶσόν με καὶ νῦν τούσδε τ’, Ar. Eq. 594 εἴπερ ποτὲ καὶ νῦν, A/O on Thesm. 1157–9. καὶ προτέρας prepares for καὶ νῦν, just as πάρος and ποτέ do in the parallels cited (and also κἀτέρωτα at Sappho fr. 1.5); for the repetition of καί where once would suffice cf. Ar. Nub. 356–7 καὶ νῦν, εἴπερ τινὶ κἄλλῳ, | οὐρανομήκη ῥήξατε κἀμοὶ φωνήν, possibly Thesm. 1157–1158/9 (see L. Parker (1997) 450–1), Pind. N. 2.1–3 ὅθεν περ καὶ Ὁμηρίδαι . . . καὶ ὅδ’ ἀνήρ κτλ. ‘Harm’ is the basic meaning of ἄτη (see Sommerstein (2013) 2). For ὕπερ ‘with regard to’, referring to some peril, cf. 188–9, Aesch. Sept. 109–10 ἴδετε παρθένων ἱκέσιον λόχον δουλοσύνας ὕπερ with Hutchinson on 110–13, Aeschin. 3.10, DgP 3.2 (Sillyon, Pamphylia, first half of the fourth century?) ϝίλ̣ ̣σιιο ̣ς ὕπαρ καὶ ἀν ̣ίιας, S–D ii 521, Moorhouse 127–8; ̣ for this sense governing a different type of noun cf. 989, Hom. Il. 6.524 ὑπὲρ σέθεν αἴσχε’ ἀκούω. The hapax ὑπερορνυμένας (a reinterpretation of the paradosis suggested by Musgrave, notes) brings no advantages (so rightly S. Stelluto ap. Ferrari et al. (1992) 402–3), and eliminates the caesura after the fourth dactyl found in all other hexameters of the song. Inscriptions show πόλῃ to have been the fifth-century Attic dative form (see West’s Teubner Aeschylus, p. xxxvii). ἐκτόπιος is exclusive to tragic lyric (1340/1, OC 118/19, Eur. fr. 773.68 TrGF). In the past, the chorus sing, the gods did not destroy or quench the fiery menace, but sent it somewhere else, beyond the borders of the land (ἐκτόπιος, as at 1340/1). This recalls the ἀποπομπή prayer form (thus Fraenkel (1931) 10n. 24 = (1964) i 362n. 3; cf. 190/1–197, El. 647n., Aj. 51–73n., Aesch. Suppl. 684–5 νούσων δ’ ἑσμὸς ἀπ’ ἀστῶν | ἵζοι κρατὸς ἀτερπής, Stern (1991) 305n. 10), which aims to divert some peril rather than to obliterate it altogether. Perhaps the amount of evil in the world was regarded as somehow fixed, and increasing one’s own happiness inevitably meant diminishing that of someone else. The correct orthography ἡνύσατ’ (instead of manuscript ἠ–) is restored by Willink (2002) 73 = (2010) 413, citing West’s Teubner Aeschylus, p. xxx.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 167– 172 For the command ‘come’ in a cletic hymn see N/H on Hor. C. 1.2.30, A/O on Ar. Thesm. 317–19; also 163n. on προφάνητε. 167/8–168/9 ὢ πόποι, ἀνάριθμα γὰρ φέρω | πήματα· ‘Ô popoi, for numberless are the sorrows that I bear.’ ὤ (thus M. Schmidt (1864) 5) is preferable to manuscript ὦ, since the word occurs in an exclamation, not a second-person address (Aj. 1197n.). The epic expression ὢ πόποι, which signifies grief, pain, or some other strong negative emotion (cf. Hom. Il. 1.254, Od. 1.32, Hom. Hym. 4.309; in Pindar at fr. 182.1 S–M), occurs elsewhere in Sophocles at Tr. 853, and in Aeschylus (Pers. 731, 852, Eum. 145), who also has πόποι (Pers. 550, 560, Cho. 405), ἰὼ πόποι (Ag. 1100), and ὀτοτοτοτοῖ πόποι δᾶ (Ag. 1072, 1076); in the Prometheus poet we find ἰὼ ἰὼ πόποι (PV 576). All the tragic instances except one (Pers. 731) are from lyric. Three open a lyric stanza (Pers. 852, Ag. 1100, Cho. 405) and two occur as interjections within a continuous sense unit (Tr. 853, Eum. 145). Both these characteristics can be observed in this instance, which simultaneously begins a strophe and interrupts the train of thought where ἀνάριθμα γὰρ φέρω | πήματα explains not the preceding exclamation (which would make that exclamation surprisingly staccato), but the request for divine help at the end of the previous stanza (thus Campbell, Ax (1932) 419–20; see Denniston 63 for γάρ referring to something before the immediately preceding text). For ἀνάριθμος in descriptions of suffering cf. 179, El. 232 ἀνάριθμος ὧδε θρήνων, Aj. 601/3–605 μηνῶν ἀνήριθμος αἰὲν εὐνῶμαι | χρόνῳ τρυχόμενος. 168/9–171/2 νοσεῖ δέ μοι πρόπας | στόλος, οὐδ’ ἔνι φροντίδος ἔγχος | ᾧ τις ἀλέξεται· ‘The entire host is sick, nor is there a weapon that derives from thought by which one can make a defence.’ For the same idea in a cletic hymn cf. Ant. 1140/1–1141/2 βιαίας ἔχεται πάνδαμος πόλις ἐπὶ νόσου. The intensified adjective πρόπας is poetic, attested in Homer (Il. 1.601 etc. πρόπαν ἦμαρ, 2.493 νῆάς τε προπάσας) and tragedy (in Sophocles only in lyric, at Ant. 860, OC 1237). στόλος is usually ‘army’, ‘expedition’ rather than ‘people’, but στρατός shows a similar breadth of meaning (El. 749n.), and the military tone prepares for the metaphor. In φροντίδος ἔγχος the derivational genitive (44–5n.) highlights the uselessness of intellectual effort, an idea which contrasts with Oedipus’ mental struggle to discover a cure (66–7n.); taking the genitive as defining, ‘weapon consisting in thought’, is less attractive, since the chorus’s interest will lie not in thought as an abstraction, but in the concrete assistance that thought can lead to. The metaphor may evoke and rework from the Odyssey the suitors’ desperate, literal realisation οὐδέ που ἀσπὶς ἔην οὐδ’ ἄλκιμον ἔγχος ἑλέσθαι (22.25). ἀλέξεται


C OMMENTARY : 172– 178 (future middle; cf. 539, Aj. 165–6n.) looks back to ἀλεξίμοροι at 163; the gods have been asked to help because no human contrivance can cope. 171/2–174 οὔτε γὰρ ἔκγονα κλυτᾶς χθονὸς αὔξεται οὔτε τόκοισιν | ἰηΐων καμάτων ἀνέχουσι γυναῖκες. ‘For neither does the offspring of our famous land see growth, nor do women escape from shrieking pains by giving birth.’ The chorus reprise the combination of woes previously described by the Priest (257n.). Describing agricultural produce by means of such a metaphor (particularly by ἔκγονα, which, like ἔκγονοι, is more usually employed of people) dignifies the ordinary, and assimilates its failure to the more harrowing picture of inconclusive childbirth. κλυτή (an epic adjective found in tragedy only in lyric) qualifies χθών only here, but can be applied to specific places (cf. Ant. 1117/18– 1119 κλυτὰν ὃς ἀμφέπεις | Ἰταλίαν, Eur. IA [263–4] κλυτὰν | Θρονιάδ’ ἐκλιπὼν πόλιν, Hom. Il. 24.437 κλυτὸν Ἄργος, Od. 10.87 = 15.472 ἐς λιμένα κλυτὸν ἤλθομεν); the natural inference is that the chorus refer not to the earth in general but to their own land, and that mentioning its fame in these dire circumstances is intended to spur on the gods to help. τόκοισιν is a modal dative, expressing the means by which women are not released from their agony. The stress on defective parturition is paralleled by 26–7 τόκοισί τε | ἀγόνοις γυναικῶν and Hes. Op. 244 οὐδὲ γυναῖκες τίκτουσιν, although Sophocles’ lyric fullness makes it sound especially distressing. The alternative ‘during childbirth’ (thus Σ p. 173.19 Papageorgius ἐν τοῖς τόκοις) reduces the expression to a tame temporal marker. ἀνέχουσι is difficult to understand, and may be a metaphor from swimming, indicating inability to keep above the water (thus Σ p. 173.21–3 Papageorgius τὸ δὲ ἀνέχουσιν ἤτοι ἐλευθεροῦνται καὶ ἄνω ἑαυτὰς ἔχουσιν ἐκ μεταφορᾶς τῶν ἄνω νευόντων μόγις ἐν τῷ νήχεσθαι); for this meaning in a literal sense cf. Hom. Od. 5.319–20 οὐδὲ δυνάσθη | αἶψα μάλ’ ἀνσχεθέειν μεγάλου ὑπὸ κύματος ὁρμῆς. For ἰήϊος see 153–5n. 175/6–177/8 ἄλλον δ’ ἂν ἄλλῳ προσίδοις ἅπερ εὔπτερον ὄρνιν | κρεῖσσον ἀμαιμακέτου πυρὸς ὄρμενον ἀκτὰν πρὸς ἑσπέρου θεοῦ· ‘And you could see one after the other hastening faster than irresistible fire like a finewinged bird to the bank of the western god’. The verb of sight emphasising the listener’s perspective is paradoxically followed by three metaphors denoting things that cannot be seen; but the dense imagery makes the invisible procession of souls almost apparent. The repetition ἄλλον . . . ἄλλῳ expresses cumulation, as often without a preposition to govern the dative (100–1n.); the idiom conveys the gloomy picture of


C O M M E N T A R Y : 175– 178 one dead spirit following another on the way to Hades. ἄλλᾳ (coni. Dobree (pre-1825) ii 32) would instead emphasise the spatial diversity of the dying (‘you can see one here and one there’: Lloyd-Jones), as at Thuc. 2.4.4 ἄλλοι δὲ ἄλλῃ τῆς πόλεως σποράδες ἀπώλλυντο, and might also (as Ll-J/W, So., argue) suggest the different ways in which people died (they compare Aesch. Eum. 531 ἄλλ’ ἄλλᾳ δ’ ἐφορεύει, where god ‘governs different spheres in different ways’; thus Sommerstein). But this dulls the image: ‘there is no place for variety of mode or destination, the image being of a constant progression like a migratory flight’ (Willink (2002) 74 = (2010) 415). Only Zr has ἅπερ (Aj. 167–8n.); most manuscripts have the unmetrical and senseless ᾇπερ. Then εὔπτερον has a pathetic emphasis, stressing the vitality of the soul (which has a long journey to make, to Hades in the distant west) at the very moment when the human being to which it belonged has finished with life. In the Odyssey the sound of the dead is compared to that of birds (11.605–6 ἀμφὶ δέ μιν κλαγγὴ νεκύων ἦν οἰωνῶν ὥς, | πάντοσ’ ἀτυζομένων), and the spirits themselves, while on the move, are likened to bats (24.6–9); Sophocles refers to a ‘swarm of the dead’ that ‘buzzes’, implying comparison to insects (fr. 879 TrGF βομβεῖ δὲ νεκρῶν σμῆνος ἔρχεταί τ’ ἄνω), and Euripides’ Theseus uses an avian image to describe the suicide of Phaedra (Hipp. 828–9 ὄρνις γὰρ ὥς τις ἐκ χερῶν ἄφαντος εἶ, | πήδημ’ ἐς Ἅιδου κραιπνὸν ὁρμήσασά μοι); there are further parallels at Hdt. 4.15 (where the soul of Aristeas is said to have left his body in the form of a raven; cf. Plin. HN 7.174, Bremmer (1983a) 35–6), Norden on Virg. Aen. 6.309–12, Haavio (1959), and Psalm 124.7 ‘our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers’. More generally, the passage of the dead spirit to the underworld was figured as flight (cf. Hom. Il. 16.856 = 22.362 ψυχὴ δ’ ἐκ ῥεθέων πταμένη Ἄϊδόσδε βεβήκει, Od. 11.222 ψυχὴ δ’ ἠΰτ’ ὄνειρος ἀποπταμένη πεπότηται, Eur. Suppl. 1139–41 αἰθὴρ ἔχει νιν ἤδη, | πυρὸς τετακότας σποδῷ· | ποτανοὶ δ’ ἤνυσαν τὸν Ἅιδαν, CEG i 10.(iii).5–6 (Attica, 432) αἰθὲρ μὲμ φσυχὰς ὑπεδέχσατο, σόμ[ατα δὲ χθὸν] | το͂νδε; for the contrast between souls and bodies found in the last example see 180/1–181/2n.). The imagery recalls the association of fire with plague already seen in the Priest’s speech (27–9n.). ἀμαιμάκετος is used of the Chimaera at Hom. Il. 6.179 and 16.3289, and of the fire that she breathes at Hes. Th. 319 πνέουσαν ἀμαιμάκετον πῦρ; the last passage probably influenced Sophocles’ usage here, just as his other use of the word, at OC 127 τᾶνδ᾽ ἀμαιμακετᾶν κορᾶν (of the Erinyes), may have come about because ‘the word’s early association with the Chimaera had given it a connotation of monstrosity’ (Silk (1983) 329, his italics; see ibid. 328–9 for other occurrences of the term not so readily classified). Athematic ὄρμενον (instead


C OMMENTARY : 179– 182 of ὀρόμενον; < ὄρνυμι) reappears in a fire simile at Hom. Il. 17.736–9 (partly repeated at 21.13–14) ἐπὶ δὲ πτόλεμος τέτατό σφιν | ἄγριος ἠΰτε πῦρ, τό τ’ ἐπεσσύμενον πόλιν ἀνδρῶν | ὄρμενον ἐξαίφνης φλεγέθει, μινύθουσι δὲ οἶκοι | ἐν σέλαϊ μεγάλῳ; for the morphology cf. also Aesch. Ag. 429, fr. 74.1 TrGF, FJ/W on Suppl. 422. The ‘god of the west’ is Hades. ‘There is a natural association between the setting of life and the setting of the sun in the west’ (Campbell); cf. Aesch. Ag. 1123–4 βίου δύντος αὐγαῖς (‘with the last setting rays of their life’: Sommerstein), Pl. Leg. 770a ἐν δυσμαῖς τοῦ βίου, Arist. Poet. 1457b24–5 τὸ γῆρας ἑσπέραν βίου ἢ δυσμὰς βίου, and, for the association of (western) darkness with the underworld, cf. Hom. Od. 12.81 πρὸς ζόφον εἰς Ἔρεβος τετραμμένον, S. Aj. 394a–395n. The idea is early: cf. the Egyptian The Debate between a Man and his Soul (eighteenth century) 37–43 (pp. 335, 337 Allen) ‘The West is a harbour to which the perceptive are rowed . . . I will make him reach the West . . . I am to make an awning over your corpse’. The failure to refer directly to Hades reflects a belief that naming the god of death could be inauspicious (El. 110–20n., Aj. [571]n.). The rivers (and lakes: El. 138n.) of Hades were so familiar that a soul could be described as travelling to his ‘bank’ or ‘shore’; cf. Ant. 810–13 ἀλλά μ᾽ ὁ παγκοίτας Ἅιδας ζῶσαν ἄγει | τὰν Ἀχέροντος | ἀκτάν, Virg. Aen. 6.305 huc omnis turba ad ripas effusa ruebat. For the word order ἀκτὰν πρὸς ἑσπέρου θεοῦ, where a preposition not normally found in anastrophe comes between its noun and a genitive expression governed by that noun, cf. OC 84–5 εὖτε νῦν ἕδρας | πρώτων ἐφ᾽ ὑμῶν τῆσδε γῆς ἔκαμψ᾽ ἐγώ, 125–7, Aesch. Sept. 185, [Aesch.] PV 653 ποίμνας βουστάσεις τε πρὸς πατρός, Eur. Or. 94, Phoen. 24 λειμῶν’ ἐς Ἥρας, [Eur.] Rhes. 150 ναῦς ἐπ’ Ἀργείων μολεῖν. 179 ὧν πόλις ἀνάριθμος ὄλλυται· ‘Unable to count these deaths, the city is perishing.’ The relative pronoun looks back to the previous stanza; cf. 1196, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 49. For ἀνάριθμος see 167/8– 168/9n.; the sense here is paralleled by Aj. 601/3–603/4 μηνῶν ἀνήριθμος ‘unable to count the months’. 180/1–181/2 νηλέα δὲ γένεθλα πρὸς πέδῳ | θαναταφόρα κεῖται ἀνοίκτως· ‘Unpitied, her children lie on the ground, laden with death, without anyone to lament them.’ At 175/6–177/8 the audience heard a poetic evocation of souls departing into the sky; now they are confronted with the horrible reality of the dead bodies, motionless upon the earth and ready to spread more disease. κεῖται of an unburied body accompanied by an adverb expressing its neglected state occurs at Hom. Il. 24.412–13 κεῖνος κεῖται Ἀχιλλῆος παρὰ νηῒ | αὔτως, and with an adjective at 553–4 Ἕκτωρ | κεῖται ἐνὶ κλισίῃσιν ἀκηδής. Employing the


C O M M E N T A R Y : 180– 182 abundance of lyric to accentuate the horror, Sophocles reinforces the adverb ἀνοίκτως with the adjective νηλέα (in an unusual passive sense, as in its other Sophoclean instance at Ant. 1197–8 ἔκειτο νηλεὲς | κυνοσπάρακτον σῶμα Πολυνείκους) and uses these synonyms to surround the entire phrase. The corpses have not had compassion shown to them through funeral rites (cf. Thuc. 2.50.1 πολλῶν ἀτάφων γιγνομένων, 2.52.4 νόμοι . . . πάντες ξυνεταράχθησαν οἷς ἐχρῶντο πρότερον περὶ τὰς ταφάς, ἔθαπτον δὲ ὡς ἕκαστος ἐδύνατο, from his description of the plague), but the terms that Sophocles employs go beyond that; they suggest that suffering is so widespread that people’s natural feelings of pity for others have been suppressed. As the audience has seen in the prologue, however, Oedipus supplies the pity that had previously been wanting (see Introduction, pp. 44–6). In Thucydides, by contrast, some people are cared for, and others are neglected, but all die just the same (2.51.2 ἔθνῃσκον δὲ οἱ μὲν ἀμελείᾳ, οἱ δὲ καὶ πάνυ θεραπευόμενοι): an equally chilling but distinct emphasis. Sophocles uses γένεθλα rather than νεκροί or similar to emphasise the personhood of the corpses and to stress the role of the land in nurturing them while alive; he adds the locative πρὸς πέδῳ to emphasise that the corpses are out of place, and θαναταφόρα to convey that they continue to pose a threat, and thus inspire fear as well as pity. The phenomenon of contagion which this word implies had been observed, if not understood, by the fifth century: cf. Thuc. 2.47.4, 2.51.5, 2.58.2, Longrigg (1992) 34–5 (although L.’s alleged additional parallel in the Hippocratic corpus is unconvincing). In particular, Thucydides’ claim that people are said to have been afraid of visiting the sick in case they contracted the plague (2.51.5) suggests widespread awareness of the phenomenon, which is what we would in any case have inferred from the brevity of Sophocles’ reference. McDevitt (1970) 33 takes νηλέα in an active sense, arguing that the bodies ‘themselves have no pity or concern, they relentlessly spread contagion and death among those who are left alive’ (so also Pettit (1971) and, eloquently, Silk (2003) 133–4, (2009) 140–1). But the attribution of feeling to the dead would be obscure, unhelpfully suggesting that the bodies want to infect the friends they knew while alive; moreover, νηλέα and ἀνοίκτως reinforce each other. γένεθλα is corrupted into the unmetrical γενέθλα in several witnesses. θαναταφόρα (thus the oldest and best manuscripts) shows Doric vocalism of the expected stem θανατη– (for which see S–D i 438–9); the same stem appears in lyric at Aesch. Cho. 369 as θανατη– (cf. Björck (1950) 168), but that play relies on a single manuscript, and Doric alpha is more likely to be removed incorrectly than introduced.


C OMMENTARY : 183– 187 The ending is corrupted into the unmetrical –φόρῳ in some manuscripts to make it agree with the preceding word. Only Π2 gets both parts right (cf. Finglass (2013a) 43). 183–185/6 ἐν δ’ ἄλοχοι πολιαί τ’ ἐπὶ ματέρες ἀκτὰν πάρα βώμιον ἄλλοθεν ἄλλαι | λυγρῶν πόνων ἱκετῆρες ἐπιστενάχουσιν. ‘Among them, wives and also grey-haired mothers, by the shore of the altars, from this side and that utter groans as suppliants on account of their dire sufferings.’ The description of the city-wide supplications earlier given by the Priest (15–21) is succeeded by the more plangent tones of lyric. Plague, unlike war, kills men and women without discrimination; the emphasis on the laments of wives and mothers, as if the dead were mainly young men, assimilates the sickness to martial conflict, preparing for the incursion of Ares in the third strophic pair and allowing women to feature in their traditional role as primary lamenters. Both ἐν δ’ (27–9n.) and ἐπί are adverbial; there is no reason to write the latter ἔπι with anastrophe. ‘Grey hair . . . symbolises the weakness of the old, and so is especially poignant in contexts of loss’ (Aj. 627–33n., with examples). ἀκτή ‘bank’, ‘shore’ is transferred to the edge of an altar, yielding a metaphorical sense (‘the women at the altars are like shipwrecked mariners clinging to a rock’: Campbell); the previous scene, with its tableau of children grouped around the steps of the central altar, will have made the picture clear. The same term is used metaphorically of Agamemnon’s tomb at Aesch. Cho. 722–3 ἀκτὴ | χώματος (‘promontory . . . protuberance formed by a χῶμα’: Garvie); cf. Eur. El. 513 πυρᾶς δ’ ἐπ’ αὐτῆς [ἀκτῆς coni. Denniston (1933b) 213]. Nauck3 p. 157 and (1866b) 696–8 emends to ἀχάν, also writing παραβώμιον (found in some manuscripts, although they lack authority in matters of spacing and accents), and comparing for the resulting expression Aj. 579–80 ἐπισκήνους γόους | δάκρυε; but this abolishes both the bold metaphor and the connexion with the staging, and the repetition of ἀκτάν from 177/8 is not suspicious. ἄλλοθεν ἄλλαι expresses the extent of the lamentation, which fills the town. λυγρῶν πόνων is a genitive of cause (47–8n.). ἱκετῆρες is in only a couple of manuscripts, but metre guarantees it over the majority reading ἱκτῆρες; for the error see 1–3n. Only K has the correct vocalism ἐπιστενάχουσι, with ἐπιστο– in other manuscripts; for the error see El. 133n. ἐπιστενάχουσιν predicated of women recalls the Iliadic ἐπὶ δὲ στενάχοντο γυναῖκες (19.301 etc.). 187 παιὼν δὲ λάμπει στονόεσσά τε γῆρυς ὅμαυλος· ‘The paean shines out, and the sound of groaning in harmony with it.’ The emphasis on sound continues with synaesthetic imagery: the powerful cry is almost


C O M M E N T A R Y : 188– 189 visual. For the metaphorical use of light to denote sound cf. 473–475/6, Bacchyl. fr. 4.80 S–M παιδικοὶ δ’ ὕμνοι φλέγονται, Diggle (1969a) 41 = (1994) 12, Kaimio (1977) 234–7, Garvie on Aesch. Pers. 395 σάλπιγξ ἀϋτῇ πάντ’ ἐκεῖν’ ἐπέφλεγεν. I. Rutherford (1993) 87 suggests that the phrase might also be taken as Παιὼν δὲ λάμπει, denoting an epiphany of Paean/Apollo (he compares the paeanic refrain ἰὴ ἰὲ Παιάν, ἰὴ ἰέ· Παιὰν δὲ μήποτε λείποι cited above, 153–5n., for another possible example of the ambiguity); but the balance of the phrase with στονόεσσά τε γῆρυς, where personification is not at issue, suggests that this interpretation is at least not the primary one. For παιών rather than the variant παιάν see 4–5n. γῆρυς is an exclusively poetic (epic, tragic, paratragic) word for ‘voice’. ὅμαυλος (< αὐλός ‘pipe’; the other instances of this and ὁμαυλία, frr. 24.4, 717, 1130.8 TrGF, Aesch. Cho. 599, derive from αὐλή ‘home’) suggests an idea of harmony (Eur. El. 879 ἴτω ξύναυλος βοὰ χαρᾷ) tragically inappropriate in this context: the groaning is the consequence of the plague, the paean a defence against it, and their combination will hardly have produced a pleasing melody. 188–9 τῶν ὕπερ, ὦ χρυσέα θύγατερ Διός, εὐῶπα πέμψον ἀλκάν. ‘On account of these things, golden daughter of Zeus, send fair-faced assistance.’ τῶν (coni. Kennedy2, text) was almost certainly the reading of Π2, which has a gap wide enough for two letters before the nu (thus Barrett (2007) 375); the mediaeval manuscripts have ὧν. Either gives good Greek, but we should prefer the form with the earlier attestation, which is also the more likely to have been corrupted, ὧν being the regular relative (cf. Finglass (2013a) 36). τῶν could be demonstrative (thus Ll-J/W, So.) or relative; the demonstrative (for which cf. 200) is perhaps more likely, since it yields the more emphatic sense. The referent is not so much λυγρῶν πόνων (185/6) as the whole litany of suffering described in the preceding lines. For ὕπερ see 164/5–166n. For Athena as daughter of Zeus see 159n.; for the gods’ association with gold cf. 203–203/4, 209/10, Aj. 92–3n. εὐώψ typically qualifies female beauty (cf. Ant. 530 τέγγουσ᾽ εὐῶπα παρειάν; also εὐῶπις at Tr. 523, Hom. Od. 6.113, Hom. Hym. 2.333); here the term is applied not to the goddess but to the aid that she brings (cf. Aesch. Cho. 490 εὔμορφον κράτος). For πέμπω in an address to a god cf. the Getty paean col. i.6 (late fifth century; Janko (2015) 4) σὺ δὲ πάντοσ’ ἀλέξιμα φάρμακα πέμπεις (cf. coll. ii.3, iii.7 = pp. 6, 8 J.). 190/1–214/15 The rearrangement of the final two stanzas by Haase (1858), approved by Dawe (1999a) = (2007) 245–66, has been refuted by Esposito (2010).


C OMMENTARY : 190– 194 190/1–193/4 Ἄρεά τε τὸν μαλερόν, ὃς νῦν ἄχαλκος ἀσπίδων | φλέγει με περιβόητος ἀντιάζων, | παλίσσυτον δράμημα νωτίσαι πάτρας ‘And as for Ares the fiery, who now, roaring as he attacks without his brazen shield, sets me on fire, make him turn his back and race away from my fatherland.’ The sudden change of subject to Ares takes place in the first word of the new strophic pair; the threat posed by the god is then emphasised by a succession of threatening attributes, before the chorus declare their desire to have him cast out of their land in an expression that recalls the ἀποπομπή prayer form (164/5–166n.). The unusual accusative Ἄρεα (instead of Ἄρη) appears elsewhere at Ap. Rh. 1.1024 and in the possibly Hellenistic hexameter poem P.Oxy. 5102 fr. 4 col. ii.4 (Benaissa (2011) 41). The connector is τε rather than δέ because the infinitive νωτίσαι is ‘governed by the general notion of causing implied in πέμψον’ in the last line of the previous stanza (Campbell, after Σ p. 175.2 Papageorgius ἀπὸ κοινοῦ δὲ τὸ πέμψον; cf. Esposito (2010) 3–5). μαλερός in epic is always used of fire (cf. Hom. Il. 9.242 αὐτάς τ’ ἐμπρήσειν μαλεροῦ πυρός, 20.316, 21.375, [Hes.] Scut. 18, and in the hexameter oracle at Hdt. 7.140.3), an appropriate metaphor for the god of war (for fire imagery describing conflict see Olson on Ar. Pax 608–9), and a particularly effective descriptor ahead of φλέγει; the metaphor occurs elsewhere in lyric at Aesch. Cho. 325 πυρὸς μαλερὰ γνάθος, Pers. 62 πόθῳ στένεται μαλερῷ (‘the idea of “burning” is not inappropriate to a passionate yearning’: Garvie), Eur. Tro. [1300–1] μαλερὰ μέλαθρα πυρὶ κατάδρομα | δαΐῳ τε λόγχᾳ, Pind. O. 9.21–2 πόλιν | μαλεραῖς ἐπιφλέγων ἀοιδαῖς, and in a looser intensifying sense at Aesch. Ag. 141 μαλερῶν λεόντων, Arist. fr. 842.5 PMG πόνους τλῆναι μαλεροὺς ἀκάμαντας (see Silk (1983) 322). ἄχαλκος ἀσπίδων, literally ‘unbronzed of (with regard to) shields’, emphasises that thanks to the plague ‘the god of war does not even need to put on his armour to kill’ (Furley and Bremer (2001) ii 287); for the alpha-privative adjective governing a genitive cf. 969, El. 36 ἄσκευον . . . ἀσπίδων τε καὶ στρατοῦ with n. φλέγει picks up the fire imagery; for the association of fire and plague see 27–9n. περιβόητος is elsewhere confined to prose and comedy, always in a passive sense, whether positive (Thuc. 6.31.6) or, more usually, negative (cf. Dem. 18.297; so also Pl. Phil. 45e περιβοήτους ἀπεργάζεται ‘makes them notorious’, pace LSJ9 s.v. 3, which interprets the phrase with the active sense ‘makes them utter frantic cries’). In transferring the word to lyric, Sophocles gives the word an active sense: Ares was well known for his terrifying shout (cf. Hom. Il. 5.859–61 ὃ δ’ ἔβραχε χάλκεος Ἄρης | ὅσσόν τ’ ἐννεάχιλοι ἐπίαχον ἢ δεκάχιλοι | ἀνέρες ἐν πολέμῳ ἔριδα ξυνάγοντες Ἄρηος, 20.51–2 αὖε δ’ Ἄρης ἑτέρωθεν ἐρεμνῇ λαίλαπι ἶσος | ὀξὺ κατ’


C O M M E N T A R Y : 194– 197 ἀκροτάτης πόλιος Τρώεσσι κελεύων, [Hes.] Scut. 98–9 μηδὲν ὑποδδείσας κτύπον Ἄρεος ἀνδροφόνοιο, | ὃς νῦν κεκληγὼς περιμαίνεται, 450–2 ἀλλ’ οὐ πεῖθ’ Ἄρεος μεγαλήτορα θυμόν, | ἀλλὰ μέγα ἰάχων, φλογὶ εἴκελα τεύχεα πάλλων | καρπαλίμως ἐπόρουσε βίῃ Ἡρακληείῃ, the last instance combining noise with fire imagery as in our passage), and thanks to the onset of the plague he causes wailing and groaning all around him (cf. 183–7, Aesch. Suppl. 679–82 λοιγὸς . . . δακρυογόνον ἄρη | βοάν τ’ ἔνδημον ἐξοπλίζων). By contrast, the passive sense ‘notorious’ seems weak in this context. Elmsley (1805/6 edn) writes περιβόατος, but in lyric other adjectives with this form (no others derive from βοάω or a compound) tend to have –ητος rather than –ατος (Aj. 715–18n.; cf. Björck (1950) 237–8). For ἀντιάζω used of conflict cf. Pind. N. 1.67–8 ὅταν θεοὶ ἐν πεδίῳ Φλέγρας Γιγάντεσσιν μάχαν | ἀντιάζωσιν, Hdt. 2.141.3 ὡς οὐδὲν πείσεται ἄχαρι ἀντιάζων τὸν Ἀραβίων στρατόν, 4.80.2 ἠντίασάν μιν οἱ Θρήϊκες, 4.118.2. Hermann2 (commentary) emends to ἀντιάζω ‘I entreat’, but since ‘Ares was certainly not accessible to entreaties’ (Pearson (1929a) 91), this would have to govern Athena as its object, awkwardly leapfrogging the prominent accusative Ἄρεα in 190/1. παλίσσυτος (< πάλιν + σεύω) appears elsewhere in classical Greek only at Eur. Suppl. 388. δράμημα appears as δρόμημα in Xs. δράμημα is the sole reading at fr. 314.80 TrGF, Ion TrGF 19 F 1, δρόμημα at Eur. Tro. 693, Phoen. 1379, Bacch. 872, [1091], and witnesses are divided at Aesch. Pers. 247, Eur. Med. 1180, Or. 1005. But the evidence from ancient manuscripts (fr. 314.80 TrGF, Eur. Med. 1180) is unanimous for δράμημα; and since δρόμημα is the form found in imperial and Byzantine Greek, presumably through generalisation of the δρομ– stem from δρόμος, original δράμημα would inevitably sometimes be corrupted, whereas the reverse change is harder to motivate. The phrase παλίσσυτον δράμημα accompanies νωτίσαι, ‘a tragic word . . . given ad hoc meanings for various contexts’ (Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 654; cf. Eur. Andr. 1141 πρὸς φυγὴν ἐνώτισαν), as an internal accusative. For the bare ablatival genitive πάτρας denoting motion away from without a preposition see 151–3n. 194–7 ἔπουρον εἴτ’ ἐς μέγαν | θάλαμον Ἀμφιτρίτας | εἴτ’ ἐς τὸν ἀπόξενον ὅρμων | Θρῄκιον κλύδωνα· ‘carried by the breeze either to the great chamber of Amphitrite or to the Thracian billow, hostile to harbours.’ Two possible destinations are specified in this ἀποπομπή (190/1–193/ 4n.): the Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea. These locations represent the furthest extremes of the known world, as also at Eur. Hipp. 3–4 ὅσοι τε Πόντου τερμόνων τ’ Ἀτλαντικῶν | ναίουσιν εἴσω and Pl. Phaedo 109b,


C OMMENTARY : 194– 197 and thus are especially appropriate in a context where the chorus want to send Ares as far away as possible. But his dismissal is not just a matter of distance; the chorus want him to be transferred to another element altogether, first to the air (ἔπουρον), then to the sea. Throwing unwanted items to the winds was a commonplace (El. 435–6n.); and the sea is an obvious place for something from which one wants to be distanced (cf. the virtual ἀποπομπή at Mark 5.1–13). The combination of polar opposite destinations with a change of elements is found at Aj. 1192–1194/5 ὄφελε πρότερον αἰθέρα δῦναι μέγαν ἢ τὸν πολύκοινον Ἅιδαν | κεῖνος ἁνήρ, ὃς κτλ., Eur. Her. 650–4 κατὰ κυμάτων δ’ ἔρροι μηδέ ποτ’ ὤφελεν | θνατῶν δώματα καὶ πόλεις | ἐλθεῖν, ἀλλὰ κατ’ αἰθέρ’ αἰεὶ πτεροῖσι φορείσθω. ἔπουρον is only in LK; cf. Tr. 953–5 εἴθ᾽ ἀνεμόεσσά τις γένοιτ᾽ ἔπουρος ἑστιῶτις αὔρα, | ἥτις μ᾽ ἀποικίσειεν ἐκ τόπων, where the chorus wish for a wind to waft them away before they look on Heracles’ mangled body, and Ar. Thesm. 1226 τρέχε νῦν κατ’ αὐτοὺς ἐς κόρακας ἐπουρίσας. In our passage, Ares ‘is envisaged as being carried over the sea, by a favouring wind, with the implication of rapidity. The chorus want him out of the way quickly’ (JD). The variant ἄπουρον (further corrupted to the unmetrical ἄπορον in some manuscripts) would go with πάτρας (cf. OC 232/4 τῶνδ’ ἑδράνων . . . ἔκτοπος, Diggle on Eur. Pha. 111). But ἔπουρον was more likely to become ἄπουρον than the reverse; a scribe could have assumed that the pause fell immediately before first εἴτε. Amphitrite was daughter of Nereus and Doris (Hes. Th. 240–3), and wife of Poseidon (ibid. 930), although a different account makes her mother of the Nereids (Lyr. Adesp. fr. 939.9–11 PMG); her name is used in epic by metonymy for the sea (Hom. Od. 3.91 etc.). The ‘great chamber of Amphitrite’ is a kenning for the sea (for kennings for the elements see further Bond on Eur. Her. 1090). On its own the phrase probably would not have suggested anything more specific, even if we could be sure that the Atlantic (named so by Hdt. 1.202.4) was already known as ‘the great sea’, a designation it has in later Greek (cf. Polyb. 3.37.11 τὴν ἔξω καὶ μεγάλην προσαγορευομένην; also Σ Hom. Od. 5.422b1 = iii 123.34 Pontani Ἀμφιτρίτη· ἡ μεγάλη θάλασσα). But the clear opposition (marked by repeated εἴτε) with the ‘Thracian billow’ demands a more specific referent in the first clause, and the sea with the most obvious claim to greatness, and which makes the best opposition with the sea of Thrace, is the Atlantic. At Ant. 966/7–969/70 Ares is associated with ὁ Θρηΐκων Σαλμυδησσός, and according to Herodotus (5.7) the Thracians worshipped only Ares, Dionysus, and Artemis. This association goes back to Homer (cf. Il. 13.301, where Ares and his son Phobos come to battle


C O M M E N T A R Y : 198– 199 from Thrace, and Od. 8.361, where Ares escapes to Thrace after being discovered in flagrante with Aphrodite; also Eur. Alc. 498 Ἄρεος, ζαχρύσου Θρῃκίας πέλτης ἄναξ, Hec. 1089–90, Virg. Aen. 3.13–14, 3.35, 12.331–2, Hor. C. 2.16.5, Sears (2013) 145–6). The Thracians were known for their fierce and warlike character, something that may have influenced Sophocles in setting his Tereus in that country; for a particularly brutal episode cf. Thuc. 7.29.4 οἱ Θρᾷκες . . . τάς τε οἰκίας καὶ τὰ ἱερὰ ἐπόρθουν καὶ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐφόνευον φειδόμενοι οὔτε πρεσβυτέρας οὔτε νεωτέρας ἡλικίας, ἀλλὰ πάντας ἑξῆς, ὅτῳ ἐντύχοιεν, καὶ παῖδας καὶ γυναῖκας κτείνοντες, καὶ προσέτι καὶ ὑποζύγια καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα ἔμψυχα ἴδοιεν· τὸ γὰρ γένος τὸ τῶν Θρᾳκῶν ὁμοῖα τοῖς μάλιστα τοῦ βαρβαρικοῦ, ἐν ᾧ ἂν θαρσήσῃ, φονικώτατόν ἐστιν. Ares was probably given a Thracian association because ‘the Greeks often perceived violent emotions as coming from outside themselves, and deities who embody such forces . . . as from outside their society’ (Janko on Hom. Il. 13.301–3, noting that Mycenaean KN Fp14 a-re and TH Z849 ar-e-ime-ne indicate that Ares was in fact a long-standing member of the Greek pantheon; cf. Gulizio (2001)). The prefix of ἀπόξενον is equivalent to an alpha-privative (cf. 214/15, fr. 267 TrGF ἀπόθεα, Wackernagel (1926–8) ii 296 = (2009) 771, Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 801). The word evokes one of the Greek names of the Black Sea, Ἄξενος, ‘hostile to strangers’, attested in poetry at Pind. P. 4.203 ἐπ’ Ἀξείνου στόμα πεμπόμενοι, and plausibly conjectured at N. 4.49 (where see W. Henry). According to Strabo (7.3.6), the original name Ἄξενος was changed to Εὔξεινος (‘kind to strangers’) after the Greeks started to found colonies there. ὅρμων (coni. Doederlein (1846) 5–6 = (1847) 264 for manuscript ὅρμον) gives a genitive dependent on ἀπόξενος, as at Phil. 216/17–217/18 ναὸς ἄξενον . . . ὅρμον, ‘a harbour hostile to ships’. Keeping ὅρμον gives ‘to the hostile harbour, the Thracian billow’, with the phrases in apposition, but it would be strange to find ὅρμος and κλύδων predicated of the same thing. Confusion between omicron and omega, which sounded the same during most of the transmission of Sophocles’ text, would not be difficult (Aj. 612/13–616/17n., 1268–9n.). 198–9 τελεῖν γάρ, εἴ τι νὺξ ἀφῇ, | τοῦτ’ ἐπ’ ἦμαρ ἔρχεται· ‘If night leaves anything unscathed, day arrives to complete it.’ In isolation this phrase would be hard to understand; in this context, where it is preceded and followed by references to the threat posed by Ares, the sense must be something like ‘he gives no respite from misfortune by day or night’ (Dawe, adapted; cf. Σ p. 175.21–6 Papageorgius), with τοῦτο picking up τι, and ἐπ’ . . . ἔρχεται a single unit in tmesis. τελεῖν is owed to Hermann3 (commentary; τέλλειν iam Reiske (1753) 21, although τέλλω ‘I


C OMMENTARY : 200– 202 complete’ is not attested in Sophocles), whereas the manuscripts have τέλει (V’s πέλει will reflect confusion of τ and π, for which see 40–3n., rather than an independent tradition); for the infinitive expressing purpose after a verb of motion cf. OC 12–13 μανθάνειν γὰρ ἥκομεν | ξένοι πρὸς ἀστῶν, Moorhouse 237–8, Diggle (1987) 171 = (1994) 324. For this verb predicated of day (and night) cf. Theogn. 159–60 οἶδε γὰρ οὐδεὶς | ἀνθρώπων ὅτι νὺξ χἠμέρη ἀνδρὶ τελεῖ. Transmitted τέλει would have to mean ‘in the end’; but the bare dative of τέλος is nowhere else found with such a meaning (Pearson (1929a) 91–2 compares Pind. P. 1.35, but there the dative is the much clearer τελευτᾷ), and to refer to the coming of day as itself a τέλος obscures the idea of a succession of woe, with each day completing the sorrows begun by night. Kayser ap. Ebner (1839) 74 n. ** writes τελεῖ, with a pause after γάρ, but whereas the stark two-word statement can be paralleled in tragic lyric (cf. Aesch. Eum. 381 μένει γάρ, although West prints an emended text), the sense is even more unclear (who is accomplishing what?). For εἰ with the subjunctive without ἄν cf. 873/4–874, Ant. 710, OC 1443, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 91–2, Garvie on Pers. 790–1, Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 829–32, K–G ii 474 Anm. 1. ἦμαρ is preferable to ἆμαρ (thus Björck (1950) 238). At Ant. 1333 only ἆμαρ is attested, at Phil. 1089/90 and Aesch. Cho. 612 only ἦμαρ, and manuscripts are split at OC 1079. 200–201/2 τόν, ὦ τᾶν πυρφόρων ἀστραπᾶν κράτη νέμων, | ὦ Ζεῦ πάτερ, ὑπὸ σῷ φθίσον κεραυνῷ. ‘You who wield the power of the famous firebearing lightning, father Zeus, destroy him with your thunderbolt.’ In the Iliad Zeus tells Ares ἔχθιστος δέ μοί ἐσσι θεῶν οἳ Ὄλυμπον ἔχουσιν (5.890) but says that he will heal him nonetheless because he is his son; if he were not, his fate would be grim indeed (εἰ δέ τευ ἐξ ἄλλου γε θεῶν γένευ ὧδ’ ἀΐδηλος, | καί κεν δὴ πάλαι ἦσθα ἐνέρτερος Οὐρανιώνων, 897–8). Ares’ immortality is called into question elsewhere in that book, when Otus and Ephialtes are said to have trapped him in a bronze jar for thirteen months, and he ‘would have died’ (καί νύ κεν ἔνθ’ ἀπόλοιτο Ἄρης ἆτος πολέμοιο, 388) if he had not been rescued (385–91); not long afterwards he is even wounded by Diomedes (850–67). But none of this provides a true parallel for the chorus’s remarkable request that Zeus should use his characteristic weapon (cf. Mikalson (1991) 250n. 168, West (1997) 115, (2007a) 247–8) to destroy a fellow-god. τὸν, ὦ τᾶν is owed to Hermann (ap. Erfurdt1a, p. 378). Most manuscripts (including an ancient one) have τὸν ὦ, which is a syllable too short for the responsion, but r has τᾶν ὦ; that might simply be further corruption of τὸν ὦ, but could also point to an alternative branch of the tradition where τόν, not τᾶν, was lost. The proximity of the articles will have led to the error.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 203– 207 The vocative participial phrase is typical of prayers (cf. Norden (1913) 166–8, N/H on Hor. C. 2.7.1), made more effective by the delay of the name. For νέμω ‘possess, wield, have power over’ cf. 237, 579n., Aj. 1015–16 ὡς τὰ σὰ | κράτη θανόντος καὶ δόμους νέμοιμι σούς, Phil. 393 ἃ τὸν μέγαν Πακτωλὸν εὔχρυσον νέμεις, LSJ9 s.v. A iii 2. For the significance of πυρφόρος see 27–9n. Ζεῦ πάτερ often accompanies prayers for assistance (Aj. 387n.); Hera uses it twice when begging Zeus to restrain their son Ares (Hom. Il. 5.757, 762). 203–206/7 Λύκει’ ἄναξ, τά τε σὰ χρυσοστρόφων ἀπ’ ἀγκυλᾶν | βέλεα θέλοιμ’ ἂν ἀδάματ’ ἐνδατεῖσθαι | ἀρωγὰ προσταθέντα ‘Lycian lord, I would want your shafts from bowstrings of twisted gold to be showered forth, unconquerable, bringing aid, standing forward as our champions.’ Apollo the archer makes an effective deliverer from the plague (162n.). The origin and meaning of Apollo’s title Λύκειος (which recurs at 919 in Jocasta’s prayer) is unknown (El. 6–7n.); the prayer of the chorus of Aeschylus’ Suppliant Women to Lycian Apollo immediately after they wish for the departure of plague (684–7) may hint at an apotropaic aspect to the cult. Like all gods, Apollo is associated with gold (188–9n.); from Pindar onwards he is given a golden bow (cf. O. 14.10 χρυσότοξον, A/O on Ar. Thesm. 108). Golden bowstrings are a lyric elaboration of that image, and make the image as vivid and precise as possible, since it is from (ἀπ’) the bowstrings that the arrows will be shot. ἀγκυλᾶν, genitive plural of ἀγκύλη ‘cord, noose’ (cf. Aesch. fr. 281a.34–5 TrGF, Eur. IT 1408, Or. 1477, with West on his 1476), is owed to Elmsley (1805/6 edn); cf. r’s ἀγκυλῶν with the correct case but wrong (non-Doric) vocalism. Most manuscripts have ἀγκύλων, genitive plural of ἀγκύλος ‘curved’, probably under the influence of the Homeric ἀγκύλα τόξα (Il. 5.209, 6.322, Od. 21.264; cf. Eur. fr. 785 TrGF). θέλοιμ’ ἄν expresses a polite wish (Aj. 525–6n.) and gives attractive variation after all the imperatives. Calling it ‘a strangely feeble construction’ (Stehle (2004) 147) misses this point, and the criticism is invalidated by Aesch. Suppl. 787–789/90 θέλοιμι δ’ ἂν μορσίμων | βρόχου τυχεῖν ἐν ἀρτάναις | πρὶν ἄνδρ’ ἀπευκτὸν τῷδε χριμφθῆναι χροΐ and Eur. Med. 250–1, both of which express passionate preferences. ἐνδατεῖσθαι (a tragic variant of δατέομαι ‘divide’, found in poetry and prose) means ‘divide, distribute’ at Aesch. Sept. 578 τοὔνομ’ ἐνδατούμενος and Eur. Her. 218 λόγους ὀνειδιστῆρας ἐνδατούμενος, but ‘curse’ at Tr. 791 τὸ δυσπάρευνον λέκτρον ἐνδατούμενος, and possibly ‘describe, celebrate’ at Pl. Resp. 383b (for these different senses see Lesky (1955) 168–9 = (1966) 237–8). In our passage the idea of distribution naturally suggests the scattering of the arrows; the emphasis on their distribution is


C OMMENTARY : 207– 209 paralleled (through the preposition) at Hom. Il. 1.53 ἐννῆμαρ μὲν ἀνὰ στρατὸν ᾤχετο κῆλα θεοῖο. Lloyd-Jones translates ‘I would gladly celebrate’, but that meaning is not securely attested for the verb, and ἀπ’ is left without an accompanying verb of motion; moreover, celebration implies looking back with hindsight, whereas what the chorus want is action now. προσταθέντα is from προΐστημι ‘with the nuance of interposition before an approaching threat’ (Aj. 803n.; the periphrasis in my translation above is from Dawe on 206). Apollo is himself invoked as προστάτης, προστατήριος (881/2, El. 637n.), so the quality is transferred from the god to his weapons. ἀδάματ᾿ for manuscript ἀδάμαστ᾿, which is unmetrical (pace Giannachi (2011)), is owed to Erfurdt1a (text), a correction required also at 1315/16 (for the corruption see Aj. 450–3n.); the word is highly poetic, appearing in tragedy almost exclusively in lyric (cf. 1315/16; the exception is at Aj. 450), with ἀδάμαστος only in Homer and Xenophon. ἀρωγός is used predicatively of gods invoked in cletic prayers at Aj. 835 and Aesch. Eum. 289; here too the adjective is transferred to the gods’ weapons which are to provide that aid. Gardiner (1987) 99 n. 27 suggests that Oedipus enters at this point ‘for obvious reasons of irony’, since the chorus is invoking the god who will destroy him. But Apollo has been called upon throughout the song; and it is more appropriate that Oedipus’ entry to deliver his solemn proclamation should take place immediately after the chorus stop singing, so that it can hold the audience’s undivided attention. 206/7–208/9 τάς τε πυρφόρους | Ἀρτέμιδος αἴγλας, ξὺν αἷς | Λύκι’ ὄρεα διᾴσσει· ‘and the fire-bearing radiance of Artemis, with which she darts through the mountains of Lycia’. As at 161 (n.), Artemis is referred to in the third person, providing variety after the preceding second-person address. For connecting τε in prayers see 160–1n., and for the significance of πυρφόρος see 27–9n. αἴγλη is used of a torch elsewhere at Eur. Tro. 321, 549 (both lyric, as with all its tragic instances); its frequent use in connexion with heavenly bodies (cf. Hom. Od. 4.45 = 7.84, Alcm. fr. 3 fr. 3 col. ii.66–7 PMGF, [Eur.] Rhes. 534) makes it especially appropriate for a goddess associated with the Moon. Artemis was sometimes depicted with a torch in each hand (cf. Tr. 213/14 Ἄρτεμιν Ὀρτυγίαν, ἐλαφαβόλον, ἀμφίπυρον, and in art from the fifth century onwards, for which see Kahil (1984) 654–62; also Eur. IT 21 φωσφόρῳ . . . θεᾷ), as was Hecate, a goddess closely connected with Artemis (Stes. fr. 178n.; cf. Ar. Ran. 1361a–1362 σὺ δ’ ὦ Διὸς διπύρους ἀνέχουσα | λαμπάδας ὀξυτάτας χεροῖν, | Ἑκάτα with Dover). Mountains are Artemis’ characteristic haunts (cf. Hom. Od. 6.102 οἵη δ’ Ἄρτεμις εἶσι


C O M M E N T A R Y : 209– 211 κατ’ οὔρεα ἰοχέαιρα, Il. 5.51–2, 21.485–6, Hom. Hym. 27.4–7, Eur. Tro. 551–5, Cole (2000), A/O on Ar. Thesm. 114–16, Hor. C. 1.21.8 with N/ H), and are mentioned in prayers to her for that reason (cf. A/O on Ar. Thesm. 316). Λύκι᾿ is only in LK; a’s Λύκει᾿ is unmetrical and probably influenced by that word in 202. διᾴσσει was first written thus by Brunck (1779 edn); the manuscripts have διαΐσσει. 209/10–211 τὸν χρυσομίτραν τε κικλήσκω, | τᾶσδ’ ἐπώνυμον γᾶς, | οἰνῶπα Βάκχον ‘and I call upon the wearer of the golden turban, who takes his name from this land, wine-faced Bacchus’. The Theban chorus climactically call on Dionysus (linked by connecting τε: 160– 1n.), as do their compatriots in the lyrics at Ant. 153/4–154, 1115– 1153/4. The μίτρα was ‘a ribbon of cloth that was wrapped about the head and tied like a headband or a turban’ (A/O on Ar. Thesm. 161–3), particularly associated with Dionysus (ibid., where add Dodds on Eur. Ba. 831–3); an anonymous epigram listing the god’s titles includes χρυσεομίτρην (A.P. 9.524.23). The accessory was especially appropriate for a god who was blond (Hes. Th. 947 χρυσοκόμης, perhaps Archil. fr. 323 IEG χρυσοέθειρ); for gold and Dionysus more generally cf. Eur. Ba. 553–4, Hor. C. 2.19.29–30. Dionysus is τᾶσδ’ ἐπώνυμος γᾶς because he has the epithet Καδμεῖος (so rightly Schneidewin1, Schachter (1980) 117). The earliest evidence for such a cult title is IG iv 682.13–14 (Hermione, c. 275–250 bc; for the date see Schachter p. 116 with n. 10), and it is attested by Pausanias (9.12.4); worship of Dionysus on the Cadmeia, the citadel of Thebes, is implied by Eur. Ba. 6–12 and attested in the late third century (SEG xix 379.16–17, 27–8). Cf. Ant. 1115–16 πολυώνυμε, Καδμείας | νύμφας ἄγαλμα, where the adjective Καδμεῖος follows the reference to Dionysus’ many names. The alternative translation, ‘who gives his name to this land’, relies on Tr. 509/10–511 ὁ δὲ Βακχίας ἄπο | ἦλθε παλίντονα Θήβας, a unique instance of βάκχιος qualifying Thebes (even Ant. 1122 Βακχᾶν ματρόπολιν Θήβαν is different). Yet if βάκχιος was a well-known epithet for Thebes, we should expect to find more than one example; the evidence for the cult title is later, but better. Βάκχος is not attested as an epithet for Dionysus before tragedy, and not as a name before this passage (cf. Schlesier (2011b) 174 n. 4). οἰνώψ, οἰνωπός is used of Dionysus at Eur. Ba. 236 οἰνωπός, ὄσσοις χάριτας Ἀφροδίτης ἔχων (thus Barnes; οἰνωπά τ’ cod., οἰνῶπας Scaliger), 438 οἰνωπὸν γένυν; cf. OC 674, [Simon.] A.P. 7.20.2 = 896 FGE, and, for its application to ‘delicate complexions’ (Gow on Theocr. 22.34) more generally, Eur. Phoen. 1160 and Mastronarde’s n. The reference to wine virtually gives away the identity of the god in question, and appropriately enough his name follows immediately.


