Third Epeisodion: 494–765
The scene opens with introductory anapaests by the Chorus, followed by a passage (501–44), mainly in lyric metre, in which Andromache and her child lament their fate and plead with Menelaus. The rest of the scene is in iambics and presents the rescue of Andromache by Peleus. The central part (577–746) consists of an agon between Peleus and Menelaus, beginning with a short passage in stichomythia (577–89) and continuing with set speeches separated by conventional comments by the Chorus. Peleus had already appeared as the protector of persecuted innocence in the Phoenix of Euripides; see Webster, The Tragedies of Euripides, pp. 84–6.
The lyric portion 501–544 is in the form of a μέλος ἀπὸ σκηνῆς (not a κομμός, since after the anapaests the Chorus take no further part pg 158in the scene). It is divided into a strophe and an antistrophe, which consist of dialogue between Andromache and her child (ἀμοιβαῖον), and after each Menelaus speaks seven lines of anapaests followed by a paroemiac clausula. The strophe and antistrophe consist entirely of glyconics and pherecrateans (the catalectic form of glyconic).
11. In 512 Musurus's τʼ avoids hiatus, though this might be acceptable before the interjection ὤμοι.
494. καὶ μήν, generally, as here, followed by some part of ὅδε, is the regular formula for introducing a new actor, either on first appearance, e.g. 545 (Peleus) and 879 (Orestes), or on return to the stage, e.g. here and 1166 (Peleus). See GP 356 (6) and Addenda, p. 586.
495. σύγκρατον: lit. 'mixed together' i.e. closely united. The word is only found here in the classical period, but cf. σύγκρασις in Eur. and Thuc. and συγκεράννυσθαι, e.g. Xen. Cyr. 1. 4. 1 τοῖς ἡλικιώταις συνεκέκρατο 'he was closely united with his comrades'. ALP have σύγκροτον, which is also implied by the comment in Σ συγκεκροτημένον. σύγκροτον is not otherwise attested for any period, and though συγκροτεῖν is fairly common in the sense 'to weld together' and metaphorically 'to organize', the second sense is inappropriate here and the former would be misleading with its suggestion that the two captives were fettered together, which they evidently were not (529–30, 722).
ζεῦγος: for the metaphor see on ἅρμα (277), and cf. HF 454 ὦ τέκνʼ, ἀγόμεθα ζεῦγος οὐ καλόν.
κατακεκριμένον: Murray brackets and notes 'del. Hermann'; but H. in his text does not bracket the word and only raises the possibility of interpolation; without it ψήφῳ is dative of instrument with σύγκρατον taken as equivalent to a passive. But σύγκρατον can stand alone, and there is no real objection to κατακεκριμένον; it is otherwise found only in prose writers, but Euripides tends to use prosaic words, and it is better not to interrupt the series of anapaestic dimeters.
497. δύστηνε γύναι, τλῆμον δὲ σὺ παῖ: other single instances of two cola or half-cola in precise metrical correspondence, reinforced by repetition, rhyme, and assonance, are found scattered through Tragedy, especially but not always in scenes of lamentation, and there is a series of such cola in A. Sept. 967 ff. They may perhaps reflect a stylistic feature of earlier poetry composed for ritual lamentation and thanks-giving. Cf. 1168 below; Ph. 1292 διʼ ἀσπίδων, διʼ αἱμάτων; ibid. 1033 ἰάλεμοι δὲ ματέρων, ἰάλεμοι δὲ παρθένων; Phaeth. fr. 775. 50 (in a joyful hymn) θεὸς ἔδωκε θεὸς ἔκρανε; S. El. 1233. For further examples in Aeschylus see J. Diggle in CR 18 (1968), 3; see also Kranz, Stasimon, pp. 127 ff.*
τλῆμον: most MSS. have τλήμων, which may be right; see note on 348 above.
501. χέρας: acc. of respect. χείρ can mean 'arm' as well as hand'; here we may translate 'wrists'. She has been so harshly fettered as to draw blood; cf. 719–20.
504 ff. Murray rightly prints ΠΑΙΣ instead of the name Μολοττός which appears in all MSS. See note on τέκνου in 27 above.
In extant Attic Tragedy speaking parts are assigned to children only in four plays of Euripides: this passage, Alc. 393 ff., Supp. 1123 ff., and Med. 1271 ff. (where the voices of children are heard within). This in itself may be regarded as an example of the introduction of οἰκεῖα πράγματα by Eur.; but there is no attempt to make them talk like children, except that in Alc. 393 μαῖα may be a nursery equivalent for μᾶτερ. As A. M. Dale observes (Alcestis, p. 85) 'the child sings the sentiments its elders feel for it. Macduff cries "all my pretty chickens", but Alcestis' child calls himself "I, your chick", and Andromache's says to her ἐγὼ δὲ σᾷ πτέρυγι συγκαταβαίνω.' However, to blame Euripides, as Grube does (Drama of Euripides, p. 136), because 'the boy is far too much a miniature adult', and to censure him as 'not very happy in his presentation of children' is to underestimate the conventions of Attic Tragedy within which he worked.
The boy is still present when Peleus enters at 547, so that we have an extra speaking part; cf. Supp. 1123–64. Apparently one or more children could be brought in as extras, with small speaking (singing) parts.
506. θῦμα: nominative in apposition to ἐγώ in 501, the child being included with herself. The word means strictly 'sacrificial victim', animal or human, but is used here metaphorically of non-sacrificial killing, perhaps suggesting the helplessness of the victim; so also in HF 995, where the same word is used of the killing by Heracles of one of his own children.
δάϊον (trisyllabic) generally means 'hostile' 'destructive'; in Tragedy it is sometimes doubtful whether it means this or 'wretched', as it certainly does here and in S. Aj. 784 ὦ δαΐα Τέκμησσα.
507. κράντορες: this word, found only here and AP 6. 116, properly means rulers (κραίνειν) and Hyslop takes it as referring to Peleus and Neoptolemus. It is more likely that Andromache is invoking the leading men of the country, as in S. OT 629 Oedipus appeals to the πόλις. In OT 911 Iocasta refers to the Theban elders as χώρας ἄνακτες; cf. also S. Ant. 940 λεύσσετε Θήβης οἱ κοιρανίδαι; Ion 13, where γῆς ἄνακτες seems to mean 'the inhabitants'.
According to Denniston, GP 276 (3), δῆτα in affirmative sentences almost always echoes a word or words of the previous speaker. He notes Andr. 514 as one of the very rare exceptions. Jackson, however, (Marg. Scaen. 87, n. 1) suggested that in 510 Eur. wrote ὦ τάλας echoed by τάλας δῆτʼ, and that φίλος was substituted owing to φίλοις in 509.
512. σὺν νεκρῷ ⟨τʼ⟩: the added τʼ to avoid hiatus is printed by Murray and Méridier, but in view of the change of speaker and the following interjection hiatus is perhaps admissible.
513. τί πάθω; πάσχειν has here its proper passive sense and this is a question about the future rather than deliberation about a course of action: 'What will become of me?' The subjunctive is not deliberative but a survival of the future sense common in Homer; cf. Hom. Od. 5. 465 ὤ μοι ἐγώ, τί πάθω; τί νύ μοι μήκιστα γένηται; A. Sept. 297 τί γένωμαι;
516. δύο δʼ ἐκ δισσαῖν: emphasis on numerical coincidence (or contrast) occurs elsewhere in Tragedy, most notably in S. Ant. 13 δυοῖν ἀδελφοῖν ἐστερήθημεν δύο | μιᾷ θανόντοιν ἡμέρᾳ διπλῇ χερί. In Eur. the best example is HF 328 ἡμῖν ἵνʼ ἀμφοῖν εἷς ὑπουργήσῃς διπλᾶ; less striking examples are S. Ant. 55, 141; E. Hipp. 258; Ph. 423. I know no close equivalent in Aeschylus, though the contrast between one and many is certainly emphasized in all three dramatists and in fifth-century Kunstprosa. Fraenkel on A. Ag. 1455 has collected examples, to which others could be added.
