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of Athens, who did not deny the supernatural, but discredited


claim by one man to be its interpreter more than


other. 27 This obscure phrase is most probably explained by Schneidewin's reference to Aelian H. A. 7, 48: to take count of a place by calculation of stars=to avoid it. 28 The Chorus, whose perpetual rôle is to stand for the unprejudiced average, and who have only doubtfully inclined to take sides with Edipus against Teiresias, are now shocked into a timid normal piety. They sing the dangers of Pride, oßpus, of which one aspect is the tyrannous usage of Creon by Edipus, and another - intellectual pride - is the scepticism of (Edipus and still more of Jocasta (pp. 1, li). 29 i.e. dipus' ordeal with the Sphinx : they fear the popular hero may now be overthrown. Because prevailing impiety is a public danger, may be visited upon all ; indeed, if it is not visited with punishment, what meaning is left in religious exercises ?—“Why tread we a measure ?31 The three great shrinesDelphi, the Navel stone ; Abae, in Phocis (Herod. viii. 33), and Olympia. 32 Literally, wife in full complement’; a house without master or without children was called uitens, 'at half complement.' 33 See Note

exhaustive account of the recognition of Túxn as a goddess, and, in later Greek times, her supreme importance, see Rohde, Der Griechische Roman, &c., p. 276. 35 i.e. I was a castaway and am now a king. 36 As in Ajax and in Antigone, just before the disaster a false hope lures the Chorus to sing an ode of exultation. They jump at the guess that dipus is a child of some nymph (these are the folk undying '—cf. Aesch. in P. V. 553, of the nymphs in his chorus) by one of the pastoral gods


34 For an

-Pan, Apollo, Hermes, or Bacchus. 37 i.e. the autumnal equinox.

38 In allusion to the chorus on p. 43. 39 Providence personified in a Aainwr. It may be the Daemon of a family or of an individual ; the conception varies between a Destiny, a Genius, a Guardian Angel, and a possessing Fiend.


40 Athens -- that is, Attica according to the heroic nomenclature. 41 For the names and attributes of the Eumenides, see Warr's Aeschylus. 42 A natural chasm here, -perhaps originally volcanic, reputed (like most such places) an entrance to the underworld, had its adit paved with steps of bronze or brass (see Jebb’s notes on 0. C. 57 and 1690). . 43 A statue of Colonos is shewn on the stage. The name merely means hill, but the Greeks, of course, invented an eponymous hero, as it were an original Mr. Hill, to personalise the spot in legend : just as the ‘Secret Isle' became the goddess Calypso. 4 v. Aesch. Eum. 107. 45 Because nothing would satisfy him (as we would say), but he must commit this sacrilegious trespass.

Literally, ‘giving speechless vent to the reverence in their heart.'

48 The dactylic monody, “ the latest development of the dactylic measure,” only appears once in Sophocles (Philoctetes, 1196), except here. It is a concession-like all this amabæan passage of lyrics—to a change of taste at Athens. The disintegration of Tragedy moved in two directions, led by Euripides towards the Prose Drama and towards the Opera. The public desired bravuras


47 See 42.

54 See 44


0. C. 947

in which fashionable singers might shine in the execution of increasingly complicated music. In such passages it is idle to look for much pure literary effect in the bare surviving libretto. Some ancient editors denied the authenticity of Antigone's solo and the following four lines. 49 The bracketed lines look rather like an alternative version. 60 " Thessalian felts were ex-' cellent,” says the Scholiast, and quotes Callimachus in support. A cap-shaped crown with a broad brim may be seen as headpiece to some of the fourth century terra-cotta statuettes. 51 Derived from Herodotus, ii. 35. 62 i.e. when one word might have saved 53 The Eumenides.