C OMMENTARY : 211– 215 211–214/15 εὔιον | Μαινάδων ὁμόστολον, | πελασθῆναι φλέγοντ’ ἀγλαῶπι | πεύκᾳ ’πὶ τὸν ἀπότιμον ἐν θεοῖς θεόν. ‘he who is invoked with cries, the companion of the Maenads, to approach, blazing with fair-faced torch, against the god who enjoys no honour among the gods.’ Dionysus is asked to do fiery violence to Ares, just as Zeus was at the end of the strophe (200–201/2n.). Saying that Ares was not honoured among the gods was a remarkable assessment, since he did receive cult in Athens and elsewhere (Aj. 179–181/2n., p. 195). εὔιος is a name or title for Dionysus at Eur. Ba. 157, 413 (etc.), fr. 203.2 TrGF, Ar. Thesm. 994a, Ecphantides fr. 4 PCG, Philodamus Paean in Dionysum (CA p. 165, suppl.), and that word or its congeners is found in Dionysiac contexts at fr. 314.227 TrGF ηὐίαζες, Ant. 964 εὔιον . . . πῦρ, Eur. Cycl. 25, Phoen. 656; cf. the interjections εὐαί (on a bronze mirror from Olbia, IgdO §92, c. 500) and εὐοἷ (Tr. 219a, A/O on Ar. Thesm. 994a–b) addressed to the god (see further Bremmer (2006) 37–8). Writing εὐίων (Fac; it is not a conjecture by M. Schmidt, since in his apparatus he refers to a manuscript with this text) would transfer the adjective to the Maenads, but it works just as well when applied to Dionysus; F’s original reading probably results from anticipation of the ending of Μαινάδων. The maenads were female companions of Dionysus, depicted on vases from the early sixth century onwards, often in his company or with satyrs (cf. Krauskopf and Simon (1997), Aesch. fr. 382 TrGF πάτερ Θέοινε, μαινάδων ζευκτήριε); an excited or impassioned woman can be compared to a maenad in epic (Hom. Il. 22.460, Hom. Hym. 2.386). Ritual maenadism was a phenomenon of religious life (Henrichs (1978), Bremmer (1984), Burkert (2011) 18–19). Here Dionysus is asked to come in their company, just as he is with the Thyiads at Ant. 1149/50–1153/4 προφάνηθ᾽, ὦναξ, σαῖς ἅμα περιπόλοις | Θυίασιν, αἵ σε μαινόμεναι πάννυχοι | χορεύουσι τὸν ταμίαν Ἴακχον. The word which emphasises this companionship, ὁμόστολον (with the genitive; cf. OC 405, Tzamali (1999) 136, and, for –στολος compounds in general, FJ/ W on Aesch. Suppl. 496), has become μονόστολον in most manuscripts. This latter form would stress, contrary to Dionysus’ usually sociable revelry, that the god should leave the Maenads at home; Heath (1768) 28 first recommended ὁμόστολον, which he found in a scholium (for glosses here containing ὁμό– see Dawe, STS i 216). For the significance of the flaming torch see 27–9n. Responsion reveals that a word of the shape qwq is missing after ἀγλαῶπι, probably agreeing either with Dionysus himself (e.g. σύμμαχον, suppl. Wolff1, commentary) or with the torch (νυκτέρῳ, suppl. J. Schmidt, δαΐᾳ suppl. Arndt (1844) 12–13; the lacuna here was first noted by Hermann3, text). For the prodelision of a preposition or prepositional prefix after


C O M M E N T A R Y : 216– 275 the dative suffix –ᾳ cf. 866 (coni.), Diggle (1981a) 33. For ἀπο– equivalent to an alpha-privative see 194–7n. Polyptoton of θεός (cf. 660/1, FJ/ W on Aesch. Suppl. 921, Getty paean col. i.14 = Janko (2015) 4) highlights the paradox that the gods should despise one of their own.

FIRST EPISODE (216–462) 216–75 For the second time Oedipus enters via the skênê to address representatives of the Theban people. On this occasion, his audience has gathered not of its own accord, but as the result of his summons (144), and he has come not to make inquiries, but to give a solemn proclamation in response to the oracle. The language of pity and compassion, which characterised his earlier addresses (Introduction, pp. 44–6), is gone, replaced by a formal tone suitable for this momentous announcement, ‘a curse invested with the full solemnity of public authority’ (R. Parker (1983) 193), ‘the most legalistic performative utterance in surviving tragedy’ (Fletcher (2012) 113), although no precise legal framework can be identified for the speech (so rightly Edmunds (2012) 81–2). So too there is a contrast with the excited emotion and focus on the divine that characterised the chorus’s song. Not that Oedipus’ speech is dry or irreligious; its formalism gives it power, and the king emphasises throughout that he is responding to Apollo’s oracle (241–5, 253, 255). His tone is generally plain; when he is talking about his own status and family, however, his syntax becomes appropriately entangled (219–23, 258–63). Oedipus begins by claiming his audience’s attention (216– 18) and emphasising his status as a citizen of Thebes (219–23). He announces that any Theban who knows the identity of Laius’ killer should inform him immediately; the perpetrator himself should not hesitate to come forward, since he will suffer only exile (224–32). But if they are silent, he forbids them from engaging in social intercourse with the killer (233–43). Oedipus is doing this for the god and for the dead man; so too the Theban people should act on Oedipus’ behalf, on the god’s, and on the land’s, afflicted as it is with blight (244–5, 251–4). Indeed, they ought to have done so before, just as Oedipus is doing now to avenge his predecessor (255–68). Oedipus concludes with a curse on those who defy the proclamation, and a prayer for blessings on those who obey it (269–75). A ruler’s proclamation cutting off an offender from human contact reappears in Herodotus’ account of the Corinthian tyrant


C OMMENTARY : 216– 275

Periander and his son Lycophron (cf. Stern (1991) 309–10; for a comparison with our passage see further Finglass (forthcoming 5)). After discovering that his father killed his mother, Lycophron becomes angry and refuses to speak to him, which leads to Periander first exiling his son (τέλος δέ μιν περιθύμως ἔχων ὁ Περίανδρος ἐξελαύνει ἐκ τῶν οἰκίων, Hdt. 3.50.3) and then excommunicating him by means of a proclamation (ὁ Περίανδρος κήρυγμα ἐποιήσατο, ὃς ἂν ἢ οἰκίοισι ὑποδέξηταί μιν ἢ προσδιαλεχθῇ, ἱρὴν ζημίην τοῦτον τῷ Ἀπόλλωνι ὀφείλειν, ὅσην δὴ εἴπας. πρὸς ὦν δὴ τοῦτο τὸ κήρυγμα οὔτε τίς οἱ διαλέγεσθαι οὔτε οἰκίοισι δέκεσθαι ἤθελε, 3.52.1–2). Oedipus’ proclamation too is ultimately the result of violence within the family, of a son’s defiance of his father (cf. Sourvinou-Inwood (1991) 276–7 n. 82), although in Oedipus’ case the son, not the father, utters the proclamation, and he is not even aware of that family relationship. Moreover, Oedipus’ intention could not be more different from Periander’s, prompted as he is not by personal but by public concerns. And whereas Periander’s proclamation, aimed at the whole of Greece, demonstrates a tyrant’s typical overreach, Oedipus wields his authority with restraint. He allows the killer to go into exile if he incriminates himself, thus making a confession more likely and showing his own merciful character. He delimits the force of his proclamation to lands within his jurisdiction. And he asserts his right to make the proclamation on the basis not of kingly authority, but of adopted Theban citizenship. No mere monarch’s prerogative, the excommunication of killers was known in an Athenian civic context (the one about which we happen to be best informed, though there is nothing specifically Athenian about the process) from at least the time of Draco (cf. Dem. 20.158 ἐν τοίνυν τοῖς περὶ τούτων νόμοις ὁ Δράκων φοβερὸν κατασκευάζων καὶ δεινὸν τό τιν’ αὐτόχειρα ἄλλον ἄλλου γίγνεσθαι, καὶ γράφων χέρνιβος εἴργεσθαι τὸν ἀνδροφόνον, σπονδῶν, κρατήρων, ἱερῶν, ἀγορᾶς, πάντα τἄλλα διελθὼν οἷς μάλιστ’ ἄν τινας ᾤετ’ ἐπισχεῖν τοῦ τοιοῦτόν τι ποιεῖν, ὅμως οὐκ ἀφείλετο τὴν τοῦ δικαίου τάξιν, ἀλλ’ ἔθηκεν ἐφ’ οἷς ἐξεῖναι ἀποκτιννύναι, κἂν οὕτω τις δράσῃ, καθαρὸν διώρισεν εἶναι, with Kremmydas, and Edmunds (2012) 73–4), and such regulations were in force in the fifth and fourth centuries (cf. Lys. 6.52 ἔτι δὲ παρελθὼν τὸν νόμον ὃν ὑμεῖς ἔθεσθε, εἴργεσθαι τῶν ἱερῶν αὐτὸν ὡς ἀλιτήριον ὄντα, ταῦτα πάντα βιασάμενος εἰσελήλυθεν ἡμῶν εἰς τὴν πόλιν, καὶ ἔθυσεν ἐπὶ τῶν βωμῶν ὧν οὐκ ἐξῆν αὐτῷ καὶ ἀπήντα τοῖς ἱεροῖς περὶ ἃ ἠσέβησεν, εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸ Ἐλευσίνιον, ἐχερνίψατο ἐκ τῆς


C O M M E N T A R Y : 216– 218

ἱερᾶς χέρνιβος, Dem. 23.37 = IG i 3 104.26–9 ἐὰν δέ τις τὸν ἀνδροφόνον κτείνῃ ἢ αἴτιος ᾖ φόνου, ἀπεχόμενον ἀγορᾶς ἐφορίας καὶ ἄθλων καὶ ἱερῶν Ἀμφικτυονικῶν, ὥσπερ τὸν Ἀθηναῖον κτείναντα, ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐνέχεσθαι, διαγιγνώσκειν δὲ τοὺς ἐφέτας, with Canevaro (2013) 55–8, [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 57.2 λαγχάνονται . . . καὶ αἱ τοῦ φόνου δίκαι πᾶσαι πρὸς τοῦτον [i.e. the archon basileus], καὶ ὁ προαγορεύων εἴργεσθαι τῶν νομίμων οὗτός ἐστιν; also Pl. Leg. 868e κατελθὼν δὲ ὅ τι τοιοῦτον δράσας [i.e. when a spouse-killer returns from the designated period of exile], τοῖς αὑτοῦ παισὶν ἱερῶν μὴ κοινωνείτω μηδὲ ὁμοτράπεζος γιγνέσθω ποτέ). Excommunication could also be an informal sanction enforced by a community against offenders of various types (cf. Hdt. 7.231, R. Parker (1983) 194 with n. 17). The practice is attested in tragedy in Euripides’ Orestes, where Orestes, Pylades, and Electra are deprived of human contact ahead of the trial that will determine their fate (46–50 ἔδοξε δ’ Ἄργει τῷδε μήθ’ ἡμᾶς στέγαις, | μὴ πυρὶ δέχεσθαι, μηδὲ προσφωνεῖν τινα | μητροκτονοῦντας· κυρία δ’ ἥδ’ ἡμέρα | ἐν ᾗ διοίσει ψῆφον Ἀργείων πόλις, | εἰ χρὴ θανεῖν νὼ λευσίμῳ πετρώματι; cf. 512–15 καλῶς ἔθεντο ταῦτα πατέρες οἱ πάλαι· | ἐς ὀμμάτων μὲν ὄψιν οὐκ εἴων περᾶν | οὐδ’ εἰς ἀπάντημ’ ὅστις αἷμ’ ἔχων κυροῖ, | φυγαῖσι δ’ ὁσιοῦν, ἀνταποκτείνειν δὲ μή). But there, and in many of the passages cited above, excommunication is used as a means of isolating people suspected of heinous crimes before they are brought to trial; if convicted, they will suffer the ultimate excommunication, death. In Oedipus’ speech, by contrast, excommunication applies to the killer only if he fails to come forward, and, although that penalty is depicted in serious terms, there is no capping reference to any prospect of execution. This difference is partly because there is no prospect of a trial, either; such formal judicial apparatus does not feature within the world of this play. But it is also because Oedipus is being as mild as he is determined in his pursuit of the offender; his passionate desire to discover Laius’ killer is based on his love for the city and his consequent wish to fulfil the instructions of the oracle, rather than on any personal lust for vengeance. The violent rage that he shows in the second part of this scene, when Tiresias appears, will thus appear by contrast all the more dramatic and unexpected. 216–18 Oedipus enters from the skênê, with attendants. αἰτεῖς· ἃ δ’ αἰτεῖς, τἄμ’ ἐὰν θέλῃς ἔπη | κλύων δέχεσθαι τῇ νόσῳ θ’ ὑπηρετεῖν, | ἀλκὴν λάβοις ἂν κἀνακούφισιν κακῶν· ‘You make a request. As for the nature of that request, if you are willing to receive my words as


C OMMENTARY : 219– 223 you hear them and to minister to the disease, you may acquire a defence against, and a relief from, your troubles.’ After the chorus’s elaborate song with its fantastical ending, Oedipus’ one-word opening is businesslike (as often in this speech: cf. 235), implicitly acknowledging his audience’s right to make their request; he then explains how he will meet it, holding out the prospect of the ἀλκή for which the chorus had prayed (163, 171/2, 189). The singular with reference to the chorus immediately after an ode is paralleled at Tr. 141–3, another passage where the actor’s words form a close response to the preceding song (thus Kaimio (1970) 211–14). Resumptive ἃ δ’ αἰτεῖς immediately following αἰτεῖς is paralleled at Men. fr. 723 PCG λέγεις, ἃ δὲ λέγεις ἕνεκα τοῦ λαβεῖν λέγεις; cf. (JD) Phil. 1035 ὄλοισθ᾽· ὀλεῖσθε δ᾽, Tr. 809–10 εἰ θέμις δ᾽, ἐπεύχομαι· | θέμις δ᾽ with Bond on Eur. Her. 141–2. The phrase is a ‘loosely prefixed accusative of reference’ that establishes the topic before being syntactically discarded (cf. 278–9, 936–7, Phil. 862/3–863/4 τὸ δ᾽ ἁλώσιμον | ἐμᾷ φροντίδι, Diggle (1996a) 13–14); ἅ is too distant from 218 to be in apposition with the nouns there. For τῇ νόσῳ . . . ὑπηρετεῖν cf. Xen. Mem. 1.4.13 νόσοις ἐπικουρῆσαι, Arist. De Juv. 474b28 βοήθειαν τῆς φθορᾶς, Platt (1921) 130, Pearson (1929a) 92. Eur. Andr. 28 ἀλκήν τιν’ εὑρεῖν κἀπικούρησιν κακῶν may be modelled on, or a model for, line 218; for ἀλκή with κακῶν cf. OC 1524–5 ἀλκὴν ὅδε | δορός τ᾽ ἐπακτοῦ γειτονῶν ἀεὶ τιθῇ, Hes. Op. 201 κακοῦ δ’ οὐκ ἔσσεται ἀλκή, Ar. Vesp. 615 πρόβλημα κακῶν, Eur. Med. 1322 ἔρυμα πολεμίας χερός, [Men.] Monost. 309 λιμὴν ἀτυχίας ἐστὶν ἀνθρώποις τέχνη, 1198–1200n. (also 489–496/7n.). 219–23 ἁγὼ ξένος μὲν τοῦ λόγου τοῦδ’ ἐξερῶ, | ξένος δὲ τοῦ πραχθέντος· οὐ γὰρ ἂν μακρὰν | ἴχνευον αὐτός, μὴ οὐκ ἔχων τι σύμβολον. | νῦν δ’, ὕστερος γὰρ ἀστὸς εἰς ἀστοὺς τελῶ, | ὑμῖν προφωνῶ πᾶσι Καδμείοις τάδε· ‘I will speak them as a stranger to this story, a stranger to the deed – for I would not be investigating far into the past on my own if I did not have some connexion. As it is, since at a later date I am enrolled as a citizen among citizens, this is what I proclaim to you, to all the Cadmeians.’ Oedipus’ preface, addressed to all the citizens (cf. El. 109, Diggle (1996b) 111), sets out his relationship to the killing (he knew nothing about it at the time) and his standing to make the proclamation (having subsequently become a citizen, he is an injured party). His relationship and his standing are emphasised by repetition of the key terms ξένος and ἀστός, words commonly found in complementary opposition (cf. 817, El. 975n.). Oedipus’ beliefs are wrong on both counts (as Tiresias will point out at 449–54): he was no stranger to the deed, but its perpetrator, and so far from becoming a citizen of Thebes as a man, he was one from the moment of his birth.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 219– 223 Consequently, what seem mere preliminaries turn out to be fundamental misunderstandings that impede the entire inquiry. Repetition of ξένος with accompanying μέν . . . δέ (25–7n.; there is no need for the τε suggested by Elmsley1 p. 87, who posits the confusion illustrated at 40–3n.) emphasises that Oedipus was a stranger to the killing of Laius, both in word (i.e. he did not know anything about Laius’ death) and deed (he was not involved in the death itself, referred to by the passive πραχθέντος since the perpetrator is unknown). ἀστός has a minority variant αὐτός (coni. Elmsley1, text and p. 87; for the confusion see Diggle’s edition of Euripides’ Phaethon, p. 120 n. 2), which by removing the repetition weakens both the connexion between Oedipus and the Thebans, and the contrast between Oedipus’ past status as ξένος and his current status as ἀστός. In place of ὕστερος a few witnesses have ὕστερον (coni. Blaydes1, notes), but the adverbial accusative is the commoner form and thus the more likely to have been introduced in error. τελῶ has become τελῶν in some manuscripts through a slight misreading of the syntax. The prominence of ξένος and ἀστός helps to make sense of a difficult intervening term. A σύμβολον was originally a token or tally, broken in half and shared between two people; anyone bearing one half of the token could be identified by the possessor of the other either as the person with whom he had shared the token, or as his true representative (Struck (2004) 78–84). σύμβολα were especially associated with ξένοι (Gauthier (1972) 76–85) since they could be used to identify people otherwise unknown to each other: cf. how Euripides’ Jason tells Medea that he is ἕτοιμος ἀφθόνῳ δοῦναι χερὶ | ξένοις τε πέμπειν σύμβολ’, οἳ δράσουσί σ’ εὖ (Med. 612–13), and also Aesch. Suppl. 701–3 ξένοισι . . . εὐξυμβόλους | . . . | δίκας, Plut. Pyrr. 20.2 τοῦτον οὖν ὁ Πύρρος ἰδίᾳ φιλοφρονούμενος ἔπειθε λαβεῖν χρυσίον, ἐπ’ οὐδενὶ δῆθεν αἰσχρῷ, φιλίας δέ τι καὶ ξενίας ἐπονομάζων τοῦτο σύμβολον. The association between these terms in a metaphorical sense is found at Phil. 403–4 ἔχοντες, ὡς ἔοικε, σύμβολον σαφὲς | λύπης πρὸς ἡμᾶς, ὦ ξένοι, πεπλεύκατε, where Philoctetes tells his interlocutors that, although they are ξένοι, ‘strangers’, to him, they have a ‘tally’ of grief which matches his own tale of woe, and which thus allows them to establish a relationship. In our passage, σύμβολον refers to the association between Oedipus and the city and people of Thebes. (Thus Musgrave, focusing in particular on the relationship between Oedipus and Laius: ‘de quavis necessitudine vel affinitate dicitur . . . Dicit . . . Oedipus, non a se expectandum fuisse ut rem studiosus anquireret, cum nulla ipsi necessitudo (sic enim putabat) cum Laio tum intercederet; post id tempus se concivem eius factum esse’, followed by Ll-J/W, So.) This relationship gives him the


C OMMENTARY : 219– 223 standing to make a proclamation concerning the killing; this sense also seems presupposed by νῦν δ’ in 222, which contrasts with the preceding counterfactual supposition that Oedipus had no connexion with the Thebans (thus Kovacs (2007) 107). The difficulty in this interpretation is the γάρ in 220, since it is not immediately clear how this sentence explains the preceding words. We might rather expect a consecutive clause (‘I was a stranger to Laius’ death, and as a result would not be investigating, if I did not now have a link with Thebes that I did not have then’), but γάρ cannot mean this; changing οὐ γάρ to ὥστ’ οὐκ is arbitrary, whereas invoking Denniston’s claim that with γάρ ‘the connexion of thought is sometimes lacking in logical precision’ (p. 61) smacks of desperation. The best solution is to take the particle closely with ἐξερῶ, giving ‘I am going to speak, for . . .’ (thus Kovacs (2007) 108; cf. Denniston 65 on how the particle sometimes ‘refers, not to the main idea of the preceding sentence, but . . . to an individual word or phrase’). This would give ‘I will make this proclamation, despite being a stranger to the killing, because I now have a connexion with Thebes’, except that the positive statement ‘because . . . Thebes’ is expressed negatively in a conditional clause (‘I would not be making this investigation if I did not have a connexion’, implying ‘I do have such a connexion’). We should not, however, neglect the possibility that a line has fallen out after 221 (the same error is likely after 227) which might have made the transition clearer, perhaps also with a word or phrase clarifying σύμβολον, just as occurs in the Philoctetes passage cited above by the addition of λύπης. For μακράν cf. Tr. 317 οὐδ᾽ ἀνιστόρουν μακράν; ‘far into the past’ (Σ p. 176.25 Papageorgius τοσούτου ὄντος τοῦ χρόνου τοῦ μεταξύ; cf. Kovacs (2007) 107) picks up Oedipus’ earlier words about the difficulty involved in conducting an investigation at exactly such a distance in time (108–9). αὐτός ‘alone, on my own’ (cf. Diggle on Theophr. Char. 22.13, Sens on Asclep. A.P. 7.500.4 = 957 HE, p. 212) is amplified by the following phrase (σύμβολον implies cooperation or likemindedness involving more than one party) and so is superior to the variant αὐτό (54–7n.). For the construction μὴ οὐκ ἔχων, where οὐκ is added because the clause governing the μή clause is itself negated, see 11–13n. There are two main alternative interpretations (for others see Schneidewin (1850) 372–4). First, σύμβολον denotes a clue that is helping, or has helped, Oedipus in his pursuit of the investigation (thus B. Heath (1762) 28: ‘non enim longe in investigando ipse progrederer nullum habens fontis indicium’). But what is that clue? Not the oracle (called by Mathewson (1968) 2 ‘the clue . . . to the cause, and remedy, of the plague’), since although that has instigated the investigation for the killer and has mandated the choice of punishments, it has not given any


C O M M E N T A R Y : 219– 223 hint as to how the killer may be found (cf. 278–81). Nor can the clue be the information that Oedipus has about the death of Laius, viz. that it took place at the hands of brigands while Laius was on a journey to Delphi (102–31). Oedipus makes nothing of this testimony when he receives it, or during this speech, or even when the chorus bring it up later (290–3); it is of no importance to him, at least for now. Moreover, the sense ‘clue’ would be isolated in the context, failing to connect with the prominent repetition of ξένος in the preceding statement. Second, σύμβολον denotes a clue that Oedipus would have obtained if he had previously (i.e. shortly after Laius’ death) pursued an investigation; so Wunder2 argues (p. 159 ‘neque enim, nisi ignarus istius rei essem, diu ipse investigarem, quin aliquid indicii reperirem’; cf. Wunder1), as does Dawe (‘a man capable of solving the riddle of the Sphinx would not have taken long to find some vital piece of evidence, if only he had been on the case itself, when the trail was still warm’). Under this interpretation, γάρ means ‘for otherwise’ (82–3n.): if only Oedipus had been around at the time, he would have investigated and acquired at least some information. There are three problems with this. (i) The consecutive sense would require not ἔχων but ἔχειν (coni. Blaydes (1899) 14), or even λαβεῖν (coni. Blaydes1, notes). Emending to ἔχειν would be easier than it looks because these endings are often abbreviated in manuscripts, and presupposes the same error as in 1170 (n.). As things stand, however, μή with the participle must be generic or conditional. The sole parallel cited by Wunder for the consecutive sense, OC 359–60 ἥκεις γὰρ οὐ κενή γε, τοῦτ᾽ ἐγὼ σαφῶς | ἔξοιδα, μὴ οὐχὶ δεῖμ᾽ ἐμοὶ φέρουσά τι, is probably corrupt (see Housman (1892) 146–9 = (1972) i 187–9; Housman’s conjecture μή που for μὴ οὐχί is printed by Ll-J/W). (ii) Wunder’s conditional is a past contrary to fact (Oedipus would have conducted a successful investigation had he been around at the time), yet imperfect with ἄν indicates a present contrary to fact, or a past contrary to fact involving repeated action over a long period, neither of which applies. (The imperfect referring to a one-off past action at OC 951–2 καὶ ταῦτ᾽ ἂν οὐκ ἔπρασσον, εἰ μή μοι πικρὰς | αὐτῷ τ᾽ ἀρὰς ἠρᾶτο καὶ τὠμῷ γένει is probably influenced by the imperfect in the preceding line ᾧ πίστιν ἴσχων τήνδ᾽ ἐχειρούμην ἄγραν, and so provides no parallel for our passage.) (iii) As Kovacs (2007) 106–7 points out, ‘it seems both pointless and rhetorically counter-productive for [Oedipus] to disparage the Thebans’ intelligence by insisting that he would have been successful had he been in their shoes.’ Contrast the criticism of the Thebans made by Oedipus at 255–8, where, far from implying that he had a unique capacity to discover the truth, he tells them that they ought to have conducted a thorough search for the killer themselves.


C OMMENTARY : 224– 229

224–6 ὅστις ποθ’ ὑμῶν Λάϊον τὸν Λαβδάκου | κάτοιδεν ἀνδρὸς ἐκ τίνος διώλετο, | τοῦτον κελεύω πάντα σημαίνειν ἐμοί· ‘Whosoever of you knows the man by whom Laius the son of Labdacus was killed, I order him to tell me the whole story.’ The full, formal identification of the victim suits the legalistic tone. 227–9 κεἰ μὲν φοβεῖται τοὐπίκλημ’ ὑπεξελὼν | |

αὐτὸς κατ’ αὐτοῦ· πείσεται γὰρ ἄλλο μὲν | ἀστεργὲς οὐδέν, γῆς δ’ ἄπεισιν ἀβλαβής. ‘And if he is afraid that, removing the charge . . . himself against himself; for he shall suffer nothing else unpleasant, but shall depart from the land unharmed.’ Oedipus raises the possibility of selfincrimination; the killer should not be afraid to come forward, since if he does he will merely be sent into exile. But as transmitted the Greek is insufficient to express this idea. There is a reference to ‘removing the accusation’ (τοὐπίκλημ’ ὑπεξελών), but not to the person or persons from whom that accusation is being removed. Nor are we told what action the addressee is afraid to undertake ‘himself against himself’ (αὐτὸς κατ’ αὐτοῦ), presumably a reference to self-denunciation. Since so much content seems to be missing, a lacuna after 227, as Dindorf5a suggests, seems likely. As an exempli gratia supplement Ll-J/W (So.) suggest , which would give ‘If he is afraid that by removing the accusation from the city [or ‘from others’], he will himself bring upon himself the penalty of death for murder’ (cf. Pearson (1917) 64 ‘τοὐπίκλημα ὑπεξελὼν καθ’ αὑτοῦ should mean “lifting the guilt from the city on to his own shoulders”’). Afterwards the expression μὴ φοβείσθω, ‘let him not be afraid’, must be understood from the following γάρ, which makes clear the progress of the thought (as Pearson (1917) 63 remarks, ‘the logical apodosis to εἰ μέν is not expressed, but is contained by implication in the γάρ-clause’); cf. Hom. Il. 1.580–1 εἴ περ γάρ κ’ ἐθέλησιν Ὀλύμπιος ἀστεροπητής | ἐξ ἑδέων στυφελίξαι· ὃ γὰρ πολὺ φέρτερός ἐστιν, 135–7 ἀλλ’ εἰ μὲν δώσουσι γέρας μεγάθυμοι Ἀχαιοὶ | ἄρσαντες κατὰ θυμὸν ὅπως ἀντάξιον ἔσται· | εἰ δέ κε μὴ δώωσιν κτλ. Positing a Binneninterpolation of two half lines between αὐτὸς κατ’ αὐτοῦ and πείσεται γάρ would allow us to supply a phrase meaning ‘let him not be afraid’; but in that case αὐτὸς κατ’ αὐτοῦ would still follow straight on from τοὐπίκλημ’ ὑπεξελών, and so we should lose the chance to supply the crucial genitive of separation. Kovacs (1992) 18–19 posits a lacuna after τοὐπίκλημ’, but his exempli gratia supplement is fully three lines long; he argues that the subject of φοβεῖται must be an informant rather than the killer, but τοὐπίκλημ’ ὑπεξελών would make it immediately clear that the killer is meant.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 227– 229 Emendation has been less successful at producing an adequate text. Writing ὑπεξελεῖν (coni. K. Halm teste Nauck3 p. 157) gives ‘if he is afraid to remove the charge, himself against himself’; but there is no explanation of what he would be removing the charge from or why removing the charge might be a source of fear, and αὐτὸς κατ’ αὐτοῦ remains obscure. Adopting Halm’s conjecture, Blaydes takes ὑπεξελεῖν to mean ‘if indeed he fears to draw forth (from the secret recesses of his heart) the accusation against himself’, and Manuwald (2011) (cf. his edition, p. 314) attempts to provide a parallel for this sense by citing fr. 757.1–2 TrGF ὦ γλῶσσα, σιγήσασα τὸν πολὺν χρόνον, | πῶς δῆτα τλήσῃ πρᾶγμ’ ὑπεξελεῖν [coni. Heimsoeth (1865) 92: ὑπεξελθεῖν codd.] τόδε; But whereas ‘bring forth’ suits the notion of a thought located in the mind or heart which is revealed by means of the tongue, it hardly matches the situation here. The ἐπίκλημα is not to be found within the killer, but rather will be directed at the killer by others if he admits his guilt. Keeping the participle, Carawan (1999) 197 argues that it ‘suggests the duty of those haunted by avenging spirits to remove the bloodguilt’, citing El. 1419/20–1421 παλίρρυτον γὰρ αἷμ’ ὑπεξαιροῦσι τῶν κτανόντων | οἱ πάλαι θανόντες; that passage, however, refers not to the removal of bloodguilt, but to the sapping of actual blood from the guilty. Jebb combines ὑπεξελεῖν with αὐτόν instead of αὐτός, and takes ὑπεξελεῖν to be dependent on κελεύω in 226, and αὐτόν to agree with σημαίνοντα understood from σημαίνειν in 226 (‘if he is afraid, I tell him to remove the danger of the charge from his path by denouncing himself’). To produce this elegant translation he has to understand two separate words in defiance of the syntax, even after emending twice; this itself supports the hypothesis that some text has been lost. Rauchenstein (1857) 266–7 prefers ὑπεξέλοι, which gives ‘if he is afraid, let him remove the charge against himself’; but Oedipus does not want the killer to remove the charge, but to come forward and accept his responsibility. Writing καὶ μὴ φοβείσθω at the start of 227 (coni. Blaydes1, text) removes the need to understand μὴ φοβείσθω as the unexpressed apodosis; but the corruption would be hard to explain, and the resulting text would involve ‘an unexpected and incomprehensible shift in address in 227 from the man who knows who the killer is to the killer himself’ (Kovacs (1992) 18, noting that the same objection applies to Rauchenstein’s text). κατ᾿ αὐτοῦ in place of transmitted καθ᾿ αὑτοῦ is owed to Bergk (p. xlviii); in expressions with repeated αὐτός the second instance should probably be unaspirated (137–8n.). ἄλλο anticipates the penalty that the killer will receive, that is, exile; ἀστεργές is euphemistic,


C OMMENTARY : 230– 232 since Oedipus uses the phrase to reassure the killer that he will not be put to death. Similarly, Oedipus’ description of exile here sounds more enticing than the references at 98, 100, and 309; there the emphasis is on the severity of the crime and the need to deal with the offender, whereas here Oedipus encourages him by highlighting the positive (i.e. non-fatal) aspect of the punishment. ἀβλαβής is superior to the variant ἀσφαλής. Both words give good sense (despite Ll-J/W, So., for whom ‘“unharmed” suits the context better than “safe”’); cf. OC 1288 ἀσφαλεῖ σὺν ἐξόδῳ (Polynices, referring to the safe passage guaranteed him by Theseus) and Sappho fr. 5. 1–2 Voigt (text updated in the light of P. GC. inv. 105, for which see Burris, Fish, and Obbink (2014) 11) πότνιαι Νηρήϊδες ἀβλάβη[ν μοι] | τὸν κασίγνητον δ[ό]τε τυίδ’ ἴκεσθα[ι. Both words are used in glosses and so each could have displaced the other by that means (47–8n.): cf. Σ OC 284 (p. 21.21 De Marco) ἐχέγγυον· ἀσφαλῆ, Σ Aesch. Sept. 62c (ii/ 2 42.12 Smith) κεδνός· ἀσφαλής, βέβαιος, 396 j (ii/2 188.19) φερέγγυος· ἀσφαλής, 826a (ii/2 351.5) ἀσινεῖ· ἀβλαβεῖ, Σ Hom. Od. 4.98b (ii 214.7 Pontani) σόοι ἔμμεναι· ἀβλαβεῖς ὑπάρχειν, ὑγιεῖς, 487d (ii 318.58) ἀπήμονες· ἀβλαβεῖς, ΣD Il. 16.247 (p. 461 van Thiel) ἀσκηθής· ἀβλαβής, ὑγιής. But of the two words, only ἀβλαβής attracts glosses, as in Planudes on 229 (p. 113 Longo) ἀβλαβής· ἀκίνδυνος and Σ Aesch. Sept. 68e (ii/2 45.5 Smith) ἀβλαβής· ἀπήμων; there is one passage, Σ Pind. O. 13.34–44 (p. 394.13–14 Abel) ἀβλαβῆ· ἐπιρρηματικῶς ἀντὶ τοῦ ἐν ἀσφαλείᾳ, ἐν εὐτυχίᾳ, where ἀσφαλής is used to gloss ἀβλαβής. And although both words are attested in all three tragedians, ἀσφαλής is by far the commoner in tragedy, in classical Greek, and in later centuries, which makes it the more likely to be inserted by a copying error. As for the manuscript evidence, this too leans towards ἀβλαβής (pace Dawe, STS i 219–20, who ignores K’s reading and places too much emphasis on r).

230–2 εἰ δ’ αὖ τις ἄλλον οἶδεν ἐξ ἄλλης χθονὸς | τὸν αὐτόχειρα, μὴ σιωπάτω· τὸ γὰρ | κέρδος τελῶ ’γὼ χἠ χάρις προσκείσεται. ‘But if anyone knows that the killer is a different person from a different land, let him not be silent; for I will pay the reward, and gratitude will be added to that.’ Oedipus’ speech began as an address ‘to all the Cadmeians’ (223), and in the preceding lines (224–9) he asked that audience to identify Laius’ killer. He now moves (via δ’ αὖ) to consider the possibility that the killer was a foreigner (so rightly Erfurdt1a, pp. 381–2), and encourages the Thebans to let him know if this is the case. For the expression ἄλλον . . . ἐξ ἄλλης χθονός cf. Eur. fr. 360.10 TrGF ἄλλαι παρ’ ἄλλων εἰσὶν εἰσαγώγιμοι, Ion 1058–60 μηδέ ποτ’ ἄλλος ἄλλων ἀπ’ οἴκων πόλεως ἀνάσσοι | πλὴν τῶν εὐγενετᾶν Ἐρεχθειδᾶν (text problematic: see


C O M M E N T A R Y : 230– 232 Diggle (1969a) 48–9 = (1994) 19–20), Arist. Pol. 1322a9 ἄλλους ἐξ ἄλλων δικαστηρίων, Arat. Phaen. 1.930 ἄλλοι δ’ ἐξ ἄλλων μερέων. The majority reading οἶδεν is corrupted to εἶδεν in a couple of manuscripts, but knowledge rather than sight is at issue. Instead of ἄλλον Purgold (1802) 204–5 wrote ἄλλος (prob. Booth (1960), (1979)), giving ‘If anyone else knows that the killer is from another land . . .’ Purgold argues that this part of the speech should be addressed to non-Thebans (and thus in opposition to 222–9), since the reward mentioned in 231–2 suits a foreign informant: Oedipus’ writ does not run outside Thebes, and so an inducement is required, whereas Theban citizens must cooperate simply by virtue of the king’s authority. But the whole speech is addressed to Thebans, since it begins and ends with addresses to that people (223, 273) and is spoken in front of a wholly Theban audience; in this context τις ἄλλος would be insufficient to establish a non-Theban addressee. Nor is there anything unusual in a ruler offering rewards to his own citizens. Although no reward is specified in the earlier section (222–9), it is overliteral to interpret this as an explicit statement that no reward is payable in that case, just as it would be to claim that Oedipus will feel χάρις towards someone who fulfilled the condition in 230–1 (cf. 232 χἠ χάρις προσκείσεται), but not towards someone who obeyed the instructions in 222–9. An alternative emendation, ἀστόν (coni. Vauvilliers, ii notes p. 25), is still less attractive: it would pointlessly exclude the possibility that the killer was a slave or other person without citizen rights in any state. Both emendations additionally obliterate the stylish repetition ἄλλον . . . ἐξ ἄλλης χθονός. Suspicion has also fallen on ἐξ ἄλλης χθονός, which Vauvilliers (ibid.) emends to ἢ ᾿ξ ἄλλης χθονός (for the resulting prodelision and balance between alternatives cf. 1162). Ll-J/W (So.) accept the change on the ground that ‘after the mention of the killer, we expect mention of some other person who might denounce the killer, and . . . there is no special reason why the latter should be a foreigner’, and Lloyd-Jones translates ‘but if someone knows another of you, or a foreigner, to be the killer . . .’ But the request for a denunciation has already been made, at lines 224–6. After that general request, Oedipus gives details of two specific types of denunciation: self-incrimination, and accusing a foreigner. With Vauvilliers’s text, we get instead at 230 a clumsy opposition between ‘another person’ and ‘a foreigner’, which are not natural alternatives, and a strange emphasis on denouncing ‘someone else’ (introduced by εἰ δ’ αὖ as if it were a fresh point) when that is fundamental to lines 224–6 and needs no repeating here. Instead of ἄλλης Seyffert (1863) 588–9 writes ἀμῆς, which gives ‘another person from


C OMMENTARY : 233– 240 our land’; but would Oedipus mind if someone came forward who knew that the killer was a foreigner? Rewards are often offered to messengers who bring good news: cf. 1002–6, Tr. 189–91 τοῦ δ᾽ ἐγὼ κλυὼν | ἀπῇξ᾽, ὅπως σοι πρῶτος ἀγγείλας τάδε | πρὸς σοῦ τι κερδάναιμι καὶ κτῴμην χάριν, El. 769n., Eur. Med. 1127–8, Headlam (1902) 60 (the last with several false references). κέρδος emphasises the immediate reward that the informant would win, χάρις the relationship with Oedipus that this action would establish in the long term. For the future προσκείσεται cf. Phil. 557–8 ἀλλ᾽ ἡ χάρις μὲν τῆς προμηθίας, ξένε, | εἰ μὴ κακὸς πέφυκα, προσφιλὴς μενεῖ, Ar. Vesp. 1420, Thuc. 1.129.3, Pl. Resp. 345a, Nicol. Dam. fr. 9.8 FHG, Ach. Tat. Leuc. et Clit. 3.22.2, Nomima §50.13–17 (near Magnesia; Darius to his ‘slave’ Gadatas) ἐπαι[ν]ῶ σὴν πρόθεσιν καὶ [δ]ιὰ ταῦτά σοι κείσεται μεγάλη χάρις ἐμ βασιλέως οἴκῳ (‘almost certainly a complete fabrication of the early Roman imperial period’: Purcell (2012) 376).

233–5 εἰ δ’ αὖ σιωπήσεσθε, καί τις ἢ φίλου | δείσας ἀπώσει τοὔπος ἢ χαὐτοῦ τόδε, | ἃκ τῶνδε δράσω, ταῦτα χρὴ κλυεῖν ἐμοῦ. ‘But if you are silent, and if anyone rejects these my words out of fear for a friend or for himself, you must hear me say what I will do as a consequence.’ δείσας governs the genitives on the analogy of words of caring for, like κηδόμενος (thus Wunder; cf. K–G i 365–6). Taking the genitives instead with ἀπώσει (thus Campbell) gives the sense ‘if anyone pushes away my words from a friend’, rightly condemned as ‘highly artificial’ by Fraenkel (edition of Aeschylus Agamemnon, ii 288 n. 1); the consequent metaphor would also be inappropriate, since so far Oedipus has not uttered any aggressive words that someone might seek to ‘push away’ from a friend (cf. Σ 236 = p. 177.19–21 Papageorgius πρότερον δὲ τὰ φιλάνθρωπα εἰρηκὼς τελευταῖα ἐπήνεγκε τὰ σκληρότερα). The balanced ἃ . . . ταῦτα (cf. 216) maintains the businesslike tone and emphasises the clarity of the exposition. The aorist κλυεῖν is owed to West (1984) 179 for the present κλύειν found in the manuscripts; he similarly reinterprets the paradosis at 429 and 1517. 236–40 τὸν ἄνδρ’ ἀπαυδῶ τοῦτον, ὅστις ἐστί, γῆς | τῆσδ’, ἧς ἐγὼ κράτη τε καὶ θρόνους νέμω, | μήτ’ εἰσδέχεσθαι μήτε προσφωνεῖν τινά, | μήτ’ ἐν θεῶν εὐχαῖσι μήτε θύμασιν | κοινὸν ποεῖσθαι, μήτε χέρνιβος νέμειν· ‘As for this man, whoever he is, I forbid anyone from this land, whose authority and throne I hold, to receive him into his home or to address him, or to make him a fellow-participant in prayers to the gods or in sacrifices, or to give him his allotment of sacred water.’ These and the following lines contain the excommunication proclamation that lies at the heart of Oedipus’ speech (216–75n.). He hopes that he will acquire


C O M M E N T A R Y : 236– 240 information allowing him to identify the killer, but in the event that he does not, he forbids anyone to have anything to do with him. He is ‘envisaging a situation in which those who know will not tell (εἰ δ’ αὖ σιωπήσεσθε). In these circumstances [the Thebans] are urged to minimize the pollution by at least barring the killer from their homes’ (A. Henry (1969) 126, his italics). The referent of τὸν ἄνδρ’ . . . τοῦτον must be the killer (as implied by Σ 236 = p. 177.18–19 Papageorgius), even though he has not been directly mentioned since lines 230–1; only he could warrant such a total prohibition on human intercourse, and only he could be described as the man revealed by the god as the city’s affliction (241–3). Later passages referring back to this speech, at 350–3 and 813–20, confirm this interpretation; and the phrase τὸν ἄνδρα τοῦτον is later applied by Tiresias to the killer, also in asyndeton (449–52n.). An alternative view, that the referent is whoever conceals information about the killer (first advocated by Ratallerus in his translation of 1570, prob. Carawan (1999)), relies on the brief reference to such a concealer in the immediately preceding passage (233–5). Yet the killer lies so firmly at the heart of Oedipus’ speech that it would be strange for anyone else to be the subject of such a proclamation, and it would be particularly perverse for the concealer, but not the killer, to be made subject to all these fearsome prohibitions. Oedipus presumes that the killer is known to at least some of the citizens, whence his forbidding their association with him in the event that they do not wish to denounce him; but he has no reason to think that the concealer enjoys such notoriety too. The concealer in 233–5 could be the killer himself, since Oedipus mentions the possibility of someone rejecting his words on his own behalf as well as on behalf of a friend. It would be absurd for such a strongly-worded proclamation to have such an imprecise target: someone who might be the killer, but who equally well might not. Moreover, although, like Carawan, I have referred to ‘the concealer’, Oedipus’ language in 233–4 is less precise. Generalising τις does not refer to a specific person, and may denote a plurality, especially after σιωπήσεσθε; it cannot be taken up by the emphatic, specific phrase τὸν ἄνδρ’ . . . τοῦτον. In support of his interpretation, Carawan (1999) 198–9 points to passages where μίασμα is said to affect people who fail to prosecute a killer or knowingly consort with one (cf. Pl. Leg. 866b ἐὰν δ’ ὁ προσήκων ἐγγύτατα μὴ ἐπεξίῃ τῷ παθήματι, τὸ μίασμα ὡς εἰς αὐτὸν περιεληλυθός, τοῦ παθόντος προστρεπομένου τὴν πάθην, ὁ βουλόμενος ἐπεξελθὼν τούτῳ δίκην, Euthyphro 4c ἴσον . . . τὸ μίασμα γίγνεται ἐὰν συνῇς τῷ τοιούτῳ συνειδὼς καὶ μὴ ἀφοσιοῖς σεαυτόν τε καὶ ἐκεῖνον τῇ δίκῃ


C OMMENTARY : 236– 240 ἐπεξιών, Carawan (1998) 192–7). But as noted above, we would need a bigger steer than our text provides to see a reference to the concealer in our passage. Moreover, the Platonic passages talk about the transference of the μίασμα from the killer to the person who fails to prosecute him, or the equality of the μίασμα of both killer and associate; under Carawan’s interpretation, Oedipus speaks of the μίασμα affecting only the concealer, without a reference to the killer (unless he happens to be the concealer too) or anything afflicting him. For asyndeton after a preceding statement announcing an imminent speech, often an urgent and important one, cf. 412–15, 449, Ant. 245–6 καὶ δὴ λέγω σοι. τὸν νεκρόν τις ἀρτίως | θάψας βέβηκε, 908–12, Tr. 1130 λέγω. τέθνηκεν ἀρτίως νεοσφαγής, Phil. 591–4, OC 1518–21, Aesch. fr. 99.4–6 TrGF, Eum. 657–9, Eur. Her. 490–3, Phoen. [438–40], 503–6, 568–70, 1555–9, Or. 622–6, frr. 48, 362.5–6 TrGF, IA [1607–8]. γῆς τῆσδ’ is a partitive genitive governed by τινά; cf. Aj. 1044, Eur. Andr. 873, Willink on Or. 89–7. FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 609 argue that word order tells against this connexion, and take the phrase as a rare locatival genitive; but of the parallels that they cite, neither Aj. 1274 nor Eur. Phoen. 451 is safe (Aj. 1273–6n.), and El. 900–1 might be a genitive of origin, or a mistake for the dative (n.). As for the word order, there is indeed a gap between γῆς τῆσδ’ and τινά, but the syntax is clear enough, since nothing intervenes that could provide an alternative construction for the noun phrase. For γῆς | τῆσδ’ at line boundary see 29–30n. The phrase ἧς ἐγὼ κράτη τε καὶ θρόνους νέμω, with the synonyms κράτη and θρόνους (160–1n.) emphatically combined (cf. Ant. 166, 173 κράτη δὴ πάντα καὶ θρόνους ἔχω), not only defines the land but emphasises Oedipus’ authority to make such a far-reaching prohibition, as well as his power to enforce it. For νέμω see 200–201/2n. The different prohibitions mandated by Oedipus correspond to those found in other excommunications (216–75n.). He begins by forbidding basic day-to-day interaction (hospitality, conversation) before moving to religious exclusion (prayers, sacrifices, holy water); his final injunction returns to the idea of hospitality, in stronger terms than before (ὠθεῖν rather than just μήτ’ εἰσδέχεσθαι), and culminates in a reference to the μίασμα that justifies these sanctions. Holy water was sprinkled on the participants at a sacrifice (cf. Eur. Her. 928–9, Ziehen (1939) 601–2, Olson on Ar. Pax 956–7, Diggle on Theophr. Char. 16.2, p. 353); in Homer it was brought around the participants in a sacred vessel (cf. Od. 1.136–8 etc.). The washing of hands in holy water could also precede different rituals (cf. Eur. Alc. 98–100, which indicates that a bowl was put outside the house at a funeral). Sharing holy water thus became an important sign of


C O M M E N T A R Y : 241– 243 community and commensality, whether among participants at a feast (cf. Theogn. 1001, where χέρνιψ and στεφανώματα constitute the accoutrements of a meal) or sacrifice (cf. Eur. El. 791–2 λούτρ’ ὡς τάχιστα τοῖς ξένοις τις αἰρέτω, | ὡς ἀμφὶ βωμὸν στῶσι χερνίβων πέλας, where the hospitable Aegisthus welcomes strangers by urging them to partake in the holy water), or among members of a household (cf. Aesch. Ag. 1036–7 ἐπεί σ’ ἔθηκε Ζεὺς ἀμηνίτως δόμοις | κοινωνὸν εἶναι χερνίβων, spoken by Clytemnestra to welcome Cassandra to her house), of a phratry (cf. Eum. 655–6 ποίοισι βωμοῖς χρώμενος τοῖς δημίοις; | ποία δὲ χέρνιψ φρατέρων προσδέξεται;, indignantly asked by the Erinyes of the matricide Orestes), of a polis (cf. Eur. [?] fr. 953m.39 TrGF βέβακέ μοι χερνι [̣ . . . . .]ις ἄθεος οἴχεται πόλις, where Kannicht suggests χέρνιβ[ος χάρ]ις; for the fragment see Finglass (2014a) 76–7), or of the entire Hellenic race (Ar. Lys. 1128–31 λαβοῦσα δ’ ὑμᾶς λοιδορῆσαι βούλομαι | κοινῇ δικαίως, οἳ μιᾶς γ’ ἐκ χέρνιβος | βωμοὺς περιρραίνοντες ὥσπερ ξυγγενεῖς | Ὀλυμπίασιν, ἐν Πύλαις, Πυθοῖ κτλ.). The genitive χέρνιβος is partitive (cf. Bond on Eur. Her. 244, K–G i 345), and, together with νέμειν, emphasises the shared nature of the rite from which the killer is to be excluded. Unfamiliarity with the construction led to χέρνιβος (LK) being corrupted to the accusative χέρνιβας (a). μήτ’ ἐν . . . μήτε shows omission of the preposition in the second limb of a negative disjunction; the parallels for this adduced by Diggle (1981a) 23–4 allow us to reject the minority variant μήτ᾿ ἐν (coni. Blaydes (1899) 15), which may result from the intrusion of a gloss. Technically, the first μήτε in 239 goes with the whole sense unit, which means that before θύμασιν we would expect not μήτε but μηδέ (coni. Elmsley1, apparatus; i.e. μήτε κοινὸν ποεῖσθαι ἐν θεῶν εὐχαῖσι μηδὲ θύμασιν); but the rhetoric of repeated μήτε takes precedence over a grammatical nicety that no-one, perhaps not even Sophocles, would have noticed (cf. Aj. 1233, where I would no longer call Blaydes’s suggestion ‘plausible’, and Denniston 511).

241–3 ὠθεῖν δ’ ἀπ’ οἴκων πάντας, ὡς μιάσματος | τοῦδ’ ἧμιν ὄντος, ὡς τὸ

Πυθικὸν θεοῦ | μαντεῖον ἐξέφηνεν ἀρτίως ἐμοί. ‘Rather, I command everyone to drive him from their homes, since this man is the cause of our pollution, as the god’s Pythian oracle has just revealed to me.’ A verb of commanding has to be supplied after the previous verb of prohibition (cf. 817–19, El. 72n., Willink on Eur. Or. 515). ὠθεῖν is an intensification of μήτ’ εἰσδέχεσθαι in 238. For the genitive absolute with ὡς accompanying a command see 142–5n. For pollution as a consequence of homicide see 96–8n. For the accentuation of ἧμιν (owed to Elmsley, 1805/6 edn) see 35–9n.


C OMMENTARY : 244– 251

244–5 ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν τοιόσδε τῷ τε δαίμονι | τῷ τ’ ἀνδρὶ τῷ θανόντι σύμμαχος πέλω. ‘Such an ally am I for the god and for the dead man.’ Prospective μέν, taken up by δέ in 252, is emphasised by οὖν; cf. 498/9, Ant. 925 (with Griffith), Denniston 473. For the anaphora with corresponsive τε . . . τε cf. 637, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 219. Claiming to be the god’s σύμμαχος or ‘fellow-fighter’ sounds arrogant in English, but the Greeks spoke naturally of the products of the cooperation of gods and men (35–9n.). Sappho asks for Aphrodite to support her using this word (fr. 1.28 Voigt); for gods as allies in general cf. 274, Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 637–9. The battle imagery continues in 265 ὑπερμαχοῦμαι; Oedipus is metaphorically fighting for the dead man, when that man is dead only because of a fight with Oedipus that was all too real. For the idea that punishing a killer involves aiding the dead man cf. Antiph. 2.3.11 ταῦτα οὖν εἰδότες βοηθεῖτε μὲν τῷ ἀποθανόντι, τιμωρεῖσθε δὲ τὸν ἀποκτείναντα, ἁγνεύετε δὲ τὴν πόλιν, Lys. 12.99 ἐπειδὴ ζῶσιν ἐπαμῦναι οὐκ ἐδύνασθε, ἀποθανοῦσι βοηθήσατε. For Dawe’s transposition of these lines, together with 246–51, with 269–72, see next n. [246–51 κατεύχομαι δὲ τὸν δεδρακότ’, εἴτε τις | εἷς ὢν λέληθεν εἴτε

πλειόνων μέτα, | κακὸν κακῶς νιν ἄμοιρον ἐκτρῖψαι βίον. | ἐπεύχομαι δ’, οἴκοισιν εἰ ξυνέστιος | ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς γένοιτ’ ἐμοῦ ξυνειδότος, | παθεῖν ἅπερ τοῖσδ’ ἀρτίως ἠρασάμην.] ‘I pray that the perpetrator, whether he is a single person in hiding, or whether he did it as part of a larger group, will, as a wretch, wretchedly rub out his life, without his due portion. And I pray that if he were to share my hearth in my home with my knowledge, I should suffer what I have just prayed for these people.’ These lines were deleted by Wecklein (1880 edn); 248 had previously been deleted by Bentley (pre-1742) 246. Wecklein is probably right, for the following six reasons. First, and most important, the outright, unconditional curse on the killer (including a wish for his death, unless we adopt Bentley’s limited deletion) is at variance with the earlier part of the speech, where the killer is offered safe passage if he comes forward (228–9), and is forbidden to associate with others if he does not (236–43). Second, the careful catch-all phrase εἴτε τις | εἷς ὢν λέληθεν εἴτε πλειόνων μέτα occludes Oedipus’ focus elsewhere on a single killer and ruins the irony that this point, which later becomes central to his hopes of salvation, seems at this moment so inconsequential (124–5n.). Third, the referent of τοῖσδ’ (251) is unclear (‘Wer sind diese οἵδε?’, as Ribbeck (1858) 130 asks; Schneidewin (1850) 375 had previously emended τοῖσδ’ ἀρτίως to τοῖς αἰτίοις). It can hardly be an example of confusion between singular and plural with regard to Laius’ killer or killers, such as we find elsewhere (124–5n.); in this speech in general, and in this passage in particular, Oedipus is positing


C O M M E N T A R Y : 246– 251 a singular killer, even if he is here (uniquely) open to the possibility that there were accomplices. Nor can it be the Thebans (pace Carawan (1999) 210), since the previous lines do not refer to them (236–40n.), and so at this point no curse has been made against them; in any case, those lines, introduced as they are by ἀπαυδῶ, are ‘a command, not a curse’ (Dyson (1973) 202). Fourth, the unmetrical ἄμοιρον may be a sign of the interpolator’s handiwork, although it is possible that he wrote ἄμορον (coni. Porson, first edition of Euripides’ Hecuba, p. xiii; the same error has occurred at Eur. Med. 1395) and that it was later corrupted (this is the most likely scenario if the interpolation was early), or that νιν (del. Brunck ap. Faehse (1813) 243) was a later insertion (it is not a glossator’s word, however, and although it is formally redundant, such redundancy is adequately attested; cf. Tr. 287–9, Collard (2005a) 379). Fifth, τοιόσδε (244) has the effect of summing up, as Oedipus proudly surveys the efficacy of his support for the dead king; but in 246–51, he suddenly takes off in a quite different direction which makes the preceding statement seem out of place. Sixth, and more subjectively, the language seems ‘too near the colloquial for a solemn act of state, as opposed to personal imprecation’ (L. Holford-Strevens ap. Ll-J/W, So.); even a supporter of the lines admits that the passage ‘combines well-worn formulae for “utter annihilation”’, which he defends on the basis that ‘we can hardly reject every cliché’ (Carawan (1999) 209). The interpolation was presumably introduced by an actor looking to extend Oedipus’ great speech (for actors’ interpolations see Finglass (2015d)); curses provided fertile ground for interpolations since they involved the kind of intensely dramatic language that gave a star actor a particular opportunity to shine (see Finglass (2006), especially 260–1 on this passage). The possibility of introducing yet more dramatic irony also no doubt encouraged the insertion. An additional motivation may have been to provide a curse on the killer once the previous passage (236–43) had been taken as a reference to the concealer; but there is no independent evidence that this mistake was ever made in antiquity, and an interpolator could have intended his passage as an additional, climactic attack on the malefactor. The deletion has two further attractive consequences. First, ὑμῖν δέ in 252 now corresponds clearly with ἐγὼ μέν in 244 (as noted by Ribbeck (1858) 131), something lost if six additional lines stand between them. Second, the command to the Thebans to ‘accomplish all these things’ (252) has a clear referent; that is, the instruction to ostracise the killer in 236–43. With the lines in place, by contrast, ταῦτα πάντ’ is


C OMMENTARY : 252– 254 harder to understand, since in that case Oedipus has for some time been uttering a curse that does not require his audience’s cooperation. The sense that the lines are out of place here predates Wecklein, since an anonymous scholar from Cambridge, teste Dalzel as reported by Dobree (pre-1825) ii 32, placed 246–51 (that seems to be the passage in question, although the exact lines are not specified) after 272 (prob. Ribbeck (1858)). According to Dawe (STS i 223), the transposition ‘has two merits: it explains τοῖσδε, and it separates 246–8 from 236–245, which at present read too much like duplications of each other’. The first advantage is real enough; the problem with 246–8, however, is not that these lines reduplicate 236–45, but that they go beyond, and are inconsistent with, Oedipus’ previous attitude towards the killer. Moreover, 269–72 and 273–5 are well placed next to each other (269–75n., 273–5n.), and there is no reason to suppose that anything originally intervened. Dawe (STS i 223–6) attempts his own transposition, of 244–51 and 269–72, to separate the ‘inquisitorial’ from the ‘criminal’ aspects of the speech, but there is no reason to expect such a tidy division; and his transposition, like the previous one, separates 269–72 and 273–5. The polyptoton κακὸν κακῶς recalls κακοὺς κάκιστα, which appears in an interpolated curse in Ajax’s suicide speech (Aj. [839–42]n.); the language might imitate that of ordinary speech (cf. Men. Asp. 238 κακὸς κακῶ]ς ἀπόλοιο, a ‘vigorous, stereotypical Attic curse’, according to Beroutsos), and so could have come naturally to the mind of an interpolator. ἐκτρῖψαι βίον (contrast τρίβειν βίον: El. 602n.) might have been suggested by ἐκτριβήσεται at 428. γένοιτ᾿ has been corrupted in some manuscripts into the unmetrical γένοιτ᾿ ἄν, presumably out of a feeling that an optative needs to be accompanied by ἄν (cf. Pearson (1929a) 92). It is possible that γένοιτ᾿ ἄν was the interpolator’s mistake, later corrected to fit the metre; but this is less likely, as the line does not contain resolutions and we should presume that the interpolator could count out the required twelve syllables. For ξυνειδότος (variant συν–) see 31–4n.