519 ff. For this sentiment cf. Cypria, fr. 25 Allen (22 Kinkel) νήπιος ὃς πατέρα κτείνας παῖδας καταλείπει, which probably became proverbial; pg 161see Hdt. 1. 155. 1; E. Hcld. 1005–7; HF 168–9; Arist. Rhet. 1376a6. It was in accordance with this maxim that Astyanax was thrown from the walls of Troy.
520. ἐχθροὺς ἐχθρῶν: 'foes descended from foes' (gen. of origin); σκύμνους (Wilam.) is not needed.
521. ἐξόν: the impersonal accusative absolute is mainly a prose idiom, fairly common in Euripides but not elsewhere in Tragedy, except possibly S. fr. 193. The acc. abs. in personal construction with ὡς occurs in S. OT 101 and OC 381.
523. πόσις: this form, like πόλις, is regularly used in apostrophe. To Andromache Hector is still her husband.
526. δύστανος: see on 71 above.
μόρου: objective genitive; cf. Ion 1230 οὐκ ἔστιν θανάτου παρατροπά μοι; Ph. 586 θεοὶ … τῶνδʼ ἀπότροποι κακῶν.
530. ὦ φίλος: one who had proved himself ἐχθρός could nevertheless be described as φίλος in the sense of being bound by close ties, generally of kinship; cf. A. Cho. 233 τοὺς φιλτάτους γὰρ οἶδα νῷν ὄντας πικρούς.* Here, however, Andromache and the child cannot claim that φιλία in this sense exists with Menelaus, and the adjective is presumably euphemistic and propitiatory. See note on 540.
532. λείβομαι: lit. 'I am poured forth in tears.' δάκρυσιν is instrumental dative and κόρας accusative of respect: 'my eyes are wet with tears.'
534. Here, as in 116, the image of the smooth rock streaming with water may be meant to recall the legend of Niobe.
537. πέτραν ἢ κῦμα: rocks and sea were regularly used as symbols of the pitiless and implacable. So Med. 28 ὡς δὲ πέτρος ἢ θαλάσσιος | κλύδων ἀκούει νουθετουμένη φίλων; Hipp. 304 πρὸς τάδʼ αὐθαδεστέρα | γίγνου θαλάσσης. Cf. also Il. 16. 34 γλαυκὴ δέ σε τίκτε θάλασσα | πέτραι τʼ ἠλίβατοι, ὅτι τοι νόος ἐστὶν ἀπηνής.
540. φίλτρον : this word, more common in Eur. (14) than in Aesch. (1) and Soph. (2), presumably meant originally 'love-charm', and hence more generally 'charm', 'spell'. In Xen. Mem. 2. 3. 14 τὰ ἐν ἀνθρώποις φίλτρα are 'means of persuasion'. In Eur. it is used several times of anything that inspires love, e.g. HF 1407, where it is the sight of his children that will act as a φίλτρον upon Heracles, and Tro. 52, where αἱ συγγενεῖς ὁμιλίαι are said to be φίλτρον οὐ σμικρόν. Cf. also 207 above and fr. 103 δεινόν τι τέκνων φίλτρον ἕθηκεν | θεὸς ἀνθρώποις. So here the sense is probably 'I have no incitement to love you', though we might rather have expected 'You have no means of inspiring love in me.' In any case it is a direct rejection of the claim made in 530–1.
LSJ give as a third meaning for φίλτρον (but only in pl. for the classical period) 'love, affection', which would give good sense here, but the examples cited are doubtful: in El. 1309 τῶν σῶν φίλτρων may, as Keene says, mean rather 'thy endearments', and Tro. 859 τὰ θεῶν pg 162δὲ φίλτρα φροῦδα Τροίᾳ ends a song about Trojans who had won the love of gods, and Parmentier translates 'Troie n'a plus le charme qui séduisait les dieux'; thus in both passages φίλτρον may have its normal sense.
541. μέγα … ψυχῆς μόριον: some editors take this to refer to the long time spent on the siege, but I know no other example of ψυχή used like βίος to denote life as a period of time. A more likely sense in this context is 'vital force'; so Wecklein 'Lebensmark'. Σ, taking ψυχή in a collective sense, explains as πολλὰς ψυχὰς ἀπολέσας, but this is an improbable rendering for the Greek phrase, and it is more in keeping with the egotism of Menelaus to speak of the cost to himself of the victory for which he now claims all the credit, as in Hel. 393–6, 401–2.
543. ἀπολαύων: a prosaic verb found four times in Eur. but not elsewhere in Tragedy, or in verse apart from Comedy. It is here used ironically, as in IT 526 and Ph. 1205: 'you will have her to thank for your descent to Hades.'
545. καὶ μήν: see on 494.
Πηλέα πέλας: this sort of jingle, when it has no significance, seems to us displeasing, but perhaps did not jar on a Greek ear; cf. Ba. 189 γέροντες ὄντες;Or. 238 ἕως ἐῶσι and other examples cited by Denniston on El. 606; but in some of these the jingle disappears if they are pronounced with pitch accent. See B. A. Ramsden, 'Euripidean Assonance', CR 18 (1968), 260–1.
547. Enter Peleus with an attendant (551), perhaps the slave woman sent by Andr. (91) and now returning as a κωφὸν πρόσωπον. We might expect him to have several attendants, and it would perhaps seem appropriate, as Meredith observes (op. cit. 132), that Menelaus and Peleus should have approximately equal escorts, so that, though the victory of Peleus is essentially a moral victory, the withdrawal of Menelaus may not appear quite incredible. Nevertheless the implication of 752 ff. is that Peleus has at present no bodyguard, though he is in his own country and claims that he can command an army if need be.
ὑμᾶς: Peleus is probably addressing not the Chorus (as some think) but the attendants of Menelaus, as he certainly does in 549.
τὸν ἐφεστῶτα: 'the man in charge'; cf. IT 726 τοῖς ἐφεστῶσι σφαγῇ: Hel. 1582. The reference is presumably to Menelaus himself; the impersonal description followed by Μενέλαʼ, ἐπίσχες in 550 is justified if we suppose that Peleus begins speaking as soon as he is in sight; he is very old and in rather a state, and at first takes in only the general picture of imminent execution; in 550 he recognizes and addresses Menelaus.
548. τί ταῦτα; πῶς ταῦτʼ; 'what's this? what's all this about?' the reading of LP seems satisfactory in this context; cf. Or. 732 τί τάδε; πῶς ἔχεις; τί πράσσεις;
ἐκ τίνος λόγου: 'for what reason?' Cf. A. Cho. 513 ἐκ τίνος λόγου | μεθύστερον τιμῶσʼ ἀνήκεστον πάθος; So ἐκ τίνος E. Hel. 93, 1270.
νοσεῖ: for the metaphorical use, common in verse and prose, cf. 950; Tro. 27; S. El. 1070; Dem. 2. 14.
549. ἄκριτα μηχανώμενοι: LSJ translate 'engaged in rash attempts'. 'Acts performed without discrimination' is a sense of ἄκριτα related to the basic meaning of the verb, but no examples from classical Greek are cited, only κατʼ ἄκριτον and ἀκρίτως 'rashly' in Philodemus and Polybius. The most common sense of the word that is relevant here is 'without trial' in phrases such as ἀκρίτους ἀποκτεῖναι; so also Hipp. 1056 ἄκριτον ἐκβαλεῖς με γῆς. Most editors take ἄκριτα in this sense, and this is supported by the subsequent references to summary execution in 550, 555, and 567. μηχανᾶσθαι in itself suggests a plot, not a legal process, so that the two words give emphasis by repetition, and the sense is something like 'What execution are you plotting without trial?'
550. ἐπίσχες: the usual word in Eur. for sudden arrest of action; cf. El. 962; Ion 1320; Or. 1069; Ph. 92, 452; Hyps. 60. 22. Menelaus is perhaps menacing Andromache with drawn sword; he is surely not already 'endeavouring to sneak off' as Paley puts it: this is too much even for Menelaus. Wilamowitz originally deleted this line, and Bruhn would place it before 547, but see note on 547. Wilamowitz later changed his mind: 'Ich muss mich schämen den Vers 550 angezweifelt zu haben' (Hermes, 60 (1925), 284 ff.).