55 Verg. Ecl. viii. 101. 56 i.e. Antigone. 67 The Council of Areopagus : for its powers in this particular, see Jebb on

58 The doctrine is this : If a man sin wilfully, he is punished by gods with an infatuation which leads him on to sin again. Edipus is conscious of no wilful wrong in himself (see p. 83), therefore he ascribes his involuntary misdeeds to a family curse, working as described in Antigone (chorus on p. 161). 59 The shore near Eleusis, bright because of the torchlight processions at the Eleusinian Festival. 60 Metaphorical for the pledge not to reveal the Mysteries. Jebb has an admirably full commentary on the whole passage, concerning the Eumolpid priesthood, &c.

61 Artemis. 02 This cant antithesis of the day (see Thucydides, passim) gives point to A. Croiset's suggestion that Sophocles designed to portray in Theseus the liberal virtues of Periclean Athens. 63 For this pessimism, see Introd. Essay, pp. lvi and lx. It is part of the Ionian colour with which Sophocles is everywhere touched, and in this play

68 See 39.

69 i.e. sym

especially more than tinged. Bacchylides has the same sentiment (v. 160, Kenyon), Ovatoioi un pūva. déplotov; the Schol. quotes Theognis, 425, to the same effect, and Jebb furnishes other like passages. 64 i.e. in the beggar's usual wallet. The Schol. notes the rhetorical skill in the arrangement of Polyneices? speech. 65 i.e. the curse on your house.

66 Peloponnese—so called from a mythical King Apis. 67 For this list as well as for the story, see Aeschylus' Septem and Euripides' Phoenissae, and Statius' Thebais : compare also Antigone, pp. 142-44. bolic posture as suppliant, to which Polyneices has appealed in “1, God's votarist."

70 They—the curses. The Cyclic Thebaid gave as the reason for Edipus’ curses a legend of Hesiodic rudeness : Eteocles and Polyneices used to send to Edipus in his blindness a shoulder of sacrificial meat ; one day they fob him off with an inferior joint, and in anger he curses them. This tale was employed by the writers of New Comedy, with whom the cookery motif was a favourite. The Scholiast (on 0. C. 1375) quotes a line of Menander and a considerable anonymous fragment from a writer of the early fourth century. 71 I think the meaning of this grim epithet lies in the fatherless to me,' eight lines above: he implies, Erebus, that is all the father you have left.' 72 These verses serve to connect the present play with Antigone, its sequel in dramatic order, but composed some thirty or forty years earlier. 73 i.e. this is a second painful scene in which dipus figures : first, the episode of Creon, now this with Polyneices. The supernatural character of dipus is now more clearly perceived by the Chorus, who are completely reconverted, and

74 The

prepared to justify all the ways of God to men. Thebans, as brood of the Dragon's teeth which Cadmus planted. 75 It is hard to avoid reading into these lines and dipus' former address to Theseus on p. 85, Sophocles' judgment on the latter days of his lifetime, the rapid downfall of Athens in punishment for her ύβρις. . 76 Text doubtful. THRESHOLD CATARACT, i.e. the downward plunging or precipitous threshold. 78 A natural hollow in the ground (like our English Devil's Punchbowis), named by legend the place where Theseus and Peirithous made a pact together before descending into Hades, whence they were rescued by Hercules (see Euripides' Hercules). The tallies were probably marks on the rock (Jebb). 79 The Scholiast's refusal to explain is the most reasonable commentary on these local particulars : “these things are familiar to the people of the place,” he says. 80 Demeter Euchloos’ shrine stood on a neighbouring small hill (v. map in Jebb's Introduction). Greek leaves it doubtful whether their crying or the thunder is meant.

77 See 42.

82 i.e. since Fate takes this course'-a metaphor perhaps from the trend of a road. 83 i.e. unhonoured with funeral rites. parts played by the sisters respectively in Antigone are excellently foreshadowed in this short duet : Ismene submissive and cautious, Antigone all enthusiasm and passionate affection. 85 This vague phrase seems to convey both kindness from the Gods Underground, and also the blessing which it was foretold should accrue upon (Edipus' burying-place.

81 The

84 The

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