252–4 ὑμῖν δὲ ταῦτα πάντ’ ἐπισκήπτω τελεῖν, | ὑπέρ τ’ ἐμαυτοῦ, τοῦ θεοῦ τε, τῆσδέ τε | γῆς ὧδ’ ἀκάρπως κἀθέως ἐφθαρμένης. ‘I solemnly charge you to accomplish all these things, on my behalf, on behalf of the god, and on behalf of this land, which has wasted away, abandoned by crops and abandoned by the gods.’ δέ corresponds to μέν in 244: Oedipus is the god’s ally, and his audience must assist him in the fight. The strong verb ἐπισκήπτω (cf. 1446, Aj. 565–6n.) reinforces the command. The initial placing in 253 of the reference to Oedipus himself is not arrogant in Greek, as it would be in English (62–4n.). The third of three items, the


C O M M E N T A R Y : 255– 258 blight on the land (25–7n.), is given most description and most emphasis; Oedipus thereby exerts maximum moral pressure on his audience, reminding them of the consequences of inaction. Alpha-privatives tend to occur in pairs, and sometimes in asyndeton, for rhetorical emphasis (cf. 336, 661/3, El. 164–5n.), but in ἀκάρπως κἀθέως there is a subtle tension between the terms, which are not exactly parallel: the land is devoid of crops but abandoned by the gods, with the former a consequence of the latter (cf. El. 1181 ὦ σῶμ’ ἀτίμως κἀθέως ἐφθαρμένον).

255–8 οὐδ’ εἰ γὰρ ἦν τὸ πρᾶγμα μὴ θεήλατον, | ἀκάθαρτον ὑμᾶς εἰκὸς ἦν οὕτως ἐᾶν | ἀνδρός γ’ ἀριστέως βασιλέως τ’ ὀλωλότος, | ἀλλ’ ἐξερευνᾶν· ‘For even if the affair had not been forced on us by divinity, it was not reasonable that you should have let the matter lie carelessly, unpurified when a man who was a noble and a king had been killed – no, you should have sought it out.’ πρᾶγμα denotes both the present need to investigate the killing, prompted by Apollo’s intervention (θεήλατον, also applied to the prophecy at 992; the word is exclusively tragic, except for Hdt. 7.18.3, and the vigorous verb ἐλαύνειν, which it implies, may contrast with the inactive ἐᾶν), and the killing itself, left unpurified (ἀκάθαρτον). The broad semantics of the word allow for this slippage through the course of the sentence. ἀριστέως is my conjecture. Transmitted ἀρίστου gives ‘when a great man and a king had perished’ (Lloyd-Jones), but Laius’ personal qualities do not feature elsewhere, and if Sophocles had wanted to highlight them he would hardly have done so via such a glancing reference, delivered by someone who knew nothing of Laius’ character; nor would these qualities constitute a reason for tracking down his killers. The phrase ἀρίστου βασιλέως τ’ awkwardly combines two predicates of a quite different nature; contrast Pind. N. 8.7–8 ἔβλαστεν δ’ υἱὸς Οἰνώνας βασιλεύς | χειρὶ καὶ βουλαῖς ἄριστος, where the king’s excellence is brought out by ἄριστος accompanied by datives demonstrating the scope of his preeminence, rather than simply by βασιλεύς and ἄριστος as matching predicates. ἀριστέως βασιλέως τ’, on the other hand, gives two fundamentally equivalent words linked by τε, as at Phil. 1302–3 ἄνδρα πολέμιον | ἐχθρόν τ᾽ or 1323 πολέμιον δυσμενῆ θ᾽ ἡγούμενος. There might be a slight rhetorical climax in the move from ἀριστέως to βασιλέως, but more probably the two words are essentially synonymous, as at Aj. 1301–5, where Teucer points out that his mother was a queen (φύσει μὲν ἦν | βασίλεια) before asserting that he is descended from parents who were noble (ἀριστεὺς ἐξ ἀριστέοιν δυοῖν | βλαστών). (This tells against the view of Pope (1991) 159 that ‘in this context the


C OMMENTARY : 258– 263 mention of “basileus” with its inevitable hint of hereditary succession can be classed as dramatic irony’: tragic terms of rulership are not so precise.) The repetition emphasises that the death of a person of such status should not have been allowed to go uninvestigated. The error is frequent in tragedy, where forms of ἀριστεύς are commonly corrupted into forms of ἄριστος, often leaving the original text barely attested (Aj. 1304–7n.). For ἀνδρός . . . ἀριστέως cf. Eur. Med. 5 ἀνδρῶν ἀριστέων, IA [28] οὐκ ἄγαμαι ταῦτ’ ἀνδρὸς ἀριστέως, Hom. Od. 14.218 ἄνδρας ἀριστῆας. γ’ accompanies the entire participial clause and ‘denotes that the main clause is only valid in so far as the participial clause is valid’ (Denniston 143); cf. 326, 930. After βασιλέως LK omit τ᾿, but the connector is essential whether or not we adopt the conjecture, as otherwise βασιλέως would be in awkward apposition to the preceding phrase. The omission of τ᾿ could have assisted the corruption of ἀριστέως to ἀρίστου, since once it was gone ἀριστέως could have been ‘corrected’ to an adjective agreeing with βασιλέως.

258–63 νῦν δ’ ἐπεὶ κυρῶ τ’ ἐγὼ | ἔχων μὲν ἀρχάς, ἃς ἐκεῖνος εἶχε πρίν, | ἔχων δὲ λέκτρα καὶ γυναῖχ’ ὁμόσπορον, | κοινῶν τε παίδων κοίν’ ἄν, εἰ κείνῳ γένος | μὴ ’δυστύχησεν, ἦν ἂν ἐκπεφυκότα – | νῦν δ’ ἐς τὸ κείνου κρᾶτ’ ἐνήλαθ’ ἡ τύχη· ‘As it is, since it has turned out that I possess the power that he held before, and possess his bed and the wife who shares our seed, and since a share in shared children, if offspring had not failed for him, would have been generated – but as it is, fate leaped on that man’s head’. In the prologue Oedipus highlighted no link between himself and Laius other than the continuing threat posed by the killer (139–41). Now he goes further, stressing their identical positions in the state and the wife that they share; even the one apparent difference (Laius’ lack of children) is almost turned into a further similarity through a past counterfactual (they would have shared children, if Laius had had any). Such emphasis on what he and Laius have in common reinforces Oedipus’ right to preside over this process, but also suggests his consciousness of a personal stake therein (264–8n.); although the language of sympathy and pity is absent (216–75n.), a recognition of similarity was regarded as a fundamental prerequisite for experiencing such emotions (Introduction, pp. 45–6). The syntax that Oedipus employs is almost as complicated as the familial relationship that he falls so tragically short of expressing. The stylistic effect of anacoluthon is rarely obvious (cf. Currie (2013a) 37–8); in this case, the feature at least attracts the audience’s attention, and perhaps highlights how semantics as well as


C O M M E N T A R Y : 258– 263 syntax are working at more than one level. The ἐπεί clause never reaches a main verb, but breaks off in 262 when Oedipus is reflecting on Laius’ failure to produce children; the anacoluthon is followed by a resumptive νῦν δ’, shortly after a previous νῦν δ’ (258), without any syntactic relationship to it; then the whole passage has to be summed up in ἀνθ’ ὧν (264). That complexity has led ἐπεὶ κυρῶ (only in S and Laur. CS 66, coni. Pierson (pre-1759) 199 recto) to become ἐπικυρῶ in most manuscripts, but neither ἐπικυρῶ (‘sanction, ratify’) nor ἐπικύρω (‘fall in with’) fits the metre, let alone the context. κυρῶ itself contains an irony: Oedipus’ possession of the kingdom is presented as something contingent, when in fact it marks the fullest culmination of both hereditary succession and divine fate. The τ᾿ after κυρῶ corresponds to τε in 261 (δέ is weakly attested in the latter passage, again probably because of a failure to follow the syntax; cf. 40–3n.); γ᾿ (coni. Pierson (pre-1759) 199 recto; for the corruption see 35–9n.) would make sense (emphasising that the subordinate clause forms the key justification for the main clause: cf. Eur. Med. 495, Phoen. 554, Denniston 142–3), but is not superior to the paradosis. For μέν and δέ linking participles or verbs in anaphora see 25–7n. Oedipus calls Jocasta ὁμόσπορος (elsewhere used to denote brothers or sisters, or simply ‘kindred’, as at Aesch. Ag. 1509, Pind. N. 5.43) because she has received both his and Laius’ seed (cf. the designation of Tyndareus as Ζηνὸς ὁμόλεκτρον κάρα at Eur. Or. 476, a comparable but less striking image), but as the woman who has taken seed from the man previously sown inside her, she deserves the epithet more than he realises; Tiresias will later use the same word of Oedipus himself (457–60n.). (According to Sommerstein (2010a) 217, Oedipus ‘may be saying no more than that his current wife . . . is the sister of Laios’ wife’, but the strong emphasis in 259–62 on what the two men have in common makes that interpretation unappealing.) Oedipus employs δυστυχέω in the transferred sense ‘have no children’, as at Eur. Andr. 713 (cf. Dawe (1988) 100 = (2007) 138); but unknown to him, the literal meaning is the one that applies, since it was Laius’ misfortune to father a son who would kill him, and (thus Musgrave, notes) Oedipus as Laius’ offspring was indeed unfortunate; that latter sense will be echoed by Laius’ servant when Oedipus discovers the truth (1180–1; cf. also 1155). The idea of a divine force leaping or swooping on its victim will recur with Oedipus himself as the target (cf. 469, 1300–2, 1311, Ant. 1345/6–1347, Eur. fr. 223.86–7 TrGF, Tr. Adesp. fr. 486.3–4,


C OMMENTARY : 264– 268 Theogn. 349–50, Pind. fr. 52b.63–4 S–M, Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 1557–8, Diggle (1996b) 119, Garvie on Aesch. Pers. 515–16). The action predicated here of fortune can also be applied to Oedipus, who violated Laius’ bodily integrity all too literally. The head stands for the person as a whole, just as when guilt or curses were said to be borne on the head (El. 445–6n.). The correct aorists of ἅλλομαι are ἡλάμην and ἡλόμην; incorrect forms with double lambda are found here and at 1311, Aesch. Pers. 516, and Eum. 372 (in the last passage the single lambda is metrically guaranteed).

264–8 ἀνθ’ ὧν ἐγὼ τάδ’ ὡσπερεὶ τοὐμοῦ πατρὸς | ὑπερμαχοῦμαι κἀπὶ πάντ’ ἀφίξομαι | ζητῶν τὸν αὐτόχειρα τοῦ φόνου λαβεῖν | τῷ Λαβδακείῳ παιδὶ Πολυδώρου τε καὶ | τοῦ πρόσθε Κάδμου τοῦ πάλαι τ’ Ἀγήνορος. ‘Because of this, I will pursue this fight as if it were on behalf of my own father, and will go to every length as I seek to capture the perpetrator of the killing, on behalf of the son of Labdacus, the son of Polydorus, descendant of old Cadmus and of ancient Agenor.’ Oedipus’ growing sense of a personal stake in the investigation (258–63n.) reaches its climax. The irony in ὡσπερεὶ τοὐμοῦ πατρός, which in other contexts might have seemed rather obvious (Kamerbeek indeed calls it ‘overdone’; cf. the criticisms in Σ p. 178. 12–15 Papageorgius), thus forms a culmination of the unusually intense dramatic irony in this passage, and of Oedipus’ desire to connect himself as closely as possible to his predecessor (cf. Liapis (2012) 91). ‘The genealogy belongs to the formal style of the proclamation’ (Campbell). Moreover, this list of Laius’ ancestors emphasises his noble status, picking up a theme begun at 255–8; cf. Hdt. 7.11.2 μὴ γὰρ εἴην ἐκ Δαρείου τοῦ Ὑστάσπεος τοῦ Ἀρσάμεος τοῦ Ἀριαράμνεω τοῦ Τεΐσπεος τοῦ Κύρου τοῦ Καμβύσεω τοῦ Τεΐσπεος τοῦ Ἀχαιμένεος γεγονώς, μὴ τιμωρησάμενος Ἀθηναίους (compared by Reinhardt (1947) 113 = (1979) 103) and the beginning of the Persian Behistun inscription (written some time between 522 and 486; Schmitt’s translation, p. 49) ‘I am Darius, the great king . . . the son of Hystaspes, the grandson of Arsames . . . My father is Hystaspes; the father of Hystaspes is Arsames; the father of Arsames was Ariaramnes; the father of Ariaramnes was Teispes; the father of Teispes was Achaemenes . . . from ancient times our family has been kings.’ The same idea of the majesty conveyed by a succession of noble ancestors is found in a purely Greek context at Hom. Il. 2.100–8. In our passage there is an irony that Oedipus says this to glorify his predecessor and thinks that it does not apply to him;


C O M M E N T A R Y : 269– 272 he will later discover that it does, but that news will not bring him pleasure. τάδ᾿ is an internal accusative with ὑπερμαχοῦμαι, as at Aj. 1346; writing τοῦδ᾿ (coni. Z. Mudge ap. B. Heath (1762) 28) would give ‘I will fight on behalf of this man, as if . . .’, which brings no advantages. For the battle imagery in ὑπερμαχοῦμαι see 244–5n. For ἐπὶ πάντα with a verb of motion cf. Ar. Vesp. 636–7 ὡς δ’ ἐπὶ πάντ’ ἐλήλυθεν | κοὐδὲν παρῆλθεν (coni.: see L. Parker (1997) 238), Lys. 543 ἐθέλω δ’ ἐπὶ πᾶν ἰέναι, Eur. Hipp. 284 ἐς πάντ’ ἀφῖγμαι, Xen. An. 3.1.18 ἆρ’ οὐκ ἂν ἐπὶ πᾶν ἔλθοι, Hell. 6.1.12. τῷ Λαβδακείῳ παιδί could depend on ζητῶν . . . λαβεῖν as if that expression were equivalent to τιμωρούμενος (thus Jebb) or on τὸν αὐτόχειρα τοῦ φόνου (on which expression cf. El. 955–6n.) as a dative of disadvantage (for which Campbell compares Arist. Poet. 1452a8–9 ἀπέκτεινεν τὸν αἴτιον τοῦ θανάτου τῷ Μίτυι); these explanations may not be mutually exclusive. The adjective Λαβδακείῳ used in place of a nominal genitive (cf. 400, 451, 1226, El. 1117n., Aj. 41n., Harder on Call. Aet. 17.14) gives variety to the list of names (as, in shorter compass, at Eur. Med. 405 τοῖς Σισυφείοις τοῖσδ’ Ἰάσονος γάμοις) and highlights the formality and significance of the moment. For καί immediately before line boundary see 29–30n. Sophocles has Oedipus go all the way back to Agenor; that antiquity is further emphasised in our passage by qualifying his name by πάλαι (1–3n.). Contrast how Herodotus takes Laius’ genealogy back only to Cadmus as a means of evoking great antiquity (ταῦτα ἡλικίην εἴη ἂν κατὰ Λάϊον τὸν Λαβδάκου τοῦ Πολυδώρου τοῦ Κάδμου, 5.59), and how in Euripides’ Phoenissae Laius’ family tree is traced back to Cadmus (3–9), who is the father of Polydorus as early as Hes. Th. 975–8.

269–75 Oedipus concludes with ‘the traditional coupling of a curse on malefactors with a prayer for prosperity for those who behave properly’ (A/O on Ar. Thesm. 349–51, with examples; cf. West on Hes. Op. 225–47, Faraone (2006)). Public cursing is attested in the laws of Solon (Plut. Sol. 24.1 = T5 Ruschenbusch = fr. 65 Leão–Rhodes) and in inscriptions from Teos (Nomima §§104–5; c. 475–470); see further R. Parker (1983) 193–6.

269–72 καὶ ταῦτα τοῖς μὴ δρῶσιν εὔχομαι θεοὺς | μήτ’ ἄροτον αὐτοῖς γῆς

ἀνιέναι τινὰ | μήτ’ οὖν γυναικῶν παῖδας, ἀλλὰ τῷ πότμῳ | τῷ νῦν φθερεῖσθαι κἄτι τοῦδ’ ἐχθίονι. ‘And for those who do not do these things, I pray that the gods do not produce any crops from their land, nor indeed children from their women, but rather that they will be


C OMMENTARY : 269– 272 destroyed by their present fate and by one even more hateful than this.’ The combination of the failure of crops and the dearth of human offspring recalls the parallel woes that currently blight the land (cf. 25–7n., 171/2–174). ἄροτος ‘the produce of ploughing’ nicely leads into the reference to children (as at Eur. Hel. 1328–9, cited above, 25–7n.), since the same word was a frequent metaphor for sexual intercourse (Men. fr. 453 PCG with Kassel–Austin, Dysc. 842–3 ἐγγυῶ παίδων ἐπ’ ἀρότῳ γνησίων | τὴν θυγατέρ’ ἤδη with Gomme and Sandbach [such phrases in Menander will have reflected actual religious formulae used at Athenian weddings], FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 637; cf. 1210–12n., 1256–7, 1485, 1497–8, El. 533n., Ant. 569, Aesch. Sept. 750–6, Eur. Phoen. 18 [the last two with reference to Laius’ sowing of Oedipus], Or. 552–3) and its product (cf. Eur. Med. 1281, Ion 1095, fr. 752g.25–7 TrGF). It is at least as old as the twentieth century: cf. The Teaching of the Vizier Ptahhotep 325–30 = p. 257 Parkinson ‘love your wife with proper ardour . . . She is a field, good for her lord’, Sefati (1998) 90–2. After εὔχομαι we expect θεοῖς (which is indeed a weakly-attested variant), but ‘the acc is used to avoid confusion after the other dats’ (A/O on Ar. Thesm. 349–51). μήτε . . . μήτ’ οὖν may emphasise the second, more terrible aspect of the curse (89–90n.). γῆς for transmitted γῆν is owed to Reiske (1740) 187. The paradosis would force us to read the rare adjective ἀροτόν (faintly attested), giving the weak sense ‘do not allow them any ploughland’, which sits awkwardly alongside the weightier second half of the curse; Reiske’s separative genitive with ἀνίημι, on the other hand, yields an elegant chiasmus with γυναικῶν παῖδας in 271, and is paralleled by Eur. Phoen. 230–1 and by Demeter’s curse at Hom. Hym. 2.331–3 οὐ μὲν γάρ ποτ’ ἔφασκε θυώδεος Οὐλύμποιο | πρίν γ’ ἐπιβήσεσθαι, οὐ πρὶν γῆς καρπὸν ἀνήσειν, | πρὶν ἴδοι ὀφθαλμοῖσιν ἑὴν εὐώπιδα κούρην. The corruption may have come about from someone assuming that ἀνιέναι needed γῆν as its subject (cf. Hom. Hym. 2.306–7 οὐδέ τι γαῖα | σπέρμ’ ἀνίει). ἄροτον rather than ἀροτόν is probably the correctly accentuated form of the noun; at least the former is near-universally attested in other texts, whatever the sense of the word, and while manuscripts provide no evidence for the accentuation that Sophocles had in mind, they do at least indicate what scribes in late antiquity thought was correct, which in this case is the best information that we have; in general nouns ending –τος were oxytone (see Probert (2006) 174–96). According to ΣAbT Hom. Il. 19.221–4 (iv 617.94–619.10 Erbse), ἄμητος denotes the time of year for reaping, ἀμητός the fruit that is reaped; the same distinction is advocated by [Arcad.] Epit. 93 (p. 150.18–151.2


C O M M E N T A R Y : 273– 275 Roussou) for τρύγητος/τρυγητός (cf. West (2001) 253). On the basis of the Iliad scholia Ellendt (p. 92) read ἀροτόν in our passage, but this assumes both that the accentuation of ἄμητος/ἀμητός must parallel that of ἄροτος/ἀροτός, which is hardly certain, and that the Iliad bT scholia are right in their doctrine about the former word, when the reverse doctrine is given by the D scholia (19.223 = p. 514 van Thiel) and by pseudo-Ammonius (De adfin. verb. diff. 38); see West (1978b) 243, pointing to his n. on Hes. Op. 383–4. For the future middle form φθερεῖσθαι used as a passive cf. 672, 1500, Aj. 1152–5n.

273–5 ὑμῖν δὲ τοῖς ἄλλοισι Καδμείοις, ὅσοις | τάδ’ ἔστ’ ἀρέσκονθ’, ἥ τε

σύμμαχος Δίκη | χοἰ πάντες εὖ ξυνεῖεν εἰσαεὶ θεοί. ‘But for you, the rest of the Cadmeians, for whom these things are pleasing, may Justice our ally and all the gods be with you always.’ After the conditional curse, Oedipus ends his speech on an auspicious note. ὑμῖν (a) is superior to ἡμῖν (LK), despite Ar. Thesm. 350 ταῖς δ’ ἄλλαισιν ἡμῖν, Dem. 18.324 ἡμῖν δὲ τοῖς λοιποῖς (both from passages where the speaker is pivoting from a curse to a blessing), since Oedipus is referring to his audience, the Thebans (ὅσοις | τάδ’ ἔστ’ ἀρέσκονθ’), and elsewhere keeps himself separate from his addressees (cf. 223); for the corruption cf. 382, 631. The construction ὑμῖν δὲ τοῖς ἄλλοισι Καδμείοις is nevertheless supported by the two passages just cited against the conjectures τοῖς (coni. Jernstedt ap. Nauck7 p. 166,2 positing an error similar to what has occurred at Ar. Thesm. 334) and Καδμείοις (coni. F. Schmidt (1886-7) i 155); moreover, these proposed changes distinguish too sharply between the chorus and the rest of the people, when the former are present as representatives of the latter (cf. 144). Oedipus flatters his audience by assuming that they constitute and stand for those among the Thebans who will accept his words; the balance between τοῖς μὴ δρῶσιν (269) and ὑμῖν δὲ τοῖς ἄλλοισι Καδμείοις (273) implies that none of his audience will be found among the former group. For Justice as an ally cf. Aesch. Suppl. 395 with FJ/W, and for gods as allies see 244–5n. Praying to ‘all the gods’ marks a prayer as particularly solemn and significant (Stes. fr. 85.1–3n.). For the periphrasis involving a present participle plus present tense verb see 126–7n. For σύνειμι in wishes for a divine power’s favour cf. 863/4, Aj. 703–5 Ἀπόλλων | . . . | ἐμοὶ ξυνείη διὰ παντὸς εὔφρων. 2

Jernstedt probably communicated the conjecture directly to Nauck, his teacher at St Petersburg. Van Paassen attributes the conjecture to ‘S. A. Naber, theses Leiden (1847) th. IX’, a reference that I cannot trace; Naber’s doctoral thesis, Naber (1850), does contain Sophoclean conjectures, but not on our passage.


C OMMENTARY : 276– 281

276–96 The dialogue between Oedipus and the Coryphaeus covers the transition from Oedipus’ edict to the arrival of Tiresias. The Coryphaeus’ immediate compliance with Oedipus’ proclamation is natural enough, but it marks the last time that Oedipus will be in control of the situation; Tiresias’ response will be less forthcoming. 276–8 ὥσπερ μ’ ἀραῖον ἔλαβες, ὧδ’, ἄναξ, ἐρῶ. | οὔτ’ ἔκτανον γὰρ οὔτε

τὸν κτανόντ’ ἔχω | δεῖξαι. ‘Just as you have made me subject to a curse, my lord, so shall I speak. I did not commit the killing, nor can I point to the killer.’ ἀραῖος here denotes not ‘cursed’ (as at 644 and 1291) but ‘conditionally cursed’ – that is, the chorus are subject to the ἀρά described in 269–72 unless they cooperate (cf. R. Parker (1983) 192 with n. 11; a unique usage, according to Hatch (1908) 168–9). For ἔλαβες in a sentence of this form cf. OC 284–5 ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ ἔλαβες τὸν ἱκέτην ἐχέγγυον, | ῥύου με κἀκφύλασσε, Hdt. 3.74.2. Eustathius reads εἷλες (Od. Comm. 1809.15 = ii 132.26 Stallbaum), which may be right; as Pearson (1919) 121 notes, ἑλεῖν is often glossed λαβεῖν (cf. Σ Hom. Od. 1.99b = i 69 Pontani, with P.’s n.), which would make ἔλαβες here an intrusive gloss (47–8n.). But the paradosis is well paralleled, and Eustathius’s text may have arisen to provide a twelve-syllable line by removing the resolution (cf. Dawe, STS i 226). For γάρ ‘after an expression denoting the giving or receiving of information’ (Denniston 59) cf. 346, 711, 994, 1241, El. 681n., Braswell on Pind. P. 4.70(a), Finglass (2005a) 561. The chorus’s declaration is paralleled by Deuteronomy 21.7 ‘Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it’, to be pronounced by the elders when the body of a dead man is discovered and no-one knows how he died; H. Jacobson (1982) 234 = (2009) 13 compares this passage, together with a similar statement in a thirteenth-century Akkadian treaty (RS 17.146, available at Barmash (2005) 184–6).

278–9 τὸ δὲ ζήτημα τοῦ πέμψαντος ἦν | Φοίβου τόδ’ εἰπεῖν ὅστις εἴργασταί ποτε. ‘But as for the inquiry, it pertains to Phoebus, who sent the oracle, to tell us whoever it was who accomplished this deed.’ The chorus imply that a further consultation would be in order. τὸ . . . ζήτημα is an accusative of respect (216–18n.). 280–1 δίκαι’ ἔλεξας· ἀλλ’ ἀναγκάσαι θεοὺς | ἃν μὴ θέλωσιν οὐδ’ ἂν εἷς δύναιτ’ ἀνήρ. ‘What you say is just. But to compel the gods to do what they do not want is not something that any man could accomplish.’ Oedipus assumes that the god has said all that he is going to say on the topic; in the final scene the cautious Creon will take a different view (1223–1523n.). The king’s words make up ‘a conventional truth [for the idea that a god accomplishes what he wants see Arnott on Alexis fr.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 282– 286 233.4 PCG, Olson on Ar. Pax 939–41, and for the form of this particular saying cf. fr. 919 TrGF ἀλλ’ οὐ γὰρ ἂν τὰ θεῖα κρυπτόντων θεῶν | μάθοις ἄν, οὐδ’ εἰ πάντ’ ἐπεξέλθοις σκοπῶν], but a significant and resonant claim in a context in which a god has just acted to set in motion a train of events whose outcomes will reveal a yawning gulf between the god’s plans and those of humans’ (Cairns (2013b) 130). The ‘instantaneous’ aorist ἔλεξας refers to what the speaker has just said (cf. 337, El. 668n., Bary (2012)). Only Xr has the ἅν (i.e. ἃ ἄν) demanded by the sense (coni. Stephanus teste B. Heath (1762) 28, but not in his edition); other manuscripts have ἄν, which robs ἀναγκάσαι of its direct object (for the error cf. 580). οὐδ’ ἄν (coni. B. Heath ap. Burton, p. vii, B. Heath (1762) 28) is written thus in Monac. gr. 500, the others having οὐδέ with its impossible hiatus (or with ‘scriptio plena’); οὐδ’ ἂν εἷς is frequent in tragedy and elsewhere (cf. Tr. 1072, Ant. 884, OC 1656, fr. 680.1 TrGF, Eur. fr. 1064.6, Thuc. 8.86.5, Dem. 18.68, Moorhouse (1962) 245). The loss of ἄν, facilitated by repetition (76–7n.) and elision, led to δύναιτ᾿ becoming δύνατ᾿ or δύναται once it was no longer recognised as a potential optative.

282–3 (Χο.) τὰ δεύτερ’ ἐκ τῶνδ’ ἂν λέγοιμ’ ἁμοὶ δοκεῖ. | (Οι.) εἰ καὶ τρίτ’ ἐστί, μὴ παρῇς τὸ μὴ οὐ φράσαι. ‘I would like to say what seems good to me as a second course after that one.’ ‘If there is a third one too, do not refrain from saying it.’ For δεύτερα . . . τρίτα of next-best options cf. πρῶτα . . . δεύτερα in Hdt. 1.59.2 συνεβούλευε Ἱπποκράτεϊ πρῶτα μὲν γυναῖκα μὴ ἄγεσθαι τεκνοποιὸν ἐς τὰ οἰκία, εἰ δὲ τυγχάνει ἔχων, δεύτερα τὴν γυναῖκα ἐκπέμπειν. The potential optative ἂν λέγοιμ’ indicates not unwillingness to speak, but rather progression to a less favoured option (95n.). For ἐκ τῶνδε used of putting forward an alternative plan cf. Hdt. 8.100.3 μάλιστα μέν νυν ταῦτα ποίεε· εἰ δ’ ἄρα τοι βεβούλευται αὐτὸν ἀπελαύνοντα ἀπάγειν τὴν στρατιήν, ἄλλην ἔχω καὶ ἐκ τῶνδε βουλήν. Oedipus’ response demonstrates his willingness to try every possible path. For the construction of μὴ οὐ φράσαι see 11–13n. 284–6 ἄνακτ’ ἄνακτι ταὔθ’ ὁρῶντ’ ἐπίσταμαι | μάλιστα Φοίβῳ Τειρεσίαν, παρ’ οὗ τις ἂν | σκοπῶν τάδ’, ὦναξ, ἐκμάθοι σαφέστατα. ‘I know that lord Tiresias sees the same things as does lord Phoebus, and from him, my lord, one might learn these things most truly in the course of investigation.’ The interlaced word order, whose construction remains unclear until several words into the sentence, expresses the closeness of Apollo and his seer, whose name appears climactically at the end of the sense unit, juxtaposed with Phoebus’ own; both are given the title ἄναξ, one used regularly of prophets (cf. Hom. Il. 13.582 with ΣT iii 511.9–10 Erbse, Od. 11.151, Eupol. fr. 231 PCG), which here has fresh potency


C OMMENTARY : 287– 289 because of its association with Apollo’s title through polyptoton (for this figure in tragedy cf. R. Rutherford (2012) 75 n. 21) and juxtaposition. This first reference to the blind Tiresias (for whose presentation in earlier poetry see Torres (2014)) paradoxically emphasises his ability to see, a significant opening to an episode where sight and blindness are to the fore (for this pervasive theme in the play see Buxton (1980) 23–5 ≈ (2013) 176–8, Calame (1996)). ταὔθ᾿ is Brunck’s reinterpretation (1779 edn) of manuscript ταῦθ᾿ (which would leave the datives unconstrued); ταὐτά (i.e. ταὔθ᾿ written with scriptio plena) is found as a minority variant and can be inferred from the scholia (τὰ αὐτὰ ὁρᾶν ἐκείνῳ φησίν, p. 179.2 Papageorgius). For the error cf. 575, 840, Eur. Suppl. 436, El. 770, Phoen. 585, Or. 1123. The chorus finish by addressing Oedipus as ἄναξ, implicitly linking him with the two figures just mentioned.

287 ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐν ἀργοῖς οὐδὲ τοῦτ’ ἐπραξάμην. ‘Well, I saw to it that not even this act should be among things neglected’ (thus Aj. 971n.). As before (65–72), Oedipus anticipates his interlocutor’s request. ἀλλά often introduces expressions marking ‘practical consent, expression of willingness to act in a required way’ (Denniston 17). Usually the particle is followed by a verb in the future or present; the aorist indicates that the speaker ‘had forestalled the command: in which . . . case the adversative force has a more obvious reference’ (ibid.). ἐπραξάμην is middle because ‘Oedipus was not . . . the actual executant’ (Pearson (1923) 19); cf. Pind. P. 3.114–15 ἁ δ’ ἀρετὰ κλειναῖς ἀοιδαῖς | χρονία τελέθει· παύροις δὲ πράξασθ’ εὐμαρές (cited by Pearson (1929a) 93). For ποιέομαι or a related verb with a phrase involving ἐν cf. Phil. 498–9 τοὐμὸν ἐν σμικρῷ μέρος | ποιούμενοι, 875–6 πάντα ταῦτ᾽ ἐν εὐχερεῖ | ἔθου, Eur. Hec. 806 ταῦτ’ οὖν ἐν αἰσχρῷ θέμενος, Hdt. 1.118.2 οὐκ ἐν ἐλαφρῷ ἐποιεύμην. The conjecture ἐπράξαμεν (owed to Shilleto (1859) 311) would be a simple change (for the posited corruption cf. Ar. Pax 215, Aj. 45n.), but the parallels just cited protect the transmitted idiom. 288–9 ἔπεμψα γὰρ Κρέοντος εἰπόντος διπλοῦς | πομπούς· πάλαι δὲ μὴ παρὼν θαυμάζεται. ‘For at Creon’s request, I have sent two messengers, and for some time it has been a source of wonder that he is not here.’ Κρέοντος εἰπόντος provides a basis, however flimsy, for Oedipus’ later accusation that Tiresias has been suborned by Creon (cf. 378–403, 555–7). Except for their conversation in the prologue, where no mention was made of Tiresias, Creon has not been in Oedipus’ presence since the beginning of the action, nor have any messengers passed from the palace down the eisodos from which Tiresias is to appear; but ‘this is not a point we have time to notice as the play unfolds’ (DaweC1 p. 13 =


C O M M E N T A R Y : 290– 293 C2

Dawe p. 10). Oedipus’ impatience recalls his earlier words about Creon’s absence (73–5), but in this case the audience may soon wonder if Tiresias’ delay was a further sign of his reluctance to cooperate. παρών takes μή even though the expression refers to an actual fact, presumably because it is felt to be equivalent to εἰ μὴ πάρεστι (so Campbell).

290–1 (Χο.) καὶ μὴν τά γ’ ἄλλα κωφὰ καὶ παλαί’ ἔπη. | (Οι.) τὰ ποῖα ταῦτα; πάντα γὰρ σκοπῶ λόγον. ‘Yes, and as for the rest, they are mute, ancient tales.’ ‘What sort of tales? For I am investigating every story.’ For καὶ μήν ‘in dialogue, expressing, directly or by implication, agreement or consent, or a generally favourable reaction to the words of the previous speaker’ (Denniston 353), often followed by γ’, cf. 836, 1004, 1005. The words are κωφά because ‘the rumour has died down; it no longer gives a clear sound’ (Jebb), παλαιά because the event seems so long ago (108–9n.). An alternative sense, ‘foolish, simple’ (thus Kannicht on Eur. Hel. 1055–6, prob. Collard (2005a) 374), would be inappropriate, as would the minority variant μάται᾿ (‘vain, fruitless’, probably a gloss as Kopff (1993) 157 argues, citing Thomas Magister p. 191 Longo; coni. Halbertsma (pre-1894) 25); there is nothing ridiculous or pointless in the information that the chorus provide, nor is there a reason why they would characterise it as such. Oedipus seizes on their words, however unpromising they seem; for τὰ ποῖα in questions see 120–1n. 292 θανεῖν ἐλέχθη πρός τινων ὁδοιπόρων. ‘It was said that he was killed by some travellers.’ Cf. 112–23.

293 ἤκουσα κἀγώ· τὸν δὲ δρῶντ’ οὐδεὶς ὁρᾷ. ‘I too heard this. But no-

one saw the man who did it.’ δρῶντ᾿ is owed to an anonymous scholar ap. Burgess (1778) 9. Transmitted ἰδόντ᾿ (prob. Hartigan (1975)) would mean ‘But no-one saw the man who saw it’, denoting the eyewitness to the killing, previously mentioned at 118–23. There Oedipus elicited the man’s report from Creon, but did not inquire about his whereabouts, and there was no implication that he had vanished. He will later be summoned to confirm or deny his claim that Laius was killed by a plurality of robbers (836–62), but at the moment, Oedipus has shown no interest in questioning him further, and so it would make no sense for him to lament his supposed disappearance. By contrast, the identity of the killer is the central point of the scene; and Oedipus’ shift into the singular to describe him when the chorus had used the plural recalls the previous occasion when the killers were mentioned, reinforcing the irony (124–5n.).


C OMMENTARY : 294– 295 Moreover, the progress of the exchange between Oedipus and the chorus supports the emendation; as Ll-J/W, So., point out, ‘294–5, and still more 296, show that the reference is to the killer, not the living witness’. If we keep ἰδόντ᾿, by contrast, we must assume both (i) that the chorus in 294–5 return to talking about the killer even though he is no longer the topic of conversation and their choice of language does not seem to indicate any change of topic and (ii) that the chorus switch from talking about plural killers (292) to a singular killer (294–5) without prompting from Oedipus, even though the irony is superior if, as before, it is Oedipus himself who makes this mistake. It is simpler to posit the slight corruption presupposed by the emendation, one assisted by ὁρᾷ at the end of the line as well as by the identical pronunciation of omicron and omega throughout most of the transmission.

294–5 ἀλλ’ εἴ τι μὲν δὴ δείματός γ’ ἔχει μέρος, | τὰς σὰς ἀκούων οὐ μενεῖ τοιάσδ’ ἀράς. ‘Well, if he possesses any share of fear, he will not stay put as he hears such curses from you.’ The chorus imagine that the killer will attempt to flee, a picture that they develop in the first stasimon (463–82). ἀλλ’ εἴ τι μὲν δή has the nuance ‘Well, never mind the fact that no one saw the murderer. If he knows what fear is . . .’ (Dawe; for adversative ἀλλ’ . . . μὲν δή cf. 523, Denniston 394). In 294 either γ’ or τ᾿ is required for the metre, but only the former fits the sense; for limitative γε in the protasis of a conditional cf. 383, 583, 586, 1015, Denniston 141–2. τ᾿ is the reading of the mediaeval manuscripts, but according to Barrett (ap. Ll-J/W, So.), ‘there is, I think, a strong presumption that the papyrus had γ’’. The relevant parts of Π1 are frr. 6 and 38 in Roberts (1941), later connected, presumably by Barrett (there is no discussion of the point in Barrett (2007) 368–85), to give fr. xv in the numeration now in use (see Introduction p. 89). In the relevant line of fr. xv, the top of the epsilon is touched by a horizontal stroke coming from the previous letter. Elsewhere on the papyrus, there are many examples of tau followed by another letter, but apparently none where the crossbar of the tau touches that letter. There are six instances of gamma followed by another letter where it is possible to determine the relationship of the crossbar with that letter. In one place (fr. xxvii.3) the letters touch; in four places (frr. xxi.14, xxiii.6, xxiii.13, xxvi.5) they are close, much closer than when tau is followed by another letter; and in one (fr. xxvii.7) they are definitely apart. These data support Barrett’s conclusion, and his cautious formulation; this instance should therefore be added to the list, found in Finglass (2013a) 34–41, of unique readings attested only in papyri (cf. Finglass (forthcoming 1)).


C O M M E N T A R Y : 296– 462 γ’ also appears in Turnebus’s text. Subsequent editors have attributed the change to Triclinius, since Turnebus used a Triclinian source for his edition; but it has not been found in Triclinian manuscripts (see Dawe, STS i 226, Ll-J/W, So.), and a Triclinian scholium (p. 286.5 Longo) glosses τ᾿ as τοι rather than suggesting a change to γ’. So the reading is probably Turnebus’s conjecture. For corruption of γε to τε see 35–9n. The likely papyrus reading renders moot conjectures such as τρέφει (Wunder2), σφ᾿ ἔχει (DaweT3, apparatus), or δειμάτων ἔχει (Hartung, text), predicated as they are on the idea that τ’ is a meaningless insertion to heal the metre after some previous corruption had left the text unmetrical. After σάς rH have δ᾿, which must be interpolated (perhaps as a result of someone reading 295 without taking notice of 294, or reading a text where 294 had been omitted). It cannot be a corruption of γ᾿, as that particle would lay inappropriate emphasis on the possessive, as if Oedipus’ curses had a unique potency (so rightly Dawe, STS i 226).

296 ᾧ μή ’στι δρῶντι τάρβος, οὐδ’ ἔπος φοβεῖ. ‘Words do not alarm someone who has no fear when he acts.’ Oedipus is less sanguine about the efficacy of his proclamation. He refers to the killer’s boldness; in fact, the killer does not fear Oedipus’ words because he does not know that they apply to him. The combination of different terms for fear ‘produces fullness and emphasis’ (Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 361 οὕτω δ᾿ ἐτάρβησ᾿ εἰς φόβον τ᾿ ἀφικόμην; to his examples add Tr. 457 κεἰ μὲν δέδοικας, οὐ καλῶς ταρβεῖς); see further 54–7n. 297–462 The Tiresias scene marks the moment when Oedipus’ con-

trol of events begins to wane. His first speech to the prophet (300–15) recalls to some extent the Priest’s address to him in the prologue (so Bain (1979) 134 = McAuslan and Walcot (1993) 83): a polite opening vocative (14 ~ 300–1), a description of the city’s troubles (22–30 ~ 302–3), an appeal to the addressee to help (31–57 ~ 310–15). Oedipus’ description is briefer than the Priest’s, since the audience has already heard detailed accounts of the plague and its consequences in both prologue and parodos. But Oedipus’ opening vocative phrase is more reverential, establishing how in all matters Tiresias enjoys an authority that surpasses even his. Tiresias’ refusal to respond to Oedipus’ entreaties, or even to explain his silence, breaches the parallel with the opening scene and leads to a progressively more intemperate exchange (mostly in two-line stichomythia) until both Oedipus and Tiresias (in that order) each accuse the other of responsibility for Laius’ death (316–53). The pace quickens (the accusations having been made in blocks of four and five lines) into


C OMMENTARY : 297– 462 single-line stichomythia, as neither accepts the other’s charge. Tiresias further accuses Oedipus of intimate association with his φίλτατα (366–7, a two-line section in a block of single-line stichomythia), whereas Oedipus accuses Tiresias of working in Creon’s pay to replace him (354–79). The king dilates on this topic in a furious denunciation of the supposed plotters (380–403); here and elsewhere both he and the prophet employ surprisingly colloquial language to express their mutual contempt. After a failed attempt by the chorus to calm the atmosphere (404–7), Tiresias responds with a long speech of his own (408–28), predicting how the curse of Oedipus’ mother and father will drive him out of the land. The subsequent stichomythia (429–46) seems to be leading towards Tiresias’ exit, but the seer then launches into one last speech of accusation (447–62), before both he and Oedipus finally depart. Long speeches are combined with brisk exchanges, which themselves proceed at different rates, slowing down or speeding up as the dramatist’s needs dictate, to fashion a ‘psychologically convincing depiction of a quarrel between two angry men’, in which Sophocles ‘show[s] extreme boldness in allowing tragic characters to lapse or appear to lapse into the language of everyday speech’ (Bain (1979) 143–4 = McAuslan and Walcot (1993) 92; see further Reinhardt (1947) 114–15 = (1979) 104, R. Rutherford (2012) 167–9). Attacking a seer for an unwelcome prophecy is as old as the Iliad (Agamemnon’s response to Calchas at 1.106–8) and Odyssey (Eurymachus’ address to Halitherses at 2.157–207). Both these cases involve a ruler at odds with a prophet (cf. Trampedach (2008)), in a clash of different types of authority found also in tragedy. So in Antigone Tiresias’ advice that Polynices’ body should be buried is angrily rejected by Creon (988–1090); in Euripides’ Phoenician Women Creon dismisses Tiresias’ prophecy that his son Menoeceus must be sacrificed to save the city (834–990); and in Bacchae Pentheus’ rejection of his counsel (170–369) precedes his defiance of Dionysus himself. (For other, briefer denunciations of seers by tragic monarchs see Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 65–7.) But Oedipus’ antagonism against Tiresias cannot simply be equated with the conflicts in these dramas. His fury is prompted in the first instance not because he feels impious contempt for Tiresias’ prophecy, but because Tiresias is inexplicably unwilling to give a prophecy (cf. M. Heath (1987) 148–9; the seer’s reluctance at Eur. Phoen. 891–902 is brief and unmysterious by comparison). Oedipus finds this frustrating because he passionately desires that everybody should come to the city’s aid, and believes that Tiresias is in a unique position to provide that aid; the intensity of his anger, which


C O M M E N T A R Y : 297– 462 leads him to accuse the seer of complicity in the killing (345–9), reflects the extent of his piety and patriotism. As for Tiresias’ prophetic claim that Oedipus himself is the killer of Laius (prophecy in the ancient world encompassing knowledge of the past and present as well as the future: cf. 393–4, 487/8–488, Finglass (2012b) 371–2), Oedipus sincerely believes on the basis of personal experience that he knows this to be false (contrast the plays mentioned above, where the monarchs have no ground to dispute the truth of Tiresias’ prophecy, however unwelcome it may be). Thus for Oedipus, ‘effectively insulated from the truth at this stage by what he thinks he knows’ (M. Heath (1987) 149), it constitutes a second instance of baffling behaviour from the apparently mendacious prophet; Tiresias’ delay in uttering his accusation until Oedipus has launched an accusation at him might also seem suspicious. Oedipus’ conclusion, that Tiresias is part of a conspiracy with Creon to dethrone him (378–403), is not completely unreasonable given these beliefs, given also Tiresias’ apparent past failure to use his prophecy for the good of the city (cf. the Servant’s comments at Eur. Hel. 744–51, noting how neither Calchas nor Helenus realised that the Helen at Troy was a phantom). Someone must have put the seer up to it, and Creon is both the person who advised his consultation (288) and the one with most to gain. Oedipus’ quarrel with Tiresias therefore does not condemn him of impiety towards the gods, such as the audiences of Antigone and Bacchae observe in the rulers in those plays; individual prophets, after all, might be venal or corrupt without calling the whole system of prophecy into question (498/9–502/3n.). The extent and expression of his passion are particularly intense; the launching of two separate accusations against Tiresias on relatively flimsy grounds contrasts with the calm, forceful proclamation at the start of the scene which emphasises willing depositions and due process. This shows a side of Oedipus later developed in his argument with Creon (532–630) and in his account of the fateful meeting with Laius (800–13), but does not evince a fundamentally vicious or morally flawed character. Yet if Oedipus’ behaviour does not condemn him as a θεομάχος, it hardly engenders confidence in the whole basis of mortal decision-making, as a man of supreme intelligence and goodwill is misled by the force of his passion and by the mistakes of his logic to reach a conclusion tragically distant from the truth. ‘The question in [this scene] is not the individual intelligence of Oedipus but the efficacy of all human understanding. Ultimately limited to testing facts, judging the new by the old, arguing from probability, this faculty is not likely to cope successfully with fantastic coincidences, or to see through false but completely justified assumptions’ (S. Lattimore (1975) 106; cf. Race (2000)).


C OMMENTARY : 297– 299

297–9 Tiresias is seen approaching from eisodos B, led by slaves.

ἀλλ’ οὑξελέγξων νιν πάρεστιν· οἵδε γὰρ | τὸν θεῖον ἤδη μάντιν ὧδ’ ἄγουσιν, ᾧ | τἀληθὲς ἐμπέφυκεν ἀνθρώπων μόνῳ. ‘Well, the man who will find him out has arrived. For these people are now bringing here the divine prophet, in whom, alone of mortals, truth is implanted.’ Tiresias is presented as an intuitive diviner; although he can have recourse to bird omens (cf. 310, 395, 398), his prophetic powers are based on a personal, divinely-inspired ability to see what others cannot (cf. A. Lange (2007) 477–80). ἐλέγχω means ‘convict’, as at Tr. 373. οὑξελέγξων has a variant –έγχων (LK), but the future is essential: Tiresias has come to perform a task, but is not performing it quite yet. In the scene to come, however, ‘the one who applies ἔλεγχος to the other is rather Oedipus than Teiresias’ (Dawe; cf. 333). νιν πάρεστιν is owed to Heimsoeth (1865) 178–9. The manuscript text αὐτὸν ἔστιν would mean ‘the man who will find him out exists’, but the point at issue is not the existence but the presence of the convictor; cf. Ant. 261 οὐδ᾽ ὁ κωλύσων παρῆν, El. 1197 οὐδ’ οὑπαρήξων οὔθ’ ὁ κωλύσων πάρα;, and contrast Phil. 1241 ἔστιν τις ἔστιν ὅς σε κωλύσει τὸ δρᾶν and [Aesch.] PV 27 ὁ λωφήσων γὰρ οὐ πέφυκέ πω, where existence is indeed relevant. νιν is frequently glossed αὐτόν, whether on its own or as part of a paraphrase (cf. Σ Tr. 965 = p. 215 Xenis, Σ Aesch. Sept. 484e, 660a, 664b = ii/2 219.29, 287.27, 289.11 Smith, Σ Eur. Or. 481, Phoen. 151, Tro. 1138 = i 152.7, 270.10, ii 372.17 Schwartz, Σ Pind. O. 1.40f = i 30.21–2 Drachmann), and such a gloss could have entered the text (47–8n.; the same corruption may have occurred at OC 121, 1192), either displacing both νιν and παρ– simultaneously, or displacing only νιν, with παρ– removed later by someone reducing the number of syllables to the expected twelve. For the postpositive after the caesura see 141n. An alternative remedy, αὐτὸν εἶσιν (‘the man . . . will come’; coni. Wecklein (1869) 55), gives an inappropriate tense – the chorus are reacting to something happening now. ἤδη announces a new arrival (cf. [531], Diggle (1981a) 27). τόν may suggest ‘the famous’. For θεῖος in an oracular context cf. OC 603 τὸ θεῖον αὐτοὺς ἐξαναγκάσει στόμα. Tiresias’ uniquely close relationship with the truth (cf. Ant. 1092–5, Hor. Serm. 2.5.5) is forcefully expressed: μόνος frequently occurs in the context of praise (cf. 304, Aj. 1273–6n., Olson on Ar. Pax 587–90), and is intensified through the addition of ἀνθρώπων (cf. El. 462–3 τῷ . . . φιλτάτῳ βροτῶν | πάντων, Garvie on Aesch. Pers. 631–2). For ᾧ at line boundary see 29–30n.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 300– 304

300–1 Tiresias arrives on stage, led by a slave. His pace is slow, as suits an old, blind man, but there is probably nothing in the manner of his entry to indicate actual reluctance; the reference to his ‘downcast entrance’ at 319 is prompted by his words, not by his actions. ὦ πάντα νωμῶν Τειρεσία, διδακτά τε | ἄρρητά τ’ οὐράνιά τε καὶ χθονοστιβῆ ‘Tiresias, you who grasp all things, what can be taught and what cannot be spoken, the things of heaven and the things that tread the earth’. Oedipus’ opening vocative phrase is more elaborate than the Priest’s to Oedipus (14), emphasising the seer’s special power. νωμάω contains the notion ‘understanding through observation’ (cf. Aesch. Sept. 25–6 ἐν ὠσὶ νωμῶν καὶ φρεσὶν πυρὸς δίχα | χρηστηρίους ὄρνιθας ἀψευδεῖ τέχνῃ, predicated of an unnamed, presumably blind μάντις who can be identified with Tiresias, and Eur. Phoen. [1255–8] μάντεις δὲ μῆλ’ ἔσφαζον ἐμπύρους τ’ ἀκμὰς | ῥήξεις τ’ ἐνώμων . . . νίκης τε σῆμα καὶ τὸ τῶν ἡσσωμένων); for the sense ‘observe’ see Richardson on Hom. Hym. 2.373. But it also has the nuance ‘wielding, controlling’ (cf. Aesch. Ag. 782 πᾶν δ’ ἐπὶ τέρμα νωμᾷ, Pind. P. 1.86 νώμα δικαίῳ πηδαλίῳ στρατόν). The former meaning is dominant, but Oedipus’ address is so respectful that the latter cannot be excluded; merely predicating πάντα of the verb goes beyond either of the passages cited under the first heading above from tragedy. The two polar expressions, each in apposition to πάντα, emphasise that word by expressing Tiresias’ universal authority. διδακτά τε | ἄρρητά τ’ varies the expected phrase ῥητά τ’ ἄρρητά τε (cf. OC 1001 ῥητὸν ἄρρητόν τ᾽ ἔπος, West on Hes. Op. 4); but what appears a fairly conventional opposition will turn out to be crucial, since Tiresias attempts to leave words unspoken that Oedipus wishes to be said. The second pair, οὐράνιά τε καὶ χθονοστιβῆ, embraces the whole known universe (cf. Hom. Od. 1.338 ἔργ’ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε, τά τε κλείουσιν ἀοιδοί), with the –στιβῆ element (Aj. 670–1n.) highlighting not just the earth but the mortals who live on it, who are thus implicitly contrasted with the gods (cf. Hom. Il. 5.441–2 οὔ ποτε φῦλον ὁμοῖον | ἀθανάτων τε θεῶν χαμαὶ ἐρχομένων τ’ ἀνθρώπων). 302–4 πόλιν μέν, εἰ καὶ μὴ βλέπεις, φρονεῖς δ’ ὅμως | οἵᾳ νόσῳ σύνεστιν· ἧς σὲ προστάτην | σωτῆρά τ’, ὦναξ, μοῦνον ἐξευρίσκομεν. ‘As for the city, even if you do not see, nevertheless you understand what a sickness afflicts it; against which, lord, we find you the sole guardian and saviour.’ Oedipus distinguishes between Tiresias’ powers of sight and of understanding, contrary to the usual practice of assimilating seeing and knowing (cf. 370–1, 1304–5, El. 659n.); yet he is quick to deny this distinction when the prophet angers him (370–1n.). The fronting of


C OMMENTARY : 305– 309 πόλιν suits an appeal that places civic duty above all; the noun is so far from the verb that it supposedly governs (σύνεστιν) that it ends up in the accusative, as if governed by φρονεῖς in the ‘I know thee who thou art’ construction (cf. 1401–2). εἰ καί introduces an established fact (cf. 408, El. 547, Denniston 300). φρονεῖς will be picked up by Tiresias (316–17), and the verb will continue to be the focus of disagreement in the stichomythia (326, 328), appropriately enough given the importance of identifying who really possesses understanding; it can be used of specifically oracular knowledge (cf. Tr. 1145 φρονῶ δὴ ξυμφορᾶς ἵν᾽ ἕσταμεν, Hdt. 1.46.3 διέπεμπε δὲ πειρώμενος τῶν μαντηΐων ὅ τι φρονέοιεν, ὡς εἰ φρονέοντα τὴν ἀληθείην εὑρεθείη κτλ.), and may share that meaning here. δ’ is apodotic (i.e. adverbial rather than connective); cf. Ant. 234 κεἰ τὸ μηδὲν ἐξερῶ, φράσω δ᾽ ὅμως, Denniston 181, K–G ii 275–8. For the idea, found in οἵᾳ νόσῳ σύνεστιν, of dwelling with something unpleasant cf. 337–8, 1205–6, Phil. 1022, El. 599–600 with n., Eur. fr. 1079.3 TrGF ταύτῃ τῇ νόσῳ ξυνὼν ἀνήρ. The title προστάτης is used of divinities (203–206/7n.), and although it can refer to mortals in the sense ‘guardian’ (cf. Aesch. Sept. 408, Eur. Hcld. 964, fr. 194.4 TrGF), the additional presence of σωτήρ, which may hint at the divine (47–8n.), suggests that προστάτης may have a divine nuance too; Oedipus’ insults will later drive the seer to deny that he requires Creon as his personal προστάτης (410–11n.). μοῦνος frequently appears in contexts of praise (297–9n.); the Ionic form is used several times by Sophocles in lyric, anapaests, and dialogue, by Euripides in dialogue (fr. 646a TrGF, where see Kannicht), and in two anonymous tragic verses, both from dialogue ([Thespis] TrGF 1 F 3.3, Tr. Adesp. fr. 167c.2 TrGF).