551. ἡγοῦ: the implication that Peleus cannot move about unaided shows that Eur. represents him as very old and physically feeble, in spite of his bold words in 588.
ὡς ἔοικέ μοι: I know no other example where ὡς ἔοικε in the impersonal sense is followed by a dative of the personal pronoun, and here we should probably divide and punctuate, with Wilamowitz, οὐ γάρ, ὡς ἔοικʼ, ἐμοί … 'for my task, it seems, brooks no delay.'
552. ff. Peleus resembles in some respects another ageing hero, Iolaus in Heracleidae; cf. esp. 740 ff. Aristophanes may be parodying both passages in Lys. 669.
553. ἐπαινῶ: if the text is right the verb is used like παραινῶ in the sense 'advise, recommend'. For other examples of this sense see S. Aj. 1360; El. 1322; OC 665; but the only example with an accusative is A. Supp. 996 ὑμᾶς δʼ ἐπαινῶ μὴ καταισχύνειν ἐμέ. με must stand for ἐμαυτόν, as in 256 and elsewhere. Meaning and construction are thus unusual but not unparalleled; it is however odd to say 'I advise myself to recover my youth', and the text has come under suspicion. We might have expected a wish or prayer for the recovery of youth, as in Hcld. pg 164740; hence Platt's με καὶ νῦν λαμβάνειν. It is doubtful whether in prayers as distinct from decrees this acc. and infin. construction is used except after an invocation, as in A. Sept. 253 θεοὶ πολῖται, μή με δουλείας τυχεῖν; see KG 2. 22–3; but the infin. could perhaps depend on ἔργον, in that case followed by a comma. This suggestion also provides νῦν as a correlative to εἵπερ ποτέ, though this is not essential. μενοινῶ (Herwerden) gives good sense, but the smallest alteration is Hermann's ἐπαιτῶ, omitting μʼ, which is not found in some MSS.; but there is no example with a dependent infinitive. On the whole, in the absence of a convincing restoration, it is best to keep the MS. reading. Verrall does not emend but offers a quite different interpretation of ἐπαινῶ (see app. crit.), which seems to me improbable: ἐπαινῶ is certainly used to denote polite rejection of a specific offer, but here no offer is made or implied in the text, and it is risky to base an interpretation on purely speculative stage business.
554. πρῶτον μέν: 'the first thing' or 'the main thing', sometimes used where the speaker apparently has no specific second thing in mind. At any rate Peleus breaks off to ask a question and listen to the reply. See GP 382 (iv).
554–5. Σ is probably right to suppose that the image is of a ship in distress (Andromache) saved by a favouring wind (Peleus). Bornmann thinks that the point lies in the metaphorical sense of ἐμπνεύσομαι, κατʼοὖρον … being added merely to amplify the metaphor; but it is not clear just what metaphorical sense he would give to ἐμπνεύσομαι. It can of course mean 'inspire hope or strength', but then requires an object such as θράσος or μένος. In this passage it can only mean 'fill the sails', which suggests a picture such as Σ assumes.
556. ἐκδήσαντες:this compound normally means 'fasten something to or on something else', hence Pierson's ἐνδήσαντες, which is used elsewhere to mean simply 'bind'. In combination with other verbs, however, ἐκ can denote completeness or thoroughness and this possibility cannot be ruled out for ἐκδέω. (In S. Ant. 578 Pearson prints Bruhn's conjecture ἐκδέτους 'fast bound'; elsewhere the word appears only in AP 9. 97, used of Hector bound to the chariot.)
557. οἶς: Hartung's correction of the MS. reading is palaeographically plausible but not certain, since ὕπαρνος might by itself indicate a ewe with its lamb.
558. τοῦ κυρίου: i.e. Neoptolemus. The primary sense of the word here is 'master of the household', so that it is for him, not Menelaus, to deal with Andromache; but κύριος was also the term used in Athens for a legal guardian or trustee, and may here have the secondary connotation of guardianship and protection. In 580 Menelaus picks up the word and claims that his authority over A. is superior to that of Peleus.
561. κληδόνος προθυμίᾳ: 'not with one eager summons'; cf. Ion 1109 τίς pg 165προθυμία | ποδῶν ἔχει σε; In Ph. 1430 σὺν παρθένῳ τε καὶ προθυμίᾳ ποδός the whole line has been suspected. κληδών in the sense 'cry, appeal' is distinctively poetic and rare (Fraenkel on Ag. 228 has missed this passage).
562. ὑπʼ ἀγγέλων: cf. S. Tr. 391 οὐκ ἐμῶν ὑπʼ ἀγγέλων … πορεύεται. μυρίων must be a rather wild exaggeration, and A. here assumes that some of her messages reached Peleus. She speaks differently in 81–3.
565. ff. Andromache naturally stresses the special interest of Peleus in the shrine of Thetis. Although ἀποσπάσαντες (567) is not literally true and strictly speaking Menelaus has not violated the shrine but has 'persuaded' Andromache to leave sanctuary before seizing her, the charges against him are in essence justified.
568. οὔτε: only in V and perhaps a 'correction'; most MSS. have οὐδέ, and there are other examples of οὔτε … οὐδέ, giving the effect of climax in the second limb: 'neither … nor yet …' See GP 193 (i).
τοὺς ἀπόντας: i.e. Neoptolemus.
570. τέκνου … ὅν: see on 510.
571. κτενεῖν: all MSS. have κτανεῖν, which most editors rightly accept, since μέλλω + aor. infin. is established for Eur., e.g. Ion 760, Med. 393 θανεῖν; Hcld. 709 λιπεῖν.
573. πίτνουσα: Andromache remains kneeling before Peleus until 717 ἔπαιρε σαυτήν.
χειρί: a pathetic touch; Andromache holds up her fettered wrists to show that she cannot perform the usual act of supplication. It is much less likely that, as some editors suppose, her status as a slave forbids her to touch Peleus.
576. αἰσχρῶς ὑμῖν: Andromache, even considered as a mere slave, is part of the household of Neoptolemus, and failure to protect her from outside interference would damage the prestige of the House of Aeacus.
577. κλαίειν: in threats κλαίειν, 'someone will smart for this', is very common in Aristophanes and is probably a colloquial idiom. Apart from this passage it occurs six times in Eur. (see 634 and 758 below), once in Aesch., and three times in Soph. In the tragedians there are several poetic modifications, e.g. S. Ant. 931 (lyr.) τοῖσιν ἄγουσιν κλαύμαθʼ ὑπάρξει βραδυτῆτος ὕπερ. For the menacing τις referring to the person addressed cf. S. Ai. 1138 τοῦτʼ εἰς ἀνίαν τοὔπος ἔρχεται τινί 'pain for someone I know'.
578. διπτύχους: here the second part of the compound is not irrelevant but gives the picture of two hands placed together and bound.
579. δὲ … γε: 'yes, and …' or 'yes, but …', as often in retorts.
ἄλλος: 'I on my side'; cf. nous autres and noialtri.
581. ἀμόν: ἁμόν, the reading of L, may well be right. The form ἁμός and the by-form ἀμός are both found in Homer as equivalent to ἡμέτερος, and like ἡμέτερος can be used with reference to one person. pg 166Both forms survive in Tragedy and there seems to be no distinction in meaning. LSJ cite only Aesch. and Soph., but in Eur. apart from this passage there are three examples in lyrics and at least two in dialogue: El. 555 τὸν ἁμὸν πατέρʼ; Hel. 531 πόσιν τὸν ἁμόν. In IA 1454 Scaliger's πατέρα τὸν ἀμόν should probably be accepted. On these forms see KB 1. 602; Schwyzer, 2. 202 (a) 1, 4; Bjorck, Das Alpha Impurum, pp. 125, 244.
οἶκον οἰκήσεις: perhaps a popular expression for managing one's own affairs; cf. IA 331 οὐχὶ δεινά; τὸν ἐμὸν οἰκεῖν οἶκον οὐκ ἐάσομαι; Ph. 602 οὐκ ἀπαιτούμεσθʼ· ἐγὼ γὰρ τὸν ἐμὸν οἰκήσω δόμον; fr. 144 μὴ τὸν ἐμὸν οἴκει νοῦν· ἐγὼ γὰρ ἀρκέσω, parodied in Ar. Ra. 105 μὴ τὸν ἐμὸν οἴκει νοῦν· ἔχεις γὰρ οἰκίαν.
583. ἐγώ is emphatic by position. In the Iliad Menelaus is quite overshadowed by Agamemnon; here, as in 540, he thinks of himself as conqueror of Troy and apparently asserts a sort of overriding claim on all captives. In 585, however, he shifts his ground and falls back on the proverbial maxim κοινὰ τὰ φίλων; cf. 374–8.
586. [ναί]: see on 242. Lenting's δρᾶν γʼ εὖ may be right.
βίᾳ, apparently superfluous with ἀποκτείνειν, may be meant to suggest illegality as well as violence.
587. ὡς … ἀπάξεις: see on 255.
588. In IA 311 in answer to the stubborn οὐδʼ ἕγωγʼ ἀφήσομαι it is natural to retort σκήπτρῳ τάχʼ ἆρα σὸν καθαιμάξω κάρα 'then I will give you a bloody head'; but in answer to 'You shall not take her away …' it is odd to reply 'But I will give you …', and it does not help to take 588 as a question, as only Murray does. Hence the suggestion σκήπτρῳ γε τῷδε σὸν καθαιμάξας κάρα: 'You shall not take her …' 'Yes, I will, after giving you …' See Zieliński in Eos, 31 (1928), 27, but this proposal had in fact been anticipated by Pflugk. The text implies that Menelaus makes a threatening gesture, to which Peleus replies with an explicit threat.
589. ψαῦσον … καὶ πρόσελθε: an example of ὕστερον πρότερον: the action on which more stress is laid comes first, without regard to order in time; cf. Hcld. 307–8 δεξίαν δότε … καὶ προσέλθετε; Hom. Od. 5. 264 εἵματά τʼ ἀμφιέσασα θυώδεα καὶ λούσασα; ibid. 12. 134 θρέψασα τεκοῦσά τε.
590 ff. Leaving aside for the moment the immediate point at issue, Peleus embarks on a general tirade against Menelaus; first he was a weakling to lose his wife; then when he found her a wanton he should not have called Greece to arms to recover her; finally when she was recovered, instead of executing justice upon her he weakly succumbed to her charms. With this is thrown in for good measure an attack on the immodesty of Spartan girls, though the reference here is to customs that were not supposed to go back earlier than Lycurgus. On the ground that 591 virtually repeats 590, that the sense of 592 pg 167is given again in 603–4, and that the question in 602 would be more pointed if it followed 590, F. W. Schmidt, with some support from Wecklein, regarded 591–601 as an interpolation. The first point however is doubtful, and though the speech as a whole might well be thought more effective without these anachronistic and largely irrelevant lines, this does not justify us in deleting them.
590. μετʼ ἀνδρῶν: 'are you to be counted among real men?'
κάκιστε κἀκ κακῶν: phrases of this type are fairly common and it is not always clear whether the speaker has in mind any specific ancestor or ancestors in general. It is clear that in S. OT 1397 κακός τʼ ὢν κἀκ κακῶν Oedipus is thinking of himself and of Iocasta, and in S. El. 589 εὐσεβεῖς κἀξ εὐσεβῶν the reference is specific; but in Ar. Ra. 731 πονηρὸς κἀκ πονηρῶν and Dem. 22. 68 δούλους ἐκ δούλων καλῶν αὑτοῦ βελτίους καὶ ἐκ βελτιόνων the reference is more vague and may have become little more than a conventional amplification of πονηρός etc. So also Lys. 13. 64; 10. 23. In Pl. Phaedr. 246 a Hackforth is right to take ἀγαθοὺς καὶ ἐξ ἀγαθῶν in its literal sense 'good and of good stock', but, as he observes, the same expression when used in 274 a applies to the gods and means simply 'most excellent'. The expression is most likely to be conventional when the superlative is used in abusive attacks. Thus in S. Ph. 384 τοῦ κακίστου κἀκ κακῶν it is doubtful whether, as Jebb thinks, there is a reference to Odysseus as the reputed son of Sisyphus, and in the present passage it is unlikely that Peleus is actually thinking of earlier crimes of the House of Atreus.
591. ποῦ: in some passages ποῦ clearly cannot have a local sense, but is used in indignant or ironical questions, probably, as A. S. Owen says, expressing greater incredulity than πῶς; e.g. Ion 528 ποῦ δέ μοι πατὴρ σύ; 'how can you be my father?' S. Ai. 1100 ποῦ σὺ στρατηγεῖς τοῦδε; So here, though in this context the local sense ('in what country' Paley) is not actually impossible; cf. Held. 369; S. OT 390.
ὡς ἐν ἀνδράσιν: editors mostly supply ὄντι in agreement with σοί and take the sense of the line to be 'In what respect have you any share in consideration as being among men?' i.e. 'what right have you to be reckoned as a man?' Gf. Or. 1528; IA 945. In that case P. is repeating the sense of σὺ γὰρ μετʼ ἀνδρῶν in 590. It is, however, possible that ἐν means 'in the eyes of', as in S. Ant. 925 τάδʼ ἐστὶν ἐν θεοῖς καλά (essentially the forensic ἐν denoting the tribunal, as Jebb observes) and that ὡς is limitative, as in Ba. 454 ὡς ἐς γυναῖκας 'to a woman's taste, at least'. The sense is then 'What claim have you to esteem, at any rate in the eyes of men?' and the line does not merely repeat 590: P. says, in effect: 'You cannot be counted as a man or be esteemed by men.' Cf. fr. adesp. 304 δοῦλος πέφυκας, οὐ μέτεστί σοι λόγου.
592. ἀνδρὸς Φρυγός: in the epic tradition the Trojans were formidable pg 168enemies, but in the fifth century the fact that many slaves in Athens were Phrygians and Lydians (cf. Ar. Vesp. 433, 1309) led by anachronism to such slighting allusions as Alc. 675 τίνʼ αὐχεῖς πότερα Λυδὸν ἢ Φρύγα | κακοῖς ἐλαύνειν ἀργυρώνητον σέθεν; and perhaps influenced the contemptuous treatment of the Phrygian eunuch in Or. 1506 ff., with the unjustified taunt in 1518 ὧδε κἀν Τροίᾳ σίδηρος πᾶσι Φρυξὶν ἦν φόβος; cf. ibid. 1351 ἄνδρας, οὐ Φρύγας κακούς. So here Peleus probably speaks in a tone of contempt, though Φρύγες is of course regularly used in Tragedy for Trojans with no such connotation.
ἀπηλλάγης λέχος: after πρὸς ἀνδρός we might expect some word for losing or being deprived of (Nauck actually conjectured ἀπώλεσας); instead Peleus substitutes ἀπαλλάσσεσθαι, the regular Attic for divorcing a wife or breaking off less formal engagements; cf. Isae. 6. 24. 5 ἀπηλλάγη γυναικός 'he got rid of the woman'; Dem. 31. 13; Isoc. 19. 7; Pl. Leg. 868 d. Possibly the suggestion is that M. took so little care of his wife that one would have thought he wanted to get rid of her. Elsewhere ἀπαλλάσσεσθαι always takes a gen. and here we should probably read λέχους (LP); if λέχος (MBAV) is right the verb must be treated as equivalent to a verbum privandi, which may take a retained acc., as in 661 below and Hel. 938. For λέχος 'bedfellow' see on 488.
593. ἄκλῃστʼ ἄδουλα … λιπών: we need not take these words literally to mean that no slaves were left in the house: the whole phrase expresses in exaggerated form the charge that M. had taken no precautions to see that Helen was suitably guarded and watched over. The text can stand.
In Tro. 943–4 Eur. follows the account in Cypria (acc. to Proclus), where Menelaus is said to have sailed away to Crete leaving Helen to entertain Paris and his companions. This version would be appropriate in the present context, where the folly of trusting Helen is stressed; but the wording would rather suggest that M. had gone before P. arrived, as is clearly indicated in IA 76 ἔκδημον λαβὼν Μενέλαον. Il. 13. 626–7 leaves this point open.