305–9 Φοῖβος γάρ, εἰ καὶ μὴ κλύεις τῶν ἀγγέλων, | πέμψασιν ἡμῖν ἀντέπεμψεν, ἔκλυσιν | μόνην ἂν ἐλθεῖν τοῦδε τοῦ νοσήματος, | εἰ τοὺς κτανόντας Λάϊον μαθόντες εὖ | κτείναιμεν ἢ γῆς φυγάδας ἐκπεμψαίμεθα. ‘For Phoebus, if indeed you have not heard this from the messengers, has sent a response in response to our sending, saying that release will come from this sickness only if we discover who the killers of Laius are and kill them or send them out of the land as exiles.’ For εἰ καί ‘if indeed’ in a protasis that the speaker suspects to be false cf. Tr. 71, Ant. 90, Aj. 1127, [Aesch.] PV 343, [Eur.] Rhes. 521, Denniston 303–4; Oedipus ensures that Tiresias is apprised of the situation, without implying that the all-knowing seer is ignorant. L. Stephani (teste Wunder2, apparatus) changes καί to τι, but the corruption would be unmotivated, and the particle gives the wrong emphasis (‘if by any chance’: Dawe); contrast 969, where τι following εἰ is to the point.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 310– 313 πέμψασιν ἡμῖν ἀντέπεμψεν (cf. [Eur.] Rhes. 184 ἐρῶντί γ’ ἀντερᾷς with Liapis), itself followed by ἐκπεμψαίμεθα, emphasises reciprocity between god and men; the Thebans send a request to the god and the god sends a message in return, as a result of which the killers are to be sent out of the land. The language makes the process seem logical and harmonious, with all sides working together for a common purpose; Tiresias’ response breaks that illusion. For emphatic μόνην see 68–9n. τοῦδε might be an error for τήνδε (coni. Blaydes1, text), since the latter would put due emphasis on ἔκλυσιν and could have been corrupted into the case of the following noun; but it is unsafe to change a unanimous paradosis which gives fully acceptable sense. μαθόντες εὖ (for the combination cf. Eur. Hec. [601], fr. 282.3 TrGF, Archil. fr. 113.7 IEG) highlights the importance of identifying the perpetrators (cf. Aj. 18 ἐπέγνως εὖ, of Athena’s recognition of Odysseus’ intentions), something that will prove anything but εὖ for the speaker. Writing ἤ (licit at line boundary: 29–30n.), as conjectured by Meineke (1863) 226, replaces this valuable adverb with an unremarkable disjunctive.

310–13 σύ νυν φθονήσας μήτ’ ἀπ’ οἰωνῶν φάτιν | μήτ’ εἴ τιν’ ἄλλην μαντικῆς ἔχεις ὁδόν, | ῥῦσαι σεαυτὸν καὶ πόλιν, ῥῦσαι δ’ ἐμέ, | ῥῦσαι δὲ πᾶν μίασμα τοῦ τεθνηκότος. ‘Then do not begrudge any message from the birds or any other path of prophecy that you have, and save yourself and the city, save me, and save us from all the pollution that results from the dead man.’ σύ νυν is Elmsley’s reinterpretation (second edition, pp. xxix-xxx, prob. Denniston 468) of L’s σὺ νῦν (for confusion between νυν and νῦν cf. 644, 658, 707, 975, 1142, Finglass (2007b)); L’s reading was corrected by a later hand into the reading of the other manuscripts, σὺ δ’ οὖν. That majority reading yields a poor connexion (‘Well, do not grudge . . .’ is Lloyd-Jones’s all too accurate translation), since in δ’ οὖν, the former particle ‘almost always . . . has some contrasting force, and is hardly ever purely copulative’ (Denniston 460); νυν, by contrast, ‘connects the human prophecy with the divine’ (Campbell, of δ’ οὖν, but his remark is more appropriate to the inferential particle): since Apollo has spoken, Tiresias should follow suit. The phrase ‘do not begrudge’ is found in particularly eager requests for speech (cf. Eur. Med. 63 τί δ᾿ ἐστίν, ὦ γεραιέ; μὴ φθόνει φράσαι, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 322, Sanders (2014) 38). For birds in prophecy see 52–3n., and for φάτις of a divine message see 85–6n. The ‘road of prophecy’ metaphor recurs at [Aesch.] PV 497–8 δυστέκμαρτον εἰς τέχνην | ὥδωσα θνητούς and Aesch. Ag. 1154–5 πόθεν ὅρους ἔχεις θεσπεσίας ὁδοῦ κακορρήμονας; (with ibid. 176–7 τὸν φρονεῖν βροτοὺς ὁδώσαντα for the road as a metaphor for skilful thought); also Eur. Hec. 743–4 οὔτοι πέφυκα μάντις, ὥστε μὴ κλύων | ἐξιστορῆσαι σῶν ὁδὸν


C OMMENTARY : 314– 318 βουλευμάτων. The powerful tricolon of ῥῦσαι (El. 115n.), with the last member expanded (cf. Bond on Eur. Her. 494), marks the high point of Oedipus’ appeal, but ‘unbeknownst to Oedipus, fulfilment of the first and last [of the three requests] excludes the possibility of the fulfilment of the second’ (Mikalson (1989) 83n. 12). For anaphora of ῥῦσαι linked by δέ cf. 1489–90, Eur. IT 984 σῶσον πατρῶον οἶκον, ἔκσωσον δ’ ἐμέ, Denniston 163. σεαυτόν (cf. perhaps Carcinus II, Louvre Antiquités égyptiennes inv. E 10534 line 2 ῥῦσαι] σεαυτήν, suppl. West (2007b) 2 = (2011–13) ii 337) provides the sole reference to Tiresias’ personal stake in saving the city, and even that is immediately tied to the interest of the πόλις. The final instance of ῥῦσαι has a different sense from the previous two (‘save us from’ instead of simply ‘save’); semantic variety elegantly accompanies lexical repetition. For pollution as a consequence of homicide see 96–8n.

314–15 ἐν σοὶ γὰρ ἐσμέν· ἄνδρα δ’ ὠφελεῖν ἀφ’ ὧν | ἔχοι τε καὶ δύναιτο κάλλιστος πόνων. ‘For we are in your power; and to help a man from one’s means and resources is the noblest of labours.’ The opening phrase (for which cf. OC 247–8 ἐν ὑμῖν ὡς θεῷ | κείμεθα τλάμονες, Aj. 519 ἐν σοὶ πᾶσ’ ἔγωγε σῴζομαι, Eur. Alc. 278 ἐν σοὶ δ’ ἐσμὲν καὶ ζῆν καὶ μή, IT 1057–8 τἄμ’ ἐν ὑμῖν ἐστιν ἢ καλῶς ἔχειν | ἢ μηδὲν εἶναι) expresses the Thebans’ dependence on Tiresias. The concluding gnome (whose form is paralleled by Ant. 710–11 ἀλλ᾽ ἄνδρα, κεἴ τις ᾖ σοφός, τὸ μανθάνειν | πόλλ᾽ αἰσχρὸν οὐδὲν καὶ τὸ μὴ τείνειν ἄγαν) is no empty proverb; it sums up Oedipus’ entire world view. The optatives replace the expected subjunctive plus ἄν, as often in maxims: cf. 979, Tr. 92–3, Ant. 666–7, 1031–2, Aj. 520–1n. πόνων has a well-attested variant πόνος, but the utrum in alterum argument favours the former: the partitive genitive is the more complicated construction, and someone who misread it could have ‘corrected’ the ending to match the previous word. 316–18 φεῦ φεῦ, φρονεῖν ὡς δεινὸν ἔνθα μὴ τέλη | λύῃ φρονοῦντι. ταῦτα

γὰρ καλῶς ἐγὼ | εἰδὼς διώλεσ’· οὐ γὰρ ἂν δεῦρ’ ἱκόμην. ‘Pheu pheu, how terrible is wisdom when being wise brings no advantage! I knew this well, but forgot it; for otherwise I would not have come.’ Oedipus’ quasi-sacral language with its rhetorical fullness is countered by mournful exclamations and obscure, staccato phrases; his attempt to please his addressee and secure his cooperation has failed. Tiresias’ words refer principally to his own dilemma, but apply equally to Oedipus’ career before and during the action of the play (cf. S. Lattimore (1975) 106, Dawe); decisions speciously wise bring him closer to catastrophe. His justification for coming on the ground that he forgot a piece of gnomic wisdom,


C O M M E N T A R Y : 319– 321 a surprising excuse from a seer, both stokes Oedipus’ perplexity and contrasts with the all too accurate knowledge that he will later display. For the opening thought cf. Hdt. 9.16.5 ἐχθίστη δὲ ὀδύνη τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποισι αὕτη, πολλὰ φρονέοντα μηδενὸς κρατέειν, spoken by someone aware of approaching disaster but powerless to prevent it; also Pind. P. 4. 287–9 φαντὶ δ’ ἔμμεν | τοῦτ’ ἀνιαρότατον, καλὰ γινώσκοντ’ ἀνάγκᾳ | ἐκτὸς ἔχειν πόδα, where exile prevents someone from putting his talents to use. For φρονεῖν . . . φρονοῦντι see 302–4n. The first γάρ marks a compression in the thought: ‘[I say this because] I knew . . .’ (cf. 569, El. 527n., Denniston 61). τέλη | λύῃ is equivalent to λυσιτελῇ, a prose word (in comedy only at Ar. Plut. 509) impossible to fit in iambics (tragedy elsewhere uses bare λύει in this sense: El. 1005n.). As often in poetry, and occasionally in prose, the generalising subjunctive appears without expected ἄν (Aj. 758–61n.); as often, the absence of the particle leads to the verb becoming indicative in some witnesses (ibid.; generic μή renders the indicative impossible). For διώλεσα ‘I forgot’ cf. Ter. Phor. 386 nomen perdidi, and also σῴζω ‘I remember’ at Eur. Hel. 266 (and LSJ9 s.v. σῴζω i 4 [the second 4 under i] for σῴζομαι with this sense); perhaps the unusual term somehow emphasises Tiresias’ personal agency in suppressing the thought more than e.g. διελαθόμην would. For γάρ meaning ‘for otherwise’ see 82–3n.

319 τί δ’ ἔστιν; ὡς ἄθυμος εἰσελήλυθας. ‘What is it? How despondently you have come in!’ Oedipus’ exclamation after a brief unanswered question (cf. J. Lowe (1967) 58, Bond on Eur. Her. 146), a sharp drop in register after his hagiographic tone, is paralleled in this context at Ant. 997 τί δ᾽ ἔστιν; ὡς ἐγὼ τὸ σὸν φρίσσω στόμα, where Creon reacts to Tiresias’ statement φρόνει βεβὼς αὖ νῦν ἐπὶ ξυροῦ τύχης. But where Creon shows apprehension in response to an unexpected reference to imminent peril, Oedipus is reduced to confused surprise at Tiresias’ failure to provide the helpful response that he was expecting. For the implications of this line for the manner of Tiresias’ entry see 300–1n. 320–1 ἄφες μ’ ἐς οἴκους· ῥᾷστα γὰρ τὸ σόν τε σὺ | κἀγὼ διοίσω τοὐμόν, ἢν ἐμοὶ πίθῃ. ‘Send me back to my house. For you will most easily bear your fate to the end and I will most easily bear mine, if you obey me.’ Tiresias’ explanation, which refers to his and Oedipus’ destinies equally, obscures the uniquely challenging nature of the latter. In his following utterances he continually returns to himself and Oedipus as a pair (324–5, 328–9), rejecting Oedipus’ attempts to make him consider the city as a whole. For διαφέρω cf. Eur. Hipp. 1143–4 δάκρυσι διοίσω πότμον ἄποτμον (‘the δια– of continuance (“right through”); she will go on grieving all her life’: Barrett), LSJ9 s.v. διαφέρω i 4.


C OMMENTARY : 322– 325

322–3 οὔτ’ ἔννομ’ εἶπας οὔτε προσφιλῆ πόλῃ | τῇδ’, ἥ σ’ ἔθρεψε, τήνδ’ ἀποστερῶν φάτιν. ‘What you have said, withholding this message, is neither within the law, nor kind to this city, which nurtured you.’ Oedipus’ cautious first criticism employs double negatives to express what Tiresias is not doing, instead of making a direct accusation of what he is; he stresses the civic interest in a response, as does Creon at Eur. Phoen. 898 φράσον πολίταις καὶ πόλῃ σωτηρίαν to a similarly reluctant Tiresias. Neuter plural ἔννομ᾿ is better balanced by L’s προσφιλῆ than by the προσφιλές of the other manuscripts; ἔννομ᾿ has itself been corrupted into the (unmetrical) singular ἔννομον in KZr, a tiny change, since –ον can be written (as in K) by a downward-slanting stroke which could have been the result of corruption from an apostrophe. The erroneous singulars might have been irrationally influenced by the proximity of τήνδ’ . . . φάτιν. Taking the neuter singulars to be original, and the plurals to be the result of corruption, requires the emendation of εἶπας to φῄς, under the assumption that the former was an intrusive gloss on the latter (47–8n.; thus Pearson (1929a) 93). But the expected gloss would be λέγεις; none of Pearson’s alleged parallels, such as Hesych. φ 43 (p. 140 H/C) φαῖεν ἄν· εἴποιεν ἄν, involve indicative verbs. εἶπας is corrupted to εἶπες, the non-Attic form, in LΛ; tragedy always uses εἶπας, and εἶπες is rare even as a minority variant (it appears elsewhere at Eur. Or. 638, 1188, 1190; cf. Diggle on Theophr. Char. 5.2, pp. 224–5). For the orthography of πόλῃ see 164/5–166n. Oedipus can qualify φάτιν with τήνδ’, even though it has not been mentioned since 310, because it has been so firmly established as the point at issue (‘the one that we are all waiting for’: Schneidewin1). ἥ σ’ ἔθρεψε then highlights the paradoxical and ungrateful nature of Tiresias’ behaviour (cf. El. 261–2 ᾗ πρῶτα μὲν τὰ μητρός, ἥ μ’ ἐγείνατο, | ἔχθιστα συμβέβηκεν with n.). 324–5 ὁρῶ γὰρ οὐδὲ σοὶ τὸ σὸν φώνημ’ ἰὸν | πρὸς καιρόν· ὡς οὖν μηδ’ ἐγὼ ταὐτὸν πάθω. ‘Yes, as I see that not even your voice is proceeding opportunely; and so I say nothing, so that I do not suffer the same thing.’ That is, ‘I do so because I see that in your case too (like any remarks that I might make) what you are saying will lead us into an unfortunate situation’ (Dawe), with γάρ referring to Oedipus’ phrase τήνδ’ ἀποστερῶν φάτιν (cf. 432–3, Denniston 80). The connexion between that phrase and these lines guarantees φώνημ᾿ over the minority variant φρόνημ᾿;3 for the corruption (assisted perhaps by the repetition of φρονεῖν in 302, 316, 317) see Aj. 1229–30n. 3

Ll-J/W claim additionally that φρόνημ᾿ was conjectured by Naber (i.e. Naber (1881) 224), but this was known as a manuscript reading at least as early as 1825 (when Dindorf published this and other readings from G).


C O M M E N T A R Y : 326– 327 Ahead of ὡς we must understand a phrase meaning ‘I say nothing’, the dominant idea of the previous sentence. Cf. Ant. 215 ὡς ἂν σκοποί νυν ἦτε τῶν εἰρημένων, where we must understand ἐπιμελεῖσθε before ὡς, and where too there is an inferential particle that in translation would most naturally accompany the verb that is understood; cf. also how ἴσθι is frequently understood before the same connecting particle (11–13n.). There is no reason to emend to ὥστ᾿ οὐ μηδ᾿ (‘as a result, I will not . . .’; coni. Dobree (pre-1825) ii 32), which in any case gives an unparalleled idiom (οὐ μηδέ, rather than οὐ μή, followed by the subjunctive). According to Wex (his edition of Antigone, ii 286–7, anticipating Wunder1 by a single year), Tiresias’ statement is interrupted by Oedipus (prob. Pearson (1929a) 93–4 and Ll-J/W, OCT text), but this would be too aggressive a response at this stage of the conversation. Oedipus in 326–7 is urgent, but still respectful, for the last time; he shows explicit anger only in 334–6. Interruption would be a particularly self-defeating course of action in the context, too. Some scholars have argued that Creon’s statement in Ant. 215, cited above, is interrupted by the chorus, who deliver the next line, but in that passage too there is no reason for such a break; we might wonder what it is about statements beginning with ὡς that apparently makes them so susceptible to interruption. According to a related hypothesis, not interruption but aposiopesis is at issue (nol. Campbell; prob. Kamerbeek, Mastronarde (1979) 72–3, Ll-J/W, So.): Tiresias’ words supposedly fade away, uncompleted, before Oedipus replies. But in general speeches in tragedy do not end in this way, and nothing in the context explains the point of such an unusual feature here. Moreover, under both the interruption and the aposiopesis hypotheses, it is not clear what Tiresias would have gone on to say other than ‘I will say nothing’ – which can already be understood before ὡς without the need for either.

326–7 μὴ πρὸς θεῶν φρονῶν γ’ ἀποστραφῇς, ἐπεὶ | πάντες σε

προσκυνοῦμεν οἵδ’ ἱκτήριοι. ‘By the gods, do not turn away when you have understanding, since all of us here prostrate ourselves as suppliants before you.’ LK rightly attribute these lines to Oedipus. a’s attribution to the chorus, though bizarre, looks like a deliberate change; perhaps the emphasis on the plurality of the suppliants, or else the selfabasement implied in προσκυνοῦμεν, was thought more appropriate to the chorus than to the king. πρὸς θεῶν marks an especially intense appeal (cf. 536, 646, 698, 1009, 1037, 1060, 1153, 1165, 1410, 1432, 1472, Aj. [1028–39n.]). For μὴ . . . ἀποστραφῇς see 430–1n. γ’ (255–8n.) ‘emphasi[ses] the


C OMMENTARY : 328– 333 enormity of Teiresias’ conduct. He knows, but he won’t tell’ (Dawe). For Greeks προσκύνησις is reserved for the gods (cf. fr. 738.2 TrGF, OC 1654–5, Ar. Plut. 771) and abstract virtues ([Aesch.] PV 936); it was barbarians who prostrated themselves before mere mortal commanders (cf. Eur. Tro. 1021, Or. 1507, Tr. Adesp. frr. 118a, 664.9 TrGF, Hdt. 1.134.1, Garvie on Aesch. Pers. 152). Using it of the mortal Tiresias is a sign of remarkable respect, and virtually equates him to the divine. For adjectives in –ήριος used as substantives see Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 1438.

328–9 πάντες γὰρ οὐ φρονεῖτ’. ἐγὼ δ’ οὐ μή ποτε | τἄμ’, ὡς ἂν εἴπω μὴ τὰ σ’, ἐκφήνω κακά. ‘Yes, because none of you has any sense. But I will never reveal my troubles, not to speak of yours.’ In 329 μή follows εἴπω instead of preceding it, and thus gives further emphasis to τὰ σ’ (similarly at El. 992–3 εἰ φρενῶν | ἐτύγχαν’ αὕτη μὴ κακῶν, Phil. 66–7 εἰ δ᾽ ἐργάσῃ | μὴ ταῦτα, OC 1365–6 εἰ δ᾽ ἐξέφυσα τάσδε μὴ ᾽μαυτῷ τροφοὺς | τὰς παῖδας, Bruhn §169.I), a phrase already emphasised by the contrast with τἄμ’. 330–1 τί φῄς; ξυνειδὼς οὐ φράσεις, ἀλλ’ ἐννοεῖς | ἡμᾶς προδοῦναι καὶ καταφθεῖραι πόλιν; ‘What are you saying? Although you know, you will not say, but you mean to betray us and to destroy the city?’ Oedipus begins to use opprobrious language to describe Tiresias’ behaviour (προδοῦναι, καταφθεῖραι, perhaps emphasised by the chiasmus), marking an increase in the tension; but he still expresses himself by means of questions, asking Tiresias if he really intends the destruction of Thebes rather than asserting outright that he is bent on it. The word order ξυνειδὼς οὐ φράσεις emphasises the participle; cf. Eur. Alc. 1107 εἰδώς τι κἀγὼ τήνδ’ ἔχω προθυμίαν. 332–3 ἐγὼ οὔτ’ ἐμαυτὸν οὔτε σ’ ἀλγυνῶ. τί ταῦτ’ | ἄλλως ἐλέγχεις; οὐ γὰρ ἂν πύθοιό μου. ‘I will not cause grief to myself or to you. Why do you pointlessly carry out this investigation? For you will not learn anything from me.’ Tiresias ignores Oedipus’ wider reference to the city and focuses instead on the two people on stage, who are imminently to come into conflict as a result of Oedipus’ ἔλεγχος (297–9n.). ἐγὼ οὔτ’ are in synizesis, with the omega and diphthong coalescing to form one long syllable (cf. Ant. 458, Méndez Dosuna (2014) 231–2). This text is found in Athenaeus 10.453e, and is also implied in rN (Bentley (pre1742) 246 writes ἐγώ ᾿υτ᾿, but this is no conjecture: Athenaeus’ text was known in his day). Most manuscripts have ἐγώ τ᾿, while KsP have ἔγωγ᾿; in each case, the particle yields neither sense nor metre, and was presumably inserted to avoid synizesis. For the order ‘me . . . you’ see 62–4n.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 334– 336 Elision at the end of a line, in tragedy found only in Sophocles (29–30n.), is elsewhere limited by him to δέ and τε. The unusual elision of ταῦτ’, combined with the synizesis and the two strong pauses across two lines (neither at line-end), might be ‘designed to express agitation’ (Jebb).

334–6 οὐκ, ὦ κακῶν κάκιστε—καὶ γὰρ ἂν πέτρου | φύσιν σύ γ’

ὀργάνειας—ἐξερεῖς ποτέ, | ἀλλ’ ὧδ’ ἄτεγκτος κἀτελεύτητος φανῇ; ‘You utter wretch – for you would enrage a very stone – will you never speak out? Will you appear thus intransigent and inconclusive?’ κακῶν κάκιστε recurs twice, both times in Sophocles, at moments of particular intensity: in Philoctetes, when Philoctetes addresses Odysseus for the first time in ten years, on learning of his plan to force him to leave Lemnos (984), and in Oedipus at Colonus, when Oedipus solemnly disavows his paternity of Polynices (1384). Its use here, at a less intrinsically fraught moment, marks the surprising ferocity of Oedipus’ rage, and the importance that he lays on the present crisis. Insults involving the vocative superlative of an adjective accompanied by the genitive plural of the same adjective recur in comedy (Ar. Pax 184 ὦ μιαρῶν μιαρώτατε, Naevius 118 Ribbeck pessimorum pessime), but the format can also be found in a complimentary context (Plaut. Capt. 836 hominum optumorum optume) and in address to the gods (Aesch. Suppl. 524–5 μακάρων | μακάρτατε, where see FJ/W, and also Jocelyn on Enn. Alex. 34, West (2007a) 112); the idiom signals passion without being limited to any one stylistic register. κάκιστε itself is high register, appearing as it does many times in tragedy, occasionally in Herodotus and Xenophon, but in comedy only once (Eubulides fr. 1.1 PCG; cf. Dickey (1996) 167). For other combinations of κακός with κάκιστος marking anger and hatred cf. Phil. 384 πρὸς τοῦ κακίστου κἀκ κακῶν Ὀδυσσέως, Eur. Andr. 590 ὦ κάκιστε κἀκ κακῶν (Peleus to Menelaus), and Men. fr. 761.6 PCG, where φθόνος is called τὸ κάκιστον τῶν κακῶν πάντων. Oedipus’ parenthetic interjection beginning καὶ γάρ (marking inductive proof: cf. Aj. 650–2n., FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 931) explains his outburst; it is not so much an apology as an acknowledgement that his words may seem excessively aggressive, and signals that the exchange has not yet reached maximum ferocity (cf. 345–6n.). A stone was proverbially unable to experience or react to emotion (cf. Hom. Od. 23.103 σοὶ δ’ αἰεὶ κραδίη στερεωτέρη ἐστὶ λίθοιο, Il. 16.34–5 γλαυκὴ δέ σε τίκτε θάλασσα | πέτραι τ’ ἠλίβατοι, ὅτι τοι νόος ἐστὶν ἀπηνής, Theogn. 568–9 ὀλέσας ψυχὴν κείσομαι ὥστε λίθος | ἄφθογγος, Eur. Med. 1279–82, Andr. 537–8, Call. [?] fr. 788 Pfeiffer, Plaut. Poen.


C OMMENTARY : 334– 336 290, Cic. Or. 1.245, Ov. Am. 3.7.57–8, Ars 1.659, Met. 6.546–7, 9.303–4, Ezekiel 11.19 ≈ 36.26, 1 Samuel 25.37, Sansone (1975a) 64–6, West (1997) 252–3, Boyle (2001) 417–27); πέτρου | φύσιν places more emphasis than would πέτρον on the rock’s fundamentally insensitive nature. ὀργαίνω recurs only at Tr. 552–3 ἀλλ’ οὐ γάρ, ὥσπερ εἶπον, ὀργαίνειν καλὸν | γυναῖκα νοῦν ἔχουσαν and Eur. Alc. 1106 χρή, σοῦ γε μὴ μέλλοντος ὀργαίνειν ἐμέ [Monk: ἐμοί codd.]; like ὁρμαίνω, it can be both intransitive and transitive. For the vocalism of ὀργάνειας (ὀργήνειας coni. Elmsley, 1805/6 edn) see Pearson (1929a) 94. According to Hertel (1856) 7, Oedipus’ parenthesis means ‘you must have a temperament of very rock’ (a translation taken from Booth (1958), who independently makes the same argument), which neatly makes Tiresias’ temperament the referent of both ὀργάνειας (335) and ὀργήν (337). But this advantage is outweighed by grave difficulties: πέτρου φύσιν is an awkward internal accusative with ὀργάνειας; the relatively mild reference to Tiresias’ stony temperament provides insufficient justification (καὶ γάρ) for the content of Oedipus’ opening outburst or for its parenthetic position immediately after the vocative; and since rock can hardly be described as ἄτεγκτος (cf. Ant. 831–831/3 τέγγει δ᾽ ὑπ᾽ ὀφρύσι παγκλαύτοις δειράδας, of the petrified Niobe; pace Su. α 4392 = i 400.16–17 Adler ἄτεγκτος . . . σκληρὸς ὢν ὡς ἡ πέτρα), Oedipus’ metaphors would become pointlessly confused. Rather, Hertel’s translation (a familiar enough metaphor) is what the audience may be expecting when they hear the reference to stone, until Sophocles surprises them by introducing the idea of anger (thus Silk (2009) 140). The pairing of alpha-privatives (252–4n.) gives rhetorical force to Oedipus’ accusations. ἄτεγκτος ‘not to be softened by water’ (cf. Arist. Mete. 385b16) takes on the metaphorical sense ‘stern, unbending’ (cf. Aesch. fr. 348 TrGF ἄτεγκτος qxq παρηγορήμασιν, Eur. Her. 833 ἀλλ’ εἶ’ ἄτεγκτον συλλαβοῦσα καρδίαν; LSJ9 s.v. list in addition Ar. Thesm. 1047b, where the word is merely an improbable conjecture), thanks to the association of τέγγω with tears (cf. Tr. 848, Ant. 530, Eur. El. 1337, Hel. 456; also 1276–7n.), the sight of which might sway someone from their course; τέγγομαι has the same meaning at Eur. Hipp. 302–3 οὔτε γὰρ τότε | λόγοις ἐτέγγεθ’ ἥδε νῦν τ’ οὐ πείθεται, [Aesch.] PV 1007–9 λέγων ἔοικα πολλὰ καὶ μάτην ἐρεῖν· | τέγγῃ γὰρ οὐδὲν οὐδὲ μαλθάσσῃ λιταῖς | ἐμαῖς, Ar. Lys. 550 χωρεῖτ’ ὀργῇ καὶ μὴ τέγγεσθε, Pl. Resp. 361c τέγγεσθαι ὑπὸ κακοδοξίας. Perhaps the association of τέγγομαι etc. with tears of compassion supported the extended sense (cf. Σ p. 181.9–10 Papageorgius). ἀτελεύτητος ‘uncompleted’ is attested at Hom. Il. 1.527, 4.175, Parmen. D–K 28 B 8.32 (i 238.1), and cf. ἀτέλευτος ‘eternal’ at Aesch.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 337– 341 Ag. 1451; the sense here must be ‘failing to achieve the τέλος that I desire’, or more loosely, ‘failing to get to the point’ by answering Oedipus’ question. κἀπαραίτητος ‘not to be deflected by entreaty’ (coni. Sehrwald (1863) 10, translated by Dawe; cf. Dawe (1999b) 418 = (2007) 267) would give unexceptional sense (if a less interesting one), but the hypothesised corruption is extreme. The Suda (α 4329 = i 400.18–19 Adler) cites this line with φανείς, not φανῇ, probably because the line is quoted in isolation and so the construction for the subjunctive would be unclear.

337–8 ὀργὴν ἐμέμψω τὴν ἐμήν, τὴν σὴν δ’ ὁμοῦ | ναίουσαν οὐ κατεῖδες,

ἀλλ’ ἐμὲ ψέγεις. ‘You blame my temperament, when you do not see the one which dwells with you, but rather you reproach me.’ Tiresias attacks Oedipus by exploiting the proverbial idea that others’ faults are more apparent than one’s own (cf. Cat. 22.20–1). ὀργήν ‘refer[s] really to ἄτεγκτος, whilst echoing the sound of ὀργάνειας’ (Campbell); it may have appeared as ὁρμήν in Lac, by a common corruption (El. 1011n.) perhaps assisted by unfamiliarity with the unusual sense. ἐμέμψω is an ‘instantaneous’ aorist referring to what the speaker has just said, where English uses a present (Aj. 99n.). ‘Dwelling with’ an abstract noun is a familiar tragic image (302–4n.), which here looks forward to the all too real cohabitation with his mother that turns out to be Oedipus’ ruin (413–14). But Eustathius (Il. Comm. 755.14–17 = ii 725.17–24 Van der Valk) can hardly be right to see a direct reference to Jocasta in τὴν σήν, since the referent of that phrase, ὀργήν, is unambiguous; Tiresias is not yet at the stage of giving Oedipus any information, however veiled, about the truth.

339–40 τίς γὰρ τοιαῦτ’ ἂν οὐκ ἂν ὀργίζοιτ’ ἔπη | κλύων, ἃ νῦν σὺ τήνδ’ ἀτιμάζεις πόλιν; ‘Yes, because who would not become angry while hearing such words, with which you now dishonour the city?’ Oedipus takes Tiresias’ reference to his temperament as a criticism of his anger, a shift assisted by the semantic breadth of ὀργή, which can have both meanings. For repeated ἄν see 76–7n. The present participle κλύων implies that the person’s anger grows as he listens; κλυών would emphasise that the listening came before the anger, which is less attractive. ἀτιμάζεις governs a double accusative, of the insults uttered (by a cognate accusative) and of the target of those insults (cf. Aj. 1107–8n., FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 230–1). 341 ἥξει γὰρ αὐτά, κἂν ἐγὼ σιγῇ στέγω. ‘They will come of their own accord, even if I cover them in silence.’ γάρ implies ‘I will not speak, because . . .’ ἥξει has as its subject the events that Tiresias’ ἔπη would have described had he chosen to speak (thus Dawe); the vagueness adds


C OMMENTARY : 342– 346 to the menace (cf. Budelmann (2000) 55–7), as does the virtual personification of these events by αὐτά (for the sense see Aj. 1099n., A/O on Ar. Thesm. 66; for figurative στέγω cf. fr. 679 TrGF, Diggle (1981a) 73–4). The subject cannot be the last-mentioned neuter plural, ἔπη, since Tiresias says that ‘they’ will be unaffected by his silence, nor κακά in 329, which gives appropriate sense but is too distant to be the referent.

342 οὔκουν ἅ γ’ ἥξει καὶ σὲ χρὴ λέγειν ἐμοί; ‘Ought you not actually to

tell me what is going to come?’ οὔκουν, introducing a lively, indeed here aggressive, question (cf. 440, 581, 676, 973, Denniston 431), is owed to Van Herwerden (text) for manuscript οὐκοῦν, a frequently required reinterpretation of the paradosis; the same error has occurred in at least some manuscripts at 581, Aj. 79, 1051, Tr. 419, Ant. 817, El. 795, OC 897. γε is emphatic (cf. Phil. 559 φράσον δ’ ἅπερ γ’ ἔλεξας, Eur. El. 910, Ion 942, Denniston 123–4) rather than limiting; not ‘those things, at least’ but ‘those very things that you mentioned’. The emphasis in καί falls on λέγειν (since they are going to happen, Tiresias should tell Oedipus about them).

343–4 οὐκ ἂν πέρα φράσαιμι. πρὸς τάδ’, εἰ θέλεις, | θυμοῦ δι’ ὀργῆς ἥτις ἀγριωτάτη. ‘I will speak no further. In the face of that, if you want to, rage with the anger that is fiercest.’ Just as a positive first-person optative with ἄν can denote that the speaker is going to do something that someone else desires (95n.), so too the same construction with a negative can denote that the speaker is refusing to follow a course of action urged by another person (cf. Phil. 1302 οὐκ ἂν μεθείην, OC 45 οὐχ ἕδρας γε τῆσδ᾽ ἂν ἐξέλθοιμ’ ἔτι, Eur. Phoen. 925–6, R. Lattimore (1979) 212). πρὸς τάδ’ (parallels at Diggle (1981a) 38, Headlam on Herod. 7.92) has a menacing tone, as often with πρὸς ταῦτα (cf. 426, Barrett on Eur. Hipp. 304–5, Aj. 971n.). εἰ θέλεις shows an ‘ironical courtesy’ (El. 585n.; cf. Headlam, ibid., Collard (2005a) 375), signalling Tiresias’ lack of concern for Oedipus’ anger. For modal διά in δι’ ὀργῆς cf. 807, Moorhouse 102–3, Aj. 821–2n. Tiresias’ idiom with the superlative is unusually emphatic; cf. Aesch. Sept. 65, IG i 3 40.27–9 (Athens, 446/5) ξύμμαχος ἔσομαι οἷος ἂν δύνωμαι ἄριστος καὶ δικαιότατος, Hom. Il. 17. 61–2, Hdt. 7.223.4, Lys. 19.32, Cic. Pis. 50 poenas . . . eas quae gravissimae sunt, Thesleff (1954) 161–2. 345–6 καὶ μὴν παρήσω γ’ οὐδέν, ὡς ὀργῆς ἔχω, | ἅπερ ξυνίημ’. ‘Well,

I will leave out nothing – such is my anger – of what I understand’. For the idea cf. Phil. 374–5 κἀγὼ χολωθεὶς εὐθὺς ἤρασσον κακοῖς | τοῖς πᾶσιν, οὐδὲν ἐνδεὲς ποιούμενος. As before (334–6n.), Oedipus justifies his actions in an exclamation or parenthesis by referring to his rage; but


C O M M E N T A R Y : 346– 349 whereas before he sounded defensive, now he expresses the extent of his passion without apology. By means of καὶ μήν ‘a person who has been invited to speak expresses by the particles his acceptance of the invitation’ (Denniston 355; according to Van Erp Taalman Kip (2009) 124–5 the combination here ‘corrects or eliminates the previous statement or its implications’ [Kip quotes Wakker (1997) 229, who however does not refer to our passage], but Oedipus, so far from correcting Tiresias, is accepting his challenge). For causal exclamatory ὡς cf. the equivalent use of other particles at 946–7, 1442–3, Eur. Hel. 74–5 θεοί σ’, ὅσον μίμημ’ ἔχεις | Ἑλένης, ἀποπτύσειαν, Barrett on Eur. Hipp. 877–80; for ὀργῆς ἔχω cf. Eur. Hel. 313 πῶς δ’ εὐμενείας . . . ἔχεις;, Diggle (1981a) 35, S–D ii 132, Moorhouse 74. ἔχω has become ἔχων in a few less reliable manuscripts thanks to failure to understand the parenthesis. The antecedent to ἅπερ, namely ἐκείνων, is omitted, and the relative is not attracted into what would have been its case; cf. Tr. 350 ἃ μὲν γὰρ ἐξείρηκας ἀγνοία μ᾽ ἔχει, Eur. Med. 752–3 ὄμνυμι . . . ἐμμενεῖν ἅ σου κλύω, parallels which render ὧνπερ (coni. Blaydes1, notes) unnecessary. ξυνίημι ‘suits the intellectual pride of Oedipus: he does not say “think” or “suspect”’ (Jebb).

346–9 ἴσθι γὰρ δοκῶν ἐμοὶ | καὶ ξυμφυτεῦσαι τοὔργον εἰργάσθαι θ’, ὅσον | μὴ χερσὶ καίνων· εἰ δ’ ἐτύγχανες βλέπων, | καὶ τοὔργον ἂν σοῦ τοῦτ’ ἔφην εἶναι μόνου. ‘Know that you seem to me to have actually plotted the deed and carried it out, except that you did not commit the actual murder; and if you happened to have sight, I would have said that this deed too was yours alone.’ For γάρ after an expression denoting the giving of information see 276–8n. καί emphasises the whole phrase ξυμφυτεῦσαι τοὔργον εἰργάσθαι θ’ (‘actually plotted-the-deed-andcarried-it-out’); it cannot correspond with θ᾿. The latter is in a, with δ᾿ in L (for the corruption cf. 510/11), but continuative δέ cannot connect individual words; two parallels tentatively alleged by Denniston 162 n. 3 to claim that it could, Aesch. Suppl. 287, Eur. Her. 1098, each formerly relied on a single mediaeval manuscript, since when an early Ptolemaic manuscript has been discovered for the Heracles passage with τε instead of δέ. The preverb in ξυμφυτεῦσαι is also felt in εἰργάσθαι (cf. 133–4n., Ant. 537 καὶ ξυμμετίσχω καὶ φέρω τῆς αἰτίας, Willink on Eur. Or. 1089–90); for φυτεύω with an evil as its object cf. 873/4, Aj. 953 Παλλὰς φυτεύει πῆμ’, Hom. Od. 2.165 φόνον καὶ κῆρα φυτεύει, Eleg. Adesp. fr. 61.4 IEG (i.e. Archilochus: see W. Henry (1998)) πῆμ᾿ ἐφύτ ̣[ευσε, LSJ9 s.v. i 3. For limiting ὅσον μή cf. Tr. 1213–14 (Hyllus to Heracles, after saying that he will carry out his wishes) ὅσον γ᾽ ἂν αὐτὸς μὴ ποτιψαύων χεροῖν· |


C OMMENTARY : 350– 353 τὰ δ᾽ ἄλλα πράξω, Thuc. 1.111.1 τῆς μὲν γῆς ἐκράτουν ὅσα μὴ προϊόντες πολὺ ἐκ τῶν ὅπλων, 4.16.1 φυλάσσειν δὲ καὶ τὴν νῆσον Ἀθηναίους μηδὲν ἧσσον, ὅσα μὴ ἀποβαίνοντας, [Pl.] Ep. 6.322e ταύτην δ’ αὖ τὴν δύναμιν Ἑρμείας μοι φαίνεται φύσει τε, ὅσα μήπω συγγεγονότι, καὶ τέχνῃ δι’ ἐμπειρίας εἰληφέναι, possibly Ar. Av. 150–1 (see Dunbar), K–G ii 184. καίνω is not attested before tragedy, and scarcely outside it. εἶναι has dropped out in LacΛ, which led Schneidewin1 to suggest μόνου βροτῶν, presumably positing that εἶναι was an intrusive gloss (47–8n.); but βροτῶν hardly fits the sense (contrast 297–9n.). μόνου has become μόνον in a few manuscripts thanks to inattentive scribes taking it with τοὔργον.

350–3 ἄληθες; ἐννέπω σὲ τῷ κηρύγματι | ᾧπερ προεῖπας ἐμμένειν, κἀφ’ ἡμέρας | τῆς νῦν προσαυδᾶν μήτε τούσδε μήτ’ ἐμέ, | ὡς ὄντι γῆς τῆσδ’ ἀνοσίῳ μιάστορι. ‘Really? I tell you to abide by the proclamation that you have made, and from this day to address neither these people nor me, since it is you who are the unholy polluter of this land.’ Tiresias maintains the initiative, countering Oedipus’ accusation with one of his own. ἄληθες;, perhaps an abbreviation (with changed accent) of phrases like El. 1046 καὶ τοῦτ’ ἀληθές;, recurs in tragedy only at Ant. 758 (Creon’s angry reply to Haemon) and Eur. fr. 885 TrGF (addressee probably Achilles; context unknown), in satyr-play at Eur. Cycl. 241, and frequently in comedy (cf. Ar. Av. 174 with Dunbar); the tone is furious, the register colloquial (cf. Collard (2005a) 361). ἐννέπω σέ is solemn (cf. Eur. Ion 1282 ἀπεννέπω σε μὴ κατακτείνειν ἐμέ) and imperious (cf. Aj. 1047 σὲ φωνῶ τόνδε τὸν νεκρὸν χεροῖν | μὴ συγκομίζειν). Then προεῖπας (‘proclaim’) is owed to Reiske (1753) 21; transmitted προσ– (‘address’) results from a frequent confusion (cf. 1446, Aj. 831, El. 1193n., Barrett on Eur. Hipp. 493–7), assisted here by προσαυδᾶν in the following line. For τῷ κηρύγματι . . . ἐμμένειν cf. Lys. 25.28 τοῖς ὅρκοις καὶ ταῖς συνθήκαις ἐμμένειν, Thuc. 4.19.3. μιάστωρ, with its emphasis on pollution as a consequence of homicide (96–8n.; cf. Phot. μ 441 = ii 570 Theodoridis), is saved for the last word, as often with the associated term Ἐρινύς (El. 491n.); for the accompanying genitive cf. Eur. Or. 1584 τὴν Ἑλλάδος μιάστορ’ εἰς Ἅιδου βαλεῖν, Tichy (1977) 170. Theoretically the phrase in the dative is in apposition to the accusative σέ; Sophocles exploits the flexibility sometimes found in impersonal and related expressions (cf. Eur. Med. 57–8 ἵμερός μ’ ὑπῆλθε γῇ τε κοὐρανῷ | λέξαι μολούσῃ δεῦρο δεσποίνης τύχας, IA 491–2 ἄλλως τέ μ’ ἔλεος τῆς ταλαιπώρου κόρης | ἐσῆλθε, συγγένειαν ἐννοουμένῳ, Hom. Od. 17.554–5 μεταλλῆσαί τί ἑ θυμὸς | ἀμφὶ πόσει κέλεται, καὶ κήδεά περ πεπαθυίῃ, S. El. 478–80n.) to shift


C O M M E N T A R Y : 354– 360 from accusative to dative (ἐννέπω can govern both), thus ensuring that no listener could possibly construe this phrase with the intervening ἐμέ.

354–5 οὕτως ἀναιδῶς ἐξεκίνησας τόδε | τὸ ῥῆμα; καὶ ποῦ τοῦτο φεύξεσθαι

δοκεῖς; ‘Have you so shamelessly started up this story? And how do you think that you’re going to escape that?’ (cf. Lloyd-Jones). κινέω can take as its object words painful or tedious to relate (cf. Eur. El. 302 ἐπεὶ δὲ κινεῖς μῦθον, where Electra reluctantly describes her sufferings, and Pl. Resp. 450a ὅσον λόγον πάλιν, ὥσπερ ἐξ ἀρχῆς, κινεῖτε περὶ τῆς πολιτείας, where Socrates reluctantly agrees to a request from his interlocutors) or which the speaker actively believes should remain secret and unspoken (cf. Ant. 1060 ὄρσεις με τἀκίνητα διὰ φρενῶν φράσαι, OC 624, 1526–7); here Oedipus’ outrage at Tiresias’ words springs from his belief that they are so obviously false (cf. Ar. Nub. 1397 ὦ καινῶν ἐπῶν κινητὰ καὶ μοχλευτά, of Phidippides). καί marks indignation (Denniston 311). ποῦ is a spirited, incredulous equivalent to πῶς (cf. 390, Aj. 1100–1n.), just as at 448 οὐκ ἔσθ’ ὅπου stands for οὐκ ἔσθ’ ὅπως (cf. Aj. 1069–70, Wilamowitz on Eur. Her. 186); Brunck1 (text) writes που, which gives the weak sense ‘And you think, I suppose, that . . .?’ τοῦτο refers not to the action mentioned in the previous sentence, but to the consequences of that action (El. 626–7n.).

356 πέφευγα· τἀληθὲς γὰρ ἰσχῦον τρέφω. ‘I have escaped it; for

I nourish the strength of truth.’ For τἀληθὲς . . . ἰσχῦον cf. fr. 955 TrGF τἀληθὲς ἀεὶ πλεῖστον ἰσχύει λόγου, Dem. 19.208 τἀληθὲς ἰσχυρόν, καὶ τοὐναντίον ἀσθενές, Aeschin. 1.84 οὕτως ἰσχυρόν ἐστιν ἡ ἀλήθεια ὥστε πάντων ἐπικρατεῖ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων λογισμῶν, Dinarch. 1.53, 54, Men. fr. 728 PCG; the weakly attested variant ἰσχυρόν shows corruption to a commoner word.

357 πρὸς τοῦ διδαχθείς; οὐ γὰρ ἔκ γε τῆς τέχνης. ‘Taught by whom? Not by your art, at any rate.’ Oedipus quickly assumes that somebody else put Tiresias up to this; it will not be long before he works out who (378). For limitative γε in a similar expression cf. 361; for τέχνη of prophetic skill cf. 389, 562, El. 1500.

358 πρὸς σοῦ· σὺ γάρ μ’ ἄκοντα προὐτρέψω λέγειν. ‘By you. For you made me speak although I was unwilling.’ 359 ποῖον λόγον; λέγ’ αὖθις, ὡς μᾶλλον μάθω. ‘Speak what? Tell me again, so I can learn once more.’ 360 οὐχὶ ξυνῆκας πρόσθεν; ἢ ’κπειρᾷ †λέγειν†; ‘Did you not understand before? Or are you trying . . . ?’ For Tiresias’ annoyance at having to repeat himself cf. Phil. 1238 δὶς ταὐτὰ βούλῃ καὶ τρὶς ἀναπολεῖν μ᾽ ἔπη;,


C O M M E N T A R Y : 361 also from stichomythia. ξυνῆκας has a variant συν– in L (31–4n.). The transmitted text of the second question means ‘Or are you trying to speak?’, which does not make sense. ἢ ’κπειρᾷ looks sound: Oedipus has asked Tiresias either because he failed to understand something before, or because he is attempting some particular purpose now. (Incidentally, this suggests that Ll-J/W (OCT text) are wrong to replace ἤ with ἦ, which would make the two questions essentially parallel, whereas the sense, despite the corruption, suggests that the disjunctive is in place.) The verb could mean ‘make trial of, test’ someone or something (cf. Ar. Eq. 1234 καί σου τοσοῦτο πρῶτον ἐκπειράσομαι, Hdt. 3.135.3 Δημοκήδης δὲ δείσας μή εὑ ἐκπειρῷτο Δαρεῖος, Eur. Suppl. 1089–90 εἰ δ’ ἐς τόδ’ ἦλθον κἀξεπειράθην †τέκνων† [πάθους coni. Diggle (1973) 265–9 = (1994) 85–8] | οἷον στέρεσθαι πατέρα γίγνεται τέκνων, Men. Epitr. 950 τί φῄς, Ὀν[ήσιμ’], ἐξεπειράθη[τέ μου; [suppl. Jensen; see Furley], [Pl.] Ep. 13.362e; also πειράω in this sense, as at e.g. Hom. Il. 24.390, 433 πειρᾷ ἐμεῖο γεραιέ) or ‘try’ to do something (not attested for ἐκπειράω, but for πειράω cf. 399, OC 774 πειρᾷ μετασπᾶν). The problem lies in λέγειν. The variant λόγων (Ls, coni. Brunck1, text) gives unsatisfactory sense (‘pick holes in my speech’, according to Pearson (1929a) 94, but it is doubtful whether it could mean even that). Campbell, believing, probably wrongly, that L originally had λέγοι (cf. PS), prefers λόγῳ, but the sense is weak (he compares OC 369 λόγῳ σκοποῦσι τὴν πάλαι γένους φθοράν, where the dative powerfully contributes to the meaning). λέγων (coni. B. Heath (1762) 29) is adopted by Jebb, who translates ‘or (while you do understand my meaning already) are you merely trying by your talk to provoke a still fuller statement of it?’; but this assigns an unusual and obscure meaning to ’κπειρᾷ, and λέγων ‘by speaking’ is rather weak. Probably (as Ll-J/W, So. argue) λέγειν has intruded from the end of 358 and displaced some other word or phrase, which therefore does not need to have any palaeographical similarity to the paradosis. If ’κπειρᾷ means ‘make trial of’ (the more vigorous and more attractive sense) we need a genitive (e.g. σύ μου ‘are you making trial of me?’, coni. S. J. Harrison ap. Ll-J/W, So.); if it means ‘try’ we need an infinitive (e.g. μ᾿ ἑλεῖν ‘are you trying to trap me?’, coni. Arndt (1862) 18).

361 οὐχ ὥστε γ’ εἰπεῖν γνωτόν· ἀλλ’ αὖθις φράσον. ‘Not so that I could

say that I knew; come, say it again.’ Oedipus replies to the first of Tiresias’ questions, thereby answering the second by implication (cf. Eur. IT 1164–5, Mastronarde (1979) 40); the tone is sarcastic, since Oedipus has most certainly grasped, and rejected, the charge laid against him. οὐχ ὥστε γε, with limitative γε (357n.), introduces a reply elsewhere at 1131; in other instances of ὥστε . . . γε in replies


C O M M E N T A R Y : 362– 367 the particle is emphatic (cf. Aesch. Ag. 541, Denniston 134). γνωτόν is in Livineii ‘V’ (probably a Vatican manuscript: Aj. 31–3n.); most manuscripts have γνωστόν, but for the likely Sophoclean orthography see 58–9n.

362 φονέα σέ φημι τἀνδρὸς οὗ ζητεῖς κυρεῖν. ‘I say that you are the killer

of the man whose killer you are seeking.’ After οὗ we must understand φονέα; the syntax is compressed, but the prominence of φονέα at the start of the line, coupled with the audience’s previous knowledge of Tiresias’ charge, makes the sense comprehensible. Contrast the interpretation of Carawan (1999) 212–15, who takes φονέα to mean ‘as guilty as the killer’; he is forced to adopt this curiously counterintuitive sense because he believes that Oedipus’ proclamation was targeted at the concealer of the killer rather than at the killer himself (236–40n.).

363 ἀλλ’ οὔ τι χαίρων δίς γε πημονὰς ἐρεῖς. ‘Well, you won’t speak insults a second time and get away with it.’ Oedipus is both unfair (Tiresias repeated himself only because Oedipus asked) and illogical (Tiresias has already spoken his ‘insult’ a second time); the former reflects his anger, but the latter seems idiomatic in this type of expression (cf. Barrett on Eur. Hipp. 1416–22, and several of the passages cited next sentence), perhaps because of the emphasis on the future misfortune of the speaker. For ἀλλ’ οὔ τι χαίρων in vigorous threats cf. Phil. 1299 (just before he attempts to shoot Odysseus), Ant. 758–9, Ar. Ran. 843 ἀλλ’ οὔ τι χαίρων αὔτ’ ἐρεῖς, Thesm. 718/19, Hdt. 3.29.2 ἀτάρ τοι ὑμεῖς γε οὐ χαίροντες γέλωτα ἐμὲ θήσεσθε, Olson on Ar. Ach. 562–3, B/O on Vesp. 186, Fraenkel ap. Collard (2005a) 366–7 (citing Hom. Il. 20.362–3 ἀλλὰ μάλα στιχὸς εἶμι διαμπερές, οὐδέ τιν’ οἴω | Τρώων χαιρήσειν, ὅς τις σχεδὸν ἔγχεος ἔλθῃ as a possible early form of the expression); related participial constructions include κλαίων (401–3n.) and γεγηθώς (368). The same ironical understatement (accentuated in many of the threats above by τι) occurs in nonminatory contexts at Hom. Od. 4.93 ὣς οὔ τοι χαίρων τοῖσδε κτεάτεσσιν ἀνάσσω, Hes. Op. 481 οὐ μάλα χαίρων.

364 εἴπω τι δῆτα κἄλλ’, ἵν’ ὀργίζῃ πλέον; ‘Shall I say anything else, then, so that you can get angrier?’ For εἴπω τι (perhaps colloquial) cf. Ar. Ran. 1 εἴπω τι τῶν εἰωθότων . . .;, Collard (2005a) 375. 365 ὅσον γε χρῄζεις· ὡς μάτην εἰρήσεται. ‘As much as you like, as it will

be spoken in vain.’ For γε ‘in affirmative answers . . . adding something to the bare affirmation’ cf. 563, 1011, 1175, Denniston 133–4.

366–7 λεληθέναι σέ φημι σὺν τοῖς φιλτάτοις | αἴσχισθ’ ὁμιλοῦντ’, οὐδ’ ὁρᾶν ἵν’ εἶ κακοῦ. ‘I say that you are unknowingly associating most


C OMMENTARY : 368– 371 shamefully with those closest to you, and do not see in what a disaster you are.’ Tiresias’ second accusation, unlike his first, is delivered with mantic vagueness; the audience will understand, but there is no way that Oedipus can. Plural τοῖς φιλτάτοις stands for the singular, in a reference for Jocasta; this standard poetic idiom, without further context, only makes Tiresias’ statement more puzzling. ὁμιλέω assists the confusion, since this verb may have a sexual sense (cf. 1185), but need not (El. 418n.); τοῖς φιλτάτοις perhaps gives it a steer in that direction, but no more. The seer also emphasises that Oedipus’ offence is unintentional, but this does not so much mitigate as emphasise the weakness of the foundations for the king’s confidence. For the partitive genitive ἵν’ εἶ κακοῦ cf. 413, 1442–3, El. 935–6 οὐκ εἰδυῖ’ ἄρα | ἵν’ ἦμεν ἄτης (n.). ὁρᾶν in such an expression would normally be an unexceptional metaphor, but it is more striking here given that the speaker (but not his addressee) is blind; Oedipus will soon turn the idiom into a more straightforward insult (370–1n.).

368 ἦ καὶ γεγηθὼς ταῦτ’ ἀεὶ λέξειν δοκεῖς; ‘Do you think that you will keep saying this and actually enjoy it?’ ἦ καί introduces an excited, emotional question; cf. 757, 1045, El. 663, 1452, Aj. 38n., Denniston 285. For the construction with γεγηθώς (not elsewhere found with this participle) see 363n. Instead of ταῦτ᾿ Schneidewin1 writes ταὔτ᾿, which gives the wrong emphasis, as if Oedipus were annoyed by the mere fact of repetition rather than the contents of what was being said; moreover, Tiresias’ last statement did introduce fresh information, even if it was equally offensive to his hearer. ἀεί is a step further on from δίς (363). For δοκεῖς imputing to another a view considered ridiculous by the speaker cf. Eur. Hipp. 958 τοῦτό σ’ ἐκσώσειν δοκεῖς;, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 913. 369 εἴπερ τί γ’ ἐστὶ τῆς ἀληθείας σθένος. ‘Yes, if there is any strength in the truth.’ Cf. 356n.