δώμαθʼ ἑστίας: an unusual expression; ἑστία, the centre of the house, naturally stands for the house as a whole and δῶμα is perhaps used like δωμάτιον to mean 'room'; cf. the similar use of δόμος in Med. 1137, where νυμφικοὺς δόμους probably means bridal apartments. The most similar phrase is Tro. 1111 θάλαμον ἑστίας 'Helen's chamber in her home'.
594. ὡς δή: with a participle ὡς δή is 'almost always ironical, sceptical or indignant in tone' (GP 230). Here it expresses incredulity that Menelaus could really have thought Helen to be σώφρων.
595. πασῶν κακίστην: 'when in fact she was the most wanton of women'. The ellipse of the participle in this context is unusual, and since in MS. ουδαν and ουσαν might look almost identical we should not rule pg 169out the possibility that Eur. may have written something like
- πασῶν κακίστην οὖσαν· οὐ γὰρ οἶσθʼ ὅτι
- οὐκ ἄν ποτʼ οὐκέτʼ, οὐδʼ ἂν εἰ βούλοιτό τις, …
and that two half lines were then omitted.
κακίστην: so often of Helen, cf. Or. 741 τὴν κακίστην; IT 566; IA 488; Andr. 608.
598. γυμνοῖσι μηροῖς: so Ibycus (fr. 61) called them φαινομηρίδες. They wore a single garment (cf. Hec. 933 μονόπεπλος … Δωρὶς ὡς κόρα) open at the sides in such a way as to show their thighs when they moved about.
599. δρόμους παλαίστρας τʼ: cf. Xen. Lac. 1. 4 δρόμου καὶ ἰσχύος ὥσπερ καὶ τοῖς ἀνδράσιν οὕτω καὶ ταῖς θηλείαις ἀγῶνας ἐποίησε (Lycurgus); Plut. Lyc. 14. In Theoc. 18. 22 αἷς δρόμος ωὑτός | χρισαμέναις ἀνδριστὶ παρʼ Εὐρώταο λοετροῖς the Lycurgan institutions are, as in Eur., transferred to the Heroic Age.
οὐκ ἀνασχέτους ἐμοί: there is no justification for supposing, with Kamerbeek and Bornmann, that ἐμοί is in effect Eur. himself. As Paley observes, this tirade against the alleged immodesty of Spartan girls is in character for Peleus, famous for σωφροσύνη; cf. Ar. Nub. 1067 τὴν Θέτιν γʼ ἔγημε διὰ τὸ σωφρονεῖν ὁ Πηλεύς.
601. Cf. S. OC 919 καίτοι σε Θῆβαί γʼ οὐκ ἐπαίδευσαν κακόν.
603. τὸν σὸν Φίλιον: sc. Δία. For Ζεὺς Φίλιος, patron god of friendship and family affections cf. Pl. Phaedr. 234 e εἰπὲ πρὸς Διὸς Φιλίου 'as one friend to another'; Grg. 500 b πρὸς Φιλίου 'in friendship's holy name' (Dodds); Alc. 109 e Σκώπτεις, ὦ Σώκρατες. Οὐ μὰ τὸν Φίλιον τὸν ἐμόν τε καὶ σόν; Ar. Ach. 730; Pherecr. fr. 172. This use of Φίλιος alone seems to be confined to Comedy and Plato, except for this passage, and is perhaps colloquial. The effect here is to stress the ties, religious and natural, which Helen had broken. For φιλία of the relationship between husband and wife cf. E. Alc. 279 σὴν γὰρ φιλίαν σεβόμεσθα and 930 ἔθανε δάμαρ, ἔλιπε φιλίαν. For the possessive adj. cf. Hec. 345 πέφευγας τὸν ἐμὸν ἱκέσιον Δία.
Nilsson (Gesch. der gr. Rel. 1. 765) thinks that Zeus Philios here appears as the patron god of the symposium and that τὸν σὸν … ἐξεκώμασε means that Helen abandoned the party to roam about the streets. κῶμος and κωμάζω certainly can refer to the sequel to a symposium when drinkers sally out to serenade a mistress, e.g. Theoc. 3. 1 κωμάσδω ποτὶ τὰν Ἀμαρυλλίδα; but here the circumstances are different and I should take ἐξεκώμασε as a colloquial exaggeration describing the spirit of her departure: she rioted off to another country. For other compounds used metaphorically cf. Ar. Ach. 982 ἐπικωμάσας 'breaking in like a reveller'; Vesp. 1025 παλαίστρας περικωμάζειν.
Radermachcr (Mythos u. Sage, p. 321) prefers to read to τὸ σὸν φίλιον, with some MSS. and apparently Σ, and takes the reference to be to pg 170love tokens exchanged between spouses, but the evidence for this seems doubtful.
Broadhead (Tragica, p. 113) doubts the text on the ground that even in Comedy and Plato Φίλιος is so used only in adjurations, where the reference to Zeus (or some god) is unmistakable, and suggests τῶν σῶν λιποῦσά σʼ ἄφιλον; but his objection does not seem to me fatal.
604. νεανίου; for the adjectival use see on τύραννον in 3 above. Paris would certainly be younger than Menelaus.
605. ἐκείνης οὕνεχʼ: in Tro. 864 Menelaus is represented as sensitive to this reproach: ἦλθον δὲ Τροίαν οὐχ ὅσον δοκοῦσί με | γυναικὸς οὕνεκʼ, ἀλλʼ ἐπʼ ἄνδρʼ ὃς ἐξ ἐμῶν | δόμων δάμαρτα ξεναπάτης ἐλῄσατο.
606. ἤγαγες: it suits Peleus to treat Menelaus as chiefly responsible, as he himself claimed to be in 583.
607–8. Cf. Hdt. 1. 4, 2.
609. μισθὸν δόντα: almost a touch of comedy. The emphasis is, as often, on the participial phrase: 'you should have paid Paris to keep her in Troy'; cf. IA 389 σὺ μᾶλλον (μαίνει), ὅστις ἀπολέσας κακὸν λέχος | ἀναλαβεῖν θέλεις; Or. 501. The exaggeration is characteristic of Peleus in this speech.
611. ψυχὰς πολλάς: a Homeric reminiscence; cf. Il. 1. 3 πολλὰς δʼ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄιδι προΐαψεν. That one woman caused the deaths of many is a stock antithesis in Tragedy, e.g. A. Ag. 1455 μία τὰς πολλάς … ψυχὰς ὀλέσασʼ ὑπὸ Τροίᾳ; Tro. 368; Cyc. 283–4.
612. παίδων ἄπαιδας: for the gen. of separation with a cognate privative adj. cf. Hel. 524 ἄφιλος φίλων; Supp. 35 πολιὰς ἄπαιδας … μητέρας τέκνων; Ba. 1305; Andr. 714. For similar wording cf. Cyc. 306–7 ἀλόχους τʼ ἀνάνδρους γραῦς τʼ ἄπαιδας ὤλεσεν | πολιούς τε πατέρας.
613. This line repeats the general sense of 612, but also leads into the personal reference that follows.
614. αὐθέντης in Attic means 'murderer' and is also used adjectivally, as in A. Ag. 1572. μιάστωρ 'one who defiles' is applied to Clytemnestra (A. Cho. 944) and Oedipus (S. OT 353) and to Helen (Or. 1584), described as τὴν Ἑλλάδος μιάστορα. Aegisthus is described as αὐθέντης and μιάστωρ by Electra in S. El. 272–5. Here the gen. Ἀχιλλέως must depend on αὐθέντην, to which μιάστορα is in apposition. To call M. the actual slayer of Achilles is rather wild, and μιάστορα, though modified by τινα, makes the exaggeration worse. For similar hyperbole cf. Hel. 280 (Helen speaking) μήτηρ δʼ ὄλωλε, καὶ φονεὺς αὐτῆς ἐγώ, and for M.'s retort see 655–6.
616–18. οὐδὲ τρωθείς: some editors follow Σ in seeking to reconcile this with the wounding of M. by Pandaros (Il. 4. 139–40), on the ground that he was only struck by an arrow (βληθείς) whereas τρωθείς means stabbed, the accusation then being that M. was never wounded in hand-to-hand conflict. The distinction is doubtful: e.g. in Antiphon βάλλειν and τιτρώσκειν are both used with reference to a javelin. The pg 171fact is surely that Peleus is being unfair, as can be seen from the next two lines, where he makes the absurd accusation that M.'s weapons were never used in battle.
618. ὅμοιʼ: i.e. they looked the same as when he set out for Troy, because they were never used.
619–23. Wilamowitz changed his mind about rejecting these lines (see app. crit.) 'in face of deeper insight into the vices of Euripidean rhetoric'; see Hermes, 60 (1925), 290 ff.
619. κἀγὼ μέν: when the contrasted idea is not expressed μέν is in effect a particle of emphasis and is naturally common with personal pronouns: this is what I said (though others may differ); cf. GP, p. 381 (ii).
τῷ γαμοῦντι: i.e. Neoptolemus; the participle could be either future or conative present.
621. κακῆς γυναικός: i.e. Helen.
πῶλον: lit. 'colt' or 'filly'. πῶλον is occasionally used of a youth (Ph. 947) and often of a young girl, e.g. Anacr. 84; Hipp. 546; Hec. 142; cf. the similar use of μόσχος in 711 below.
621–2. ἐκφέρουσι … μητρῷʼ ὀνείδη: ὀνείδη stands for the qualities that brought disgrace on the mothers, and these, as we might say, 'come out' in the daughters, ἐκφέρειν being the transitive equivalent: the bad qualities planted like a seed are brought to fruition. For the literal use of ἐκφέρειν in this sense Kamerbeek compares Hdt. 1. 193 χώρη ἀρίστη καρπὸν ἐκφέρειν, and for the metaphorical use A. fr. 99 ἄρουραν οὐκ ἐμέμψατο | τοῦ μὴ ἐξενεγκεῖν σπέρμα γενναίου πατρός, and perhaps Plut. Mor. 552 b οὐδὲν γὰρ αἱ μεγάλαι φύσεις μικρὸν ἐκφέρουσιν. ἐκφέρειν could also mean 'exhibit, display', but this sense is less pointed and emphatic here. It is not necessary, with LSJ, to assume, for this passage only, a special sense 'betray, show signs of'. Méridier's note that ἐκφέρειν means literally 'bring as a dowry' seems to be unsupported; this sense might be possible for εἰσφέρουσι, ΕΚ for ΕΙϹ being a common corruption, but elsewhere the middle is used for this meaning.
622–3. σκοπεῖτέ μοι, μνηστῆρες: for this parainetic imperative, used to point the moral of the dramatic situation and addressed to a purely imaginary audience, cf. 950 below; Or. 804 τοῦτʼ ἐκεῖνο, κτᾶσθʼ ἑταίρους; fr. 609 (Peliades) ἀλλὰ τὰς ὁμιλίας | ἐσθλὰς διώκειν, ὦ νέοι σπουδάζετε; fr. 464. The comment in Σ on 622 διαλέγεται πρὸς τὸ θέατρον is mistaken here, though it may be true of Or. 128. See further Schadewaldt, Monolog u. Selbstgespräch, pp. 10 and 129 and, for a somewhat different point of view, Fraenkel, Zu den Phoenissen des Eur., p. 111 (but in S. Aj. 1028 there is no reason why Teucer should not be addressing the Chorus).
623. λαβεῖν: the infin. used to express command is common in Epic and occasionally found in Tragedy, the historians, and Plato, e.g. S. OT 452; Thuc. 5. 9; Pl. R. 473 a.
624. οἶʼ: this is the exclamatory use; it cannot be a direct interrogative and the question mark at the end of 625 is wrong.
625. κελεύσας: here and in IA Eur. represents Menelaus as urging the sacrifice of Iphigenia for selfish reasons, whereas in Aeschylus there is no suggestion that M. attempts to influence Agamemnon's decision; see Ag. 205–17.
εὐηθέστατα: with σφάξαι; εὐήθης is regularly used of good-natured folly, and here Ag. is represented as weakly giving in to Menelaus. Nauck's εὐηθέστατον, agreeing with ἀδελφόν, is not necessary.
626. Spoken in scornful irony: Menelaus was afraid he would not recover his wife, though he must have realized that she was not worth it. I should however prefer (with Bornmann and Garzya) to take this line as a question.
627. κἀνταῦθα: Peleus is ready to go back in thought to Menelaus' great achievement; for even in that hour of triumph he showed himself weak and shameless in his treatment of Helen.
629–30. According to Σ here and on Ar. Lys. 155 the tradition that Menelaus was disarmed at the sight of Helen's beauty goes back to the Ilias Parva and Ibycus. In Or. 1287 Electra fears that Orestes' plan to kill Helen has miscarried for the same reason: ἆρʼ ἐς τὸ κάλλος ἐκκεκώφηται ξίφη;
630. προδότιν αἰκάλλων κύνα: αἰκάλλειν is only found here in Tragedy, but according to Σ on Ar. Eq. 211 and Ath. 3. 99 e it is properly used, like the more common σαίνειν, of a dog fawning upon someone, but is also used of persons e.g. Ar. Eq. 48. There is thus some awkwardness in making it govern κύνα in the metaphorical sense of a shameless woman, as used by Helen herself in self-reproach (Il. 6. 344, 356). At any rate Peleus achieves a double insult: Helen is a κύων but Menelaus fawns upon her like a dog.
632. τέκνων: i.e. Neoptolemus.
633. ἀπόντων: sc. ἐκείνων, referring to τέκνων.
634. κτείνεις: conative present.
κλαίοντα: see on 577 above.
636. τρὶς νόθος: lit. 'a third-generation bastard', like τρίδουλος 'third- generation slave' in S. OT 1062, but the literal sense is too obviously inappropriate for the child of a princess and τρίς is loosely used to intensify the idea of νόθος, as in τρισμακάριος, τρισκακοδαίμων and the like.
637. ξηρὰ γῆ, generally dry land as opposed to water, here evidently means poor soil. βαθύς often has the connotation rich, abundant, e.g. Hom. Il. 2. 147 βαθὺ λήϊον 'a deep cornfield'; here it suggests deep, rich soil contrasted with dry, stony, shallow soil; cf. Hdt. 4. 23 μέχρι μὲν τῆς τούτων … πᾶσα πεδιάς τε γῆ καὶ βαθύγαιος, τὸ δʼ ἀπὸ τούτου λιθώδης …*
ἐνίκησε: gnomic aorist. The point seems to be that as poor ground pg 173if well tilled may yield better results than rich soil neglected, so bastards may turn out better than true born. The comparison is curiously inapt, since there is no necessary connection between bastardy and inferior stock, and in this instance both parents are royal.
Numerous references to the general question of the stigma of bastardy suggest that it may have interested Eur. himself in relation to the νόμος – φύσις antithesis; compare fr. 168 ὀνόματι μεμπτὸν τὸ νόθον, ἡ φύσις δʼ ἴση with fr. 141 τῶν γνησίων γὰρ οὐδὲν ὄντες ἐνδεεῖς (sc. νόθοι) νόμῳ νοσοῦσιν; cf. also Hipp. 309 νόθον φρονοῦντα γνήσια; fr. 377.
639. ἐκκομίζου παῖδα: Peleus apparently bids Menelaus take his daughter, now in the house, back to Sparta. He repeats this in 708–9, but Menelaus in fact abandons her with a vague promise to return later (737–8); hence the complications that follow in the next epeisodion.
κύδιον: the superlative κύδιστος 'most honoured' is fairly common as an epithet of gods and kings, and the neuter occurs in A. Supp. 13; the comparative is rare, but it is the MS. reading in Alc. 960 (where Murray prints Purgold's κέρδιον) and is more appropriate here than the superlative, which is the reading of MSS. other than LP. See Tucker on A. Supp. 13 and Dale on Alc. 960.
640. Denniston on El. 253 notes that the use of two adjectives more or less contrasted in sense but without an adversative particle between them is characteristic of Eur., and that when, as in this passage and often, there is a comparison between two composite phrases, in the second the correlatives are usually linked by καί.