370–1 ἀλλ’ ἔστι, πλὴν σοί· σοὶ δὲ τοῦτ’ οὐκ ἔστ’, ἐπεὶ | τυφλὸς τά τ’ ὦτα τόν τε νοῦν τά τ’ ὄμματ’ εἶ. ‘But there is, except for you. For you this is not so, since you are blind in your ears, in your mind, and in your eyes’. Tiresias previously accused Oedipus of failure to see the extent of his misfortune (366–7); Oedipus counters by attributing outright blindness to Tiresias, referring to his literal disability as well as to figurative blindness in his ears and mind, implying inability to listen or understand. The notion that the mind could see was a familiar enough metaphor (cf. Eur. Hel. 122 αὐτὸς γὰρ ὄσσοις εἰδόμην, καὶ νοῦς ὁρᾷ [del. Ribbeck, Diggle], Tro. 988 ὁ σὸς δ’ ἰδών νιν νοῦς ἐποιήθη Κύπρις, Eur. [?] fr. 545a.12 TrGF οὐ γὰρ ὀφθαλμὸς τὸ κρίνειν ἐστίν, ἀλλὰ νοῦς


C O M M E N T A R Y : 372– 375 [text awry, but sense clear; see Stephanopoulos (2012) 108–9], Critias TrGF 43 F 19.18 νόῳ τ’ ἀκούων καὶ βλέπων, Epicharmus fr. 214 PCG νοῦς ὁρῇ καὶ νοῦς ἀκούει· τἆλλα κωφὰ καὶ τυφλά, Philemon fr. 138 PCG ἐπὰν ὁ νοῦς ᾖ μὴ καθεστηκώς τινι, | οὐκ ἔστ’ ἀκούειν οὐθὲν αὐτὸν οὐδ’ ὁρᾶν, Pl. Resp. 506c ἢ δοκοῦσί τί σοι τυφλῶν διαφέρειν ὁδὸν ὀρθῶς πορευομένων οἱ ἄνευ νοῦ ἀληθές τι δοξάζοντες;), and more generally, seeing could be equated to knowing (302–4n.). Predicating sight of the ears would be remarkable in isolation, but the idea is eased by the inclusion of the ears alongside the mind and eyes in a comprehensible trio (cf. Xenoph. D–K 21 F 24 = i 135.7 οὖλος ὁρᾷ, οὖλος δὲ νοεῖ, οὖλος δέ τ’ ἀκούει and, for this combination more generally, Theogn. 1163–4 ὀφθαλμοὶ καὶ γλῶσσα καὶ οὔατα καὶ νόος ἀνδρῶν | ἐν μέσσῳ στηθέων ἐν συνετοῖς φύεται, and in general R. Griffith (1998) 235–6); note also the predication of the mind with hearing in some of the passages just cited. Oedipus’ insult is as it were facilitated by the synaesthetic tendency of Greek (and other languages) to assimilate the different senses, so that incapacity in one might imply incapacity in others. For ἀλλά ‘introduc[ing] the substantiation by the second speaker of an hypothesis . . . expressed by the first . . . [when] a word from the hypothetical clause is echoed . . . in the ἀλλά clause’ (in this case, ἔστι) cf. El. 1203–4 (Ορ.) ἐγὼ φράσαιμ’ ἄν, εἰ τὸ τῶνδ’ εὔνουν πάρα. | (Ηλ.) ἀλλ’ ἐστὶν εὔνουν, Denniston 20; also 769–70n. The repetition of the same idea in ἀλλ’ ἔστι, πλὴν σοί and σοὶ δὲ τοῦτ’ οὐκ ἔστ’, with the same pronoun at the end of one sentence and then at the start of the next, is emphatically antagonistic; cf. Phil. 1052–3 νικᾶν γε μέντοι πανταχοῦ χρῄζων ἔφυν, | πλὴν ἐς σέ· νῦν δὲ σοί γ᾽ ἑκὼν ἐκστήσομαι, OC 787 οὐκ ἔστι σοι ταῦτ᾽, ἀλλά σοι τάδ᾽ ἔστ᾽, and (in a less animated context) Xen. An. 1.8.6 ὡπλισμένοι . . . πάντες πλὴν Κύρου· Κῦρος δὲ ψιλὴν ἔχων τὴν κεφαλὴν κτλ. The extreme alliteration of tau in 371 is likely to be expressive (cf. 1340/1–1346n. and, on velars, 1260–2n., and on labials, El. 210n.), even if the significance of the phenomenon elsewhere cannot always be discerned (Aj. 527–8n.); see further R. Rutherford (2012) 113–18.

372–3 σὺ δ’ ἄθλιός γε ταῦτ’ ὀνειδίζων, ἃ σοὶ | οὐδεὶς ὃς οὐχὶ τῶνδ’ ὀνειδιεῖ τάχα. ‘You are wretched indeed in making these insults, when there is nobody who will not soon be casting them against you.’ For δὲ . . . γε in a retort cf. 570n., 1030, Denniston 153. For the double negative indicating universality cf. Aj. 724–5 εἶτ᾿ ὀνείδεσιν | ἤρασσον ἔνθεν κἄνθεν, οὔτις ἔσθ᾿ ὃς οὔ with n. 374–5 μιᾶς τρέφῃ πρὸς νυκτός, ὥστε μήτ’ ἐμὲ | μήτ’ ἄλλον, ὅστις φῶς ὁρᾷ, βλάψαι ποτ’ ἄν. ‘You are nourished by a single night, so that you could


C OMMENTARY : 376– 377 never harm either me or anyone else who sees the light.’ Oedipus’ opening insult is powerfully poetic rather than colloquial; the tone of the exchange remains varied and unpredictable. Tiresias’ night is ‘single’ because it is unchanging, unbroken; cf. Virg. Aen. 6.268 ibant obscuri sola sub nocte per umbram and (JD) Cat. 5.6 nox est perpetua una dormienda. For τρέφω predicated of a non-personal or abstract subject cf. fr. 583.5 TrGF τερπνῶς γὰρ ἀεὶ παῖδας ἁνοία τρέφει, Eur. Hipp. 367 ὦ πόνοι τρέφοντες βροτούς, LSJ9 s.v. A ii 6; but the phrase also suggests actual parenthood, associating Tiresias with the various unpleasant figures elsewhere called the children of Night, including Death, the Kêres, and Nemesis (Hes. Th. 211–25, 758–9), the Erinyes (Aesch. Eum. 321–2, 1034), and nightmares (Ar. Ran. 1331–7). Equating seeing with living is a frequent poetic cliché (Aj. 962–3n., Garvie on Aesch. Pers. 296–9), but here Oedipus uses the phrase ὅστις φῶς ὁρᾷ in a literal sense too, as if Tiresias’ blindness made him part of a separate and inferior non-sighted class. βλάψαι has a surprisingly well attested variant βλέψαι; ‘in view of the dominant imagery of blindness and sight, it is easy to see how the error βλέψαι could creep in’ (Buxton (1980) 24n. 5 = (2013) 177 n. 5).

376–7 οὐ γάρ σε μοῖρα πρός γ’ ἐμοῦ πεσεῖν, ἐπεὶ | ἱκανὸς Ἀπόλλων, ᾧ τάδ’ ἐκπρᾶξαι μέλει. ‘Indeed, since it is not fated that you should fall by my hand, since Apollo is sufficient, whose business it is to bring that to its conclusion.’ Tiresias meets Oedipus’ insult with an ominous prophecy, which provides key evidence for Apollo’s active involvement in Oedipus’ downfall (see Introduction, pp. 74–6), something that Oedipus will himself later acknowledge (1329–1330/1). σε . . . γ᾿ ἐμοῦ (coni. Brunck1, text) is superior to the reading of the manuscripts (including Π3) με . . . γε σοῦ (‘it is not fated that I should fall by your hand’), for two reasons. First, the question at issue is who can harm Oedipus (cf. 374–5, 379), not Tiresias (contrast 448, where, as Pearson (1929a) 94 points out, ‘the situation has changed’). Second, the implied hostility of Apollo and the momentous unclarity of ᾧ τάδ’ ἐκπρᾶξαι μέλει suits a reference to Oedipus’ fate (cf. 1329–1330/1), whereas for Tiresias to prophesy his own coming destruction by Apollo would only undermine his status as the god’s prophet. The posited corruption is tiny (the exchange of two letters, or the confusion of two pronouns), and the ancient manuscript in question is far from a reliable source (cf. 375, 385). For ἱκανός cf. Hdt. 8.36.1 ὁ δὲ θεός σφεα οὐκ ἔα κινέειν, φὰς αὐτὸς ἱκανὸς εἶναι τῶν ἑωυτοῦ προκατῆσθαι (Apollo to the Delphians, when they consulted him on whether to move the treasures from his shrine in the face of the Persian invasion).


C O M M E N T A R Y : 378– 403

378 Κρέοντος, ἢ τοῦ ταῦτα τἀξευρήματα; ‘Did these discoveries come from Creon, or from whom?’ Tiresias’ riddling statement is countered by Oedipus with a direct accusation (357n.); his words, Oedipus implies, result not from mantic discovery (ἐξευρήματα is sarcastic) but from human intrigue. τοῦ is only in an ancient manuscript (both as the original text before correction, and as a variant inserted above the line after the correction); the mediaeval tradition, and the ancient manuscript after correction, have σοῦ. The former connects better with Tiresias’ response in 379 (cf. Finglass (2013a) 37). If Oedipus had asked ‘Did these discoveries come from Creon, or from you?’, it would be strange for Tiresias to deny Creon’s guilt so emphatically, and to say nothing about the allegation against himself. Moreover, if we read σοῦ Oedipus is not fully committed to the hypothesis that Tiresias has been suborned, since it leaves open the possibility that he came up with the accusation against Oedipus of his own accord. τοῦ, by contrast, is consistent with Oedipus’ previously expressed view that Tiresias’ words must have come from someone else (357); the only issue still in doubt is who that was. The use of an alternative question where one of the alternatives is specific, the other general, is paralleled by OC 588 πότερα τὰ τῶν σῶν ἐκγόνων ἢ τοῦ [Bake: ἢ ’μοῦ codd.] λέγεις;, Eur. Andr. 1060 σὺν πατρὶ δ’ οἴκους ἢ τίνος λείπει μέτα;, Suppl. 125 ξύμβουλον οὖν μ’ ἐπῆλθες; ἢ τίνος χάριν;. Ion 310 ἀνάθημα πόλεως ἤ τινος πραθεὶς ὕπο;, [Eur.] Rhes. 704 ἆρ’ ἔστ’ Ὀδυσσέως τοὔργον ἢ τίνος τόδε;, Pl. Resp. 531d τοῦ προοιμίου, ἦν δ’ ἐγώ, ἢ τίνος λέγεις; The textual error involves the corruption of a single letter, perhaps thanks to a deliberate change by someone who thought that the opposition ought to be between Creon and Tiresias.

379 Κρέων δέ σοι πῆμ’ οὐδέν, ἀλλ’ αὐτὸς σὺ σοί. ‘Creon is no bane to you, but you are, to yourself.’ In place of δέ Brunck1 (text) writes γε (for possible cases of the corruption cf. 628, 763, 970, 1079; in reverse at 852, 1171), but for the oppositional particle (‘on the contrary’ would be an overtranslation) after a word referring to a person mentioned by the previous speaker cf. El. 399–400 (Ηλ.) πεσούμεθ’, εἰ χρή, πατρὶ τιμωρούμενοι. | (Χρ.) πατὴρ δὲ τούτων, οἶδα, συγγνώμην ἔχει, Eur. Alc. 709–10 (Αδ.) οὐ χρῆν σ’ εἰς ἔμ’ ἐξαμαρτάνειν. | (Φε.) σοῦ δ’ ἂν προθνῄσκων μᾶλλον ἐξημάρτανον, and in general Denniston 166–7. 380–403 After an extensive passage where no-one has spoken more than five lines consecutively (316–79), Oedipus delivers a substantial speech, beginning with a massive exclamatory sentence ten verses long. That makes up his first section (380–9): the description of what he believes is the plot against him, now complete with motive, announced


C OMMENTARY : 380– 382 in the ‘outraged apostrophising’ (R. Rutherford (2012) 167) that opens the speech. The second section (390–8) makes a specific attack on Tiresias for alleged inactivity during the terror brought by the Sphinx, and contrasts Oedipus’ success in dealing with the monster; the king here moves beyond mere insult (though there is still plenty of that) to paint a picture of a prophet who has apparently not always had the best intentions towards the city. The conclusion (399–403) refers sarcastically to the efforts of Creon and Tiresias to dethrone him, threatening them with the consequences of their actions.

380–2 ὦ πλοῦτε καὶ τυραννὶ καὶ τέχνη τέχνης | ὑπερφέρουσα τῷ

πολυζήλῳ βίῳ, | ὅσος παρ’ ὑμῖν ὁ φθόνος φυλάσσεται ‘Wealth, monarchy, and skill surpassing skill in a life full of rivalry, how great is the envy stored up in you!’ The ascending tricolon followed by an exclamation is comparable to the start of another outraged outburst, Phil. 927–9 ὦ πῦρ σὺ καὶ πᾶν δεῖμα καὶ πανουργίας | δεινῆς τέχνημ᾽ ἔχθιστον, οἷά μ᾽ εἰργάσω, | οἷ᾽ ἠπάτηκας; cf. also Eur. Hipp. 916–20. The association of wealth and one-man rule, as old as Archilochus (fr. 19.1–3 IEG οὔ μοι τὰ Γύγεω τοῦ πολυχρύσου μέλει, | οὐδ’ εἷλέ πώ με ζῆλος, οὐδ’ ἀγαίομαι | θεῶν ἔργα, μεγάλης δ’ οὐκ ἐρέω τυραννίδος), Theognis (823 μήτε τιν’ αὖξε τύραννον ἐπ’ ἐλπίσι, κέρδεσιν εἴκων), Solon (fr. 33.5–6 πλοῦτον ἄφθονον λαβὼν | καὶ τυραννεύσας), is frequently drawn in tragedy (cf. 540–2n., 873/4–878/9n., Ant. 1168–9 πλούτει τε γὰρ κατ’ οἶκον, εἰ βούλῃ, μέγα, | καὶ ζῆ τύραννον σχῆμ’ ἔχων, fr. 88 TrGF, Bond on Eur. Her. 65–6, Willink on Eur. Or. 1155–7, Seaford (1998) 133 with n. 104) and elsewhere (cf. Thuc. 1.13.1 τυραννίδες ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι καθίσταντο, τῶν προσόδων μειζόνων γιγνομένων). The third, longest part of this opening tricolon refers to rulership, which as early as Homer was seen as something deserving particular honour (cf. Il. 9.37–8), and which later could be considered the most distinguished of skills (cf. Phil. 137–40 τέχνα γὰρ | τέχνας ἑτέρας προὔχει | καὶ γνώμα παρ᾽ ὅτῳ τὸ θεῖον | Διὸς σκῆπτρον ἀνάσσεται, Xen. Mem. 4.2.11 τῆς καλλίστης ἀρετῆς καὶ μεγίστης ἐφίεσαι τέχνης· ἔστι γὰρ τῶν βασιλέων αὕτη καὶ καλεῖται βασιλική). The polyptoton τέχνη τέχνης emphasises rivalry between different sorts of expertise (cf. Hes. Op. 23–5 ζηλοῖ δέ τε γείτονα γείτων | εἰς ἄφενος σπεύδοντ’· ἀγαθὴ δ’ Ἔρις ἥδε βροτοῖσιν. | καὶ κεραμεὺς κεραμεῖ κοτέει καὶ τέκτονι τέκτων, | καὶ πτωχὸς πτωχῷ φθονέει καὶ ἀοιδὸς ἀοιδῷ with West on 23; also 503–4n.) and leads naturally into the references to ζῆλος and φθόνος; moreover, by emphasising that his own occupation is a τέχνη, Oedipus makes his condemnation of Tiresias’ mantic art more pointed (cf. 389). For ὑπερφέρουσα cf. Eur. Hcld. 554–5 ὑπερφέρεις | τόλμῃ τε τόλμαν καὶ λόγῳ χρηστῷ λόγον.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 383– 386 τῷ πολυζήλῳ βίῳ (with an article that perhaps gives the phrase a universalising quality; cf. 1196/7–1197, El. 1383) denotes the life of the ruler, one which naturally inspires ζῆλος (for which cf. Sanders (2014) 46–9), a quality in turn often linked to φθόνος, either as something basically equivalent to it (cf. Aesch. Ag. 939 ὁ δ’ ἀφθόνητός γ’ οὐκ ἐπίζηλος πέλει, Lys. 2.48 διὰ ζῆλον τῶν γεγενημένων καὶ φθόνον τῶν πεπραγμένων, Pl. Phil. 47e, 50c, Symp. 213d, Leg. 679c), or, as probably here, as something distinct from φθόνος but which nevertheless could lead to it (cf. Eur. Or. 971–5, Thuc. 2.64.4 ταῦτα [the greatness of the Athenians] ὁ μὲν ἀπράγμων μέμψαιτ’ ἄν, ὁ δὲ δρᾶν τι καὶ αὐτὸς βουλόμενος ζηλώσει· εἰ δέ τις μὴ κέκτηται, φθονήσει, Pl. Menex. 242a πρῶτον μὲν ζῆλος, ἀπὸ ζήλου δὲ φθόνος, Arist. Rhet. 1381b.21–3 πρὸς οὓς φιλοτιμοῦνται, ἢ ὑφ’ ὧν ζηλοῦσθαι βούλονται καὶ μὴ φθονεῖσθαι, τούτους ἢ φιλοῦσιν ἢ βούλονται φίλοι εἶναι, 1388a.35–8, Dem. 20.141 ποιεῖτε λόγους ἐπιταφίους, ἐν οἷς κοσμεῖτε τὰ τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀνδρῶν ἔργα. καίτοι τοῦτ’ ἔστι τὸ ἐπιτήδευμα ζηλούντων ἀρετήν, οὐ τοῖς ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τιμωμένοις φθονούντων, Sanders (2014) 48–9). Power naturally attracted emulation and envy (cf. Archilochus, cited above, and the name of Hieron’s brother Πολύζαλος, with Most (2003) 135–6, and Hdt. 3.80.3 φθόνος . . . ἀρχῆθεν ἐμφύεται ἀνθρώπῳ, referring to the typical monarch) as did wealth (cf. Archilochus and Solon as cited above, Agathon TrGF 39 F 25 σοφίας φθονῆσαι μᾶλλον ἢ πλούτου καλόν, Lys. 21.15 ὑμῖν προσήκει . . . πένητα γενόμενον ἐλεῆσαι μᾶλλον ἢ πλουτοῦντι φθονῆσαι, Xen. An. 1.9.19 φθονῶν τοῖς φανερῶς πλουτοῦσιν, Cairns (2003)). Yet Oedipus’ diagnosis is misplaced; human envy plays no part in his fall. For φυλάσσεται ‘be incurred’ cf. OC 1213–1213/14 σκαιοσύναν φυλάσσων, fr. 209 TrGF, Hom. Il. 16.30. The unfamiliar vocative τυραννί has become the unmetrical τυραννίς in several manuscripts; ὑμῖν has turned into the nonsensical ἡμῖν in others (for the corruption see 273–5n.).

383–6 εἰ τῆσδέ γ’ ἀρχῆς οὕνεχ’, ἣν ἐμοὶ πόλις | δωρητόν, οὐκ αἰτητόν, εἰσεχείρισεν, | ταύτης Κρέων ὁ πιστός, οὑξ ἀρχῆς φίλος, | λάθρᾳ μ’ ὑπελθὼν ἐκβαλεῖν ἱμείρεται ‘if for the sake of this kingdom, which the city placed in my hands as a gift, not as something asked for, Creon the faithful, my friend from the beginning, secretly crept up on me and desires to cast me out.’ Oedipus emphasises that the πόλις is the ultimate source of his authority; not for him the domineering attitude of other tragic monarchs, such as Creon in Antigone. The Oedipus of Oedipus at Colonus goes further, declaring that the city forced him to marry Jocasta against his will (525–6, 986–7). For γε in the protasis of a conditional see 294–5n. αἰτητόν has become ὠνητόν in G: ‘a good illustration of the vagaries in which the


C OMMENTARY : 387– 389 scribe of [G] indulges, [which] was no doubt suggested to him by the presence of δωρητόν’ (Pearson (1929a) 94). εἰσχειρίζω is a unique Sophoclean variant on the usual ἐγχειρίζω; for the sense cf. Arist. Pol. 1305a15–16 ἐγίγνοντο . . . τυραννίδες πρότερον μᾶλλον ἢ νῦν καὶ διὰ τὸ μεγάλας ἀρχὰς ἐγχειρίζεσθαί τισιν, 1309a31, and contrast Dem. 19.56 παραδόντες αὑτοὺς Φιλίππῳ καὶ ἑκόντες ἐγχειρίσαντες ἐκείνῳ τὰς πόλεις, where the πόλις is the object rather than the subject. For resumptive ταύτης cf. Tr. 819–20 τὴν δὲ τέρψιν ἣν | τὠμῷ δίδωσι πατρί, τήνδ᾽ αὐτὴ λάβοι, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 708, K–G i 660–1. Sometimes the resumptive pronoun is neuter, as at 407, Tr. 457–8, Phil. 912–13, OC 503–4; both idioms are often, but not exclusively, found in emotionally heightened contexts such as the present one. The sarcasm of the predicates attached to Creon, remarked on by Plutarch (Quaest. Conv. 632d δάκνουσι μᾶλλον οἱ διὰ τῶν εὐφήμων ὀνειδίζοντες, ὡς . . . ὁ τοῦ Σοφοκλέους Οἰδίπους [385 follows]), bitterly expresses the implied change in Oedipus’ relationship with his brother-in-law more powerfully than would a list of insults; it also evokes the difficulty that any monarch has in having true friends. The repeated article brings out his passion: cf. Tr. 541 ὁ πιστὸς ἡμῖν κἀγαθὸς καλούμενος, El. 300–2n., [Aesch.] PV 304–5 δέρκου θέαμα, τόνδε τὸν Διὸς φίλον, | τὸν συγκαταστήσαντα τὴν τυραννίδα. For ἐξ ἀρχῆς in this context cf. Hom. Od. 2.254 = 17.69 ἐξ ἀρχῆς πατρώϊοι . . . ἑταῖροι. The variant ἐξ (Π3Xr) in place of οὑξ removes this rhetorically forceful idiom; the error probably arose by removal of crasis (cf. Finglass (2013a) 43; for crasis errors of different kinds cf. 689/90, 782, 824, 1052, 1240). The language describing Creon’s alleged treason, with ὑπο– ‘secretly, deceitfully’ (cf. 387, El. 297n.) accompanied by a word built on the λαθ– stem, recalls that of Ant. 531–2 σὺ δ᾽, ἣ κατ᾽ οἴκους ὡς ἔχιδν᾽ ὑφειμένη | λήθουσά μ᾽ ἐξέπινες and Ar. Vesp. 464–5 ἡ τυραννὶς ὡς λάθρᾳ γ’ ἐλάμβαν’ ὑπιοῦσά με. The reference to Creon as ὁ πιστός (cf. the later reversal of this accusation, 1419–21n.) suggested to Bacon (1961) 68 ‘the intimates of the Great King’ (cf. Aesch. Pers. 1–2, Hdt. 1.108.3, Francis (1992) 343–4); one might equally claim that οὑξ ἀρχῆς φίλος recalls the idea of the ‘King’s friend’ seen in Persian contexts (cf. Xen. An. 4.4.4, Wiesehöfer (1980) 11–14, 17–19) and elsewhere in the Near East (see van Selms (1957)). But each expression is fully explicable within a Greek context, and Oedipus’ descriptions of Creon are more bitter if they evoke not mere posts or offices, but qualities that he had formerly predicated of the man.

387–9 ὑφεὶς μάγον τοιόνδε μηχανορράφον, | δόλιον ἀγύρτην, ὅστις ἐν τοῖς κέρδεσιν | μόνον δέδορκε, τὴν τέχνην δ’ ἔφυ τυφλός. ‘suborning such a sorcerer, a stitcher-together of plots, a deceitful beggar, who has eyes


C O M M E N T A R Y : 387– 389 only for profit, but is blind with respect to his art.’ Oedipus’ extraordinary attack on Tiresias, with its invocation of the charge of venality often levelled against seers (cf. Ant. 1045–7, 1055 τὸ μαντικὸν γὰρ πᾶν φιλάργυρον γένος, Eur. Ba. 255–7, Hom. Od. 2.184–6, Dillery (2005) 194–200, Tell (2009) 28–30) as well as the piling up of opprobrious terms (‘the asyndeton [gives] the effect of listening to a torrent of injurious appellations’: Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 1195), forms the strongest possible contrast with the reverential language of his opening request; his use of the third person to address the prophet signals particular contempt (cf. Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 874). The reference to κέρδος may also look back to the proclamation: ‘when Teiresias, yielding to provocation, at length denounces Oedipus himself as the guilty alien, he receives threats for his response in place of thanks (401), and is told that the expectation of the κέρδος here freely promised to the informant is the sole motive power of his calling (388)’ (Pearson (1917) 65). For ὑπο– ‘secretly, deceitfully’ (383–6n.) compounded with ἵημι cf. Ant. 531–2 (cited previous n.), LSJ9 s.v. ὑφίημι i 3. For the article in ἐν τοῖς κέρδεσιν cf. Ant. 1047 τοῦ κέρδους χάριν. The terms μάγος and ἀγύρτης are elsewhere combined in a derogatory context at [Hippocr.] Morb. Sacr. 1.4 ἐμοὶ δὲ δοκέουσιν οἱ πρῶτοι τοῦτο τὸ νόσημα ἀφιερώσαντες τοιοῦτοι εἶναι ἄνθρωποι οἷοι καὶ νῦν εἰσι μάγοι τε καὶ καθάρται καὶ ἀγύρται καὶ ἀλαζόνες, ὁκόσοι δὴ προσποιέονται σφόδρα θεοσεβέες εἶναι καὶ πλέον τι εἰδέναι. In tragedy the stem μάγ– has a negative undertone: so in Euripides’ Orestes the Phrygian wonders if Helen has been snatched away ἤτοι φαρμάκοις | ἢ μάγων τέχναις ἢ θεῶν κλοπαῖς (1497), in his Suppliant Women Iphis declares his hatred for people who attempt to prolong their lives by means of μαγεύματα (1109–11), and in Iphigenia in Tauris μαγεύω (a safe conjecture; ματ– cod.) has βάρβαρα | μέλη as its object (1337–8; cf. Bremmer (1999) 3–4). The earliest attestation of μάγος in Greek may be at Heracl. D–K 22 B 14 (i 154.13–17) τίσι δὴ μαντεύεται Ἡράκλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος; νυκτιπόλοις, μάγοις, βάκχοις, λήναις, μύσταις· τούτοις ἀπειλεῖ τὰ μετὰ θάνατον, τούτοις μαντεύεται τὸ πῦρ· τὰ γὰρ νομιζόμενα κατ’ ἀνθρώπους μυστήρια ἀνιερωστὶ μυεῦνται; if Clement of Alexandria (the fragment’s source) is using Heraclitus’ own words, then this originally Persian term (cf. Bremmer (2013) 41–2 with n. 65) appears to have been naturalised in Greek (or, at least, the Greek of Ionia under the Persians) by the sixth century (see further Tsantsanoglou (2008)). According to Rasch (1913) 106–8 (later independently hypothesised by Rigsby (1976), and elaborated by Francis (1992) 344–5), the term evokes the political conspiracies of the Persian Magi, especially their tendency to act as kingmakers, as described in Herodotus (e.g. 3.61–79;


C OMMENTARY : 390– 392 cf. Pl. Resp. 572e οἱ δεινοὶ μάγοι τε καὶ τυραννοποιοί). But this would not fit the prevailing sense, which here is focused on religious fakery; as in [Hippocrates] above, rhetoric demands that μάγος and ἀγύρτης be essentially parallel terms. ἀγύρτης is derived from ἀγείρω ‘gather’; ‘he is the priest who “collects contributions”’ (Graf (2014) 80). The ἀγυρ– stem recurs in the feminine ἀγύρτρια (Aesch. Ag. 1273), the verb ἀγυρτάζω (cf. Hom. Od. 19.283–4 ἀλλ’ ἄρα οἱ τό γε κέρδιον εἴσατο θυμῷ, | χρήματ’ ἀγυρτάζειν πολλὴν ἐπὶ γαῖαν ἰόντι), and the noun ἄγυρις (cf. Hom. Il. 16.661, 24.141, Od. 3.31, Hawkins (2013) 76). As Graf goes on to say (ibid.), ‘such priests . . . never belonged to established polis cults but to marginal and often foreign cults; unlike the polis priest, they were itinerant professionals, not citizens serving their community’ (cf. Pl. Resp. 364b ἀγύρται δὲ καὶ μάντεις ἐπὶ πλουσίων θύρας ἰόντες πείθουσιν ὡς ἔστι παρὰ σφίσι δύναμις ἐκ θεῶν ποριζομένη θυσίαις τε καὶ ἐπῳδαῖς, Cassandra’s question at Aesch. Ag. 1195 ἢ ψευδόμαντίς εἰμι θυροκόπος φλέδων;, and Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 1273). The marginal status of such priests, as well as their requests for money, ensured that ἀγύρτης became a negative term (cf. Lysippus fr. 6 PCG καὶ Λάμπωνα δὲ τὸν μάντιν . . . Λύσιππος ἐν Βάκχαις . . . ἀγύρτην κωμῳδεῖ, Crat. fr. 66 PCG ἀγερσικύβηλις, Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 503–5, Edmonds (2013) 203). The stem μηχανορραφ– is attested elsewhere in tragedy (Aesch. Cho. 221, Eur. Andr. 447, 1116, and (JD) Ar. Thesm. 935 ἱστιορράφος, ‘para prosdokian for a synonym of πανοῦργος . . . such as μηχανορράφος’, according to A/O); for ῥάπτω used in the context of deception Hom. Od. 3.118–19 εἰνάετες γάρ σφιν κακὰ ῥάπτομεν ἀμφιέποντες | παντοίοισι δόλοισι. For τέχνη of prophetic skill see 357n.

390 ἐπεὶ φέρ’ εἰπέ, ποῦ σὺ μάντις εἶ σαφής; ‘For come now, tell me, how can it be that you are a true prophet?’ Oedipus turns back to direct address, as he moves from a stock charge made against all seers to a specific accusation against this one. For this use of ἐπεί cf. 661/3, Tzamali (2001) 388–9. For incredulous ποῦ see 354–5n.

391–2 πῶς οὐχ, ὅθ’ ἡ ῥαψῳδὸς ἐνθάδ’ ἦν κύων, | ηὔδας τι τοῖσδ’ ἀστοῖσιν ἐκλυτήριον; ‘How was it that, when the rhapsodic bitch was here, you did not speak any word of release to these citizens?’ τι rhetorically minimises the imagined contribution: Tiresias, according to Oedipus, neglected to make even the tiniest effort on behalf of the city’s welfare. τοῖσδ’ is a reference to the citizenry as represented by the chorus, and might have been accompanied by a gesture in their direction; Oedipus attempts to isolate Tiresias by bringing the chorus over to his side.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 393– 398 In Hesiod the Sphinx is the child of Chimaera and the dog Orthos (Th. 326–7), and thus the niece of Cerberus; she is described as a dog at Aesch. fr. 236 TrGF Σφίγγα δυσαμεριᾶν πρύτανιν κύνα, CEG i 120.1 Σφίξ, Ἁΐδ[α]ο κ ̣ύον (Thessaly, c. 450), and Hesych. σ 1395 (p. 328 Hansen) σπάκα· κύνα. ἢ σφίγξ, and is sometimes represented with canine attributes in art (cf. Stilp (2003) 441–2 with n. 29, 445, on a sphinx relief from 470–460), even if her depictions are more usually feline or bovine (cf. Kourou, Krauskopf, and Katakis (1997) 1164). The description may align the Sphinx with chthonic deities such as the Erinyes, themselves described as dogs (El. 1388n.); her association with the underworld (for which cf. Wescoat (2012) 136–7) alluded to in Aeschylus (Sept. 776–7 τὰν ἁρπαξάνδραν | κῆρ’) and Euripides (Phoen. 810–11 ὰν ὁ κατὰ χθονὸς Ἅιδας | Καδμείοις ἐπιπέμπει) had long-standing Egyptian precedent (see Padgett (2003) 82–3, Herrmann and Van den Hoek (2013) 151–2). She is frequently represented as a singer (35–9n.); the paradoxical combination of that attribute with a canine identity makes her seem more monstrous, and so more worthy of Tiresias’ attention.

393–4 καίτοι τό γ’ αἴνιγμ’ οὐχὶ τοὐπιόντος ἦν | ἀνδρὸς διειπεῖν, ἀλλὰ μαντείας ἔδει· ‘And yet the riddle was not one for a passer-by to solve, but it needed prophetic skill.’ Prophecy in the ancient world was the art of knowing the past and present as well as the future (297–462n.), and so solving a riddle was an appropriate task for a prophet. For the idea of random arrival conveyed in τοὐπιόντος . . . ἀνδρός see 396–8n. For δια– ‘clearly, distinctly’ cf. 723, 854, Moorhouse 103. For μαντείας ἔδει cf. Eur. Hipp. 236 τάδε μαντείας ἄξια πολλῆς, [Eur.] Rhes. 952, Alexis fr. 160.7 PCG καί τι μάντεως ἔδει;, Pl. Symp. 206b. 395–6 ἣν οὔτ’ ἀπ’ οἰωνῶν σὺ προὐφάνης ἔχων | οὔτ’ ἐκ θεῶν του

γνωτόν· ‘But you did not appear with any prophetic skill learned either from the birds or from the gods.’ προὐφάνης conveys the idea of an arrival that is somehow momentous, whether in a positive sense (OC 1505 [Oedipus to Theseus] ἄναξ, ποθοῦντι προὐφάνης, El. 1285–6 προὐφάνης δὲ φιλτάταν ἔχων πρόσοψιν) or a negative one (cf. 790, Phil. 201/2); Oedipus’ use of the term to describe Tiresias’ (non-) appearance is sarcastic, just as his reference to bird omens (52–3n.) is contemptuous (cf. Eur. Hipp. 1055–9, especially τοὺς δ’ ὑπὲρ κάρα | φοιτῶντας ὄρνις πόλλ’ ἐγὼ χαίρειν λέγω, Hel. 746–8, Hom. Il. 12. 237–43). For the orthography of γνωτόν see 589n.

396–8 ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ μολών, | ὁ μηδὲν εἰδὼς Οἰδίπους, ἔπαυσά νιν, | γνώμῃ κυρήσας οὐδ’ ἀπ’ οἰωνῶν μαθών· ‘But I came along, Oedipus the knownothing, and put a stop to it, hitting the mark with my intelligence and


C OMMENTARY : 399– 400 not learning anything from birds.’ A similar point was made in the prologue by the Priest (35–9), but what there was spoken out of respect here becomes a sarcastic boast; Oedipus’ account also omits anything equivalent to the Priest’s cautious προσθήκῃ θεοῦ (38). μολών is magnificently insouciant; but what Oedipus presents as a random arrival (cf. 393–4) will later be seen to form part of a journey that has shaped his whole life, from Thebes to Corinth and back again. His sarcastic ὁ μηδὲν εἰδὼς Οἰδίπους (with typically confident third-person selfreference, as at 8) is truer than he realises; the juxtaposition of εἰδώς with Οἰδίπους draws attention to the verbal link between Oedipus’ name and knowledge, but in so doing underlines how ignorance, not knowledge, is his fundamental characteristic (cf. 69–72n., Calame (1996) 22, Silk (1996b) 471). μηδέν emphasises how Oedipus ‘belonged to the category of non-mantic persons’ (Dawe, his italics). For παύω with a personal object cf. Ant. 963–4 παύεσκε μὲν γὰρ ἐνθέους | γυναῖκας, Hom. Il. 21.314, Od. 20.273–4. Instead of γνώμῃ Lac offers –ης, prompted by κυρήσας, which usually takes the genitive. For οὐδέ ‘holding apart incompatibles’, where we might have expected καὶ οὐ or ἀλλ’ οὐ, cf. 1434, Denniston 191, Talboy and Sommerstein on Triptolemus fr. 610 TrGF. For birds as omens see 52–3n.

399–400 ὃν δὴ σὺ πειρᾷς ἐκβαλεῖν, δοκῶν θρόνοις | παραστατήσειν τοῖς

Κρεοντείοις πέλας. ‘That is the man whom you are attempting to cast out, thinking that you will stand beside the throne of Creon.’ Indignant ὃν δή ‘stress[es] the importance of the antecedent’ (Denniston 218; cf. 492/3, Dem. 15.29 Λακεδαιμόνιοι ταύτας [sc. συνθήκας ἐποιήσαντο] ὧν δὴ κατηγοροῦσι). Plural θρόνοις stands for the singular, denoting Creon’s intended seat of power (160–1n.); Oedipus imagines Tiresias as a privileged attendant and counsellor at his master’s throne, a familiar metaphor in descriptions of the gods (cf. OC 1267–9 ἀλλ᾽ ἔστι γὰρ καὶ Ζηνὶ σύνθακος θρόνων | Αἰδὼς ἐπ᾽ ἔργοις πᾶσι, καὶ πρὸς σοί, πάτερ, | παρασταθήτω, 1381–2, Hes. Op. 256–9 Δίκη . . . πὰρ Διὶ πατρὶ καθεζομένη Κρονίωνι, Lyr. Adesp. fr. 1018(a).1–3 PMG, Brock (2013) 7), but unusual in a mortal context, and perhaps suggesting an autocratic state where the holder of such a position would enjoy unaccountable influence (cf. Aesch. Pers. 956–8 ποῦ δὲ φίλων ἄλλος ὄχλος; | ποῦ δέ σοι παραστάται, | οἷος ἦν κτλ.: ‘intimate associates of the King’, as Broadhead says, as much as Xerxes’ companions in battle). Κρεοντείοις replaces the expected Κρέοντος (264–8n.), perhaps suggesting the paranoid picture of a host of Creon’s supporters (cf., albeit in a nonpolitical context, the later use of Καλλιμάχειοι, Ἀριστάρχειοι to denote the scholarly followers of Callimachus and Aristarchus); ‘the suspicious mind of Oedipus seems already to have manufactured a political faction


C O M M E N T A R Y : 401– 407 of “Creontics”’ (Dawe). πέλας with the dative is paralleled in all three tragedians and in Pindar; see FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 208 θέλοιμ’ ἂν ἤδη σοὶ πέλας θρόνους ἔχειν.

401–3 κλαίων δοκεῖς μοι καὶ σὺ χὠ συνθεὶς τάδε | ἀγηλατήσειν· εἰ δὲ μὴ

’δόκεις γέρων | εἶναι, παθὼν ἔγνως ἂν οἷά περ φρονεῖς. ‘I think you and the man who put this plot together will drive out the pollution to your pain; and if you did not seem to be an old man, you would have learned by suffering the extent of your wisdom.’ For κλαίων with a future or virtual future denoting imminent punishment cf. 1152, Ant. 754, Wilkins on Eur. Hcld. 270; for participial constructions of this kind see 363n. συνθείς appears as ξυν– in Π1 (31–4n.). ἀγηλατήσειν (< ἄγος + ἐλαύνω; for the latter in this context see 96–8n.) ironically accepts Tiresias’ claim that Oedipus is a polluted killer (353). Elsewhere the stem is attested only in accounts of Cleomenes’ expulsion of the ‘accursed’ from Athens (Hdt. 5.72.1, [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 20.3), in late tragedy (Nic. Alex. TrGF 127 F 14, Tr. Adesp. fr. 653.24), and in the name Ἀγηλάτης (Lys. fr. 297.43 = 308.43 Carey); for the orthography (ἁ– L) see Eust. Od. Comm. 1704.5 (i 441.5–6 Stallbaum), Su. α 215 (i 25.7–8 Adler). For the idea that learning comes through suffering cf. Eur. Suppl. 580 γνώσῃ σὺ πάσχων, West on Hes. Op. 218 παθὼν δέ τε νήπιος ἔγνω, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 386. οἷά περ φρονεῖς looks back to Tiresias’ implicit claims to possess understanding (316–17, 328; so rightly Pearson (1929a) 95). Old age was thought to bring wisdom (cf. Aesch. fr. 400 TrGF γῆρας γὰρ ἥβης ἐστὶν ἐνδικώτερον, Headlam (1903) 293, Aj. 594–5n.), and an old man thought to be behaving foolishly could be reminded of this (cf. Ant. 280–1 [Creon to the chorus] παῦσαι, πρὶν ὀργῆς καί με μεστῶσαι λέγων, | μὴ ᾽φευρεθῇς ἄνους τε καὶ γέρων ἅμα, OC 930–1 [Theseus to Creon] καί σ᾽ ὁ πληθύων χρόνος | γέρονθ᾽ ὁμοῦ τίθησι καὶ τοῦ νοῦ κενόν, Eur. Ba. 251–2 [Pentheus to Cadmus] ἀναίνομαι, πάτερ, | τὸ γῆρας ὑμῶν εἰσορῶν νοῦν οὐκ ἔχον, 258–60 [to Tiresias] εἰ μή σε γῆρας πολιὸν ἐξερρύετο, | καθῆσ’ ἂν ἐν βάκχαισι δέσμιος μέσαις, | τελετὰς πονηρὰς εἰσάγων). Oedipus will show less restraint when he later orders the old Herdsman to be tortured (cf. especially 1153).

404–7 ἡμῖν μὲν εἰκάζουσι καὶ τὰ τοῦδ’ ἔπη | ὀργῇ λελέχθαι καὶ τὰ σ’, Οἰδίπου, δοκεῖ. | δεῖ δ’ οὐ τοιούτων, ἀλλ’ ὅπως τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ | μαντεῖ’ ἄριστα λύσομεν, τόδε σκοπεῖν. ‘To us, as we guess, both his words and yours, Oedipus, seem to have been spoken in anger. What is needed is not that, but rather to consider how we shall best resolve the god’s prophetic utterances.’ The chorus’s conciliatory response is modestly phrased, with prominent ἡμῖν μέν (‘this is just our view’; cf. 834) followed by εἰκάζουσι (‘we are not sure’), the passive λελέχθαι deflecting the idea of


C OMMENTARY : 408– 409 agency, and λύσομεν suggesting that everyone, the chorus included, needs to focus on the task in hand (cf. Kaimio (1970) 165–6). By accusing both sides equally of anger, when Oedipus’ rage has so far received much fuller expression, they stake a claim to impartiality; putting the lines after 428 (thus Enger (1869) 177–9) would cancel this effect. For resumptive τόδε see 383–6n. Instead of Οἰδίπου Elmsley (1805/6 edn) writes Οἰδίπους. Elsewhere this name has the vocative Οἰδίπους, before a vowel (and thus metrically guaranteed) at 739, 1073, 1422, before a consonant at 14, 646. In Oedipus at Colonus (where none of the instances stands before a vowel) vocative Οἰδίπους appears five times (461, 740, 756, 1038, 1627), Οἰδίπου twice (557, 1346), and twice the manuscripts are split (14, 640). Sophocles may have written Οἰδίπους throughout, but we cannot prove this beyond reasonable doubt. See also 637–8n.

408–9 εἰ καὶ τυραννεῖς, ἐξισωτέον τὸ γοῦν | ἴσ’ ἀντιλέξαι· τοῦδε γὰρ κἀγὼ

κρατῶ. ‘Even if you are a monarch, the right of equal reply must be equalised, at least; for of that I too am master.’ The status of a τύραννος could deter free speech in his interlocutor: cf. Ant. 223–36 (the Guard’s reluctance to give Creon bad news), Eur. Ba. 668–9 (Messenger to Pentheus), 775–6 (chorus to Pentheus) ταρβῶ μὲν εἰπεῖν τοὺς λόγους ἐλευθέρους | πρὸς τὸν τύραννον, ἀλλ’ ὅμως εἰρήσεται, El. 1049–57 (Clytemnestra, wife of a τύραννος, gives permission to Electra to speak with παρρησία), Hom. Il. 1.68–91 (Calchas’ reluctance to offend one of the chiefs), Carter (2004) 212–14; in our case, ‘Teiresias only says this because he answers to a higher authority . . . this is what gives him the confidence to answer back’ (Carter, p. 213). Hence the καί in εἰ καί (for this phrase introducing an established fact see 302–4n.); γοῦν specifies the precise area where Tiresias asserts equality with the king (for this particle in an apodosis cf. 1425, Denniston 453). Creon makes a similar remark at 543–4 ἀντὶ τῶν εἰρημένων | ἴσ’ ἀντάκουσον, again with a mutually reinforcing combination of stems in ἀντι– and ἰσο–, for which cf. El. 1477–8 οὐ γὰρ αἰσθάνῃ πάλαι | ζῶν τοῖς θανοῦσιν οὕνεκ’ ἀνταυδᾷς ἴσα; (n.), Hom. Il. 1.187 ἶσον ἐμοὶ φάσθαι καὶ ὁμοιωθήμεναι ἄντην, Thuc. 1.43.2 τὸ δὲ ἴσον ἀνταπόδοτε, 3.63.4, 3.67.5, Dem. 24.141, Arist. Rhet. 1379b7, EN 1157b35; for ἀντι– cf. also Aj. 1141n., Aesch. Eum. 198 ἄναξ Ἄπολλον, ἀντάκουσον ἐν μέρει. But whereas Creon merely demands the right of reply in an imperative, before acknowledging Oedipus’ authority to judge after hearing his case, Tiresias emphatically declares what must be, using a verbal adjective in –τέος, before asserting his own power in the majestic κρατῶ; his language (for the moment) is altogether more dignified than Oedipus’ insults, and its imperious tone matches his mastery of the situation.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 410– 411 The ἰσο– stem is often associated with political equality and opposed to tyranny, as in ἰσηγορίη (cf. Hdt. 5.78), ἰσοκρατίη (5.92.α.1), and ἰσονομίη (3.80.6), and thus leads effectively into what follows.

410–11 οὐ γάρ τι σοὶ ζῶ δοῦλος, ἀλλὰ Λοξίᾳ· | ὥστ’ οὐ Κρέοντος προστάτου γεγράψομαι. ‘For my life is enslaved not at all to you, but to Loxias; so I will not be inscribed as having Creon as my patron.’ By denying that he is Oedipus’ slave, Tiresias both implies that the king has treated him as if he were (cf. how tragic tyrants such as Creon at Ant. 478–9, Lycus at Eur. Her. 250–1, and Pentheus at Ba. 803 speak of their subjects as δοῦλοι; also S. fr. 873 TrGF ὅστις γὰρ ὡς τύραννον ἐμπορεύεται | κείνου ’στι δοῦλος, κἂν ἐλεύθερος μόλῃ, where the context is unknown) and asserts his right to speak out; slaves were paradigmatically unable to express their thoughts freely (cf. Aj. 1257–8n., Eur. Phoen. 392 δούλου τόδ’ εἶπας, μὴ λέγειν ἅ τις φρονεῖ, Ion 673–5, Hipp. 421–5, Aesch. Pers. 584–97, Raaflaub (2004b) 46–9; contrast Eur. Suppl. 438–41, Raaflaub (2004a) 221–5) and provided a frequent comparison for non-Greek peoples under autocratic rule (cf. Eur. Hel. 276, Bowie on Hdt. 8.68γ, Brock (2013) 108–10). Being Apollo’s metaphorical slave, by contrast, was a mark of distinction, even if related expressions, both in Greece and in the Near East, use a milder term to denote a close relationship with the divine, as when warriors, kings, and even poets are described as a god’s servants (cf. Hom. Il. 2.110 θεράποντες Ἄρηος, Archil. fr. 1.1 IEG, Hes. Th. 99–100 ἀοιδὸς | Μουσάων θεράπων, Yamauchi (1966) 31–5, West on Hes. Th. 100, West (1997) 225); Hesiod calls a carpenter the slave of Athena (Ἀθηναίης δμῳός, Op. 430), but there is no suggestion that the worker in question was especially talented, and although Mycenaean teo-jo do-e-ro (i.e. θεοῖο δοῦλος) seems to have referred to people of at least some social standing (cf. Raaflaub (2004a) 19–20, Olsen (2014) 239), the exact sense is likely to be far from what Tiresias means here. δοῦλος rather than θεράπων in such an expression both varies a poetic cliché and emphasises Tiresias’ dependence on Apollo in the moments before he utters some of his most devastating prophecies. For the dative σοι cf. Eur. Phoen. 205 Φοίβῳ δούλα μελάθρων with Mastronarde. Apollo’s title Λοξίας, unattested before the fifth century, and never found in cult, often appears when the god is mentioned in a prophetic context (cf. 853, 994, 1102/3, Aesch. fr. 86 TrGF, Pind. P. 11.5; Allan and Potter (2014) overinterpret this and other titles). The προστάτης was a citizen with reponsibility for representing a resident alien or metic in court on certain occasions (cf. FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 963, Whitehead (1977) 89–92, 145–6, Kamen (2013) 47–8, Brock (2013) 139–41 n. 127, Sosin (2016a)). A metic’s choice of προστάτης could say a great deal about his sympathies (cf. Isocr. 8.53


C OMMENTARY : 412– 416 τοὺς μὲν μετοίκους τοιούτους εἶναι νομίζομεν οἵους περ ἂν τοὺς προστάτας νέμωσιν, αὐτοὶ δ’ οὐκ οἰόμεθα τὴν αὐτὴν λήψεσθαι δόξαν τοῖς προεστῶσιν ἡμῶν); hence Tiresias’ denial that Creon plays such a role on his behalf. For γράφομαι denoting the metic’s enrolment by a προστάτης cf. ἐπιγράφομαι at Ar. Pax 684 πονηρὸν προστάτην ἐπεγράψατο, Ach. 1095 ἐπεγράφου τὴν Γοργόνα (both with Olson); the term is a remarkably modern, bureaucratic intrusion into the world of heroic myth. The evocation of metics will be repeated and turned back on Oedipus (449–52n.). ὥστε ensures a close connexion between 410 and 411, even though slaves and metics were quite different social groups; a slave too needed someone else to speak on his behalf in court (Aj. 1259–61n.). Previously Oedipus had claimed that Tiresias wished to be Creon’s παραστάτης (399–400), which implies yet another conception of their relationship.

412 λέγω δ’, ἐπειδὴ καὶ τυφλόν μ’ ὠνείδισας· ‘I speak, because you even insulted me as blind.’ At first this seems just a matter of stung pride; but the speech that follows indicates that Tiresias is angry at being charged with blindness by a man who figuratively speaking sees less than he does. For bare predicative τυφλόν after ὠνείδισας cf. El. 899, Eur. Suppl. 321–3 ὁρᾷς ἄβουλος ὡς κεκερτομημένη | . . . | σὴ πατρίς;, Diggle (1981a) 12. 413–15 σὺ καὶ δέδορκας κοὐ βλέπεις ἵν’ εἶ κακοῦ, | οὐδ’ ἔνθα ναίεις, οὐδ’ ὅτων οἰκεῖς μέτα. | ἆρ’ οἶσθ’ ἀφ’ ὧν εἶ; ‘You both have sight and do not see the peril that you are in, or where you dwell, or with whom you live. Do you know from whom you are sprung?’ Tiresias begins in asyndeton (236–40n.). For the idea ‘they seeing see not’ (Matthew 13.13; also Mark 8.18) cf. fr. 923 TrGF, Aesch. Ag. 1623 with Fraenkel, [Dem.] 25.89; the force of καὶ δέδορκας κοὐ βλέπεις, with its syntactically equal yet apparently contradictory predicates, is diminished if we read δεδορκὼς οὐ (coni. Reiske (1753) 21, prob. Meineke (1863) 226 with parallels; cf. δεδορκὼς κοὐ in a manuscript teste Erfurdt1a). For the partitive genitive κακοῦ see 366–7n. Believing that Tiresias’ question in 415 interrupts the preceding statements, Ll-J/W (OCT text) print a dash after μέτα; but as L. Holford-Strevens points out (ap. Ll-J/W, So.), ‘ἆρ’ οἶσθ’ ἀφ’ ὧν εἶ; is a climax, not an interruption’. 415–16 καὶ λέληθας ἐχθρὸς ὢν | τοῖς σοῖσιν αὐτοῦ νέρθε κἀπὶ γῆς ἄνω ‘Indeed it has escaped your notice that you are living as an enemy to your people both below and above the earth’. καί has a progressive force, emphasising the following verb (cf. Eur. Her. 577, Denniston 321, Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 959–61). For καί between a rhetorical question and a statement cf. Ar. Av. 1033 οὐ δεινά; καὶ πέμπουσιν ἤδη ’πισκόπους | εἰς τὴν πόλιν, Slings on Pl. Clit. 407b1;


C O M M E N T A R Y : 417– 419 there is no need to create a rhetorical question by writing κοὐ (coni. Bothe1, text), or χὠς (coni. Schneidewin1), which would make it dependent on the previous question. For the idea that one’s actions place oneself in a relationship with both the living and the dead cf. Aesch. Cho. 833–4 τοῖς θ’ ὑπὸ χθονὸς φίλοις | τοῖς τ’ ἄνωθεν προπράσσων χάριν, Eur. Hec. 791–2 οὔτε τοὺς γῆς νέρθεν οὔτε τοὺς ἄνω | δείσας δέδρακεν ἔργον ἀνοσιώτατον, Hel. 1013–14 καὶ γὰρ τίσις τῶνδ’ ἐστὶ τοῖς τε νερτέροις | καὶ τοῖς ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις.

417–19 καί σ’ ἀμφιπλὴξ μητρός τε κἀπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς | ἐλᾷ ποτ’ ἐκ γῆς τῆσδε δεινόπους ἀρά, | βλέποντα νῦν μὲν ὄρθ’, ἔπειτα δὲ σκότον. ‘And with dread foot, the curse from your mother and your father, striking on both sides, will drive you from this land, you who now see truly, but who then will see darkness.’ Earlier Oedipus had intended to exile the killer by means of a conditional curse; Tiresias now declares that a personified curse will do the same to Oedipus himself, by means of ‘vatic language [that] does not refer to a literal curse uttered by Laios or Jocasta’ (West (1999a) 41 = (2011–13) ii 298). The curse is ἀμφιπλήξ because it assails Oedipus on his mother’s and his father’s side (thus Σ p. 183.18–19 Papageorgius); at Tr. 930 ἀμφιπλῆγι φασγάνῳ and Leon. Tar. A.P. 6.205.3–4 = 1994–5 HE ἀμφιπλῆγες | σφῦραι the term is used of double-headed weapons or implements, whereas at Phil. 688–9 ἀμφιπλήκτων | ῥοθίων μόνος κλύων the adjective ἀμφίπληκτος denotes the waves breaking all around the listener. The force of the prefix is thus comparable to that of ἀμφιθαλής ‘having both one’s parents living’ (cf. Ar. Av. 1737; ἀμφιθαλής is itself given a dark sense at Aesch. Ag. 1144, where see Fraenkel). And the curse is δεινόπους both because it advances with menacing, untiring tread (thus Thom. Mag. on 417–21d = p. 202 Longo; cf. El. 489n. on references to feet in descriptions of the Erinyes and other monsters, and contrast the prayer at Ant. 1142/3 for Dionysus to come καθαρσίῳ ποδί) and because Oedipus’ maimed feet provide a clue to the fate that will overcome him (1031–6). κἀπὸ τοῦ is only in Π1 above the line; in the main text it has κἀπὸ σοῦ, with καὶ τοῦ σοῦ in the mediaeval manuscripts, except for G, which has καὶ σοῦ. The version with ἀπό is the most idiomatic (cf. Ant. 2 τῶν ἀπ᾽ Οἰδίπου κακῶν), and indicates better than would the bare genitive that the expression refers to troubles that derive from the (unknowing) actions of Oedipus’ parents. The reading of the main text of the papyrus suggests the history of the corruption: κἀπὸ τοῦ acquired a variant κἀπὸ σοῦ, and in some texts these were combined (by a variant originally written above the line intruding into the text below) to give κἀπὸ τοῦ σοῦ, or καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ σοῦ in scriptio plena;


C OMMENTARY : 420– 423 a scribe realising that the line was too long would naturally remove ἀπό to give a verse of the correct length (thus Finglass (2013a) 37–8). The ἀπὸ κοινοῦ construction, whereby ἀπό governs both genitives, may have contributed to the corruption. The darkness to which Tiresias refers is the literal darkness of blindness (cf. 1273–4, Eur. Phoen. 377 σκότον δεδορκώς, Ba. 509–10). The medially bisected trimeter (with elision at the break, however) draws attention to the radical difference between Oedipus’ present and future states (cf. 1163, S. Aj. 1376–7n.; also 1155).