643. γλῶσσα naturally stands for eloquence, the power of words; cf. Hec. 1187–8 οὐκ ἐχρῆν ποτε τῶν πραγμάτων τὴν γλῶσσαν ἰσχύειν πλέον. So in Ar. Ra. 892 γλώττης στρόφιγξ 'the pivot of the tongue' is one of the private deities to whom Eur. prays.
644. τεύχειν ἔριν: cf. A. Pers. 190 τεύχειν στάσιν.
645. γέροντας: for the acc. where περί with gen. would be normal cf. S. El. 520 με … ἐξεῖπας ὡς θρασεῖα καὶ πέρα δίκης ἄρχω; Xen. Cyr. 7. 3. 5 γυναῖκα λέγουσιν ὡς κάθηται χαμαί.
σοφοί picks up the words of the Chorus leader in 643.
646. τοὺς φρονεῖν δοκοῦντας can hardly refer to the Seven Sages, as Paley supposes: it must, like γέροντας in 645, refer to a class to which Peleus belongs. The line is not superfluous with its indication that P. is not merely old but famous.
647. ὅτε … λέγεις: 'at a time when' followed by a present tense naturally shades off into 'since', whereas ὅτε in the purely temporal sense more often refers to past or future.
πατρὸς κλεινοῦ: i.e. Aeacus, son of Zeus, who in his lifetime was said to have acted as arbitrator in disputes among the gods (Pind. Isth. 8. 26) and was traditionally one of the judges in the underworld, together with Minos, Rhadamanthos, and (sometimes) Triptolemos (Pl. Ap. 41 a; Grg. 523 e).
648. κῆδος συνάψας: if the text is sound ἡμῖν or ἐμοί must be supplied; M. then picks up P.'s words in 620 and retorts in effect that the connection by marriage as well as P.'s renown and ancestry should have restrained him from the insults he has uttered. The ellipse is difficult, though the reference back to 620 is some help, and the point not very satisfactory; but perhaps the text can stand. Some editors have thought that the reference is to P.'s marriage with Thetis; thus Musgrave conjectured θεῷ for γεγώς, and Wecklein and others mark a lacuna after 647. Jackmann, Nachr. Gött. Ges., 1936, pp. 206 ff. regards καὶ πατρὸς … συνάψας together with 646 as an interpolation, and reads πολιός instead of Πηλεύς.
649. διὰ γυναῖκα βάρβαρον: M. naturally begins with his strongest point, an appeal to Hellenic sentiment with the reminder that Andromache was 'one of the enemy', widow of the most dangerous of them all and sister-in-law of the man who killed Achilles. He thus prepares the way for his assumption in 659, in itself unjustified, that Andromache's children by Neoptolemus are also to be considered as enemies.
650. ἣν … τήνδʼ: this use of a pleonastic demonstrative referring back to a previous relative also occurs in 710 and perhaps in 1116. I know no other clear and exact parallel. The nearest is Hypereides, Euxen. 3 ὧν οὐδεμία δήπου τῶν αἰτιῶν τούτων οὐδὲν κοινωνεῖ τῷ εἰσαγγελτικῷ νόμῳ. In other examples of similar pleonasm there are special reasons. Thus the idiom is more natural where many words intervene between the relative and the demonstrative that picks it up. In Xen. Lac. 10. 4 ὃς ἐπειδὴ κατέμαθεν … ἐκεῖνος … sixteen words intervene before the demonstrative; so also E. Ph. 1597 ὃν καὶ πρὶν ἐς φῶς μητρὸς ἐκ γονῆς μολεῖν | ἄγονον Ἀπόλλων Λαΐῳ μʼ ἐθέσπισε. (There is generally a similar gap before a pleonastic αὐτόν or νιν e.g. S. OT 248; Aeschin. 3. 128; Xen. An. 3. 3. 16.) In Hdt. 4. 44 ποταμὸν ὃς κροκοδείλους δεύτερος οὗτος … παρέχεται the numeral makes a difference. In other passages different interpretations are possible: in S. Tr. 136 ἃ καί σε … ἐλπίσιν λέγω τάδʼ αἰὲν ἴσχειν, ἅ may be adverbial 'wherefore' so that τάδε is not pleonastic; in S. Phil. 315–16 οἷς Ὀλύμπιοι θεοὶ | δοῖέν ποτʼ αὐτοῖς ἀντίποινʼ ἐμοῦ παθεῖν (where Jebb regards Porson's οἷʼ for οἷς as certain) αὐτοῖς could in any case be emphatic. Though there may be no exact parallel these examples seem to me sufficiently comparable to lend some support to the MS. reading here and in 710 and 1116. Among emendations Jackson's transposition (Marg. Scaen. 47) τήνδʼ, ἣν ἐλαύνειν χρῆν σʼ … is perhaps the most attractive and preferable to Reiske's τῆλʼ for τήνδʼ (elsewhere in Tragedy only in A. Pers. 232) or Dindorf's τήν (sc. ὁδόν).
650–1. ὑπὲρ Νείλου ῥοὰς ὑπέρ τε Φᾶσιν: Phasis in Colchis flowing into the Euxine to the East and the Nile to the South were traditional for distant parts; cf. Pind. Isth. 2. 41–2; Hdt. 4. 45 οὐρίσματα αὐτῇ (γῇ) Νεῖλός τε … καὶ Φᾶσις. For exile in different directions cf. Hipp. pg 1751053, where Theseus would banish Hippolytus πέραν γε πόντου (the Euxine) καὶ τόπων Ἀτλαντικῶν. Barrett points out that the Greek notion of exile was essentially not relegation to a place but exclusion from a place or area.
651. κἀμὲ παρακαλεῖν ἀεί: i.e. you and I should have been allies against Andromache; but Peleus would hardly need assistance and ἀεί has little point; neither have proposed emendations, e.g. ἅμα (Schenkel) and ἔδει (Geel).
652–3. οὗ … νεκρῶν: 'where so many sons of Hellas fell and died by the spear'. The antecedent to οὗ is ἤπειρος, easily supplied from ἠπειρῶτιν; cf. Hec. 711 Θρῄκιος ἱππότας, ἵνʼ (i.e. in Thrace) ὁ … πατὴρ ἔθετό νιν. With πεσήματα νεκρῶν editors compare HF 1131 τέκνων πεσήματα, but the periphrasis with νεκρών is more striking and the twofold emphasis with πέπτωκε seems too elaborate here. For Ἕλλας standing for Ἕλληνες cf. Or. 648 ἀδίκως ἀθροίσας Ἑλλάδʼ ἦλθʼ ὑπʼ Ἴλιον.
654. δέ: Brunck's correction of the MS. reading τε is not necessary, since μὲν … τε is not rare in verse, especially when, as here, there is no contrast between the two clauses; see GP 374–6.
655–6. Nauck, with approval from Paley and Hyslop, regarded these lines as an interpolation. They sound rather like an explanatory gloss and the explanation is a bit laboured; on the other hand some justification of the previous line might be expected. 656 is also metrically unsatisfactory. The opening single-word dactyl is not found elsewhere before Troades, where however there are three examples (415, 510, 653); the pause after ἧν dividing the line into equal parts is normally avoided unless there is rhetorical justification, as, e.g., in 47 and 973; the elided trochaic word before the final cretic belongs mainly to E.'s later style. Verrall in CR 20 (1906), 241 makes too much of these irregularities individually, but their cumulative effect is certainly a very halting rhythm and strengthens the case for interpolation, for which the arguments are strong but not conclusive.
660. ἁγώ: the text is probably sound, as in Ph. 878, ἅ being used adverbially in the sense 'wherefore'. The singular ὅ is so used several times, e.g. Hec. 13 νεώτατος δʼ ἦ Πριαμιδῶν, ὃ καί με γῆς | ὑπεξέπεμψεν; Ph. 155, 263; cf. ταῦτα 'for that reason' in 212 and Pl. Prt. 310 e ἀλλʼ αὐτὰ ταῦτα καὶ νῦν ἥκω. Thus κἀγώ (Wilamowitz) or παύειν for κτανεῖν (Brunck) are not needed.