420–3 βοῆς δὲ τῆς σῆς ποῖος οὐκ ἔσται λιμήν, | ποῖος Κιθαιρὼν οὐχὶ

σύμφωνος τάχα, | ὅταν καταίσθῃ τὸν ὑμέναιον, ὃν δόμοις | ἄνορμον εἰσέπλευσας, εὐπλοίας τυχών; ‘What harbour will there not be for your cries, what Cithaeron will not soon resound in accompaniment to them, when you perceive the wedding-song, the one without anchorage in your house, which you sailed into, having come upon fair sailing weather?’ (cf. Taplin (2010) 244). Tiresias’ language becomes densely metaphorical, but distinct strands of imagery can be discerned that link this section with the rest of the play. Emphatically positioned βοῆς δὲ τῆς σῆς may suggest that while Oedipus’ ability to see may be taken from him, he will retain the capacity to lament, in abundance; this point is later taken up by the reference to the wedding song, which thereby becomes a mournful rather than a joyous lyric (cf. Seaford (1987) 119). Metaphorical λιμήν denotes ‘any place that will receive [Oedipus’] cries as a harbour receives a ship’ (Dawe; cf. Cassio (2012) 7–9 on the resonant properties of harbours in antiquity); for the combination of harbour and mountain cf. Phil. 936–7 ὦ λιμένες, ὦ προβλῆτες, ὦ ξυνουσίαι | θηρῶν ὀρείων, ὦ καταρρῶγες πέτραι. The term will later be reapplied to Jocasta’s womb with reference to Oedipus’ journey (n. on 1207–1209b); for marriage represented in nautical terms cf. Eur. IT 370–1, Seaford (2005) 115 n. 5. Cithaeron is a key location in Oedipus’ life story (cf. 1026, 1089/90, 1127, 1134, 1391, 1452), mentioned here for the first time in the play. It is also ‘a resonant mountain par excellence’ (Taplin (2010) 246), which resounds with cries at the dismemberment of Pentheus (Eur. Ba. 1131–3; cf. Ar. Thesm. 995–1000, Hdt. 9.24–5, all cited by Taplin, and Cassio (2012) 5); hence the appropriateness of σύμφωνος (for other resounding mountains in tragedy cf. Phil. 1458–60, Kaimio (1977) 177–8). The wedding song is δόμοις | ἄνορμον because it lacks the secure foundations expected of a marriage; the alpha-privative may express a pejorative sense (‘a bad harbour’: cf. El. 1154n.) rather than simply an absence. εὐπλοίας τυχών further continues the metaphor from λιμήν (‘Oedipus sailed into his marriage with the wind at his


C O M M E N T A R Y : 424– 425 back’: Campbell (1986) 117) and also suggests that τύχη had a part to play in Oedipus’ success, a point that Tiresias later makes more explicit (442n.). The ‘fair weather’ that Oedipus encountered was the apparently successful encounter with the Sphinx, which won him both glory and Jocasta’s bed; writing ἀπλοίας (coni. Pearson (1929a) 95, with unusual prosody in the first syllable) removes the irony. Replacing λιμήν with ’λικών (i.e. Ἑλικών, suggested by Blaydes, Trachiniae edition, p. viii) eliminates a key part of this maritime imagery, and introduces both a prodelision unparalleled in tragedy (cf. Platnauer (1960) 141) and an unwelcome reference to a mountain irrelevant to Oedipus. Ll-J/W (So.) support it by reference to the singing match between the two mountains in Corinna (fr. 654 PMG), but cannot adduce any classical, or non-fantastical, literary association between the pair; even if they could, it would be poetically ruinous to mention both mountains as if they were equally significant. Replacing the second ποῖος with πῶς σοί (Wolff1, text and p. 140), πᾶς σοι (Taplin (2010) 245), or πάτριος (Dawe (1999b) = (2007) 268) wounds the rhetorical impact of the repeated question word; ποῖος Κιθαιρών on its own would be an odd phrase, but it receives adequate support from the preceding ποῖος . . . λιμήν.

424–5 ἄλλων δὲ πλῆθος οὐκ ἐπαισθάνῃ κακῶν, | ἅ σ᾿ ἐξισώσει σῷ τοκεῖ καὶ σοῖς τέκνοις. ‘And you do not perceive the mass of your other troubles, which will render you equal to your father and to your children.’ The revelation of the truth will render Oedipus equal to his father, in that both of them fulfilled the role of Jocasta’s husband and had children by her, and equal to his children, in that both he and they were born from Jocasta; the language vividly expresses the confusion of three generations, as ‘the contorted relationship of incest is presented in words whose syntax is itself unusual’ (Buxton (1995) 9, though he does not specify which text he prefers; cf. 457–60, 1271–4, 1405–8). This revelation has already been prophesied by Tiresias, and thus scarcely merits the designation ἄλλα . . . κακά; but this expression, although not strictly logical, nevertheless makes the troubles that Oedipus is confronting seem all the more expansive and menacing. σῷ τοκεῖ καὶ is owed to Nauck3 (p. 158). The paradosis σοί τε καὶ τοῖς would mean ‘which will render you equal to yourself and to your children’ – hardly ‘will make you equal to your true self, when you discover your real identity’ (pace Jebb), which both places an intolerable interpretive weight on σοί, and assigns the datives σοί and τοῖς σοῖς τέκνοις quite different roles that would make a mockery of the idea of equivalence that lies at the heart of Tiresias’ prophecy. The corruption is unlikely to lie in ἐξισώσει, a typically Sophoclean verb (no other tragedian uses it) in an extended


C OMMENTARY : 424– 425 or compressed sense in contexts of pain or suffering (thus Pearson (1919) 125); cf. 1507 μηδ’ ἐξισώσῃς τάσδε τοῖς ἐμοῖς κακοῖς (‘nor should you make the sufferings of these girls [literally just ‘make these girls’] equal to my sufferings’), El. 1071/2–1073 τὰ δὲ πρὸς τέκνων διπλῆ φύλοπις οὐκέτ’ ἐξισοῦται φιλοτασίῳ διαίτᾳ (‘the twofold strife on the part of the children is no longer made equal to a friendly way of life’), and 1194 μήτηρ καλεῖται· μητρὶ δ’ οὐδὲν ἐξισοῖ (‘she is called my mother; but she does nothing equal to the name of mother [literally just ‘equal to my mother]’). The idea of equality also picks up a theme prominently announced at the start of this speech (408–9, especially ἐξισωτέον). Nauck’s conjecture keeps the verb of equalising, and changes instead the object to which Oedipus is equalised. Corruption from ΣΩΙΤΟΚΕΙΚΑΙ to ΣΟΙΤΕΚΑΙΤΟΙΣ could have involved ΚΕΙ dropping out by haplography, and ΣΩΙΤΟ changing to ΣΟΙΤΕ to restore sense (assisted by phonetic equivalence of omega and omicron); the addition of τοῖς would have restored the expected twelve syllables. τοκεύς is attested in tragedy at Aesch. Pers. 63, 580, Ag. 728, 772, Cho. 385, Eum. 152, 271, 497–8, 659, Eur. Suppl. 364, 507, Hec. 403, Her. 915, and never in Sophocles (it is attested in most manuscripts at El. 187, but the minority reading is to be preferred there; see n.); such a distribution, however, hardly proves that he could not have used the word. A slightly less textually invasive remedy involves changing ἅ σ᾿ to ὅσ᾿ (coni. Markland on Eur. Suppl. 594), but it is not clear what this would mean. Wilamowitz (1899) 65 = (1935–72) vi 219 follows Markland and in addition reads ἐξισώσεις (cf. his translation ‘Und all das Elend ahnst du nicht, dass du | dir selbst und deinen Söhnen gleich bereitest’); Pearson (1929a) 95 renders this text ‘in which thou and thy children shall share alike’. But it is hard to see how the Greek can equate to either of these translations. Moreover, ὅσα seems out of place; ‘. . . the mass of your troubles – all those troubles that will . . .’ (cf. 1227–30) gives a curious emphasis. Bergk (p. xlviii) tries ἅ γ᾿ ἐξαϊστώσει σε σὺν τοῖς σοῖς τέκνοις (‘which will annihilate you together with your children’), but this involves extensive textual change, features γε emphasising a relative pronoun, a rare usage (see Denniston 123–4), and introduces an idea, the complete destruction of Oedipus’ children (cf. [Aesch.] PV 667–8 πυρωπὸν ἐκ Διὸς μολεῖν | κεραυνόν, ὃς πᾶν ἐξαϊστώσοι γένος, the only attestation of the verb), that goes beyond any of Tiresias’ other threats, or anything that Oedipus fears for his offspring in the final scene. The emendation also removes the eminently Sophoclean idea of rendering equal; ἐξαϊστώσει is by comparison a much less interesting verb.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 426– 429

426–8 πρὸς ταῦτα καὶ Κρέοντα καὶ τοὐμὸν στόμα | προπηλάκιζε. σοῦ γὰρ οὐκ ἔστιν βροτῶν | κάκιον ὅστις ἐκτριβήσεταί ποτε. ‘In the face of that cast your mud at Creon and at me; for there is no-one among mortals who will ever be rubbed out more wretchedly than you.’ Menacing πρὸς ταῦτα introducing an imperative (343–4n.) is followed by a strong statement of the true situation, as at Eur. Med. 1358–60 πρὸς ταῦτα καὶ λέαιναν, εἰ βούλῃ, κάλει· | τῆς σῆς γὰρ ὡς χρῆν καρδίας ἀνθηψάμην; for other such statements introduced by γάρ (‘I say this because . . .’; cf. 559, Denniston 60–1) after threatening or contemptuous imperatives cf. Eur. Andr. 258, fr. 687 TrGF, Ar. Ach. 335, Vesp. 603–4, Thesm. 899–901, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 872–3. στόμα standing for the whole person (cf. 447–8, 671–2, Aj. 1108–10n.) is particularly appropriate because it is Tiresias’ words that Oedipus most insistently rejects, and because the metaphor in προπηλάκιζε is given additional bite if Oedipus is imagined to be casting dirt into Tiresias’ very mouth. τοὐμόν may be pointed, too; Tiresias speaks his own words, and is no mere mouthpiece requiring Creon to speak for him (410–11; cf. OC 794 ὑπόβλητον στόμα, Oedipus to Creon). Metaphorical προπηλακίζομαι and προπηλακισμός are found in all kinds of prose (including SEG l 276.4, lvii 294, an early fourth century lead letter from Athens, on which see Jordan (2000); the noun occurs at Hdt. 6.73.1), but occur nowhere else in tragedy, and in comedy only at Ar. Thesm. 386 and Men. fab. incert. 1.(iv).17 Arnott (Loeb edition, iii 470). The stem seems to have fallen short of the dignity of poetry; its use here marks the intensity of Tiresias’ rage. (The formation is unexplained, since no noun πῆλαξ, πήλακος is attested, and even πηλός does not seem to be used of verbal abuse; but for other terms for filth used metaphorically cf. Latin caenum and lutum as insulting terms at Plaut. Pers. 406, Cat. 42.13, Cic. Pis. 62.) κάκιον is given great force from its position, ahead of ὅστις, as well as at the start of the line. For ἐκτριβήσεται see [246–51]n.; Hdt. 7.120.2 κάκιστα πάντων ἀνθρώπων ἐκτριβῆναι (v.l. δια–). 429 ἦ ταῦτα δῆτ’ ἀνεκτὰ πρὸς τούτου κλυεῖν; ‘Are these words bearable

to hear from this man?’ δῆτα after ταῦτα conveys indignation (cf. Phil. 987 ταῦτα δῆτ᾽ ἀνασχετά . . .;, Denniston 272, A/O on Ar. Thesm. 562–3). Negated ἀνεκτός is elsewhere found in the mouth of an outraged monarch at Ant. 282 λέγεις γὰρ οὐκ ἀνεκτά; for the following epexegetic infinitive cf. Semon. fr. 7.32 IEG τὴν δ’ οὐκ ἀνεκτὸς οὐδ’ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἰδεῖν. Instead of πρὸς τούτου R has προσπόλου (‘from a slave’); the lambda that Π3 probably has above the second tau in τούτου might be connected with this, although if so, it is strange that there is not also a pi


C OMMENTARY : 430– 431 above the first tau. But whether or not προσπόλου is an ancient reading, it is a poor one. Oedipus may be furious with Tiresias, and in general may be keenly aware of his status as a king, but neither of these factors would lead him to refer to the seer as a mere slave or servant (despite Tiresias’ tendentious defence at 410). κλυεῖν is owed to West (1984) 179 for manuscript κλύειν (233–5n.).

430–1 οὐκ εἰς ὄλεθρον; οὐχὶ θᾶσσον αὖ πάλιν | ἄψορρος οἴκων τῶνδ’ ἀποστραφεὶς ἄπει; ‘Go to perdition! Quick, turn from this house and get away!’ Two commands beginning οὐ, the former short and verbless, the latter as part of a ‘will you not . . .’ question, express high passion (Aj. 369n., citing tragic parallels). οὐκ εἰς ὄλεθρον; is ‘a dignified version of the οὐκ ἐς κόρακας; and the like of ordinary speech’ (Hutchinson on Aesch. Sept. 252 οὐκ εἰς φθόρον σιγῶσ’ ἀνασχήσῃ τάδε;, comparing our passage). The phrase is later employed by the lowstatus Servant of Laius (1146), which suggests its register; Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 1267 calls it ‘unkingly’. But it cannot be described simply as ‘the language . . . of plain speech’ without qualification (pace Renehan (1992) 359). ὄλεθρον is not common in comedy, and the single occurrence in that genre of this particular phrase, Men. Sic. 343–4 οὐκ εἰς τὸν ὄλεθρον . . . ἀποφθερεῖ | ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ;, may be influenced by these tragic passages rather than offering the unmediated expression of vernacular Attic; if it were an everyday insult, we would expect to encounter it more frequently. Similarly, Oedipus’ second command shows in part the vigorous phrasing of ordinary life (cf. Crat. fr. 129 PCG οὐκ ἀπερρήσεις σὺ θᾶττον;, Ar. Plut. 604 ἔρρ’ ἐς κόρακας θᾶττον ἀφ’ ἡμῶν, Fraenkel ap. Collard (2005a) 366; the reason behind the choice of the comparative adverb, paralleled in Sophocles at Tr. 1183 οὐ θᾶσσον οἴσεις μηδ᾽ ἀπιστήσεις ἐμοί;, is unclear), while also containing a term exclusive to high poetry (ἄψορρος) never heard on the streets of Athens. ἄψορρος is found by tautology with πάλιν at El. 53 ἄψορρον ἥξομεν πάλιν (cf. Hom. Il. 3.33 παλίνορσος); the combination αὖ πάλιν is commoner, whether in this order (cf. Tr. 1088, Phil. 952, 1331, OC 1418, Aesch. fr. 47a.780 TrGF, Eur. Suppl. 1081, IT 377, Hom. Od. 13.125 αὐτοὶ δ’ αὖ οἶκόνδε πάλιν κίον, Ar. Lys. 977, Xen. Hell. 7.4.22, Pl. Crat. 437c) or as πάλιν αὖ (cf. Eur. IA 843, Andoc. 2.16, Thuc. 5.72.1, Xen. Hell. 2.4.29, Pl. Phaedo 84a). ἀποστραφείς contrasts with 326 μὴ . . . ἀποστραφῇς, the similarity of language highlighting the reversal of Oedipus’ position. αὖ is attested only in the text of Π3, and was conjectured by Wolff1 (p. 140) before the discovery of the papyrus; the same papyrus has οὐ above the line, which is also the reading of Π1 and the mediaeval manuscripts. The former reading, although less well attested, must be


C O M M E N T A R Y : 432– 434 right (cf. Finglass (2013a) 38). It gives excellent idiom, as illustrated above; by contrast, οὐχὶ θᾶσσον; would have to mean ‘Go quickly!’, yet there is no parallel for the negative accompanied by a bare adverb. (Contrast the threefold Ar. Vesp. 458 οὐχὶ σοῦσθ’; οὐκ ἐς κόρακας; οὐκ ἄπιτε;, where we have main verbs in two of the commands, plus one command where the absence of the verb is recognisably idiomatic.) Furthermore, original αὖ was much more likely to become οὐ, surrounded as it was by οὐκ and οὐχί, than was an original οὐ to turn into αὖ; the papyrus shows that the corruption is ancient.

432 οὐδ’ ἱκόμην ἔγωγ’ ἄν, εἰ σὺ μὴ ’κάλεις. ‘I would not have come, if you had not called me’. Tiresias recalls his initial unwillingness (316–18, 320–1; contrast 447–8n.). 433–4 οὐ γὰρ τί σ’ ᾔδη μῶρα φωνήσοντ’, ἐπεὶ | σχολῇ σ’ ἂν οἴκους τοὺς ἐμοὺς ἐστειλάμην. ‘Yes, because I had no idea that you would speak words of foolishness, since otherwise I would scarcely have had you summoned to my house.’ Oedipus’ regret at having summoned Tiresias mirrors Tiresias’ opening regret for having come (317–18); yet in a moment Oedipus will be urging Tiresias to stay (437), and Tiresias will in turn be declaiming ‘what he arrived here to say’ (447). γάρ picks up εἰ σὺ μὴ ’κάλεις (‘Yes, I did call you’: 324–5n.). ᾔδη, the correct classical form (El. 1018n.), is attested in the margin of an ancient manuscript (Π3) and in the text of a mediaeval one (cf. Finglass (2013a) 43), when other mediaeval manuscripts have ᾔδει or ᾔδειν. It had previously been conjectured by B. Heath (1762) 30, after Dawes (1745) 232, who makes the general claim that –η rather than –ειν is the correct Attic first person pluperfect ending. σχολῇ ‘scarcely’ is attested elsewhere in tragedy only at Ant. 390, in the mouth of the Guard. It appears in prose (cf. Andoc. 1.102, where the speaker asks ‘Should I not be found innocent?’ before concluding πάντως δήπου· ἢ σχολῇ γέ τις ἄλλος ἀνθρώπων, with an abbreviation of the argument similar to that found in our passage), and, while not colloquial, may be an essentially unpoetic word below the usual dignity of tragedy (cf. Collard (2005a) 367). Immediately afterwards, σ᾿ appears in Π3 after correction and in the mediaeval manuscripts. One mediaeval manuscript has γ᾿, which is also found in the Suda; this too is likely to be an ancient reading, since the ancient manuscript before correction reads σγ’, probably because of the presence of both variant readings σ᾿ and γ᾿ in its exemplar. γ᾿ would be idiomatic, with the particle emphasising ἐπεί (258–63n.), and was adopted by Porson (pre-1808a) 164, who wrote ἐμούς to provide the object necessary for ἐστειλάμην; but it is not superior to the majority reading, which unlike


C OMMENTARY : 435– 438 γ᾿ requires no textual intervention in its support. At Ant. 390 σχολῇ ποθ᾽ is written σχολῇ γ᾿ ἄν by Triclinius, which suggests that this adverb in this sense could wrongly attract that particle. For the bare accusative οἴκους τοὺς ἐμούς denoting motion towards see 35–9n.

435–6 ἡμεῖς τοιοίδ’ ἔφυμεν, ὡς μὲν σοὶ δοκεῖ, | μῶροι, γονεῦσι δ’, οἵ σ’ ἔφυσαν, ἔμφρονες. ‘That is what I am, as it seems to you – foolish; but to your parents, who begot you, I seemed wise.’ Tiresias may begin to move towards the exit at this point (cf. 437 μεῖνον); his final words probably provoke in Oedipus some kind of shocked movement. His sudden clarity of expression is not just dramatically striking, but also psychologically motivated; Oedipus has so abused his past conduct (390–8) that he is stung into making a defence. ἔφυμεν introduces a concentration of verbs, an ‘insidious sequence’ (Silk (1996b) 483), with that stem (cf. 436 ἔφυσαν 437 ἐκφύει, 438 φύσει), highlighting the idea of begetting, which is so dreadful in this context. The opposition between μῶροι and ἔμφρονες (K offers εὔφρονες, but wisdom, not kindness, is at issue) recurs at El. 1326 ὦ πλεῖστα μῶροι καὶ φρενῶν τητώμενοι, 890 ἢ φρονοῦσαν ἢ μώραν λέγῃς, Aj. 745–6; ἄφρων and μῶρος are paired at Eur. Phoen. 1647, Xen. Ag. 2.7. Instead of μὲν σοί Schaefer writes σοὶ μέν (his edition, p. 252), which is quite plausible; it puts more emphasis on the pronoun, and the error could have come about from μέν being tranferred to its expected second place. 437 ποίοισι; μεῖνον. τίς δέ μ’ ἐκφύει βροτῶν; ‘What parents? Stay! Who among mortals was my parent?’ Tiresias’ brief comment has more impact on Oedipus than all his previous words put together; for the first time in nearly a hundred lines, Oedipus suddenly becomes desperately eager to hear what the prophet has to say. ‘The first question borrows the syntax of the previous line while the second question rephrases the first in a syntactically independent form’ (Mastronarde (1979) 50 n. 59, citing Phil. 918, OC 388, Eur. Ion 1012); the staccato language expresses agitation (cf. Ant. 1099 τί δῆτα χρὴ δρᾶν; φράζε· πείσομαι δ᾽ ἐγώ, from ‘a moment of comparable crisis’: Silk (1996b) 495 n. 58). The shift from plural (which picks up Tiresias’ plural) to singular may reflect Oedipus’ particular concern with his paternity (779–86; thus S. Lattimore (1975) 107). (ἐκ)φύω (435–6n.) usually denotes fatherhood, because motherhood has its own verb, τίκτω, but for (ἐκ)φύω of a mother cf. 1084, Aj. 1295, OC 983–4; it is safest to keep the translation of this line and the next gender neutral. The present implies a continuous relationship (1247, El. 342n.). 438 ἥδ’ ἡμέρα φύσει σε καὶ διαφθερεῖ. ‘This day will be your parent and your destroyer.’ Besides ensuring that the drama does not come to


C O M M E N T A R Y : 439– 441 a premature conclusion, Tiresias’ failure to answer Oedipus’ question directly manifests the ‘social, psychological, or political superiority can be displayed by refusing to entertain a question and thus dismissing the other person’s topic from consideration’ (Mastronarde (1979) 83). It is nevertheless a kind of answer (as indicated by φύσει picking up ἐκφύει: 435–6n.), which moreover increases the urgency: this day will see Oedipus’ fall. It will also be his parent, a prophetically obscure utterance which many in the audience would nevertheless understand to mean that Oedipus will uncover the destructive facts about his parentage (cf. Finglass (2009b) 45; for similarly paradoxical utterances uniting death and life cf. Aj. 801–2 καθ’ ἡμέραν | †τὴν νῦν ὅτ᾿† αὐτῷ θάνατον ἢ βίον φέρει, El. 1417–21n., Seaford (2003a) 146–7, Herrero de Jáuregui (2013) 62–3). ‘As the action of a Greek play normally takes place in a single day . . ., the idea of “today” as the fateful day often serves as a leitmotif’ (A/O on Ar. Thesm. 71, citing Ajax and Euripides’ Alcestis and Hippolytus; cf. 613–15, Aj. 748–83n., Liapis on [Eur.] Rhes. 600–4). For the idea that a single day can destroy cf. Aj. 131–2n., Eur. Phoen. 1689 ἓν ἦμάρ μ’ ὤλβισ’, ἓν δ’ ἀπώλεσεν with Mastronarde, Garvie on Aesch. Pers. 429–32.

439 ὡς πάντ’ ἄγαν αἰνικτὰ κἀσαφῆ λέγεις. ‘How everything you say is full of riddles and obscurity!’ Oedipus’ natural frustration at the seer’s vagueness is a standard topos (cf. fr. 771 TrGF καὶ τὸν θεὸν τοιοῦτον ἐξεπίσταμαι, | σοφοῖς μὲν αἰνικτῆρα θεσφάτων ἀεί, | σκαιοῖς δὲ φαῦλον κἀν βραχεῖ διδάσκαλον, Eur. Suppl. 138 Φοίβου μ’ ὑπῆλθε δυστόπαστ’ αἰνίγματα, Heracl. D–K 22 F 93 (i 172.6–7), Theogn. 681–2, Tsagarakis (2000) 51–2 with n. 178, Mould (2002); contrast Naerebout and Beerden (2013) 142 ‘oracular pronouncements in the Greek world were clear and unambiguous’, on non-literary oracles) which here prevents any further inquiry that would have to have been met by still more stonewalling. Instead of κἀσαφῆ r have κοὐ σαφῆ, which looks like a poor conjecture, or the result of misreading α as ου in minuscule. 440 οὔκουν σὺ ταῦτ’ ἄριστος εὑρίσκειν ἔφυς; ‘Are you not best at finding these things out?’ Tiresias continues to respond to Oedipus’ speech, this time with reference to his boasting about his ability to solve riddles (396–8).

441 τοιαῦτ’ ὀνείδιζ’ οἷς ἔμ’ εὑρήσεις μέγαν. ‘Insult me where you will find me great.’ Instead of εὑρήσεις Zc has εὑρίσκεις (coni. Van Herwerden (1862) 116), but the future is in place; if Tiresias considers the matter, this is what he will find. The minority variant was probably influenced by εὑρίσκειν in 440.


C OMMENTARY : 442– 446

442 αὕτη γε μέντοι σ’ ἡ τύχη διώλεσεν. ‘Yet it is that very fortune that has destroyed you.’ For γε μέντοι ‘introducing an objection in dialogue’ cf. El. 398, Denniston 412. τύχη ‘implies some abatement of the king’s boast’ (Jebb, referring to 398 γνώμῃ κυρήσας); cf. 423 εὐπλοίας τυχών, Thuc. 1.144.4 οἱ γοῦν πατέρες ἡμῶν . . . γνώμῃ τε πλέονι ἢ τύχῃ καὶ τόλμῃ μείζονι ἢ δυνάμει τόν τε βάρβαρον ἀπεώσαντο καὶ ἐς τάδε προήγαγον αὐτά. Writing τέχνη (coni. Bentley (pre-1742) 246) removes these nuances. 443 ἀλλ’ εἰ πόλιν τήνδ’ ἐξέσωσ’, οὔ μοι μέλει. ‘But if I saved this city, that is no concern of mine.’ Oedipus declares that his own destruction is a matter of personal indifference so long as he has saved the city. This defiantly public-spirited remark is well placed, reminding the audience as it does of Oedipus’ wider concerns at a time when attention has been focused on his wrath. Instead of μοι the scholia to Zc have τοι, which suggests the conjecture σοι. With that text, Oedipus would be saying that Tiresias has no interest in his having saved the city, but this does not connect as well with Tiresias’ last words. 444 ἄπειμι τοίνυν· καὶ σύ, παῖ, κόμιζέ με. ‘I am going, then. You, slave,

take me.’ ἄπειμι τοίνυν announces an angry departure at El. [1050], as does bare ἄπειμι at Aj. 1159, Tr. 414, and Eur. Alc. 730, and cf. the lengthier expressions at Andr. 732–3, Phoen. 891–4; the tone of ἄπειμι τοίνυν at S. fr. 730d.4 TrGF cannot be gauged. Tiresias makes similar requests to an attendant at the end of a scene at Ant. 1087 ὦ παῖ, σὺ δ᾽ ἡμᾶς ἄπαγε πρὸς δόμους and Eur. Phoen. 953–4 ἡγοῦ, τέκνον, | πρὸς οἶκον; addressing the slave allows him to break contact with his hostile interlocutor. For παῖς as a general term for slave irrespective of age see Golden (1985).

445–6 κομιζέτω δῆθ’· ὡς παρὼν σύ γ’ ἐμποδὼν | ὀχλεῖς, συθείς τ’ ἂν οὐκ ἂν ἀλγύναις πλέον. ‘Let him take you then – since when you are here, you are an obstruction and a nuisance, and once you’ve sped off you won’t cause any more grief’ (cf. Lloyd-Jones). κομιζέτω after a preceding speaker’s κόμιζε has a defiant tone, especially intensified by δῆτα (El. 845n., adding Wilkins on Eur. Hcld. 264). γ᾿ emphasises ὡς (cf. Ant. 1312, Denniston 143); the variant μ᾿ in Xs provides ὀχλεῖς with an unnecessary object. συθείς implies speed, even though Tiresias is in no position to move quickly; Oedipus wants him out of the way as quickly as possible. Cf. how at OC 118/19–120 the chorus ask ποῦ κυρεῖ ἐκτόπιος συθεὶς ὁ πάντων, | ὁ πάντων ἀκορέστατος;, even though they already know that their quarry is an old man (124 πλανάτας τις ὁ πρέσβυς).


C O M M E N T A R Y : 447– 462 The aorist optative ἀλγύναις, although unusual, should not be replaced with the weakly-attested present optative ἀλγύνοις (coni. Elmsley1, apparatus). In Sophocles, as in other classical dramatists, the so-called ‘Aeolic’ optatives –ειας, –ειε, –ειαν (there is nothing particularly Aeolic about the forms) predominate over the alternatives –αις, –αι, –αιεν (cf. Lautensach (1916) 169–80; the origin and relative ages of the differing sets of endings, for which see Forbes (1958), remain unclear). But –αις, –αι, –αιεν do appear, and, in the case of –αις and –αι, are metrically guaranteed when they do; in tragedy forms in –αις make up 16% of all second-person aorist optatives, and those in –αι 11% of all third-person aorist optatives (see the table at Lautensach (1916) 180; also Willi (2003) 246). There are only two examples of –αιεν attested in tragedy, at 843 of our play (where κατακτείναιεν is the best attested reading, appearing in KADXrXs, whereas –ειαν is only in Zr and other, inferior manuscripts; Lac is unreadable) and at Eur. Hel. 75 (where the text relies on a single manuscript). Both these instances are often removed by editors, but on balance are better retained; there are far fewer third-person plural optatives in tragedy of any kind, and these two would make up 10% of the total forms, a figure comparable to those given above for the singulars. Moreover, forms in –αιεν could readily have been ‘corrected’, consciously or not, into –ειαν by scribes familiar with the general preference of tragedy for the Aeolic endings, whereas the reverse change is harder to explain. Inscriptional evidence is thin. The aorist optative εἴπαι is found on a sherd inscribed by an Athenian perhaps c. 475–450, and στήσαιεν occurs in verse on an inscription from the early fourth century; in the Roman period, however, the Aeolic forms are found several times, and there is only one instance of a non-Aeolic form (see Threatte ii 467–8).

447–62 Tiresias’ final speech is the last of the episode. ‘No reply from Oedipus: we sense that he has lost control of the scene, and indeed of his whole situation’ (R. Rutherford (2012) 168–9, comparing Tiresias’ exit after a rhêsis at Ant. 1064–90, also without a response from Creon; cf. p. 169 n. 12, and p. 196 ‘the last speaker in a scene generally carries special weight’, citing Aesch. Ag. 636–80, 958–74); Oedipus ‘goes off in silence, as if defeated, an impression emphasized by the fact that Tiresias, in his last words, is in effect ordering the king into the house’ (Knox (1980) 321 [although Knox writes these words only to disagree with them; for his view of the scene see below], and cf. Bain (1977) 74, (1979) 136). By delivering a second major speech Tiresias marks his dominance, holding off from the exit which in the preceding stichomythia had seemed so imminent. The seer’s authority is expressed in his language too; he as it were wrests control of phrases


C OMMENTARY : 447– 462 and even syntax employed previously by Oedipus, reapplying them for his own devastating ends (449–52n., 457–60n.). According to Kock (1857) 25 with n. 66, Oedipus departs here; supporters of this staging (e.g. Bellermann, in all his editions) argue that Tiresias is too explicit in this speech for his words to permit further misunderstanding on Oedipus’ part about his real identity were he still present. I reject this view for three reasons. First, Tiresias has already told Oedipus that he killed Laius (350–3, 362), implied that he is committing incest (366–7, 413–14), and given a strong hint about the identity of his parents (435–6) – a hint strong enough to trigger grave concern in Oedipus’ mind (437), and one which, combined with Oedipus’ history of concern about his true paternity (774–93), arguably ought to have suggested that Laius might in fact have been his father. If lines 447–62 are so explicit that Oedipus could not but have realised the truth on hearing them, the same would apply for lines 350–3, 362, and 435–6, and possibly 366–7 and 413–14 too, all of which Oedipus certainly hears. So removing him from the stage for Tiresias’ final speech does not deal adequately with the problem that Kock’s staging is designed to solve. Second, the exchange between Oedipus and Tiresias immediately preceding this final speech has been focused on Tiresias’ movements: Oedipus tells him to go (430–1), Tiresias says he would never have come if Oedipus had not told him to (432), Oedipus says that he never would have summoned him if he had known that he would speak foolish words (433–4), Oedipus suddenly asks Tiresias to stay after his reference to his parents (437), Tiresias says that he is going to depart (444), Oedipus tells him to go (445–6), Tiresias says that he will go once he has delivered his message (447–8). For Oedipus to leave instead, ahead of Tiresias and without any verbal indication of, or clear motivation for, his departure, would be bizarrely out of keeping with the dominant topic of this passage, and for no clear dramatic advantage. Third, for Tiresias to speak to an empty stage, thinking that he was still addressing Oedipus (note particularly 460–1 καὶ ταῦτ’ ἰὼν | εἴσω λογίζου), would turn the dread all-knowing prophet into a figure of fun. The distinction between literal and prophetic sight, so important throughout the episode, would be comically called into question as the prophet confidently predicted the future, unaware that his addressee was no longer there to hear him. In the second edition of his translation, Wilamowitz adapts Kock’s proposal, claiming that at 447 Oedipus turns away, does not listen to the speech, and walks slowly to the skênê door; Knox (1980) 326 followed


C O M M E N T A R Y : 447– 452 Wilamowitz and states that Oedipus starts to move at line 446 and passes through the door at 457. This idea remains subject to the objections raised above, and to two further ones: namely, that there is no parallel for an actor taking eleven lines to depart via the skênê, and that the phenomenon of lines spoken at an actor’s departing back ‘tends to lack dignity, and is often used to lower the tragic or heroic tone’ (Taplin (1977) 222; cf. Aj. 1161–2n.). Schöll deletes 444–62 (his translation, pp. 92–101), and Manuwald (2012) (cf. his edition, pp. 315–17) deletes 447–62, but no troubling features of language, style, or stagecraft justify such extraordinary intervention.

447–8 εἰπὼν ἄπειμ’ ὧν οὕνεκ’ ἦλθον, οὐ τὸ σὸν | δείσας πρόσωπον· οὐ

γὰρ ἔσθ’ ὅπου μ’ ὀλεῖς. ‘I will go when I have said what I came here for, not fearing your face; for there is no way that you can destroy me’. Previously Tiresias had said that he was unwilling to come at all (316–21), and only under great provocation declared that Oedipus was the killer; but now he delays his exit until he can deliver the message that he apparently intended to give all along. Formal inconsistency is outweighed by dramatic gain. Tiresias’ authority and control of the situation is emphasised by his departing at a moment of his choosing rather than Oedipus’, and the seer’s final speech is more portentous thanks to its characterisation as a premeditated utterance rather than a mere angry outburst. πρόσωπον stands for Oedipus as a whole (426–8n.) but also conjures the idea of ‘the tyrant’s threatening mien’ (N/R on Hor. C. 3.3. 3–4, with parallels; cf. Ant. 690–1 τὸ γὰρ σὸν ὄμμα δεινὸν ἀνδρὶ δημότῃ | λόγοις τοιούτοις οἷς σὺ μὴ τέρψῃ κλύων, Pearson (1925) 3). For οὐκ ἔσθ’ ὅπου equivalent to οὐκ ἔσθ’ ὅπως see 354–5n.

449–52 λέγω δέ σοι· τὸν ἄνδρα τοῦτον, ὃν πάλαι | ζητεῖς ἀπειλῶν κἀνακηρύσσων φόνον | τὸν Λαΐειον, οὗτός ἐστιν ἐνθάδε, | ξένος λόγῳ μέτοικος· ‘I am speaking to you. That man, whom you have long been searching for, making threats and a proclamation about the murder of Laius, that man is here, supposedly a foreigner who has migrated here.’ λέγω δέ σοι has a threatening edge (cf. Aesch. Ag. 1421 with Fraenkel, Collard (2005a) 370; their parallels guarantee σοι over P’s τοι). Punctuation after σοι (owed to Schaefer (1808b) 726) produces a short, punchy statement (cf. Aj. 1140 ἕν σοι φράσω with n.) instead of a meandering sentence; it also ensures that Tiresias’ prophecy begins with the same phrase as Oedipus’ proclamation (236), also in asyndeton (236–40n.), also prefaced by an expression anticipating an announcement. The linguistic similarity mirrors the shift of authority from Oedipus to Tiresias, who as it were takes over the proclaimer’s


C OMMENTARY : 452– 456 role; but whereas Oedipus’ speech was directed at all the Thebans with a view to tracking down an unknown assailant, Tiresias is identifying that person to his face. This reversal is also seen in the designation of Oedipus as a metic, which turns against the king a term which Tiresias had earlier felt necessary to disclaim by implication in his own case (410–11n.). τὸν ἄνδρα τοῦτον is attracted into the case of the following relative because the verb that it governs (ἐστιν) is so distant (cf. Diggle (1981a) 40–1, (2002) 84, Probert (2015) 164–5, El. 653n.); when that verb comes, the noun phrase is resumed by οὗτος to ease the syntax. Λαΐειον in place of an expected nominal genitive (264–8n.) emphasises the solemnity of the moment. ‘An interrogative κήρυγμα is required to get information about a crime or a criminal’ (Dover (1976) 51 = (1987) 187); κηρύσσω is more common in this sense (cf. [Dem.] 25.56 ἐζήτουν καὶ ἐκήρυττον οἱ ἕνδεκα and other passages cited by Dover), but for ἀνακηρύσσω (usually found in the context of celebratory proclamations) with a negative object cf. Aeschin. 1.60 φοβηθέντες . . . μὴ ἀνακηρυχθῇ αὐτῶν ἡ βδελυρία εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν πόλιν.

452–4 εἶτα δ’ ἐγγενὴς | φανήσεται Θηβαῖος, οὐδ’ ἡσθήσεται | τῇ ξυμφορᾷ· ‘Then he will be seen to be a native-born Theban, but he will not take pleasure in the event.’ ξυμφορά can refer to something happy (El. 1230n.), but more often denotes a misfortune; the ambiguity brings out the paradox that the discovery of true citizen status will result not in pleasure (as in Euripides’ Ion and the comedies that later made use of this pattern) but in pain. 454–6 τυφλὸς γὰρ ἐκ δεδορκότος | καὶ πτωχὸς ἀντὶ πλουσίου ξένην ἔπι | σκήπτρῳ προδεικνὺς γαῖαν ἐμπορεύσεται. ‘For being blind after having sight, and a beggar instead of a rich man, he will make his way to a foreign land, feeling for the ground ahead of him with a stick.’ The repeated idiom in τυφλὸς . . . ἐκ δεδορκότος καὶ πτωχὸς ἀντὶ πλουσίου (for which cf. Xen. An. 7.7.28 χαλεπώτερον ἐκ πλουσίου πένητα γενέσθαι ἢ ἀρχὴν μὴ πλουτῆσαι, καὶ . . . λυπηρότερον ἐκ βασιλέως ἰδιώτην φανῆναι ἢ ἀρχὴν μὴ βασιλεῦσαι, Moorhouse 109, Hor. C. 3.30.12 ex humili potens with N/R) conveys the coming total reversal of Oedipus’ life; the σκῆπτρον (the preferred term in poetry, whereas prose often uses βακτηρία; see Hornblower (2000) 61–3 = (2011) 257–60), a typical appurtenance of power (El. 420–1n.), will be used instead by the blind Oedipus to show him his way. With ξένην we must understand γῆν, as at Phil. 135–6 τί χρή με, δέσποτ᾽, ἐν ξένᾳ ξένον | στέγειν, OC 184 ξεῖνος ἐπὶ ξένας, since γαῖαν is governed by προδεικνύς (cf. Sen. Oed. 657 baculo senili triste praetemptans iter, probably influenced


C O M M E N T A R Y : 457– 461 by our passage, and Ov. Met. 14.189–90 praetemptatque manu silvas et luminis orbus | rupibus incursat); failure to recognise the construction led to the variant σκῆπτρον (F2s and Σ p. 184.22–3 Papageorgius), which cannot be right, because the putative phrase ξένην ἐπὶ . . . γαῖαν could not have σκῆπτρον προδεικνύς separating it. ἐμπορεύσεται is the majority reading; the idea that Oedipus will be leaving Thebes, coupled with the presence of ἐκ in the previous line, probably led to the erroneous minority variant ἐκ–.

457–60 φανήσεται δὲ παισὶ τοῖς αὑτοῦ ξυνὼν | ἀδελφὸς αὑτὸς καὶ πατήρ, κἀξ ἧς ἔφυ | γυναικὸς υἱὸς καὶ πόσις, καὶ τοῦ πατρὸς | ὁμόσπορός τε καὶ φονεύς. ‘He will be revealed as both brother and father of the children he is living with, and the son and husband of the woman from whom he was born, and the fellow-sower and killer of his father.’ Tiresias assigns Oedipus three different predicates to express his tortured relationships with his children, his mother, and his father (cf. 1403–8n.), each made up of two parts: brother/father, son/husband, fellow-sower/murderer. As if to prevent the sentence from becoming too balanced and schematic, the phrase accompanying each of these double predicates stands each time in a different syntactical relationship (dative, genitive with relative clause, genitive with definite article); the ruptures within Oedipus’ family are reflected in unusually complex language (424–5n.). The first two double predicates contain regular terms for family relationships, even if their pairings are anything but regular. The third too begins with a relationship term, but a unique, metaphorical one, ὁμόσπορος, denoting the relationship between two men who had had children by the same woman. To express this Tiresias makes use of the same word that Oedipus had used, also in a unique sense, to denote Jocasta’s relationship to him and to Laius (258–63n.); in the seer’s mouth, this same word is reapplied to Oedipus’ relationship to Laius, his own father. And in the final term of the third pair, φονεύς, Tiresias moves away from relationships altogether to end on a suitably appalling note. ξυνών is more than a line-filler: ‘the idea of daily converse under the same roof heightens the horror’ (Jebb; cf. Aj. 265–7n., Phillimore (1902) 337). αὑτός (thus Markland (1758–76), reinterpreting the paradosis αὐτός; his text has subsequently been found as a minority variant) ‘stresses the combination of two predicates which as a rule apply only separately’ (Barrett on Eur. Hipp. 1000–1; cf. S. Phil. 119 σοφός τ᾽ ἂν αὑτὸς κἀγαθὸς κεκλῇ᾽ ἅμα, Eur. Alc. 142 καὶ πῶς ἂν αὑτὸς κατθάνοι τε καὶ βλέποι;). 460–1 καὶ ταῦτ’ ἰὼν | εἴσω λογίζου· ‘Go inside and make your deductions about that.’ At the end Tiresias shifts back into the second person


C OMMENTARY : 461– 512 to address Oedipus directly; simultaneously he moves from prophecy to imperatives, asserting control over the present as well as the future; λογίζου sarcastically evokes Oedipus’ confidence in his powers of mental reasoning.

461–2 κἂν λάβῃς ἐψευσμένον, | φάσκειν ἔμ’ ἤδη μαντικῇ μηδὲν φρονεῖν. ‘And if you find that I have lied, then say that I have no wisdom in my prophecy.’ Tiresias refers to Oedipus’ words at 390–8; he has not allowed Oedipus’ accusations to deflect him into self-defence. For the expression (implicitly contrasting Oedipus’ λογισμός with Tiresias’ μαντική) cf. Hdt. 3.35.2 ἢν δὲ ἁμάρτω, φάναι Πέρσας τε λέγειν ἀληθέα καὶ ἐμὲ μὴ σωφρονέειν; the infinitive φάσκειν occurs as an imperative also at El. 9 and Phil. 1411. An ancient manuscript and most mediaeval manuscripts have λάβῃς μ᾿, but L has simply λάβῃς, which also seems to have been the text known to Aelius Aristides (28.11 = ii 144.23–145.2 Keil σκόπει δῆτα ἀκούων ὡς ἔχω περὶ τούτων, κἂν λάβῃς ψευδόμενον, τὸ τοῦ Σοφοκλέους, φάσκειν ἐμὲ ἤδη μηδὲν φρονεῖν, καὶ τὴν μαντικὴν διάγραφε); both readings are thus probably as old as the second century. (Barrett (2007) 377 identifies that the papyrus reads κἂν λ[άβηις μ’] ἐψε[υσμένον; Roberts (1941) 106 had restored κἂν λ ̣[άβηις] ἐψε ̣[υσμένον, which is too small for the gap.) The pronoun was more likely to have been inserted incorrectly than left out by mistake; cf. Phil. 768–9 ἀλλ᾽ ἐᾶν χρεὼν | ἕκηλον εὕδειν, where one manuscript has μ᾿ after εὕδειν. Having both μ’ and ἐμέ in 461–2 would be at least infelicitous. The pattern whereby an enclitic pronoun remains unexpressed in a preliminary, subordinate clause, ahead of an equivalent emphatic pronoun in the main clause, recurs at Aj. 496–7 ᾗ γὰρ θάνῃς σὺ καὶ τελευτήσας ἀφῇς, | ταύτῃ νόμιζε κἀμὲ τῇ τόθ’ ἡμέρᾳ κτλ. (compared by Pearson (1929a) 95); here μ’ is understood with ἀφῇς thanks to ἐμέ in the next line. This parallel additionally supports the paradosis against the conjecture ἐψευσμένα, which would agree with ταῦτ’ in 460 (coni. Wilamowitz (1879) 177 = (1935–72) iv 13). Oedipus leaves via the skênê, with attendants; Tiresias leaves via eisodos B, led by a slave.

FIRST STASIMON (463–512) 463–512 As in the parodos, the chorus begin with a τίς-question about the oracle. There they had asked what it was (151–8); now they wonder who it is about. Previously they had heard about a response from Delphi, but (unlike the audience) did not know


C O M M E N T A R Y : 463– 512

its contents. In this song too they lag behind the action, at least at the start (for parallels in tragic stasima see Mastronarde (2010) 136–8); it is as if they are singing immediately after Oedipus’ proclamation, before Tiresias intervened. But whereas in the parodos the chorus had only just come on stage, and their partial knowledge was unexceptional, in this case they have witnessed the prophet’s furious condemnation of their king; their blithe τίς; thus comes as a surprise. It hardly distracts the audience from Tiresias’ prophecy (despite Bain (1979) 139 = McAuslan and Walcot (1993) 87); spectators cannot but have wondered why the chorus are ignoring the prophet’s startling intervention, which would have been echoing in their minds as the old men sang. The apparent break in continuity is accompanied by a change of tone. The relentless focus on Oedipus and his house is replaced by the colourful picture of the anonymous killer roaming free, doggedly pursued by Apollo and the Kêres. The grim focus on darkness and blindness yields to the oracle from Delphi imagined as a light shining out from snowy Parnassus. Prophecy is no longer a threat, but the means of tracking down a fugitive criminal. But in reality, so far from fleeing, the killer is within the palace, and rather than defying the god’s command, he ‘is doing all he can to act in accordance with the oracle’s instructions’ (McDevitt (1969) 85). Moreover, it is Oedipus, not Apollo, who has been pursuing the search and enjoining it on others. The chorus evidently feel no need to differentiate between his actions and Apollo’s (cf. the principle ‘qui facit per alium facit per se’, for which cf. 1173n., Stes. fr. 96n.); this tragically mistaken act of equivalence indicates how hard it will be to prise them from their reverence for the king. At the mid-point there is a shift of mood: from optimism to pessimism (marked by repeated δεινά), from the recent past (ἀρτίως, 473/4) to the present (νῦν, 483/4), from imaginative metaphors to frantic reasoning, from the prophecy of Apollo to Tiresias’ denunciation. The shift of metre (see below) encourages us to guess that the music too became more foreboding. (There is a similar move in the first stasimon of Electra, from the chorus’s confident expectations of vengeance in the strophic pair, to their lament for the perpetual woes of the house of Pelops in the epode; there too the metre changes.) In what follows, the chorus desperately attempt to reconcile their


C OMMENTARY : 463– 512

admiration for Oedipus with their reverence for Tiresias. They express two reasons for disbelieving the seer: Oedipus had no motive to kill Laius (489–496/7) and has performed exceptional services for the city (507/8–511/12). But unlike Oedipus himself in the previous scene, they do not dismiss the seer out of hand; their previous respect for him (cf. 284–6, 297–9) is not abandoned. Their anxiety results from their attempt simultaneously to maintain their belief both in divine prophecy and in Oedipus’ innocence. The final antistrophe, in particular, shows the logical contortions into which the chorus force themselves (cf. McDevitt (1969) 86). They first profess their trust in the gods rather than mortal prophets, who may know no more than the chorus (498/9–502/3n.). But then they admit that one man’s wisdom can surpass another’s, implicitly acknowledging that Tiresias might indeed have superior understanding (503–4n.). That admission, if pressed, would undermine their opening claim that there is no means of deciding whether or not a human prophet possesses special insight. And so they do not press it, but instead recall Oedipus’ past service to the city as a reason for rejecting his (unnamed, plural) critics. That service was real enough, but provides no solution to the problems with which they have been wrestling; their concluding reaffirmation of Oedipus’ virtue fails to settle the matter. The division between the two sections of the song should not be overstated. ἄδηλος is used in both halves, once with reference to the killer (475–475/6), once to the killing of Laius (496/7), and while the first stanza has Apollo leaping against the killer (ἐπ’ αὐτόν, 469), the final one describes how the Sphinx once came against Oedipus (ἐπ’ αὐτῷ, 507/8); these similar phrases designate the same individual, who has mighty foes indeed ranged against him. The description of Delphi as θεσπιέπεια (463–463/4) is picked up by the chorus’s claim that they will not believe Oedipus’ accusers until they can see that their ἔπος is ὀρθόν (505/6). At a structural level, the chorus’s decision to begin with the Delphic oracle, not with Tiresias’ prophecy, looks forward to their eventual preference as expressed in the second antistrophe. Delphi is the more reliable source, and has delivered the more palatable message; as for Tiresias, the chorus would normally have faith in him too, but his claims have so clashed with their entire world view that they will do what they can to reject them. This distinction was prepared for in the


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chorus’s response to Oedipus’ proclamation, in which they first urged him to consult Apollo, and only then (τὰ δεύτερ’ ἐκ τῶνδ’) mentioned Tiresias (278–86). But what there had been a mild preference, with no sense that Tiresias was a poor substitute for the god, here becomes for the chorus the sole means of sustaining simultaneously their trust in the divine and their regard for Oedipus. The events of the scene to come will make it still harder for them to retain both, as the next choral song will show.

METRICAL ANALYSIS first strophic pair (463–72 ~ 473–82) (1) 463 473 wqwqqwwq (2) 463/4 473/4 wqwqwq U (3) 465 475 qqqqqwwq (4) 465/6 475/6 wqwqwqqU (5) 467 477 qqwwqwq (6) 467/8 477/8 qqwwqwq (7) 468 478 wqwwqqU (8) 469 479 wwqwwqwwqqq (9) 470 480 wwqwwqwwqtq (10)471 481 qqwwqqU (11)472 482 qwwwwqqU

ia cho ia ia^ cho dim ia ia^ tel tel reiz enopl enopl reiz ^ia ia^


second strophic pair (483/4–496/7 ~ 498/9–511/12) (12) 483/4 498/9 qwwqqwwqqwwqqwwq q7io io^ (13) 485/6 500/1 qwwqqwwqqwwqqwwqU (14) 487/8 502/3 wwqqwwqq 2io (15) 488 503 wwqqwwqU io io^ (16) 489 504 wwqqwwqU io io^ (17) 489/90 504/5 qqwwqq ^^io io (18) 490/1 505/6 wwqqwwqq 2io (19) 491/2 506/7 wwqqwwqqUH 2io (20) 492/3 507/8 wwqwwqq io^ io (21) 493 508 wwqqwwq io io^ (22) 494 509 wwqwwqq io^ io (23) 495/6 510/11 wwqqwwqqwwqU 2io io^ (24) 496/7 511/12 wwqwwqqwwq||| io^ io io^ The first strophic pair exhibits a straightforward mixture of iambo-choriambic, aeolo-choriambic, and enoplians (for such mixtures see West (1982) 119–20). For (1) as the opening colon


C OMMENTARY : 463– 466

to a stanza where it does not otherwise feature cf. Aj. 1199 ~ 1211, L. Parker (1997) 81. The choriambic dimeter in (3), an aeolo-choriambic rhythm, is placed within an otherwise iambochoriambic section, Sophocles being ‘apparently conscious of the resemblance between these metres’ (Itsumi (1982) 70). From (5) onwards aeolo-choriambic dominates, except for the enoplian lengths (at 8–9, for which cf. Eur. Hel. 640, Itsumi (1991–3) 246), and the iambo-choriambic ending. The metrical pattern of the second strophic pair is quite different. It might be purely ionic, which is the description given above (so Lucarini (2016) 119–21); or it could be a form of aeolo-choriambic containing copious elements of the form qwwq (as preferred by L. Parker (1997) 64). The kommos at El. 823–70 presents the same ambiguity, although there an aeolo-choriambic analysis may be preferable, in part because it better fits the word division (see my edition, pp. 354–6), which is not something that applies here. However we define it, the second strophic pair contains only double shorts (that is, short syllables never appear there singly or as a trio), exhibiting less metrical variety than the first pair. The whole strophic pair is made up of a combination of wwqq and wwq elements, except at the start of (12) and (17). Period-end, when identifiable, is always wwq, except at (19), where we find wwqq. Such a close is well paralleled (see West (1982) 126); there is no need to emend to remove the hiatus. 463–465/6 τίς ὅντιν’ ἁ θεσπιέπεια Δελφὶς εἶπε πέτρα | ἄρρητ’ ἀρρήτων

τελέσαντα φοινίαισι χερσίν; ‘Who is the man whom the prophetic Delphian rock has declared to have accomplished utterly unspeakable acts with bloody hands?’ The opening question marks a complete contrast with what has immediately preceded (463–512n.). For the accusative and participle construction after λέγω see El. 676n. θεσπιέπεια is hapax, but cf. θεσπιῳδός at e.g. fr. 456 TrGF, Eur. Med. 668 ὀμφαλὸν γῆς θεσπιῳδόν; compounds in θεσπι– are attested from the Iliad on (θεσπιδαὲς πῦρ, 12.177 etc.). For ‘rocky Delphi’ cf. Eur. Andr. 998 Δελφὶς εἴσεται πέτρα, Ion 550 Πυθίαν . . . πέτραν, Her. 790, Ba. 306, Hom. Il. 9.405 Πυθοῖ ἔνι πετρηέσσῃ, 2.519, Hom. Hym. 3.183, 390, Pind. fr. 52b.97–8 S–M, Theocr. A.P. 6.336.4 = 3395 HE, Aristonous Paean in Apollinem (p. 162 CA) 2–4 Δελφίδ’ ἀμφὶ πέτραν | ἀεὶ θεσπιόμαντιν ἕδραν. The speaking rock stands for the voice of the god through his priestess by metonymy; the expression accentuates the numinous nature of the response.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 467– 468 εἶπε, the reading of almost all manuscripts, including K (Finglass (2008) 442 n. 14), is a standard term for oracular responses (cf. 790, Phil. 841 τοῦτον θεὸς εἶπε κομίζειν, Hdt. 1.47.2 ἡ Πυθίη . . . λέγει τάδε, Renehan (1976) 90–1, Henrichs (2003) 220 with n. 42) which here picks up θεσπιέπεια (cf. Renehan (1992) 359) and looks forward to ἄρρητα; unspeakable though the deeds may have been, the Delphic oracle has spoken out about them. εἶδε in G led Powell (1935) 68–9 to conjecture ᾖδε (for ᾄδω in this context cf. Ar. Eq. 61, Thuc. 2.8.2, and for confusion between ᾄδω and λέγω cf. Ar. Nub. 1371 with Wilson (2007) 79). Were εἶδε more strongly attested, Powell’s conjecture might be attractive, since (as he notes, p. 68) both variants could naturally enough descend from it: ‘εἶδε as an inevitable itacism . . ., εἶπε as a gloss’ (for intrusive glosses see 47–8n.). But the appearance of εἶδε in G alone, not a reliable manuscript, means that it is better taken as a copying error in that manuscript or its source. If original ΕΙΠΕΠΕΤΡΑ became ΕΙΠΕΤΡΑ by haplography (which has happened in the manuscript E), ΕΙ could have been erroneously extended to ΕΙΔΕ (thus Pearson (1929b) 164); or ΕΙΠΕ could have become ΕΙΔΕ under the influence of ΔΕ at the start of the preceding word (JD). ἄρρητος accompanied by a genitive plural of the same adjective marks particularly strong intensification: cf. Phil. 65 ἔσχατ᾽ ἐσχάτων κακά, OC 1238 κακὰ κακῶν, Aesch. Pers. 681 πιστὰ πιστῶν, Eur. Andr. 520, Pherecr. fr. 113.26 PCG τὰ καλὰ τῶν καλῶν, Diocles fr. 2, Call. Aet. fr. 137m.1 Harder κακὰ κακῶν, Haupt (1859) 9–10 = (1875–6) ii 156–7, Gygli-Wyss (1966) 30, Schäfer (1974) 110–16, Fehling (1969) 181, West (2007a) 112, Garvie on Aesch. Pers. 681–2, K–G i 21, 339, S–D ii 116.

467–8 ὥρα νιν ἀελλάδων | ἵππων σθεναρώτερον φυγᾷ πόδα νωμᾶν. ‘It is time for him to ply his foot in flight more strongly than storm-swift horses.’ ὥρα followed by an infinitive often marks a desperate situation (Aj. 245/6–246/7n.). ἀελλάδων is preserved only by Hesychius (α 1346 = i 49 Latte ἀελλάδων ἵππων· ταχέων. Σοφοκλῆς Οἰδίποδι Τυράννῳ; cf. Phryn. Soph. fr. 96 de Borries [p. 145.14] ἀελλάδες ἵπποι· αἱ ταχεῖαι. καὶ τοῦτο τραγικόν); the direct transmission has the unmetrical ἀελλοπόδων, a word frequent in this combination (cf. ἀελλοπόδων . . . ἵππων at Simon. fr. 2 Poltera, Pind. N. 1.6, fr. 221.1 S–M, Dion. Perieg. 1047, Archias A.P. 9.19.1 = 3700 GP, ἵπποισιν ἀελλοπόδεσσιν at Hom. Hym. 5.217, ἀελλόποδες . . . ἵπποι at Ap. Rh. 1.1158), and well attested elsewhere (Eur. Hel. 1314, Stes. fr. 113.12n.). By contrast, ἀελλάς is attested only twice elsewhere, at fr. 688 TrGF ἀελλάδες φωναί ‘storm-swift voices’ (thus Pearson) and at Eur. Ba. 868–74 ἁνίκ’ ἂν . . . | μόχθοις . . . ὠκυδρόμοις ἀελλὰς θρῴσκῃ πεδίον; both times it has been corrupted (into ἄελλαι in


C OMMENTARY : 467– 468 the former instance, except in one manuscript that preserves the truth, and into τ’ ἀέλλαις in the latter). Other rare (or rather, unique) adjectives derived from ἀέλλη appear at OC 1081 ἀελλαία . . . πελειάς and Bacchyl. 5.39 πῶλον ἀελλοδρόμαν. According to Lloyd-Jones (1957) 24–5 = (1990) 384, ἀελλάς means not ‘storm-swift’, but ‘of the storm’ (‘of the winds’ in his Loeb); that is, the horses descended from Boreas, the north wind, who inseminated the horses of Erichthonius (Hom. Il. 20.221–9). But it is asking much of an audience to discern an entire myth in a solitary word, which in any case strictly evokes a storm rather than a wind. Moreover, although adjectives in –άς, –άδες can have patronymic force, they need not; ἀελλάς stands alongside ἀέλλη just as λυσσάς does alongside λύσσα or δρομάς alongside δρόμος. In the one other place where ἀελλάς appears for which we have the context (from Bacchae, cited above), the word describes a fawn lacking any exalted lineage. Winds were a byword for speed (cf. Ant. 354–5 ἀνεμόεν | φρόνημα, Eur. IA 206–7, Hom. Il. 24.340–2 καλὰ πέδιλα | ἀμβρόσια χρύσεια, τά μιν φέρον ἠμὲν ἐφ’ ὑγρήν | ἠδ’ ἐπ’ ἀπείρονα γαῖαν ἅμα πνοιῇς ἀνέμοιο, 2.786 ποδήνεμος, Tyrt. fr. 12.4 IEG, Theogn. 715–16, Pind. N. 3.44–6 χερσὶ θαμινά | βραχυσίδαρον ἄκοντα πάλλων ἴσα τ’ ἀνέμοις, | μάχᾳ λεόντεσσιν ἀγροτέροις ἔπρασσεν φόνον, Bacchyl. 6.13, Neuser (1982) 154–7), and often associated with horses, whether by family relationships (cf. Ant. 985 Βορεὰς ἅμιππος [of the daughter of the North Wind], Ion of Chios TrGF 19 F 17a.2 βόρειον [ἵπ] πον, Hom. Il. 16.148–51, 20.221–9, Lloyd-Jones (1957) 24 = (1990) 383–4) or in similes and metaphors (cf. Hom. Il. [10.437] θείειν δ’ ἀνέμοισιν ὁμοῖοι, 19.415–16 νῶϊ δὲ καί κεν ἅμα πνοιῇ Ζεφύροιο θέοιμεν, | τήν περ ἐλαφροτάτην φάσ’ ἔμμεναι, Bacchyl. 20.9 ἵππους . . . ἰσαν[έμους, Virg. Georg. 3.193–4 cursibus auras | tum vocet, Aen. 7. 803–7 with Horsfall on 807, West (1997) 191, and the epithets such as ἀελλόποδες cited above). Running faster than a horse (cf. Theogn. 986 οὐδ’ ἵππων ὁρμὴ γίνεται ὠκυτέρη, Pind. O. 9.23–4 ἀγάνορος ἵππου | θᾶσσον) would itself be beyond human effort; by making the horses as fast as the storm, the chorus emphasise the pointlessness of flight even as they urge that course on the guilty man. For the brachylogical comparison (‘ply his foot faster than storm-swift horses’) cf. Phil. 681/2–683, FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 596; for φυγᾷ πόδα νωμᾶν cf. Hom. Il. [10. 358–9] λαιψηρὰ δὲ γούνατ’ ἐνώμα | φευγέμεναι. Attested in poetry and Ionian prose, σθεναρός is found in the context of speed at Hom. Il. 9.505 ἣ δ’ Ἄτη σθεναρή τε καὶ ἀρτίπος. The reference to the foot would


C O M M E N T A R Y : 469– 472 normally be unremarkable here, and also in 479, but the combination of both within such a short passage may hint at the name of the killer.

469–72 ἔνοπλος γὰρ ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ἐπενθρῴσκει | πυρὶ καὶ στεροπαῖς ὁ Διὸς γενέτας, | δειναὶ δ’ ἅμ’ ἕπονται | Κῆρες ἀναπλάκητοι. ‘For armed with fire and lightning, the son of Zeus leaps against him, and the dreadful, unerring Kêres are with him in pursuit.’ The fleeing killer has Olympus and the underworld ranged against him; cf. Aesch. Eum. 1045–6 Ζεὺς παντόπτας | οὕτω Μοῖρά τε συγκατέβα, referring to a similar alliance between Apollo’s father and the Kêres’ sister. Apollo’s ὅπλα are his father’s lightning bolts: cf. Hes. Th. 853–5 Ζεὺς δ’ ἐπεὶ οὖν κόρθυνεν ἑὸν μένος, εἵλετο δ’ ὅπλα, | βροντήν τε στεροπήν τε καὶ αἰθαλόεντα κεραυνόν, | πλῆξεν ἀπ’ Οὐλύμποιο ἐπάλμενος (‘Zeus is not usually so energetic’: West on 855, comparing ἐπενθρῴσκει in our passage, on which verb see further 258–63n.). For ἔνοπλος referring to weapons and not armour cf. Eur. Or. 1622 οὐχ εἷ’ ἐνόπλῳ ποδὶ βοηδρομήσετε; and 1288/9–1290/1 τάχα τις Ἀργείων ἔνοπλος ὁρμάσας | ποδὶ βοηδρόμῳ μέλαθρα προσμείξει; respondents to a βοή (El. 642n.) would grab weapons on their way to help, but scarcely a breastplate and greaves. The usual sense ‘in armour’ (cf. Carm. Pop. fr. 857.1 PMG) would not suit the archer god, who disdains such protection; it would be especially inappropriate in this context, both hindering the god’s pursuit and implying, absurdly, that the killer might be able to fight back. In the hendiadys πυρὶ καὶ στεροπαῖς either element could be subordinate to the other: ‘Sophocles’ phrase manages to express simultaneously the notions κεραυνίῳ πυρί (cf. Eur. Tro. 80) and πυρώδει ἀστεροπῇ (cf. Ar. Av. 1746)’ (Sansone (1984a) 19, comparing e.g. Tr. 764 κόσμῳ τε χαίρων καὶ στολῇ for the ‘“reciprocal” quality’ (p. 21) of Greek hendiadys); for the combination of fire and lightning cf. also Phil. 1198 πυρφόρος ἀστεροπητής. The definite article accompanying the designation of the god, even though he has not recently been mentioned, suggests ‘the famous, the one we all know’ (cf. 473, 498/9, 788); we do not need to replace στεροπαῖς ὁ with στεροπαῖσι (coni. Triclinius). γενέτας ‘son’ is attested elsewhere only at Eur. Ion 916. Apollo is here called Zeus’s son immediately after he is said to be using his father’s weapons; for their close association see 151–3n. According to Hesiod, the Kêres, like the Moirai, were the daughters of Night, and pursued and punished wrongdoers (Th. 220–2 αἵ τ’ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε παραιβασίας ἐφέπουσιν, | οὐδέ ποτε λήγουσι θεαὶ δεινοῖο χόλοιο, | πρίν γ’ ἀπὸ τῷ δώωσι κακὴν ὄπιν, ὅστις ἁμάρτῃ). Often predicated with motion and associated with hunting (cf. Eur. El. 1252–3 δειναὶ δὲ Κῆρές σ’ αἱ κυνώπιδες θεαὶ | τροχηλατήσουσ’ ἐμμανῆ


C OMMENTARY : 473– 476 πλανώμενον, Her. 870–860 Κῆρας ἀνακαλῶ τὰς Ταρτάρου | τάχος ἐπιρροιβδεῖν ὁμαρτεῖν θ’ ὡς κυνηγέτῃ κύνας [see Bond for the line transposition], Simon. A.P. 7.677.3 = 704 FGE Κῆρας ἐπερχομένας, Theodoridas A.P. 7.439.3 = 3534 HE Κῆρας ἐπισσεύσασα βίου κύνας), they assist the transition to a key idea of the antistrophe; sustained hunting imagery does not, however, extend beyond this song (cf. R. Rutherford (2012) 134–5, Van der Wijnpersse (1929) 21–4). δεινός is frequently applied to the divinities of the underworld (cf. OC 84 ὦ πότνιαι δεινῶπες, of the Erinyes, Eur. El. 1252, [Hes.] Scut. 249–50 Κῆρες . . . | δεινωποί, Henrichs (1989) 12n. 31). ἅμα (often with ἕπομαι: El. 253n.) ‘at first sight . . . mean[s] “with Apollo”, but the sense may be “with the murderer”; they will dog his steps’ (Dawe, citing Hom. Il. 9.512 τῷ Ἄτην ἅμ’ ἕπεσθαι); both senses are probably felt. For ἕπομαι in a hunting context cf. Xen. Cyn. 6.19 ἕπεσθε ὦ κύνες, Van der Wijnpersse (1929) 23–4. Only ἀναπλάκητοι, and not the variant ἀναμπλ–, gives responsion, as Triclinius realised (p. 287.7–9 Longo, finding the former attested ἔν τινι τῶν παλαιῶν οὕτω βιβλίων); for the error see FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 230, Parker on Eur. Alc. 239–43. For the term attached to a different underworld power cf. Tr. 119–120/1 ἀλλά τις θεῶν | αἰὲν ἀναμπλάκητον Ἅιδα σφε δόμων ἐρύκει. When predicated of humans, ἀμπλακεῖν often refers to offences against the gods; cf. Aesch. Ag. 345 θεοῖς δ’ ἀναμπλάκητος εἰ μόλοι στρατός, Ibyc. fr. 310 PMGF δέδοικα μή τι πὰρ θεοῖς | ἀμβλακὼν τιμὰν πρὸς ἀνθρώπων ἀμείψω, perhaps Archil. fr. 127 IEG ἤμβλακον. καί πού τιν’ ἄλλον ἥδ’ †ἄτη† ’κιχήσατο, Wilamowitz (1931–2) ii 121. For the idea that the Kêres cannot be escaped (at least in the long term) cf. Hom. Il. 12.326–7 κῆρες ἐφεστᾶσιν θανάτοιο | μυρίαι, ἃς οὐκ ἔστι φυγεῖν βροτὸν οὐδ’ ὑπαλύξαι.

473–475/6 ἔλαμψε γὰρ τοῦ νιφόεντος ἀρτίως φανεῖσα | φήμα Παρνασοῦ

τὸν ἄδηλον ἄνδρα πάντ’ ἰχνεύειν. ‘For recently the message shone out clear from snowy Parnassus, that everyone should hunt for the unknown man.’ For the metaphorical use of light to denote sound see 187n. For τοῦ see 469–72n. Snow is ‘a poetic commonplace for . . . tall mountains’ (Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 206, to whose examples add Posidip. fr. 118.3 A–B), here providing a glorious backdrop to the metaphorical light shining out from Parnassus. For φαίνω of oracular utterance cf. Eur. Phoen. 916 ἅπερ πέφηνε [Camper: πέφυκε codd.], ταῦτα κἀνάγκη σε δρᾶν (spoken by Tiresias), where Mastronarde compares S. El. 646 and Hdt. 9.120.2 for its use in an oracular dream or portent. The verb is used of utterance in general at 525, 848, and of gnomic wisdom at Tr. 1, Ant. 621; here the open expression of the god’s


C O M M E N T A R Y : 477– 478 command contrasts with the self-concealment of the perpetrator. For the vocalism of φήμα see 158n. Παρνασοῦ, not –σσ– (Xr, coni. Erfurdt2, tacite, although the scholia to Xr have single sigma), is the more likely orthography. Among the other tragic instances (asterisks indicate that the alternative reading is weakly attested), single sigma is found at Ant. 1142/3, Eur. Andr. 1100 (*), IT 1244, Tro. 9 (*), Her. 240, Ion 155, 713, 1267, Phoen. 207 (*), double at Aesch. Cho. 953, and sources are divided at Eur. fr. 752.2 TrGF; inscriptional evidence is late and contradictory (see Threatte i 525). At least for Sophocles and Euripides (despite Mastronarde’s Teubner Phoenissae p. xxiii, which notes the evidence for Ἁλικαρνασσός in the fifth century, and the papyrus evidence for Παρνησσός in the fourth and third), we should print single sigma throughout, which is always the best attested and usually the only reading; such unanimity is more remarkable because manuscripts are often divided on the matter (see Harder on Call. Aet. fr. 75.57), and double sigma is more common in prose and poetry alike. πάντ’ is πάντα ‘everybody’ (thus Moschopoulos p. 34 Longo ἐδήλωσε πάντα Θηβαῖον ἰχνεύειν), not παντᾷ ‘everywhere’ (pace Σ p. 185.10 Papageorgius πανταχοῦ), since the long diphthong could not elide. For ἄδηλος predicated of an escaped quarry cf. Pl. Resp. 432b ἡμᾶς δεῖ ὥσπερ κυνηγέτας τινὰς θάμνον κύκλῳ περιίστασθαι προσέχοντας τὸν νοῦν, μή πῃ διαφύγῃ ἡ δικαιοσύνη καὶ ἀφανισθεῖσα ἄδηλος γένηται; (compare also ἀφανισθεῖσα with φανεῖσα in our passage), Van der Wijnpersse (1929) 42.

477–8 φοιτᾷ γὰρ ὑπ’ ἀγρίαν | ὕλαν ἀνά τ’ ἄντρα καὶ πετραῖος ὁ

ταῦρος ‘For he wanders through the wild wood, into caves, and over rocks, the bull’. The fugitive’s hideouts contrast with the snowy serenity of Parnassus. For the wild wood as a place for wandering cf. OC 348–9 κατ᾽ ἀγρίαν | ὕλην ἄσιτος νηλίπους τ᾽ ἀλωμένη, and also Ar. Thesm. 46–8 πτηνῶν τε γένη κατακοιμάσθω, | θηρῶν τ’ ἀγρίων πόδες ὑλοδρόμων | μὴ λυέσθων; for ὑπό cf. Hom. Od. 20.278 ἄλσος ὑπὸ σκιερόν. The phrase recurs in Archilochus’ criticism of the wildness of Thasos (fr. 21 IEG ἥδε δ’ ὥστ’ ὄνου ῥάχις | ἕστηκεν ὕλης ἀγρίης ἐπιστεφής), in Herodotus’ account of the distant Caucasians (1.203.1 τὰ πολλὰ πάντα ἀπ’ ὕλης ἀγρίης ζώοντα), and in Theocritus’ description of the savage land where Polydeuces encountered the monstrous Amycus (22.36), in each case emphasising the absence of civilisation. The reference to caves, too, highlights the wildness of the landscape to which the killer has fled; cf. Aesch. Suppl. 350–2 ἴδε με τὰν ἱκέτιν φυγάδα περίδρομον, | λυκοδίωκτον ὡς δάμαλιν ἀν πέτραις | ἠλιβάτοις, Eur. Ino fr. 421 TrGF


C OMMENTARY : 477– 478 κοίλοις ἐν ἄντροις ἄλυχνος, ὥστε θήρ, μόνος (context uncertain: see Finglass (2014a) 71–2), and, for the combination of caves and woods, Hes. Th. 482–4 κρύψεν δέ ἑ (sc. Δία) χερσὶ λαβοῦσα | ἄντρῳ ἐν ἠλιβάτῳ, ζαθέης ὑπὸ κεύθεσι γαίης, | Αἰγαίῳ ἐν ὄρει πεπυκασμένῳ ὑλήεντι, Vitr. Arch. 2.1.1 homines vetere more ut ferae in silvis et speluncis et nemoribus nascebantur. πετραῖος in a local sense is paralleled by fr. 581.3 TrGF πετραῖον ὄρνιν; cf. 1411–12, El. 313n. The same combination of an adjective denoting location with a prepositional phrase recurs, with the same verb, at Ant. 785–6 φοιτᾷς δ᾽ ὑπερπόντιος ἔν τ᾽ ἀγρονόμοις αὐλαῖς; a different kind of rhetorical variation is achieved at 1411–12 (n.). The lonely bull recurs in Sophocles in fr. 1026 TrGF ἀτιμαγέλης, defined by its source as ὁ ἀποστάτης τῆς ἀγέλης ταῦρος (Synag.B 2352 = p. 683 Cunningham, Phot. Lex. α 3095 = i 285 Theodoridis) and probably itself from a simile. The expression seems to have been proverbial, as we learn from Theocr. 14.43 αἶνός θην λέγεταί τις “ἔβα ποκὰ ταῦρος ἀν’ ὕλαν”, employed by the speaker to describe the sudden flight of his beloved; cf. Virgil’s account of the battle that leads one lonely beast to flee (Georg. 3.209–28) and Statius’ simile likening the exiled Polynices to a solitary bull (Theb. 2.323–32), although these passages differ from ours in that they explore the bull’s inner emotional life, something avoided by the chorus so that no sympathy is generated for the animal. Comparisons of humans to bulls, attested from the third millennium (parallels at West (1997) 243–4, to which add the Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe B117 [p. 100 Allen] ‘I am surely like a bull of the wild’), more commonly stress their power and might (cf. Hom. Il. 2.480–3). The omission of a word for ‘like’ in the image, an especially common feature in comparisons involving animals (cf. Aesch. fr. 207 TrGF τράγος γένειον ἆρα πενθήσεις σύ γε, [Aesch.] PV 857, Ar. Lys. 691–5, Crat. fr. 56 PCG with Kassel–Austin, Alcm. fr. 1.58–9, 85–7 PMGF, Theogn. 347, Shorey (1909), Birt (1914) 607–8, Kassel (1973) 109–12 = (1973) 388–91, Diggle on Theophr. Char. 27.9), has a dehumanising effect by as it were equating rather than just assimilating the fugitive to a beast. Failure to appreciate the construction led to the corruption of πετραῖος ὁ (probably the original reading of L) into πετραῖος ὡς, πέτραις ὡς, and πέτρας ὡς; all show intrusion of ὡς, which will have originated as a gloss written above the line that subsequently entered the text (so rightly Pearson (1919) 119–20; cf. 47–8n.). The latter two variants indicate that local πετραῖος after the two prepositional phrases baffled some scribes. If the scholia’s remark οἰκεῖα δὲ ταῦτα τὰ ὀνόματα, ἄντρα καὶ πέτραι (p. 185.16 Papageorgius) was based on a text containing πέτρα(ι)ς (far from certain: ‘a gloss on either [πέτραι or πετραῖος]


C O M M E N T A R Y : 479– 482 could easily contain the word πέτραι’, Finglass (2010)), that would show only that the corruption predated the scholium. Before L’s reading was known, D’Orville (his edition of Chariton, p. 435) conjectured πέτρας ἅτε, but this approach wrongly assumes that πέτρας is original, and moreover introduces a word not securely attested in S. or in Aeschylus (Aj. 167–8n.). Bergk (p. xlviii) emends ταῦρος to καυρός (Willink (2002) 77 = (2010) 418–19 prefers καῦρος) on the basis of fr. 1059 TrGF καυρός· ὁ κακός, οὕτως Σοφοκλῆς; but even if Photius (who preserves the fragment) had stated that our text contained this extraordinary word, we might have hesitated to believe him.

479–82 μέλεος μελέῳ ποδὶ χηρεύων, | τὰ μεσόμφαλα γᾶς ἀπονοσφίζων | μαντεῖα· τὰ δ’ ἀεὶ | ζῶντα περιποτᾶται. ‘the wretched man, living alone with his wretched foot, keeping away from the prophecies that come from the navel of the earth. But they live eternally, and hover around him.’ Unbeknown to them, the chorus are indeed describing the real killer’s actual response to hearing an oracle, although his intention was to avoid committing the crimes that the oracle was predicting, not to escape the consequences of his actions (796–7); furthermore, ‘on another level, [their image] can be seen as representing Oedipus’ own flight from the truth’ (R. Rutherford (2012) 154). μέλεος (emphasised by a high register polyptoton: cf. Ant. 977/8–979/80, A/O on Ar. Thesm. 1036–8) objectively describes the fugitive’s wretchedness without the usual sympathy conveyed by this word (cf. 883–8n. on δύσποτμος, and Aj. 618–620/1n., examining related uses of δύσμορος and δύστηνος). In such an expression ποδί is more regular in Greek than in English (cf. Phil. 1260 ἴσως ἂν ἐκτὸς κλαυμάτων ἔχοις πόδα); for its possible additional significance see 467–8n. The verb χηρεύω ‘lack’ usually takes a genitive specifying the deficiency (cf. Hom. Od. 9.124 ἀνδρῶν χηρεύει); used absolutely, it suggests total desolation. Delphi is first called the world’s ὀμφαλός in the fifth century (cf. 898, Aesch. Sept. 747, Cho. 1036, Eur. Ion 461–2, Phoen. 237, Or. 331, 591, Braswell on Pind. P. 4.74(a), Aristonous Hymnus in Vestam 3 = p. 164 CA, and also 964–8n. on Delphi as the world’s hearth), but the image is almost certainly more ancient; ‘behind it there may lie an old myth that this was the place where heaven and earth were once joined and where their separation was effected, or where there is still a line of communication between them’ (West (1997) 150; for Near Eastern parallels see ibid. and I. Rutherford (2001) 393–5). In the Odyssey Calypso’s island is located ὅθι τ’ ὀμφαλός ἐστι θαλάσσης (1.50, perhaps ‘the point that is most remote from all land’: West (2014) 128), which shows that the metaphor is at least as old as the archaic period. The μεσ– prefix (attested in most of the parallels cited above)


C OMMENTARY : 483– 486 overdetermines the centrality of the shrine. In this context the term stresses the divine origin, and thus the ineluctability, of the oracles from which the killer is trying to flee, as does the emphasis on their immortality (158n.). For ζῶ in this sense see 44–5n., Aesch. Ag. 819 ἄτης θύελλαι ζῶσι, and for menacing metaphorical περιποτᾶται (a term more appropriate in a literal sense to the Kêres of the corresponding part of the strophe) cf. Aesch. Pers. 668 Στυγία γάρ τις ἐπ’ ἀχλὺς πεπόταται with Garvie on 664–71, Eur. Hipp. 563–4 δεινὰ γὰρ τὰ πάντ’ ἐπιπνεῖ (sc. Κύπρις), μέλισσα δ’ οἵα τις πεπόταται; the verb in this context might suggest gadflies buzzing around the animal (thus Burton (1980) 151). Since ἀεί may scan as two long syllables, we do not need Triclinius’s αἰεί.

483/4–485/6 δεινά με νῦν, δεινὰ ταράσσει σοφὸς οἰωνοθέτας οὔτε δοκοῦντ’ οὔτ’ ἀποφάσκονθ’, ὅ τι λέξω δ’ ἀπορῶ. ‘Grievously now, grievously is the wise interpreter of birds throwing me into confusion, as I can neither believe nor reject his words; I am at a loss as to what to say.’ Emphatic repetition of δεινά exploits the shift to a new metre, with each instance appearing at the start of the qwwq rhythm. με νῦν for transmitted μὲν οὖν is owed to Bergk (1851) 247. The pronoun accompanies the participles, with δοκοῦντ’ taking the sense ‘believe, deem probable’ (cf. δοκῶ ‘I think that’: El. 61n.) under the influence of ἀποφάσκονθ’, which means the opposite, and with which δοκοῦντ’ is paired by repeated οὔτε; cf. how at Aj. 942 σοὶ μὲν δοκεῖν ταῦτ’ ἔστ’, ἐμοὶ δ’ ἄγαν φρονεῖν (‘It is for you to imagine this, but for me to realise it all too powerfully’) the nuances of both infinitives become apparent only through the prominent contrast between them. νῦν insistently evokes the present after the section of the song that had looked back to an earlier moment in the previous scene. A similar polar expression (El. 305–6n.) recurs, without negatives but with the same effect, at OC 317 καὶ φημὶ κἀπόφημι κοὐκ ἔχω τί φῶ. The paradosis μὲν οὖν, by contrast, renders οὔτε δοκοῦντ’ οὔτ’ ἀποφάσκονθ’ difficult to understand. Taking the participles as accusative singular, referring to the chorus, is scarcely possible, since although a bare participle can denote a specific individual in the third person (cf. El. 610 ὁρῶ μένος πνέουσαν, of Electra, Ant. 131–3 ῥίπτει . . . νίκην ὁρμῶντ᾽ ἀλαλάξαι, of Capaneus), no parallels are cited for με (or σε) thus understood (none in Moorhouse 258–9, for example); moreover, the construction would be particularly harsh here since there has been no recent reference to the chorus. Taking the participles as accusative plural, agreeing with δεινά, which hence becomes the direct object of ταράσσει, would have to mean ‘the seer stirs into motion terrible things that cannot be believed or denied’ (cf. Σ p. 186.6–7 Papageorgius οὔτε


C O M M E N T A R Y : 487– 497 πιστὰ οὔτε ἄπιστα, and thus Thomas Magister p. 207 Longo, who glosses οὔτε δοκοῦντ’ with διὰ τὸ μὴ οἷά τε πιστεύεσθαι οὐκ ἀρέσκοντά μοι, and ἀποφάσκονθ’ with ἀπόφασιν καὶ ἀπιστίαν δεχόμενα, διὰ τὸ μάντιν εἶναι τὸν εἰπόντα); but this is not a legitimate sense for ταράσσω, and ἀποφάσκονθ’ can only be active (‘denying’, not ‘unbelievable’). Previously Nauck had thought along the same lines as Bergk, reinterpreting the paradosis to give με νοῦν (in his edition of Aristophanes of Byzantium, p. 52; prob. Willink (2002) 77 = (2010) 419), which yields an instance of the καθ᾿ ὅλον καὶ μέρος construction (El. 99n., Aj. 310n.). But usually the noun and pronoun in such a construction are separated somehow; one possible parallel, fr. 171.2 TrGF τὴν ῥῖνά μ’ [Nauck: ῥῖναν cod.] εὐθὺς ψηλαφᾷ, is from a satyr-play. Bergk’s slight emendation thus seems stylistically preferable. The corruption, itself of only one letter, could have been facilitated by anticipation of μὲν οὖν at the start of the antistrophe, as well as by a desire for a connector at stanza opening. By calling Tiresias the σοφὸς οἰωνοθέτας (the latter a hapax; cf. epic οἰωνιστής, οἰωνοσκόπος), the chorus implicitly distance themselves from Oedipus’ contempt for ornithoscopy (395–8; 52–3n.). λέξω might equally well be future indicative or aorist subjunctive.

487/8–488 πέτομαι δ’ ἐλπίσιν οὔτ’ ἐνθάδ’ ὁρῶν οὔτ’ ὀπίσω. ‘I am in flight in my expectations, seeing neither the present nor the future.’ Tiresias’ prophecies, instead of leading the chorus to the truth, as they had expected (297–9), have left them even more confused. Flight in Greek is a metaphor for any strong emotional state, not necessarily a positive one (Ant. 1307/8 ἀνέπταν φόβῳ, Aj. 693n., Ar. Nub. 319 ταῦτ’ ἄρ’ ἀκούσασ’ αὐτῶν τὸ φθέγμ’ ἡ ψυχή μου πεπότηται, Cairns (2016b) 35 n. 85); ἐλπίδες too can be positive, negative, or neutral (cf. 771, 1432, El. 1282n.). ἐνθάδε takes its sense ‘the present’ (usually ‘here’) from the prominent contrast with ὀπίσω, which regularly means ‘the future’ (with a verb of seeing at Hom. Il. 3.109–10 ἅμα πρόσσω καὶ ὀπίσσω | λεύσσει; for words meaning ‘behind’ with the sense ‘hereafter’ cf. Pl. Gorg. 447a κατόπιν ἑορτῆς ἥκομεν, Palm (1969)). 489–496/7 τί γὰρ ἢ Λαβδακίδαις | ἢ τῷ Πολύβου νεῖκος ἔκειτ’ οὔτε

πάροιθέν ποτ’ ἔγωγ’ οὔτε τανῦν πω | ἔμαθον, πρὸς ὅτου δὴ | βασάνῳ ἐπὶ τὰν ἐπίδαμον | φάτιν εἶμ’ Οἰδιπόδα Λαβδακίδαις | ἐπίκουρος ἀδήλων θανάτων. ‘For what quarrel existed between the Labdacids and the son of Polybus I never knew before, nor have I learned just now, prompted by which . . . by a touchstone I will proceed against the public fame of Oedipus, as an avenger for the Labdacids in the case of the unsolved murder.’ The chorus’s first objection to Tiresias’ accusations


C OMMENTARY : 489– 497 is the lack of probable cause; but it will later become clear that there was indeed a νεῖκος between Oedipus and Laius (cf. Kane (1975) 194), albeit one arising from a chance encounter rather than any longstanding enmity. Repeated ἤ emphasises the mutual nature of the putative quarrel (cf. Hor. Serm. 1.7.11–13 inter | Hectora Priamiden animosum atque inter Achillen | ira fuit capitalis, Ep. 1.2.11–12 Nestor componere litis | inter Peliden festinat et inter Atriden, Wackernagel (1926–8) ii 202–4 = (2009) 652–5), but the careful distinction that these particles introduce turns out to be mistaken; Oedipus is not the son of Polybus but a Labdacid himself. Both halves of the οὔτε . . . οὔτε . . . construction contain two temporal particles; there never was (πάροιθέν ποτ’) or is (τανῦν πω) a moment that the chorus knew of any strife between Oedipus and the Labdacids, and it is for that reason (and another, to be stated below) that the chorus are confused over the present and the future (487/8–488n.). In τανῦν πω the latter particle reinforces the former (‘at this moment, I have never’ ~ ‘I have never yet’); cf. S. [?] fr. 1130.5 TrGF οὐ γ[ὰρ] ν ̣ῦν ̣ γέ πω μαθ[, Eur. Hec. 1222–3 σὺ δ’ οὐδὲ νῦν πω σῆς ἀπαλλάξαι χερὸς | τολμᾷς, Xen. An. 7.6.35, Pl. Meno 84a οὐδὲ νῦν πω οἶδεν, Resp. 382a οὐδὲ νῦν πω, ἦ δ’ ὅς, μανθάνω, [Dem.] 47.7. Ll-J/W write πως, which distracts from this temporal focus without bringing metrical advantages (see the Metrical Analysis, p. 321). Lack of responsion indicates that a word or phrase has dropped out somewhere between ἔμαθον and ἐπί, or that the antistrophe has suffered interpolation in the corresponding area. The latter hypothesis (first advanced by Triclinius pp. 287.11–13 Longo) is unlikely, since nothing in the antistrophe looks like an interpolator’s or glossator’s handiwork (Triclinius’s deletion of γὰρ ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ removes an important particle); whereas in the strophe the opportunity to clarify the construction of βασάνῳ through supplementation would be welcome. In the paradosis it must either be taken as a rather blunt instrumental dative (contrast 510/11, where its sense is clear), or be related somehow to πρὸς ὅτου δή, but for πρός with the genitive denoting instigation cf. Tr. 935 ἄκουσα πρὸς τοῦ θηρὸς ἔρξειεν τάδε. Moreover, the hiatus between βασάνῳ and ἐπί is unwelcome; we cannot account for it by invoking period end, since a break in the corresponding part of the antistrophe would make the postpositive ποτέ (509) the opening of a period. A lacuna of qrq after βασάνῳ (thus Musgrave, notes) solves all these problems; πίστιν ἔχων would do (Wolff1, text; cf. Antiph. 5.52 ἡ μὲν βάσανος . . . ᾗ οὗτοι πιστεύοντες, Arist. Rhet. 1377a7 οὐδὲν ἔστι πιστὸν ἐν βασάνοις), but not supplements requiring period end, such as σὺν φανερᾷ (Schneidewin (1839) 161) or χρησάμενος (Brunck, 1779 edn, placing it after ὅτου).


C O M M E N T A R Y : 498– 503 For ἰέναι ἐπί cf. Eur. Andr. 688 ταῦτ’ εὖ φρονῶν σ’ ἐπῆλθον, Hom. Il. 11.367 τοὺς ἄλλους ἐπιείσομαι. For the people’s φάτις concerning its leaders cf. Aesch. Ag. 456/7 βαρεῖα δ’ ἀστῶν φάτις ξὺν κότῳ. The reference to Oedipus’ public reputation is a powerful defence against any charge, even one delivered by Tiresias, and it will take overwhelming evidence against Oedipus to change people’s views of him; in the event, however, the only court of opinion that will matter is the mind of Oedipus himself. Plural ἀδήλων θανάτων denotes a single death (El. 206n.); the honorific plural magnifies the significance of the loss (cf. 1403–8, on which [Long.] Subl. 23.3 remarks χυθεὶς εἰς τὰ πληθυντικὰ ὁ ἀριθμὸς συνεπλήθυσε καὶ τὰς ἀτυχίας, Diggle (1977a) 113–14 = (1994) 156, Bond on Eur. Her. 455). For ἐπίκουρος ‘avenger’ cf. Eur. El. 137–8 ὦ Ζεῦ Ζεῦ, πατρί θ’ αἱμάτων | αἰσχίστων ἐπίκουρος, [Eur.] IA 1026–7 ποῦ χρή μ’ ἀθλίαν | ἐλθοῦσαν εὑρεῖν σὴν χέρ’ ἐπίκουρον κακῶν;, Sen. Ag. 910 paternae mortis auxilium unicum (of Orestes); it does not mean ‘protecting them against’ (pace LSJ9 s.v. ii 2), as if the chorus had reason to fear further deaths among the Labdacids. For the construction cf. El. 14 πατρὶ τιμωρὸν φόνου; also 216–18n.

498/9–502/3 ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν οὖν Ζεὺς ὅ τ’ Ἀπόλλων ξυνετοὶ καὶ τὰ βροτῶν εἰδότες· ἀνδρῶν δ’ ὅτι μάντις πλέον ἢ ’γὼ φέρεται, | κρίσις οὐκ ἔστιν ἀληθής· ‘Well, Zeus and Apollo are wise and knowledgeable about the affairs of mortals; but whether among men a prophet counts for more than I do, of this there is no true means of discernment.’ Just as the quality of one seer can be questioned without bringing the whole system of prophecy into disrepute (297–462n.), so too one can legitimately distinguish between the undeniable prophetic power of the gods and the potential fallibility of their mortal intermediaries (cf. 707–9, 723–5, Ant. 1033–47, Eur. El. 399–400 Λοξίου γὰρ ἔμπεδοι | χρησμοί, βροτῶν δὲ μαντικὴν χαίρειν ἐῶ, Phoen. 954–9 ὅστις δ’ ἐμπύρῳ χρῆται τέχνῃ | μάταιος· ἢν μὲν πικρὰ σημήνας τύχῃ, | ἐχθρὸς καθέστηχ’ οἷς ἂν οἰωνοσκοπῇ· | ψευδῆ δ’ ὑπ’ οἴκτου τοῖσι χρωμένοις λέγων | ἀδικεῖ τὰ τῶν θεῶν. Φοῖβον ἀνθρώποις μόνον | χρῆν θεσπιῳδεῖν, ὃς δέδοικεν οὐδένα, [Hes.] fr. 303 M–W μάντις δ’ οὐδ’ εἷς ἐστιν ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων | ὅστις ἂν εἰδείη Ζηνὸς νόον αἰγιόχοιο, Theogn. 805–10, warning that a θεωρός bringing a message back from an oracle must be truthful, and thus presupposing that some were not, and Dover (1973) 64 = (1987) 143–4, Mastronarde (2010) 163 n. 18; also Hdt. 2.83 μαντικὴ δὲ αὐτοῖσι ὧδε διάκειται· ἀνθρώπων μὲν οὐδενὶ πρόσκειται ἡ τέχνη, τῶν δὲ θεῶν μετεξετέροισι, of the Egyptians). Zeus is closely associated with Apollo’s prophecies (151–3n.). For definite articles with the names of the gods see 469–72n. For


C OMMENTARY : 503– 507 prospective μέν emphasised by οὖν see 244–5n. For φέρομαι ‘I have weight, count for something’ with πλέον cf. Eur. Hec. 307–8 ὅταν τις ἐσθλὸς καὶ πρόθυμος ὢν ἀνὴρ | μηδὲν φέρηται τῶν κακιόνων πλέον, Hdt. 8.29.2 πρόσθε τε γὰρ ἐν τοῖσι Ἕλλησι . . . πλέον αἰεί κοτε ὑμέων ἐφερόμεθα, 7.168.3 τοιαῦτα λέγοντες ἤλπιζον πλέον τι τῶν ἄλλων οἴσεσθαι.

503–4 σοφίᾳ δ’ ἂν σοφίαν | παραμείψειεν ἀνήρ. ‘A man might surpass wisdom with wisdom.’ The particle might be overtranslated ‘admittedly’; the chorus qualify their preceding statement by allowing for differences of expertise, clarifying that theirs is not a position of complete agnosticism with regard to variations in human achievement. For the reverse progression of thought cf. Pind. fr. 61 S–M (with I. Rutherford (2001) 350–1) τί ἔλπεαι σοφίαν ἔμμεν, ἃν ὀλίγον τοι | ἀνὴρ ὑπὲρ ἀνδρὸς ἴσχει; | οὐ γὰρ ἔσθ’ ὅπως τὰ θεῶν | βουλεύματ’ ἐρευνάσει βροτέᾳ φρενί· | θνατᾶς δ’ ἀπὸ ματρὸς ἔφυ, where the initial idea that men can differ (slightly) in wisdom is capped by a statement about divine inscrutability. Polyptoton is common in expressions of rivalry, but usually with reference to the rivals themselves, as in the Pindaric passage just cited (see further 380–2n.), rather than to the field in which they compete. The effect here is to focus attention on the idea of human wisdom in the abstract, a quality that Tiresias alone will be seen to possess, and which the chorus have indeed only just predicated of him (483/4). Translating ‘a man may surpass one kind of wisdom by means of another’, Lloyd-Jones punctuates with a semicolon before the statement, and a full stop afterwards, thus taking it as support for, rather than a modification of, the chorus’s previous claim. But under this interpretation the chorus would sound boastful, implying that they reject Tiresias’ words by virtue of their own particular wisdom, when throughout they are doubtful and hesitant in their reasoning; and ἀλλά at the start of the next sentence demands a contrast with this one. 504/5–506/7 ἀλλ’ οὔποτ’ ἔγωγ’ ἄν, πρὶν ἴδοιμ’ ὀρθὸν ἔπος, μεμφομένων ἂν καταφαίην. ‘But although people blame, I could never agree before I see if their remarks hold true.’ The opening particle indicates that the preceding qualification (503–4n.) is to be qualified in its turn; the successive twists of the argument reflect the difficulty of the intellectual waters which the chorus are trying to chart (463–512n.). Here they come close to saying that even when confronted with a condemnation of Oedipus by someone who surpasses them in prophetic σοφία, they would still stand by their king. Yet they make that difficult position easier to maintain by referring to the source of accusations against Oedipus with the vague μεμφομένων (a genitive absolute


C O M M E N T A R Y : 507– 511 with indefinite subject unexpressed; cf. 629, 838, Diggle (1982a) 57 = (1994) 221, Braswell on Pind. P. 4.232(a), Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 70, El. 1344n.), as if the matter were one of gossip and rumours rather than a clear condemnation from a hitherto infallible prophet. πρίν takes the optative rather than the expected ἄν plus subjunctive because the verb of the main clause is itself optative; cf. Phil. 961 ὄλοιο – μή πω, πρὶν μάθοιμ᾽, Tr. 655/6–657/8, Theogn. 125–6, Goodwin §643. For predicative ὀρθόν cf. 852–3, Ant. 1178 τοὔπος ὡς ἄρ’ ὀρθὸν ἤνυσας, Pind. P. 6.19–20 ὀρθὰν ἄγεις ἐφημοσύναν, and for that adjective used of correctly fulfilled prophecy cf. in addition OC 1424–5 ὁρᾷς τὰ τοῦδ᾽ οὖν ὡς ἐς ὀρθὸν ἐκφέρεις | μαντεύμαθ᾽. Presumably coined as an opposite to ἀπόφημι ‘deny’, κατάφημι might be paralleled on an ostrakon condemning Xanthippus (485/4; Figueira (1986) 257–8); otherwise it is not attested before the fourth century (cf. Dem. 22.68, and several times in Aristotle).

507/8–510/11 φανερὰ γὰρ ἐπ’ αὐτῷ | πτερόεσσ’ ἦλθε κόρα ποτέ, καὶ

σοφὸς ὤφθη | βασάνῳ θ’ ἡδύπολις· ‘For the winged maiden once came against him, manifest, and at the moment of trial he was seen to be wise and sweet to the city.’ The chorus cite the Sphinx’s demise to support Oedipus’ innocence; but unlike Oedipus himself (at 390–8; cf. McDevitt (1969) 87 n. 22), they are concerned only with his positive contribution, not with Tiresias’ alleged inactivity at the time. Prominently placed φανερά contrasts the manifest nature of the Sphinx with the unclear accusations faced by the king (thus Σ p. 187. 5–7 Papageorgius); so too ὤφθη emphasises that Oedipus’ great achievement, unlike the crime with which he has just been charged, was a matter of public record. There is also a contrast with the lack of clarity concerning the killer of Laius (cf. ἄδηλος at 475–475/6 and 496/7). The Sphinx is winged, and female, in Greek art from its earliest Mycenaean (and Minoan) appearances (Krauskopf and Katakis (1997) §§69, 87). Male sphinxes are sometimes attested in art, but only between 750 and 580 (§§123–34), and never in literature, and wingless sphinxes of either gender are ‘very rare’ (ibid. p. 1164); see further Padgett (2003) 78–83. The Sphinx is referred to here as a κόρα, and at 1198/9 as a παρθένος, two terms elsewhere applied to unmarried human or divine females, rather than to anything in animal form; cf. Eur. Phoen. 806 τὸ παρθένιον πτερόν, 1042 ἁ πτεροῦσσα παρθένος, Hdt. 2.175.1 ἀνδρόσφιγγας περιμήκεας ἀνέθηκε. For Triclinius’s deletion of γὰρ ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ see 489–496/7n. αὐτῷ has been emended (e.g. ἀστοῖς coni. Nauck3 p. 158, οἴτῳ Musgrave, notes) on the ground that the Sphinx’s target was Thebes, not Oedipus; but


C OMMENTARY : 510– 512 the paradosis emphasises the personal threat faced by Oedipus himself. ποτέ is changed to τότε by Blaydes1 (text), but ποτέ is unremarkable in this explanatory statement (cf. Hom. Od. 17.419). βασάνῳ goes with both σοφός (cf. Mnasalces A.P. 7.54.4 = 2674 HE ἐν βασάνῳ σοφίης) and ἡδύπολις through the ἀπὸ κοινοῦ construction; the repetition from 493 signifies that although there is no way of testing Tiresias’ accusations, Oedipus clearly passed the trial which consisted of his encounter with the Sphinx. θ᾿ has been corrupted to δ᾿ in some manuscripts (346–9n.); δ᾿ could not connect two phrases that were both predicates of the same verb. ἡδύπολις (cf. Pind. N. 8.38 ἀστοῖς ἁδών) ensures that the threat to the city, and thus the civic context of Oedipus’ achievement, is far from forgotten; the prefix in this otherwise unattested adjective emphasises not so much Oedipus’ glory as the affection in which he was held. The vocalism of ἡδύπολις might need correction to ἁδύ– (coni. Erfurdt1a, text), but for ἡδύ– in tragic lyric cf. Björck (1950) 174.

510/11–511/12 τῶν ἀπ’ ἐμᾶς | φρενὸς οὔποτ’ ὀφλήσει κακίαν. ‘For these things he will never on the part of my mind be found guilty of wickedness.’ The movement from potential optative to future indicative marks the strengthening of the chorus’s resolution, thanks to their recollection of Oedipus’ defeat of the Sphinx (cf. McDevitt (1969) 86); nevertheless, ἀπ’ ἐμᾶς | φρενός signals recognition that others not so closely affected by this achievement may take a different view. The song then concludes on an ill-omened word. τῶν is the oldest reading, attested in Π1 and (as identified by Nauck3 p. 158) known to the scholia (p. 187.12 Papageorgius λείπει τὸ ἕνεκα, which makes sense only as a gloss on τῶν). The mediaeval manuscripts have τῷ, except for L, which reads τῶ followed by an erasure, and so may have had either reading; τῶν is more likely, since that is the word which someone familiar with the other manuscripts might have found objectionable. Of these two attested readings, only τῶν is possible: a relative pronoun referring back to Oedipus’ qualities as described in the previous sentence, in the form of a genitive of cause (cf. El. 1095–7 ἃ δὲ μέγιστ’ ἔβλαστε νόμιμα, τῶνδε φερομέναν | ἄριστα τᾷ Ζηνὸς εὐσεβείᾳ), related to the genitives often found with ὀφλισκάνω denoting the offence (cf. Eupol. fr. 377 PCG καὶ γὰρ αἰσχρὸν ἀλογίου ’στ’ ὀφλεῖν, Andoc. 1.74 οὗτοι δ’ αὖ ἦσαν ὁπόσοι κλοπῆς ἢ δώρων ὄφλοιεν, Dem. 24.103 κἂν ἀστρατείας τις ὄφλῃ, [Dem.] 25.65 τὴν μητέρ’ ὀφλοῦσαν ἀποστασίου ἀπέδοσθε, Pl. Leg. 873b ἐὰν δέ τις ὄφλῃ φόνου τοιούτου, 877c, 877e, 933e; the only tragic instance with genitives, Aesch. Ag. 534 ὀφλὼν γὰρ ἁρπαγῆς τε καὶ κλοπῆς δίκην, has δίκην to accompany


C O M M E N T A R Y : 513– 862 them and so is not strictly comparable). The actions referred to by τῶν are not offences but benefits conferred on the city; if such are the charges, the chorus coolly declare, Oedipus is innocent in their eyes. τῷ ‘therefore’, by contrast, is impossible because of the hiatus; conjectures aimed at healing that breach have not been happy. Neither τῷδ᾿ (coni. Triclinius) nor τῷ γ᾿ (coni. B. Heath (1762) 31) makes sense, whereas τώς (Lloyd-Jones (1959) 480; for the particle see Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 242, Diggle (1996a) 4, Ercoles (2014) 28 with n. 11) is unattested in Sophocles except for satyr-play and absent from Euripides, and gives undesirable sense (οὕτως where οὖν would be preferable); it is unsafe to introduce it by emendation, especially when the earliest attested reading can be construed. Moreover, it is not clear why any of these alleged readings should have been corrupted into both the attested forms. Others have emended ἀπ᾿ to remove the hiatus (πρός coni. Elmsley1, apparatus and p. 93, παρ᾿ Wolff1 p. 141), but the witnesses are as unanimous for this word as they are divided over the preceding one.

SECOND EPISODE (513–862) 513–862 This enormous scene, at three hundred and fifty lines by far the longest in the play, may at first seem the least consequential. For more than a hundred lines Creon defends himself against Oedipus’ furious accusations, reprised from the previous scene with Tiresias (513–630). Jocasta’s pleading is repeated and intensified in song by the chorus, who finally persuade Oedipus to let Creon go (631–77); yet he still believes that he is guilty (678–706). Creon may have escaped, but after nearly two hundred lines little has changed for Oedipus. Only now, well over halfway through the episode, is there any real development. On hearing Oedipus’ concern at Tiresias’ prophecies, Jocasta attempts to console him (707–25); but that consolation causes Oedipus great anxiety, and after questioning Jocasta closely (726–70), he reveals why, describing his visit to Delphi to find out the truth about his parentage, the oracle that prophesied that he would kill his father and marry his mother, and the violent incident that took place after he left Delphi, perhaps involving the killing of Laius (771–833). The scene concludes with Oedipus’ desire to see the one man who could confirm whether or not he was responsible for the king’s death (834–62).


C OMMENTARY : 513– 519

A public scene of furious political combat between two males thus yields to a domestic and deeply personal exchange between a husband and wife; the groundless accusations and hypothetical argumentation that begin the scene are replaced by detailed narratives of the past, by close questioning, and by worryingly well-founded inferences; a passage based mainly on stichomythia turns into one made up of long, momentous speeches. The role of the chorus changes too, with their direct, purposeful intervention in the first part turning into almost total silence in the second. The danger that Oedipus must face emerges not from Creon, but from Jocasta, during her attempts at consolation. And the audience is confronted with juxtaposed attempts at destroying a king: one entirely fictitious, the product of a suspicious mind, the other unintended but all too genuine; and in each case the man on the trail of the supposed regicide is none other than Oedipus himself. 513–15 Creon enters from eisodos B, perhaps having changed from his travelling costume into a more domestic princely outfit (thus Owen (1933) 156), although if he had not changed, that might emphasise the suddenness of his appearance. Just as the chorus have been singing that they will not credit Tiresias’ accusations against Oedipus without firm proof, Creon arrives to quash the accusations that Oedipus has been levelling against him. The chorus end by asserting that Oedipus’ past record makes him, in their mind, invulnerable to Tiresias’ charges; in the scene to come, Oedipus will ignore Creon’s past record in launching his accusations against him. ἄνδρες πολῖται, δείν’ ἔπη πεπυσμένος | κατηγορεῖν μου τὸν τύραννον Οἰδίπουν | πάρειμ’ ἀτλητῶν. ‘Citizens, having heard that the king, Oedipus, is making terrible accusations against me, I have come here, unable to bear it.’ The source of Creon’s knowledge is not specified, and the audience must assume that the news has simply spread; see Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 703–5 for comparable passages. ἔπη is not accompanied by an article because Creon does not know what Oedipus’ words were (Aj. 312–13n.). πάρειμι and ἀτλητῶν (the latter hapax) are equally weighted; in his indignation Creon has come into the king’s presence to contest the charge.

515–19 εἰ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς ξυμφοραῖς | ταῖς νῦν νομίζει πρός γ’ ἐμοῦ

πεπονθέναι | λόγοισιν εἴτ’ ἔργοισιν εἰς βλάβην φέρον, | οὔτοι βίου μοι τοῦ μακραίωνος πόθος, | φέροντι τήνδε βάξιν. ‘For if in the present troubles he thinks that he has suffered in word or deed anything at my hands that tends to harm, I no longer have a desire for a long life, bearing this charge.’


C O M M E N T A R Y : 519– 522 The ξυμφοραί are those afflicting the city, not mentioned since the start of the Tiresias scene. πεπονθέναι governs φέρον without the expected τι; cf. El. 1322–3 κλύω | τῶν ἔνδοθεν χωροῦντος, Ant. 687 γένοιτο μέντἂν χἀτέρῳ [v.l. –ᾳ] καλῶς ἔχον, the latter a non-personal parallel. If τι is felt to be needed, possibilities include τι γάρ for transmitted γὰρ ἐν (coni. JD; the corruption would involve a gloss ἐν on ταῖς ξυμφοραῖς entering the text [47–8n.] and the resulting εἴ τι γὰρ ἐν being simplified, perhaps to give the expected twelve syllables) and δοκεῖ τι for νομίζει (coni. Blaydes1, notes; for νομίζω as a gloss on δοκέω cf. Moschopoulos on 355, 368 = pp. 26–7 Longo δοκεῖς· νομίζεις, Σ Eur. Hipp. 119 = ιι 20.21 Schwartz, Σ Hom. Od. 1.376a = i 188.57 Pontani). Yet in both these places the ancient manuscript Π1 offers the paradosis. In Π1 and several mediaeval manuscripts γ᾿ has become τ᾿ by a common corruption (35–9n.), and this was interpreted (impossibly) as τι by Moschopoulos (p. 36 Longo) and Thomas Magister (p. 209; he explicitly takes it with φέρον). We also find τι as a gloss in a few manuscripts, and O’s τί τ᾿ ἐμοῦ shows that it entered the text. Such glosses provide no support for Hartung’s πρός τί μου (text, prob. D. Colombo ap. Ferrari et al. (1992) 403–6), which gives unparalleled word order (the only possible parallel, at Phil. 700, is itself an unlikely emendation by Hartung) and removes the emphatic γε and the emphatic pronoun that are so well placed; moreover, πρός μου would itself be unparalleled. For εἰ . . . εἴτε see 91–2n.; in effect εἴτ’ is taken ἀπὸ κοινοῦ with both λόγοισιν and ἔργοισιν (cf. 733–4n.). For φέρει ‘tends to’ cf. 519–20, 991, Aj. 798–9n. In βίου . . . τοῦ μακραίωνος the generalising article refers to the class (as it were) of long lives (Aj. 473–4n.), and the second element of μακραίωνος echoes the noun, βίου, that it qualifies (151–3n.). For τοι early in the apodosis of a conditional cf. 852, Denniston 547.

519–22 οὐ γὰρ εἰς ἁπλοῦν | ἡ ζημία μοι τοῦ λόγου τούτου φέρει, | ἀλλ’ εἰς μέγιστον, εἰ κακὸς μὲν ἐν πόλῃ, | κακὸς δὲ πρὸς σοῦ καὶ φίλων κεκλήσομαι. ‘For the penalty that arises from this saying tends to no simple matter for me, but rather one of the greatest importance, if I am to be called a wrongdoer in the city, a wrongdoer by you and by my friends.’ Creon’s concern for his reputation is reasonable enough; but in the previous song the chorus made it clear that they did not believe that Tiresias (Creon’s supposed henchman) was part of a conspiracy, and did not deign to mention the accusations again Creon himself. Repetition of φέρει over a short period is unremarkable (159n.); we do not need ῥέπει (coni. Naber (1881) 225–6). εἰς as the reading of the ancient manuscript should be preferred over ἐς; where manuscripts are divided and metre allows either, the better attested form should be printed (cf. Finglass (2009a) 212–15; see 734, 861, 899, 975, 1160,


C OMMENTARY : 523– 526 1312, 1416, 1429). μὲν . . . δέ coordinating the same adjective is strongly emphatic; cf. OC 141 δεινὸς μὲν ὁρᾶν, δεινὸς δὲ κλύειν (the chorus’s first reaction to the appearance of Oedipus). For the orthography of πόλῃ see 164/5–166n. The future perfect κεκλήσομαι expresses the idea that Creon’s loss of reputation will be a permanent stain (El. 230n.).

523–4 ἀλλ’ ἦλθε μὲν δὴ τοῦτο τοὔνειδος, τάχ’ ἂν δ’ | ὀργῇ βιασθὲν μᾶλλον

ἢ γνώμῃ φρενῶν. ‘Well, this insult was uttered, but perhaps it was forced in anger rather than by considered thought.’ For all their emphasis on rage as a mitigating factor, the chorus nevertheless call Oedipus’ charge an insult, uncomfortable as they are with the direction taken by the king. For adversative ἀλλ’ . . . μὲν δή see 294–5n. δ᾿ is only in Π1 and the Suda; the mediaeval manuscripts of Sophocles have nothing. ‘In the mediaeval text, the confident μὲν δή is awkwardly combined in the same sense unit with the doubting τάχ’ ἄν. In the ancient text, by contrast, confident μὲν δή answers Creon’s question . . . in the affirmative; then the sentence moves in a new direction (signalled by δ’), as the chorus try to describe the circumstances behind the insult in a manner that will pacify the questioner’ (Finglass (forthcoming 1); cf. (2013a) 38). An elided particle at the end of the line (for which see 29–30n.) is more likely to have been lost than wrongly inserted; Hermann2 (prob. Fraenkel (1964) i 131–2) had previously seen that τάχ’ ἄν should accompany βιασθέν rather than ἦλθε. βιάζομαι would normally be predicated of the speaker of an angry insult, not of the insult itself, and so Groeneboom’s ’κβιασθέν is attractive; attested for tragedy at Phil. 1128–9 ὦ τόξον φίλον, ὦ φίλων | χειρῶν ἐκβεβιασμένον, this verb gives the desirable sense ‘forced out’ rather than just ‘forced’. The prodelision would have assisted the corruption, which would have to be ancient, since there does not seem room for kappa in Π1 (thus implied by Barrett (2007) 379).

525–6 τοὔπος δ’ ἐφάνθη ταῖς ἐμαῖς γνώμαις ὅτι | πεισθεὶς ὁ μάντις τοὺς

λόγους ψευδεῖς λέγοι; ‘Was the statement openly made that it was by my counsels that the prophet was persuaded to speak false words?’ The opening phrase (cf. 848, 473–475/6n.) well conveys an important aspect of Creon’s concern – that the attack was public, with consequences for his reputation (519–22). ταῖς ἐμαῖς γνώμαις is also highlighted by its appearance ahead of ὅτι. τοὔπος is in Π1 K. Two readings attested only in the mediaeval tradition, τοῦ πρός (L) and πρὸς τοῦ (a), make Creon ask who persuaded Oedipus that he was at fault (cf. Aesch. Eum. 593 πρὸς τοῦ δ’ ἐπείσθης καὶ τίνος βουλεύμασιν;), which suits neither the nature of his anxiety (he is worried about what Oedipus said, not about some putative false


C O M M E N T A R Y : 527– 530 informer), nor the chorus’s reply (thus Finglass (2013a) 43–4, (forthcoming 1)). Nor can πρὸς τοῦ mean ‘for what reason’ (pace Pearson (1929b) 164); out of eleven tragic instances, ten mean ‘by whom’ and one ‘by what’. Moreover, if τοὔπος is original, the other readings are explicable. τοὔπος was corrupted first into the oldest mediaeval reading, τοῦ πρός, out of a desire for an opening question-phrase; this in turn, being ‘completely isolated’ in its anastrophe (Wackernagel (1926–8) ii 197 = (2009) 647; cf. id. (1906) 178 = (1953–79) i 179), became πρὸς τοῦ by regularisation of the word order. By contrast, there is no reason why original πρὸς τοῦ should have become τοῦ πρός, still less τοὔπος. λέγοι has a weakly-attested variant λέγει; the former was more likely to be corrupted thanks to the disappearance of the optative in later Greek.

527 ηὐδᾶτο μὲν τάδ’, οἶδα δ’ οὐ γνώμῃ τίνι. ‘These words were spoken,

but I do not know with what intention.’ The passive ηὐδᾶτο μὲν τάδ’ distances the speaker from the report even as he confirms it (cf. 731, 1442). In his Loeb Lloyd-Jones writes τινί, translating ‘This was said, but I know that it was unconsidered’. But throughout this exchange the chorus is noncommittal, even agnostic (cf. 523 τάχ’ ἄν, 530 οὐκ οἶδ’; so rightly Kassel ap. Ll-J/W, ST), as they attempt to cover for Oedipus without actually lying; the indefinite pronoun destroys this effect.

528–9 ἐξ ὀμμάτων δ’ ὀρθῶν τε κἀπ’ ὀρθῆς φρενὸς | κατηγορεῖτο τοὐπίκλημα τοῦτό μου; ‘Was this accusation against me delivered with a steady look and from a steady mind?’ An unflinching gaze would provide evidence of a sane and steady purpose (cf. Aj. 462–3n.; for ἐξ ‘on the basis of’ see El. 48n., and for ὀρθός predicted of φρήν cf. fr. 1077 TrGF ὀρθόφρων), and so perhaps a greater threat; Creon later questions Oedipus’ sanity to his face (626n.). δ᾿ is only in Π1 and the Suda; it is lost in the direct mediaeval tradition. τε has been corrupted to γε in some manuscripts (cf. 35–9n.), to δέ in others (40–3n.). κἀπ᾿ (Π1) has become κἀξ in the mediaeval manuscripts under the influence of the preceding ἐξ. The slight variation is expressive: ‘whereas the accusation cannot be said to proceed from the eyes, it can very properly be said to proceed from the mind in which it originated; and the use of the different preposition would serve to bring this out’ (Barrett (2007) 381; cf. Finglass (2013a) 44, (forthcoming 1)). μου has become μοι in a couple of manuscripts, probably through confusion concerning the case governed by κατηγορεῖτο. 530 οὐκ οἶδ’· ἃ γὰρ δρῶσ’ οἱ κρατοῦντες οὐχ ὁρῶ. ‘I do not know, since I do not see what my rulers do.’ The chorus diplomatically pretend ignorance, as Plutarch recommended for parents when their children


C OMMENTARY : 531– 633 behaved badly (De Liberis Educandis 13de καλὸν δὲ καὶ ἔνια τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων μηδ’ εἰδέναι δοκεῖν, ἀλλὰ τὸ τοῦ γήρως ἀμβλυῶττον καὶ δύσκωφον ἐπὶ τὰ γιγνόμενα μεταφέρειν, ὡς ἔνια τῶν πραττομένων ὁρῶντας μὴ ὁρᾶν καὶ ἀκούοντας μὴ ἀκούειν).

[531 αὐτὸς δ’ ὅδ’ ἤδη δωμάτων ἔξω περᾷ.] [‘But the man himself is now coming out of the house.’] Π1 does not have this line, which does feature consistently in the mediaeval tradition; Rose (1943) first recognised that the ancient manuscript is right. ‘The text is much more dramatic without line 531 – Oedipus angrily bursts out of the skênê building without giving the chorus an opportunity to introduce him. And that lack of introduction may have provoked the interpolation. The pattern thereby obtained in lines 525–30 – two lines from Creon followed by one from the chorus, then repeated – is better than the alternative, with the chorus lurching from two lines, to one line, to two lines again’ (Finglass (forthcoming 1); cf. (2013a) 38–9). For ἤδη announcing a new arrival see 297–9n. 532–633 Oedipus’ opening speech (532–42) focuses not so much on Creon’s alleged crime as on the associated actions that imply his state of mind: his boldness in coming to Oedipus’ house, his contempt for the man he is trying to usurp, his foolishness in attemping a plot far beyond his capabilities and means. Creon’s attempts to speak are met with stonewalling (543–52), but eventually he manages to ask what he is charged with (553–4). The king reveals this in a prosecutorial section of single-line stichomythia, in which he questions Creon about Laius’ disappearance and Tiresias’ silence during that period; but his conclusion, that Tiresias’ accusations against him now must originate with Creon, scarcely follows from his premises (555–73). A brief passage of two-line stichomythia shifts the initiative to Creon; he too begins at a tangent, asking Oedipus about his own place in the state (574–82), before describing how senseless he would be if he sought additional power (583–615). Rather than simply deny the charge, he attempts to reason with Oedipus in the hope that he might appreciate how absurd it is. Nevertheless, and despite the objections of the chorus (616–17), Oedipus continues his attack (618–21); but he fails to produce any cogent argument for Creon’s guilt, or even any criticism of Creon’s defence. The ensuing stichomythia moves from single lines (622–5, with lacunae) to antilabê (626–9), marking the increasing antagonism; Creon is given the final word (a full line) before the chorus see Jocasta approaching, not before time


C O M M E N T A R Y : 532– 535 (630–3). The content, and the varied pacing, of the exchange recalls that of the Tiresias scene without matching it exactly; for instance, Oedipus is given no long speech here, the presentation of his case is weaker, and his more emollient opponent relies on arguments from probability rather than prophetic insight to counter his accusations.

532 Oedipus enters from the skênê, furiously bursting open the door, and thus ensuring that this sudden, timely entrance (cf. Ant. 386) contrasts to the greatest possible extent with the stately manner of his previous two appearances. οὗτος σύ, πῶς δεῦρ’ ἦλθες; ‘You there, how did you get here?’ Oedipus’ opening words provide an answer to Creon’s question concerning his state of mind (528–9). This is the first of a series of angry questions, a natural rhetorical move in the circumstances (cf. Mastronarde (1979) 39). οὗτος is ‘a brusque, colloquial way of calling attention to an indignant question’ (A/O on Ar. Thesm. 224, with comic parallels; see further Aj. 71–2n., B/O on Ar. Vesp. 1), all the more sudden here because it is employed by a new arrival (cf. Aj. 1047, FJ/ W on Aesch. Suppl. 911), and more aggressive thanks to its combination with σύ (cf. 1121, Eur. Hec. 1280, Or. 1567, fr. 712a TrGF, D. Jacobson (2015) 194, 205–7).

532–5 ἦ τοσόνδ’ ἔχεις | τόλμης πρόσωπον ὥστε τὰς ἐμὰς στέγας | ἵκου, φονεὺς ὢν τοῦδε τἀνδρὸς ἐμφανῶς | λῃστής τ’ ἐναργὴς τῆς ἐμῆς τυραννίδος; ‘Do you have such a face of boldness that you have come to my house, when you are for sure this man’s killer and the manifest robber of my kingship?’ ἦ (thus Elmsley, 1805/6 edn) ‘introduc[es] a suggested answer, couched in interrogative form, to a question just asked’ (Denniston 283); Oedipus’ reference to τόλμα in effect replies to the preceding πῶς question (cf. 538–9, 622). Manuscript ἤ, by contrast, would imply that the two questions voiced different or even opposing hypotheses. τοσόνδ’ by enallage qualifies πρόσωπον rather than τόλμης (El. 492n.), in effect accompanying πρόσωπον τόλμης understood as a single unit; the genitive of quality (El. 19n.) recurs with reference to the boldness of a face at Aj. 1004 ὦ δυσθέατον ὄμμα καὶ τόλμης πικρᾶς (n.). The article in τὰς ἐμάς is demonstrative enough; we do not need τάσδε τάς (coni. Meineke (1863) 228–9). For the shift from the first to the third person, then back to the first, see Aj. 426–426/7n. By calling Creon his φονεύς Oedipus vividly charges him with moral responsibility for an intended homicide (R. Parker (1983) 111n. 25; cf. Aj. 1126n., OC 1361, Hom. Od. 16.432, Hdt. 1.124.1, R. Rutherford (2012) 199 n.


C OMMENTARY : 536– 539 76). λῃστής further denigrates Creon – no respected political opponent he, but a mere robber – yet the term is more appropriately used of Oedipus himself (cf. 122, 124, 716, 842). ἐναργής becomes ἐναργῶς in one manuscript (coni. Blaydes1, notes) under the influence of the preceding adverb. Clarity is often associated with truth (cf. 1011 σαφής, Diggle on Eur. Pha. 62, Bond on Her. 55).

536–7 φέρ’ εἰπὲ πρὸς θεῶν, δειλίαν ἢ μωρίαν | ἰδών τιν’ ἐν ἐμοὶ ταῦτ’ ἐβουλεύσω ποεῖν; ‘Come, say, by the gods, was it after seeing some cowardice or foolishness in me that you decided to do this?’ Cf. Plut. Marius 16.7 τίνα δὴ καταγνοὺς ἀνανδρίαν ἡμῶν Μάριος εἴργει μάχης ὥσπερ γυναῖκας ὑπὸ κλεισὶ καὶ θυρωροῖς;, where the speaker does not believe that any cowardice could have been so observed; so in Euripides’ Children of Heracles the Argive Herald tells Demophon that the suppliants have fled to him ‘discerning some folly in you’ (τιν᾿ . . . μωρίαν ἐσκεμμένοι, 147; on this passage see Diggle (1977b) = (1994) 169–70). For πρὸς θεῶν see 326–7n. For the alternatives, taken up in the next question (538–9n.), cf. Hdt. 1.37.2 οὔτε τινὰ δειλίαν μοι παριδὼν οὔτε ἀθυμίην, Thuc. 1.122.4 οὐκ ἴσμεν ὅπως τάδε τριῶν τῶν μεγίστων ξυμφορῶν ἀπήλλακται, ἀξυνεσίας ἢ μαλακίας ἢ ἀμελείας; also the association of ἀφροσύνη and δειλία found several times in Aristotle (e.g. EN 1149a5). Instead of ἐν ἐμοί (with inoffensive split resolution: cf. Tr. 4, OC 26, West (1982) 86) Reisig (1816) 56 writes ἔν μοι (cf. Aj. 292n. for prepositions governing enclitic pronouns, although none of the instances is metrically guaranteed), which is attractive in that no emphasis on the pronoun is needed (thus MDR). ποεῖν rather than the variant ποιεῖν is perhaps more likely to have been the fifth-century Attic form (cf. 543, El. 277n.). 538–9 ἦ τοὔργον ὡς οὐ γνωριοῖμί σου τόδε | δόλῳ προσέρπον ἢ οὐκ ἀλεξοίμην μαθών; ‘Did you think that I would not recognise that this deed was yours as it crept stealthily towards me, or that I would not defend myself if I did?’ The personification heightens the menace; cf. Ant. 9–10 ἤ σε λανθάνει | πρὸς τοὺς φίλους στείχοντα τῶν ἐχθρῶν κακά; A verb such as ἐνόμισας has to be understood; the sense remains clear, as the pace is accelerated. ἦ is owed to Schaefer (his edition, p. 253 and in the text), who thus reinterprets the paradosis ἤ to give a particle suitable for a question answering an immediately preceding inquiry, rather than striking out in a new direction (532–5n.). As Schaefer notes, Oedipus’ question is matched precisely by the alternatives just offered: μωρίαν by the idea that he would not notice Creon’s plot, δειλίαν by the thought that he would not defend himself if he did. Since δειλίαν and


C O M M E N T A R Y : 540– 542 μωρίαν are alternatives in 536–7, corresponding phrases are better represented in the same way; hence ἢ οὐκ (coni. Spengel (1858) 3–4, assuming a common corruption, for which cf. 891, El. 312n.) is preferable to transmitted κοὐκ. The optatives are used because of the virtual indirect speech (cf. 1247, Moorhouse 235). In γνωριοῖμι Elmsley (text and p. 93) restores the Attic future stem (attested at Eur. El. 630, Ion 1567, Isocr. 15.54, Arist. EN 1132b2); transmitted γνωρίσοιμι shows the influence of the non-Attic, and koinê, future γνωρίσω, found probably at Men. Sic. 298 γνωρίσῃ, then in the Septuagint and New Testament, and in Imperial and Byzantine Greek. The same corruption is attested at Arist. Meta. 993a2 (and from the Attic future to the present at De An. 410b6); the sheer rarity of the future optative will have confused scribes (cf. Aj. 312–13n., 727–8n.). For ἀλεξοίμην see 168/9–171/2n.

540–2 ἆρ’ οὐχὶ μῶρόν ἐστι τοὐγχείρημά σου, | ἄνευ τε πλούτου καὶ φίλων τυραννίδα | θηρᾶν, ὃ πλήθει χρήμασίν θ’ ἁλίσκεται; ‘Isn’t this enterprise of yours foolish, to hunt without wealth and friends after monarchy, something that is captured by a group of people and by money?’ Oedipus turns back the (fictitious) charge of foolishness against Creon himself. Commonly associated with one-man rule (380–2n.), riches were especially useful for anyone entering into such a position: so Aeschylus’ Aegisthus intends to secure his rule by judicious use of his precedessor’s fortune (Ag. 1638–9 ἐκ τῶν δὲ τοῦδε χρημάτων πειράσομαι | ἄρχειν πολιτῶν), Herodotus’ Pisistratus reestablishes his tyranny over Athens in part thanks to his supporters’ financial subventions (1.61.3 πολλῶν δὲ μεγάλα παρασχόντων χρήματα), and Thucydides’ Pelops uses wealth to master the peninsula that bears his name (1.9.2 λέγουσι . . . Πέλοπα . . . πλήθει χρημάτων . . . δύναμιν περιποιησάμενον). The association of tyranny with wealth and friends is again found in Herodotus’ account of Pisistratus, whose henchman Lygdamis gathered both for him (1.61.4 κομίσας καὶ χρήματα καὶ ἄνδρας), and who consolidates his rule by both means (1.64.1 ἐρρίζωσε τὴν τυραννίδα ἐπικούροισί τε πολλοῖσι καὶ χρημάτων συνόδοισι); and in Aristotle’s account of a type of oligarchy close to monarchy (Pol. 1293a30–1 ὅταν . . . ἤδη πολὺ ὑπερτείνωσι ταῖς οὐσίαις καὶ ταῖς πολυφιλίαις, ἐγγὺς ἡ τοιαύτη δυναστεία μοναρχίας ἐστίν). Cf. how Euripides’ Andromache sarcastically asks whether the greatness of her city, and her friends, have led her to desire to displace Neoptolemus’ spouse (Andr. 196–8 ἢ . . . | πόλεως τε μεγέθει καὶ φίλοις ἐπηρμένη | οἶκον κατασχεῖν τὸν σὸν ἀντὶ σοῦ θέλω;). For the importance of φίλοι in maintaining political influence see further Mitchell and Rhodes (1996).


C OMMENTARY : 543– 544 For τε ‘placed after a word preceding the two co-ordinated words (or word-groups) and common to both, instead of after the first coordinated word’ (Denniston 518) see Aj. 53–4n. πλούτου is an anonymous scholar’s conjecture (ap. the anonymous German translation of 1803, p. 119). Transmitted πλήθους would mean ‘without a mass and friends’, or rather, via hendiadys, ‘without a mass of friends’; but this ill coheres with the following line, which mentions both supporters and money. Rhetorical balance favours πλούτου; the variation between the two clauses is also elegant, with different terms for friends and wealth used on each occasion, and ἄνευ with the genitive in the first clause yielding to modal datives in the second. The corruption will have been caused by anticipation of πλήθει in 542, assisted by the similar opening to the words. Allen (1982) defends the paradosis as a double hendiadys, translating ‘to hunt a tyranny without a mass of friends – the sort of thing that is captured with a mass of money’, but this prises apart clauses that should be balanced, rendering Oedipus’ logic unintelligible; if tyranny is acquired by money, it does not follow that it is mad to seek it without friends. Metaphorical θηρᾶν (cf. Eur. Or. 678–9; K’s ζητῶν may show the intrusion of a gloss, for which see 47–8n.) is picked up by ἁλίσκεται, which too can be used of hunting (cf. Eur. fr. 434.3 TrGF ἁλίσκεταί τε πάντα καὶ θηρεύεται, Xen. Mem. 3.11.11 τὸ θηρίον τοῦτο ἁλώσιμον, Van der Wijnpersse (1929) 11–12). Neuter ὅ (corrupted to the unmetrical ἥ in a few manuscripts) refers back to the abstract τυραννίδα, despite its gender; cf. Eur. Hel. 1686–7 χαίρεθ’ Ἑλένης οὕνεκ’ εὐγενεστάτης | γνώμης, ὃ πολλαῖς ἐν γυναιξὶν οὐκ ἔνι, K–G i 61–2.

543–4 οἶσθ’ ὡς πόησον; ἀντὶ τῶν εἰρημένων | ἴσ’ ἀντάκουσον, κᾆτα κρῖν’ αὐτὸς μαθών. ‘Do you know what you should do? In return for what you have said, listen on equal terms, and then, after learning, make your judgment.’ Like Tiresias, Creon asserts his right of reply; but although his language is formally similar (ἀντι–, ἰσο–), he lacks the seer’s masterful tone (408–9n.). For the thought cf. OC 593 ὅταν μάθῃς μου, νουθέτει, τανῦν δ᾽ ἔα, El. 889–90 πρός νυν θεῶν ἄκουσον, ὡς μαθοῦσά μου | τὸ λοιπὸν ἢ φρονοῦσαν ἢ μώραν λέγῃς, Proverbs 18.13 ‘He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him’. οἶσθ’ ὡς πόησον; ‘and comparable locutions are the prelude to a direct instruction, conveyed with an imperative or equivalent, placed in asyndeton’ (Diggle (1994) 500, citing e.g. OC 75–7). This expression, in which the aorist imperative is unexpectedly governed by οἶσθα, recurs at Hermippus fr. 44.1 PCG οἶσθά νυν ὅ μοι ποίησον; and Men. fr. 649 οἶσθ’ ὃ ποίησον; Elsewhere we find οἶσθ’ οὖν ὃ δρᾶσον; at Eur.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 543– 544 Hec. 225, Ion 1029, Hel. 315, 1233, IA [725], probably Cycl. 131 (coni.), Polyidus fr. 646b Carrara,4 Ar. Eq. 1158, Av. 54, ἀλλ’ οἶσθ’ ὃ δρᾶσον; at Pax 1061, Av. 80, and οἶσθ’ ὅ μοι σύμπραξον; at Eur. Hcld. 451; cf. OC 75 οἶσθ᾽, ὦ ξέν᾽, ὡς νῦν μὴ σφαλῇς;, Eur. IT 1203 οἶσθά νυν ἅ μοι γενέσθω, and perhaps Med. 600 οἶσθ’ ὡς μέτευξαι [Elmsley: μετεύξῃ codd.] καὶ σοφωτέρα φανῇ, Ar. Ach. 1064 οἶσθ’ ὡς ποείτω; [Reisig: ποεῖται, ποεῖτε codd.]. The distribution, with all close parallels occurring in Euripides and comedy, and the one, more distant, Sophoclean parallel in the mouth of an ordinary townsman, suggests a colloquial tone (cf. Collard (2005a) 363), here indicating Creon’s exasperation. The original of the construction is unclear. It probably represents an intensification of expressions such as Eur. Suppl. 932 ἀλλ’ οἶσθ’ ὃ δρᾶν σε βούλομαι and Hec. 998 οἶσθ’ οὖν ἃ λέξαι σοί τε καὶ παισὶν θέλω;, with a virtually imperatival construction invaded by an actual imperative. The alternative, that it reflects an original gerundive in a form later grammaticalised as the aorist imperative (thus Kretschmer (1919)), seems unlikely, as we would not expect such a survival to make its first appearance in colloquial Attic of the last third of the fifth century (thus Kannicht on Eur. Hel. 315; see further Wackernagel (1926–8) i 216 = (2009) 277, S–D ii 344). The unfamiliar syntax rendered the expression susceptible to corruption. πόησον is only in Lac, although Pa has ποιήσον (coni. Canter (1571) 459); for the orthography see 536–7n. Most manuscripts have πο(ι)ήσων, a desperate attempt to make sense of the construction; cf. how δρᾶσον has become δράσεις in some


This fragment, attested in Σ Ar. Thesm. 870 (p. 50.5–6 Regtuit) and in Gregory of Corinth De Dialectis 2 (pp. 15–20 Schaefer), appeared as fr. 647 in Nauck, TrGF1, but was excluded by Nauck from TrGF 2; pointing to the variant reading in Gregory where Polyidus was replaced by Polydorus, Nauck argued (TrGF 2, p. xxi) that the citation came in fact from Hec. 225 (i.e. that Gregory mistakenly referred to Hecuba as Polydorus) and thus is not a fragment. Kannicht follows Nauck and excludes the citation from the new TrGF. But (i) Polyidus is the only title attested in both sources, and is more likely to have been corrupted into the familiar name Polydorus than the other way around; (ii) the expression seems to have been common in Euripides, and so there is no reason why it should not have appeared in Polyidus as well as in Hecuba; and (iii) the Euripides citation, in both the Aristophanes scholium and in Gregory, follows a full-line quotation from Sophocles’ Peleus, which indicates that whoever originally excerpted these passages had access to plays now lost (cf. Regtuit, pp. 12–13). In her recent edition of Euripides’ Polyidus Carrara accepts the fragment (see her commentary, pp. 385–90), giving it the number fr. 646b.


C OMMENTARY : 545– 547 manuscripts at Eur. Hec. 225 and Ar. Av. 54, 80, and in the sole surviving manuscript at Eur. Cycl. 131. κᾆτα strongly emphasises that judgment should come only after listening (a point repeated in μαθών); writing κἀντί (K) instead of ἀντί would diminish that effect by coordinating the two halves of Creon’s advice with repeated καί.

545–6 λέγειν σὺ δεινός, μανθάνειν δ’ ἐγὼ κακὸς | σοῦ· δυσμενῆ γὰρ καὶ βαρύν σ’ ηὕρηκ’ ἐμοί. ‘You are skilled at speaking, but I am bad at taking instruction from you; for I have found you hostile and grievous to me.’ Even Creon’s acknowledgement of his right to judge the case fails to mollify Oedipus. Calling Creon δεινὸς λέγειν is at best an ambiguous compliment; cf. OC 806–7 γλώσσῃ σὺ δεινός· ἄνδρα δ᾽ οὐδέν᾽ οἶδ᾽ ἐγὼ | δίκαιον ὅστις ἐξ ἅπαντος εὖ λέγει, Pl. Apol. 17a ἔλεγον ὡς χρῆν ὑμᾶς εὐλαβεῖσθαι μὴ ὑπ’ ἐμοῦ ἐξαπατηθῆτε ὡς δεινοῦ ὄντος λέγειν. For the thought that follows cf. Resp. 358a ἐγώ τις, ὡς ἔοικε, δυσμαθής, also ironic. κακός takes an epexegetic infinitive, as at Eur. Hcld. 744 κακὸς μένειν δόρυ, Med. 264, [Eur.] Rhes. 176, Hdt. 6.108.3, Thuc. 6.38.2, but the construction is eased by the syntactic parallel with λέγειν . . . δεινός. In place of κακός Ll-J/W suggest βραδύς, pointing (in their apparatus) to κακός at the end of 548, but the mere presence of the same word at line end more than once in a short passage is not suspicious (El. 253n.). ηὕρηκ’ for transmitted εὕρηκ’ is owed to Elmsley (1805/6 edn); see 68–9n. 547–52 Oedipus mirrors Creon’s language, using the same words in the same places in the line (τοῦτ’ αὐτό, εἴ τοι νομίζεις, οὐκ ὀρθῶς/ εὐ φρονεῖς), in a display of rigid antagonism. Cf. Aj. 1141n., 1142–58n., 1161–2n., El. 1031–2, Aesch. Ag. 1650–1, Sept. [1042–5], Eur. Med. 1370–3, Ar. Ach. 1097–1142, Plaut. Merc. 141–2, and Denniston lxiii on the ‘mocking’ use of repeated particles; distinguish the regular, less confrontational, picking up in stichomythia of a previous speaker’s phrase without setting it in exactly the same location (cf. 1066–7). 547 τοῦτ’ αὐτὸ νῦν μου πρῶτ’ ἄκουσον ὡς ἐρῶ. ‘On this precise point

[‘Sur ce point justement’, Mazon], now listen for the first time to what I will say’. τοῦτ’ αὐτό emphasises that Creon wants to address Oedipus’ most recent charge (cf. 1013, OC 575 τοῦτ’ αὐτὸ νῦν δίδασχ’, ὅπως ἂν ἐκμάθω, Tr. 408, Eur. Andr. 906, Suppl. 1067, El. 261, Ar. Thesm. 81, Pl. Theaet. 145e, Resp. 379a), νῦν (preferable to inferential νυν, pace Blaydes1, text) that the matter is urgent, πρῶτ’ that Oedipus has not yet been willing to listen.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 548– 554

548 τοῦτ’ αὐτὸ μή μοι φράζ’, ὅπως οὐκ εἶ κακός. ‘On this precise point, do not tell me that you are not a criminal.’ Literally ‘Do not tell me this very point, that . . .’, but a translation where this line does not open with the same phrase as the previous line (547–52n.) is untrue to the Greek. 549–50 εἴ τοι νομίζεις κτῆμα τὴν αὐθαδίαν | εἶναί τι τοῦ νοῦ χωρίς, οὐκ ὀρθῶς φρονεῖς. ‘If you think that self-will without intelligence is a worthwhile possession, you are not thinking straight.’ For the moment Creon abandons his attempt to respond to Oedipus’ words at 545–6, and replies instead to Oedipus’ immediately preceding refusal even to entertain a declaration of innocence. αὐθαδία is associated with senselessness at [Aesch.] PV 1012–13 αὐθαδία γὰρ τῷ φρονοῦντι μὴ καλῶς | αὐτὴ κατ’ αὐτὴν οὐδενὸς μεῖζον σθένει, Eur. Med. 223–4 οὐδ’ ἀστὸν ᾔνεσ’ ὅστις αὐθαδὴς γεγὼς | πικρὸς πολίταις ἐστὶν ἀμαθίας ὕπο, Pl. Pol. 294c ἄνθρωπον αὐθάδη καὶ ἀμαθῆ, and located in the mind at [Aesch.] PV 907 αὐθάδη φρονῶν, Eur. Med. 103–4 στυγερὰν . . . φύσιν | φρενὸς αὐθαδοῦς; for the concept more generally see Diggle’s edition of Theophrastus’ Characters, pp. 343–4. τοι ‘bring[s] home to the comprehension of the person addressed a truth of which he is ignorant’ (Denniston 537), here in the form of an antagonistically-phrased general reflection (cf. 551, Denniston 542, 546). For κτῆμα of an abstract quality cf. Ant. 1050 κράτιστον κτημάτων εὐβουλία, 683–4, Phil. 81 ἡδὺ . . . τι κτῆμα τῆς νίκης λαβεῖν, Hdt. 5.24.3. In all these κτῆμα has an epithet or descriptive phrase, whereas in our passage it is bare; nevertheless, the sense ‘worthwhile possession’ is required. τήν has a variant τήνδ᾿, but the demonstrative is out of place. 551–2 εἴ τοι νομίζεις ἄνδρα συγγενῆ κακῶς | δρῶν οὐχ ὑφέξειν τὴν δίκην,

οὐκ εὖ φρονεῖς. ‘If you think that when you harm a kinsman you will not pay the penalty, you are not thinking well.’ Oedipus focuses for the first time on Creon’s status as his relative by marriage, thereby stressing the immorality of his actions, but also coming up with a statement that applies all too well to himself (thus Schneidewin1). For τοι see 549–50n. δρῶν has a minority variant δρῶντ᾿, which gives ‘. . . that a kinsman can behave harmfully and not . . .’, a sentence where συγγενῆ adds nothing; the variant will have arisen through assimilation to the case of the preceding phrase. δίκην ὑπέχω is a standard expression in poetry and prose (LSJ9 s.v. ὑπέχω ii 3).

553–4 ξύμφημί σοι ταῦτ’ ἔνδικ’ εἰρῆσθαι· τὸ δὲ | πάθημ’ ὁποῖον φῂς παθεῖν

δίδασκέ με. ‘I agree that those words were spoken justly by you. But tell me what sort of injury it is that you say that you suffered.’ After the stifling antagonism of the preceding lines (547–52n.), Creon


C OMMENTARY : 555– 557 breaks the deadlock, agreeing with rather than countering Oedipus’ last remark and encouraging the king to state his charge. He refers to his alleged offence with the neutral term πάθημα, reserving his position on whether any offence actually took place in the similarly colourless phrase ὁποῖον φῂς παθεῖν.

555–6 ἔπειθες, ἢ οὐκ ἔπειθες, ὡς χρείη μ’ ἐπὶ | τὸν σεμνόμαντιν ἄνδρα

πέμψασθαί τινα; ‘Did you persuade me, or did you not, that I ought to have someone sent to the noble prophet?’ Creon’s involvement was mentioned earlier (288–9n.), ‘a slight touch, which has prepared the way for the present scene’ (Campbell), and so Oedipus opens his case by asking a question to which he already knows the answer (cf. Ant. 442 φῄς, ἢ καταρνῇ μὴ δεδρακέναι τάδε; and Aesch. Eum. 587 τὴν μητέρ’ εἰπὲ πρῶτον εἰ κατέκτονας, although there the prosecutors touch directly on the guilt of the accused because there is no dispute that they have committed the offences). The form ‘did you or did you not?’ (cf. 1140; perhaps emotionally heightened, as at Aesch. Sept. 100 ἀκούετ’ ἢ οὐκ ἀκούετ’ ἀσπίδων κτύπον;, 202 ἤκουσας ἢ οὐκ ἤκουσας, ἢ κωφῇ λέγω;) gives an impression of fairness, in that it allows Creon right of reply. Yet between now and 572–3, when Oedipus concludes that Creon is guilty, he asks no further questions about his conduct; everything is inferred from this one admission. χρείη is written thus only in NOV (coni. Dawes (1745) 333); as usual, the odd-looking optative has been corrupted in most manuscripts, here into χρεῖ᾿ ἦ (cf. 791, Tr. 162, 166, Ant. 884, OC 268, [Aesch.] PV 213, Ar. Lys. 113, Lys. 12.44, Xen. Hell. 2.4.23, Pl. Euthyphro 4c). For the preposition ἐπί at the end of the trimeter see 29–30n. σεμνό– is contemptuous (cf. 953, Aj. 1107, [Aesch.] PV 953, Tr. Adesp. fr. 372.1 TrGF, Dillery (2005) 191–2), a tone emphasised by the mock-pompous compound amid the otherwise plain language (for other –μαντις compounds cf. Phil. 1338 ἀριστόμαντις, OC 1097 ψευδόμαντις, Braswell on Pind. N. 1.61).

557 καὶ νῦν ἔθ’ αὑτός εἰμι τῷ βουλεύματι. ‘Yes, and I am still now the same man with respect to my counsel.’ For personal αὑτός in statements regarding consistency of purpose cf. Phil. 519–21 ὅρα σὺ μὴ νῦν . . . | τότ᾽ οὐκέθ᾽ αὑτὸς τοῖς λόγοις τούτοις φανῇς, Thuc. 2.61.2 ἐγὼ μὲν ὁ αὐτός εἰμι καὶ οὐκ ἐξίσταμαι, 3.38.1 ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν ὁ αὐτός εἰμι τῇ γνώμῃ, Mastronarde on Eur. Phoen. 920; for the accompanying dative cf. Phil. 1271 τοιοῦτος ἦσθα τοῖς λόγοισι and again Thuc. 3.38.1. ἔθ’ αὑτός is in only a few manuscripts (coni. Valckenaer on Phoen. 927); most have lost the aspiration and write ἔτ᾿ αὐτός (for the error cf. Aj. 1099, 1366, El. 285, 572, 917, Ant. 182, 929, Tr. 151, 384, Phil. 119, 521, OC 309, 868, 966, 984).


C O M M E N T A R Y : 558– 562 For instances of νῦν ἔτι see Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 818; νῦν (coni. Blaydes1, notes) would be paralleled in similar contexts by Eur. Alc. 374 καὶ νῦν γέ φημι καὶ τελευτήσω τάδε, El. 1057, but the particle is far from required.

558 πόσον τιν’ ἤδη δῆθ’ ὁ Λάϊος χρόνον— ‘Then how much time is it now since Laius—’ 559 δέδρακε ποῖον ἔργον; οὐ γὰρ ἐννοῶ. ‘Accomplished what task? I do not understand.’ Formally aimed at preserving the stichomythia (cf. 571n.), the interruption also conveys Creon’s surprise at the mention of Laius, a seemingly irrelevant topic (thus Schneidewin1). γάρ has the nuance ‘I am going to speak, for . . .’ (426–8n.).

560 ἄφαντος ἔρρει θανασίμῳ χειρώματι; ‘Disappeared, the victim of a lethal overpowering?’ The line is imitated at Aj. [1033] πρὸς τοῦδ’ ὄλωλε θανασίμῳ πεσήματι. For ἄφαντος of a death cf. 831–2, Hom. Od. 1.242 οἴχετ’ ἄϊστος ἄπυστος; for ἔρρει with an adjective cf. Aesch. Pers. 732 ἔρρει πανώλης δῆμος. χείρωμα derives from χειρόω ‘overpower, worst’, itself a derivative from χείρων, ‘worse’ (just as e.g. ἐλασσόω derives from ἐλάσσων); ‘Laius was mortally or lethally worsted in his encounter with Oedipus’ (Dawe (1978) 96 = (2007) 127, his italics; cf. Fraenkel on Aesch. Ag. 1326 εὐμαροῦς χειρώματος, Barrett (2007) 333 with n. 27). So at OC 698 the olive is ἀχείρωτον, ‘inviolate’, and at Ant. 126 δυσχείρωμα is ‘something hard to overcome’ (Dawe; Aesch. Sept. [1022] τυμβοχόα χειρώματα is a later interpolation of disputed meaning). The alternative derivation from χείρ (thus Jebb, Pozzi (1971) 66) would be unparalleled, and gives inferior or impossible sense for the genuine tragic passages. 561 μακροὶ παλαιοί τ’ ἂν μετρηθεῖεν χρόνοι. ‘The time would be measured as long and far into the past.’ For the emphasis on the measurement of time cf. Eur. IA [815–16] πόσον χρόνον | ἔτ’ ἐκμετρῆσαι χρὴ πρὸς Ἰλίου στόλον;, and see further 73–5n. The combination of μακρός, which stresses the length of the time (cf. Aj. 646–7n., Aesch. Pers. 741, Eur. Alc. 670, Hdt. 1.81, Pl. Leg. 682c), with παλαιός, which is ‘often used of a period of time continuing from long ago up to the present’ (Barrett on Eur. Hipp. 907–8; see further Aj. 599/600–605n.), conveys how remote the event now seems.

562 τότ’ οὖν ὁ μάντις οὗτος ἦν ἐν τῇ τέχνῃ; ‘So was this prophet engaged in his art at that time?’ οὖν ‘proceed[s] to a new point, or a new stage in the march of thought’ (Denniston 426); cf. 564. For εἶναι ἐν ‘be engaged in’ cf. Eur. Hipp. 451–2 ὅσοι . . . εἰσὶν ἐν μούσαις, Hdt.


C OMMENTARY : 563– 567 2.82.1 οἱ ἐν ποιήσι γενόμενοι, Pl. Prot. 317c πολλά γε ἔτη ἤδη εἰμὶ ἐν τῇ τέχνῃ, Headlam on Herod. 8.72, Diggle (1981a) 103 (where JD corrects the Horace reference to Serm. 1.9.2). For τέχνη of prophetic skill see 357n.

563 σοφός γ’ ὁμοίως κἀξ ἴσου τιμώμενος. ‘Yes, equally wise, and honoured to the same extent.’ The balance of the chiasmus is in tension with the variation of its elements: an adjective corresponding to a participle, an adverb to a prepositional phrase. For affirmative γε see 365n. ἴσος and ὅμοιος have the same meaning, as often; cf. Hom. Il. 1.187, Eur. Phoen. 501, Thuc. 1.91.7, Isaeus 7.22, Xen. Hell. 7.1.1, R. Hirzel (1907) 421–3. 564 ἐμνήσατ’ οὖν ἐμοῦ τι τῷ τότ’ ἐν χρόνῳ; ‘So did he make any mention of me during that time?’ For ἐμνησάμην in this sense see Diggle on Eur. Pha. 45. For οὖν see 562n. 565 οὔκουν ἐμοῦ γ’ ἑστῶτος οὐδαμοῦ πέλας. ‘Not when I was standing anywhere near by, at any rate.’ Creon’s careful reply signals a defendant’s concern not to be caught out, as well as the difficulty of answering such a wide-ranging inquiry.

566 ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἔρευναν τοῦ κτανόντος ἔσχετε; ‘But did you not hold a search for the killer?’ Cf. Eur. Ion. 328 οὐδ’ ᾖξας εἰς ἔρευναν ἐξευρεῖν γονάς;, also from stichomythia about the distant past. κτανόντος is owed to Meineke (1863) 229. Transmitted θανόντος would have to mean ‘a search about, in the matter of the dead man’, but even after invoking the rare genitive of respect (El. 317n.) we are still left with an awkward expression that we should not fight to preserve when a simpler alternative lies to hand. The corruption will have arisen by a polar error (El. 382n., Aj. 235–6n.), a mistake particularly common with this pair of words (cf. El. 821n., Diggle (1981a) 82). κανόντος (coni. Van Herwerden (1887) 43) is less attractive, despite involving a fractionally smaller change and a rarer verb that one might have thought would have led scribes astray; καίνω and θνῄσκω are in fact nowhere confused (καίνω is corrupted to κτείνω at Eur. El. 850; cf. also 964–8n.). 567 παρέσχομεν, πῶς δ’ οὐχί; κοὐκ ἠκούσαμεν. ‘We did provide one, how could we not? And yet we did not hear anything.’ There is a trivial inconsistency with 130–1. παρέσχομεν picks up ἔσχετε, the prefix conveying ‘a more active meaning, . . . imply[ing] more effort’ (Campbell) rather than offering exactly the same sense as the earlier verb (cf. 133–4n.); ἀλλ᾿ ἔσχομεν (coni. Schneidewin1, commentary) gives


C O M M E N T A R Y : 568– 570 good sense but removes this feature, and there is no obvious rationale for the corruption. For καί ‘and yet’ see 59–61n. ἠκούσαμεν better conveys than e.g. ἠγρεύσαμεν (‘we did not catch anything’, coni. Broadhead (1968) 94) how the murderer disappeared without leaving even a rumour of his presence (cf. Phil. 254–6).

568 πῶς οὖν τόθ’ οὗτος ὁ σοφὸς οὐκ ηὔδα τάδε; ‘Why then did this wise man not declare these things at the time?’ Oedipus had previously asked this question, in fuller terms, of Tiresias himself (391–8). τόθ᾿ οὗτος (Ka) appears in reverse order in LΛ, contrary to the metre. This may indicate that οὗτος was omitted in an ancestor of our manuscripts, written above the line by someone who noted that it was missing, and restored in different places later in the tradition; in that case, both positions for οὗτος may be wrong, and the correct text might thus be τόθ’ ὁ σοφὸς οὗτος, which looks more forceful than the order in Ka (thus JD, citing for the word order 562, 732, 1452, Ant. 221, fr. 24.6 TrGF, Eur. Ba. 333, fr. 879; cf. 892–893/4n. on a related type of error involving transposition and omission). τάδε has a weakly attested variant τόδε; for the corruption see FJ/W on Aesch. Suppl. 950. 569 οὐκ οἶδ’· ἐφ’ οἷς γὰρ μὴ φρονῶ σιγᾶν φιλῶ. ‘I do not know; on matters where I do not understand, I like to be silent.’ Creon provides no answer to the question that Tiresias himself ignored. He expresses himself in similar terms at 1520. 570 τοσόνδε γ’ οἶσθα καὶ λέγοις ἂν εὖ φρονῶν— ‘This much, at least, you know, and would say it if you had any sense—’ For τοσόνδε cf. Hdt. 4.197.2 τοσόνδε ἔτι ἔχω εἰπεῖν περὶ τῆς χώρης ταύτης (thus the oldest and best manuscripts; a later manuscript inserts δέ, but τοσόνδε is itself enough of a connector). LacK offer τὸ σὸν δέ,5 with δέ γε in a retort (372–3n.), but whatever the sense would be (‘you know your own mind, your own interest’?), it is inferior to τοσόνδε, which with its limiting force coheres well both with γε and with Creon’s previous claim of total ignorance. The division of these words also confuses manuscripts at Tr. 53, OC 1712, Eur. Med. 460, [725]. Of the two possible senses for εὖ φρονῶν, ‘be in one’s right mind’ and ‘be well intentioned’ (see Parker on Eur. Alc. 303), the former is appropriate. Oedipus has already called Creon’s intelligence into question using the same phrase (552), and Creon will later return the compliment (626); Oedipus’ point here is that Creon must be stupid 5

Ll-J/W (OCT apparatus) claim that this is Brunck’s conjecture, but it first appears in Turnebus’s edition, either as T.’s reinterpretation of the paradosis or as a reading found in a manuscript.


C OMMENTARY : 571– 575 to think that he will get away with his crime. By contrast, there can (in Oedipus’ mind) be no question of Creon being well intentioned towards Oedipus; if he was, he would not have conspired with Tiresias in the first place. The same objection can be raised against the translation ‘if you were loyal’, advocated by Ll-J/W (So.); moreover, none of their alleged parallels (1066, Aj. 491, Ant. 1031, OC 1635) actually means this. Lloyd-Jones’s Loeb renders ‘if you were honest’, but again it is not clear that the phrase could have, or requires, such a specific sense.

571 ποῖον τόδ’; εἰ γὰρ οἶδά γ’, οὐκ ἀρνήσομαι. ‘What? If I do know, I will not deny it.’ Again, Sophocles exploits the conventions of stichomythia (cf. 559n.) to emphasise Creon’s cooperative spirit. οἶδα appears in the third successive line, as the stichomythia builds to its climax: what is this thing that Creon should know? 572–3 ὁθούνεκ’, εἰ μὴ σοὶ ξυνῆλθε, τὰς ἐμὰς | οὐκ ἄν ποτ’ εἶπε Λαΐου διαφθοράς. ‘Because, if he had not consorted with you, he never would have said that the slaying of Laius was my deed.’ The two-line statement concludes Oedipus’ interrogation; several stages of the argument are left out (since Tiresias was silent then, he cannot know the truth now, and since he was not motivated by prophetic insight, he must have had some other reason to accuse Oedipus), but the audience will not be confused, and the discussion in 569–71 obscures the lack of a precise connexion with 568. For ξυνέρχομαι of the participants in a conspiracy cf. Hyp. Eux. 8 ἢ συνίῃ ποι ἐπὶ καταλύσει τοῦ δήμου, Dem. 24.144 ἐάν τις ἐπὶ προδοσίᾳ τῆς πόλεως ἢ ἐπὶ καταλύσει τοῦ δήμου συνιὼν ἁλῷ, 24.146, 18.137 Ἀναξίνῳ τῷ κατασκόπῳ συνιὼν εἰς τὴν Θράσωνος οἰκίαν ἐλήφθη with Wankel. The literal sense of Oedipus’ last clause, ‘. . . have mentioned this my slaying of Laius’, is more true than he realises (thus Schneidewin1). Possessive pronouns in such expressions regularly have an objective sense (cf. 968–70n., Thuc. 6.89.1 περὶ τῆς ἐμῆς διαβολῆς, K–G i 560 Anm. 11, S–D ii 202–3); the unusual subjective meaning suits the climactic reference to the accusation of murder, as does the nominal expression (cf. OC 552 τὰς αἱματηρὰς ὀμμάτων διαφθοράς) rather than just a verb. Replacing τάς with τάσδ᾿ (coni. Doederlein (1847) 266) removes that irony (‘. . . that this slaying of Laius was mine’) and introduces difficult word order (a demonstrative far separated from its noun, the two divided by a predicative possessive pronoun). 574–5 εἰ μὲν λέγει τάδ’, αὐτὸς οἶσθ’· ἐγὼ δέ σου | μαθεῖν δικαιῶ ταὔθ’ ἅπερ κἀμοῦ σὺ νῦν. ‘If he says this, you yourself know. But I deem it right to learn from you in the same way as you too now did from me.’ Cf. Eur.


C O M M E N T A R Y : 576– 578 Or. 1123 καὶ νῷν παρέσται ταὔθ’ ἅπερ κείνῃ τότε. Brunck (1779 edn) first writes ταὔθ᾿ for manuscript ταῦθ᾿; for the error see 284–6n. For καί in the relative clause when it might be expected to accompany the main clause cf. OC 53 ὅσ᾽ οἶδα κἀγὼ πάντ᾽ ἐπιστήσῃ κλυών, Denniston 295–6.

576 ἐκμάνθαν’· οὐ γὰρ δὴ φονεὺς ἁλώσομαι. ‘Learn away – for I will not be convicted as a murderer.’ The compressed thought (‘you shall not exculpate yourself, since if you did, that would mean that I was the killer’) both maintains the pace and indicates how, in Oedipus’ mind, his innocence stands or falls with Creon’s guilt. For the form cf. Ant. 46 οὐ γὰρ δὴ προδοῦσ᾽ ἁλώσομαι, Eur. Andr. 191 ὅμως δ’ ἐμαυτὴν οὐ προδοῦσ’ ἁλώσομαι. For ἐκμανθάνω picking up μανθάνω see 133–4n. Writing φονεύς (coni. Blaydes1, notes) would be an unwarranted limitation of Oedipus’ belief in his own righteousness, as if he conceded that he could be found guilty of a different crime; οὐ γὰρ δή is often followed by γε, but by no means always (cf. Ant. 46, Denniston 243–4). 577 τί δῆτ’; ἀδελφὴν τὴν ἐμὴν γήμας ἔχεις; ‘What then? Are you married to my sister?’ Creon begins in a conciliatory manner, with a question requesting factual information rather than containing an implicit charge (contrast 555–6); ironically, he nevertheless by accident hits upon one of the two grave offences that will lay Oedipus low. τί δῆτα; as an independent question (thus punctuated by B. Heath (1762) 31, although there is a point in the Aldine) conveys liveliness, but not necessarily anger or irritation (instances at Tr. 410 τί δῆτα; ποίαν ἀξιοῖς δοῦναι δίκην . . . ;, Eur. Ion 253 τί δῆτα; ποῖ δίκην ἀνοίσομεν . . . ;, Ar. Eq. 439, Nub. 1105, 1290, Nicochares fr. 4.1 PCG, Pl. Leg. 789a, 830a). Periphrastic ἔχειν plus participle is common in Sophocles, but not limited to him (Aerts (1965) 128–60).

578 ἄρνησις οὐκ ἔνεστιν ὧν ἀνιστορεῖς. ‘There is no denial of what you are inquiring.’ Clytemnestra uses a similarly formal expression at El. 527 τῶνδ’ ἄρνησις οὐκ ἔνεστί μοι, but she is referring to the killing of her husband, something that she would like to be able to deny. Oedipus’ language, by contrast, is surprisingly grand (note ἀνιστορέω, exclusively tragic in this period) for what seems a trivial admission (perhaps sarcastically so); but the time will come when he too will wish that he could have denied this. οὐκ ἔνεστιν has become οὐκέτ᾿ ἐστίν in NOpc, the same error as in CN at El. 876, thanks to intrusion of the more familiar phrase; οὐκέτι is not appropriate in either passage, even in the extended sense ‘not the further, and perhaps expected, step’ (114–15n.).


C OMMENTARY : 579– 582

579 ἄρχεις δ’ ἐκείνῃ ταὐτὰ γῆς ἴσον νέμων; ‘Do you rule the land on the same terms as her, assigning her an equal share?’ An alternative interpretation, by which γῆς depends on ἴσον, giving ‘Do you rule on the same terms as her, assigning her an equal share of the land?’ (thus Moschopoulos p. 40 Longo), unhelpfully implies a formal division of Theban territory between the two (and indeed three) rulers (cf. Tr. 162–3 εἶπε δ᾽ ἣν τέκνοις | μοῖραν πατρῴας γῆς διαίρετον νέμοι), when Creon’s point is rather that Jocasta and he enjoy equal authority alongside Oedipus thanks to their influence with him (so rightly Doederlein (1847) 265). For νέμω in this sense governing a part of ἴσος without an accompanying phrase indicating what that equality consists of cf. Hdt. 6.11.3 and 6.109.5 θεῶν τὰ ἴσα νεμόντων, Thuc. 1.71.1 τὸ ἴσον νέμετε, 6.16.4 τὰ ἴσα νέμων τὰ ὁμοῖα ἀνταξιούτω, Pl. Leg. 848b τῇ μὲν ἴσα, τῇ δ’ οὐκ ἴσα νέμομεν. In both articulations νέμω could mean ‘rule’ (200–201/2n.), so either ‘ruling on equal terms’ or ‘ruling an equal share of land’; but ‘assign, allot’ is more appropriate in the context of the division of authority, and also ensures that emphasis falls not on Jocasta’s authority but on Oedipus’ concession of that authority (so Doederlein (1847) 265), thus reminding him of his own generosity, and fitting better with his response. 580 ἃν ᾖ θέλουσα πάντ’ ἐμοῦ κομίζεται. ‘Everything that she desires she obtains from me.’ ἅν (< ἃ ἄν) loses its aspirate in some manuscripts; for the error see 280–1n. For the periphrasis involving a present participle plus present tense verb see 126–7n. For κομίζω ‘obtain’ cf. Thuc. 1.43.1 νῦν παρ’ ὑμῶν τὸ αὐτὸ ἀξιοῦμεν κομίζεσθαι; also the related sense ‘win’, often of a prize (cf. OC 1411–12 ὁ νῦν ἔπαινος, ὃν κομίζετον | τοῦδ᾽ ἀνδρός, LSJ9 s.v. ii 2). 581 οὔκουν ἰσοῦμαι σφῷν ἐγὼ δυοῖν τρίτος; ‘Am I not equal as a third to the pair of you?’ For οὔκουν in a lively question see 342n.; that form and the question are owed to Markland (1758–76), the manuscripts having οὐκοῦν without a question mark. For τρίτος denoting completion of a series see Aj. 1173–5n. 582 ἐνταῦθα γὰρ δὴ καὶ κακὸς φαίνῃ φίλος. ‘Yes, because that is just

where you stand revealed as a treacherous friend’. That is, ‘[Creon’s] nearness to the throne only aggravates the case against him’ (Campbell), not ‘it is just because Creon is Oedipus’ equal . . . that he is able to manifest his spite’ (thus Denniston 244, placing too much emphasis on φαίνῃ). Creon returns to this point at 609–10. For figurative ἐνταῦθα cf. 598, OC 585 ἐνταῦθα γάρ μοι κεῖνα συγκομίζεται, fr. 77 TrGF, Aesch. Cho. 891 ἐνταῦθα γὰρ δὴ τοῦδ’ ἀφικόμην κακοῦ, Eur. Med. 790, Lys. fr. 207b Carey, Pl. Symp. 207cd. For καί see 147–8n.



583–615 Creon responds to Oedipus’ insults with reason and moderation. Disclaiming a desire for monarchy is a familiar enough theme (cf. Eur. Ion 621–47 [quite possibly interpolated: see Kovacs (1979) 121–4, (1982) 35–6], Archil. fr. 19 IEG, Sol. fr. 33), of which Creon’s argument constitutes a particular variant: he already enjoys enough authority thanks to his proximity to the ruler, and so he does not want to be king. The same argument is employed by Euripides’ Hippolytus, who tells his father that he does not wish to be τύραννος, content as he is to live a happy life as the second-placed man in the city (ἐν πόλει . . . δεύτερος), free from danger (Hipp. 1013–20); and by Herodotus’ Histiaeus, who replies in similar terms to Darius’ charge that he has stirred up a rebellion by proxy (τί δ’ ἂν ἐπιδιζήμενος ποιοῖμι ταῦτα, τεῦ δὲ ἐνδεὴς ἐών; τῷ πάρα μὲν πάντα ὅσα περ σοί, πάντων δὲ πρὸς σέο βουλευμάτων ἐπακούειν ἀξιεῦμαι, 5.106.3). (The idea is also found in the remarks of the Medes to Astyages in Herodotus, although in that case the speakers are merely attempting to reassure the ruler of their commitment to his interests when giving him advice: σέο δ’ ἐνεστεῶτος βασιλέος, ἐόντος πολιήτεω, καὶ ἄρχομεν τὸ μέρος καὶ τιμὰς πρὸς σέο μεγάλας ἔχομεν, 1.120.5.) Both Hippolytus and Histiaeus, like Creon, are responding to accusations from a suspicious ruler. Creon and Hippolytus are innocent but disbelieved, whereas the protestations of the guilty Histiaeus are accepted; Darius, unlike Oedipus and Creon, is not in a state of fury, and by offering to put down the rebellion in person Histiaeus offers