προνοίᾳ τῇ σῇ: 'care for you'; cf. S. OC 332 σῇ, πάτερ, προμηθίᾳ; Thuc. 1. 33 φόβῳ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ πολεμησείοντες 'through fear of you'.
661. τήνδε is direct object of κτανεῖν and retained acc. with the passive ἁρπάζομαι.
662. καίτοι: 'There is usually a certain combative tone in καίτοιʼ (GP pg 176556). This particle does not appear in Aeschylus, except four times in Pr, but is fairly common in Sophocles and Euripides in rhetorical, argumentative passages. In this passage Denniston considers that 'καίτοι φέρ' is almost equivalent to ἀτάρ and marks something of a new departure'. It has, however, its normal adversative sense in relation to 661: 'you thwart my attempts to destroy Andromache; and yet if she lives and has children, see what will happen.'
φέρʼ … ἤν: cf. Ph. 571 φέρʼ, ἢν ἕλῃς γῆν τήνδε …; Hel. 832, 1043. ἅψασθαι … λόγου is of course parenthetical, the point of οὐκ αἰσχρὸν being, as Bornmann observes, that M. is justifying in these circumstances an allusion to the sterility of Hermione. ἅπτεσθαι λόγου is a prosaic expression at home in philosophic contexts, e.g. Pl. R. 461 a, 538 c.
663. The μέν clause is hypothetical and the δέ clause keeps the conditional form, though Andromache has in fact had one child.
665–6. βάρβαροι … γένος: M. ignores the fact that they may be fathered by Neoptolemus. When he claims that the rule of βάρβαροι over Ἕλληνες is an example of τὸ μὴ δίκαιον (667) the significance of δίκαιος is not so much legal or moral but related to δίκη in the sense 'the right way', 'the order of nature': it is 'unnatural'. This line of thought belongs more to the fifth century than to the Heroic Age and is a particular aspect of the relationship between Greek and foreign so often alluded to in Eur. See on 173 above and cf. especially IA 1400–1 βαρβάρων δʼ Ἕλληνας ἄρχειν εἰκός, ἀλλʼ οὐ βαρβάρους, | μῆτερ, Ἑλλήνων τὸ μὲν γὰρ δοῦλον οἱ δʼ ἐλεύθεροι (Arist. Pol. 1252b8 cites the first five words with the introduction φασιν οἱ ποιηταί, but he may only mean Eur.); fr. 717; Hel. 276.
667. ἔνεστι νοῦς: a Euripidean phrase; cf. fr. 212; 231 ὅσοις ἔνεστι νοῦς; Ar. Lys. 1124 ἐγὼ γυνὴ μέν εἰμι, νοῦς δʼ ἔνεστί μοι is said by Σ to be taken from E. Melanipp. Soph. For the same antithesis as here cf. fr. 25 νοῦς δʼ οὐκ ἔνεστιν οἰόμεσθα δʼ εὖ φρονεῖν and Hipp. 920.
668–677. These lines, weak in argument and confused in expression, are bracketed by Murray and other editors, following Hirzel, and are pronounced by Page (Actors' Interpolations, p. 65) to be 'an expansive interpolation, probably histrionic, specially written for this passage'; he notes that it is not as well composed as such passages usually are. 678 certainly follows quite naturally after 667. The whole passage must be earlier than the fifth century a.d. since 671 is quoted by Choeroboscus and 672–7 by Stobaeus.
668–9. εἰ σὺ … δούς: nom. pendens, but not a harsh instance; instead of continuing 'you had seen her treated thus' M. substitutes the more direct 'she had been treated thus'.
τοιάδε: he means presumably the presence of Andromache and her child by Neoptolemus.
670–1. ξένης δʼ ὕπερ …: if the reference is to Andromache this is pg 177a rather weak repetition of the reproach in 649. We might have expected the argument to be 'you would not allow such things to happen to your own daughter: do not blame me for defending mine.' Parmentier (Extr. des Bull. de la classe des lettres etc. de l'Académie de Belgique, 1920, p. 21) tried to extract some such sense from the text, taking ξένης to refer to Hermione: 'when we are concerned with one who is a stranger to you why do you shout at her own kin ⟨when they seek to defend her⟩'; but I agree with Méridier (to whom I owe the reference) that this sense can hardly be extracted from the Greek.
672–6. If we accept Dobree's στένει in 672 the sense seems to be 'a husband and wife lament equally, the wife if she is wronged by her husband and in the same way a husband if he has a wanton wife [does M. here think of his own?]. And [we might have expected 'but'] the husband has great physical strength [and so can chastise his wife], whereas the wife's affairs depend upon parents and friends.' στένει is rather odd, since we should expect a word for feeling distress rather than for its outward expression. The MS. reading σθένει, the only reading known to Σ, may well be right, the sense being 'husband and wife are of equal account'. Bornmann compares fr. 360. 20 οὑνὸς οἶκος οὐ πλέον σθένει | πταίσας ἁπάσης πόλεος 'the fall of one house is not of more account than that of a whole city'. But whatever the reading here, the clumsiness of expression in these lines must tell against their genuineness.
674. μωραίνουσαν: for μῶρος and cognates used of sexual intemperance, a sense apparently confined to Eur., see Hipp. 644, 966; Ion 545; Tro. 1059; El. 1035; Hel. 1018; fr. 331. μῶρος is less strong than μαργός 'lewd', but Denniston (on El. 1035) is wrong in saying that it 'half condones a moral failing by representing it as an intellectual one'. On the other hand it is too sweeping to regard it as always 'strongly condemnatory' (Barrett on Hipp. 644): in Ion 545 Xuthus is not condemning his youthful escapade. In fact the word covers a wide range, just as ἀμαθία ranges from mere 'tactlessness' (Ion 374) to savagery (Ph. 763).
676. ἐν γονεῦσι: cf. 409 and S. OT 314.
678. τὴν ἐμὴν στρατηγίαν: Peleus takes up this challenge in 693 ff.
680. ἐμόχθησʼ: here euphemistic, like our 'trouble'.
ἐκ θεῶν: a brief allusion to the notion of Helen as a mere instrument of Aphrodite, or of the gods in general, a defence elaborated elsewhere in Eur., e.g. Tro. 948–50; cf. also Gorg. Hel. § 6.
681–4. A sophistic paradox. I know no other extant example of this particular argument, but it may not have been invented by Eur., since the working out of arguments in defence of Helen was probably a regular rhetorical exercise, the Helena of Gorgias being the only surviving example.
682. ὅπλων … ἀίστορες: a rather gross exaggeration. The expedition pg 178was, however, according to Thuc. 1. 3, the first common enterprise of Hellas.
683. ὁμιλία: the relations between men, i.e. experience, here presumably with special reference to experience in battle; cf. ὁμιλεῖν in the sense 'join battle'. This sententia recalls by contrast the proverbial warnings about κακαὶ ὁμιλίαι; see Theognis 31; A. Pers. 752; Hdt. 7. 16a.
686. ἔσχον μὴ κτανεῖν: for the intrans. use of ἔσχον cf. Hipp. 658 οὐκ ἄν ποτʼ ἔσχον μὴ οὐ τάδʼ ἐξειπεῖν πατρί.
686–7. ἐσωφρόνουν 'I showed restraint' marks the contrast between himself and Peleus, who, together with his brother Telamon, killed Phocus, a son of Aeacus by the nymph Psamathe. Pind. Nem. 5. 14–18 makes a discreetly veiled allusion to this story, which goes back to Epic (Alcmaeon, fr. 1 Kinkel). There is an ironic suavity in the form of expression: 'I would rather you had not murdered Phocus.'
688. ταῦτ': an extension of the cognate acc. With ἐπῆλθον: 'I have made this attack on you'; cf. IA 349 ταῦτα μέν σε πρῶτʼ ἐπῆλθον.
εὖ φρονῶν: again ironical in the circumstances.
689. ὀξυθυμῇς … γλωσσαλγία: both Euripidean words not found elsewhere in Tragedy; ὀξυθυμεῖν and cognates also belong to the medical vocabulary.
690. προμηθία: Norwood observes that Menelaus ends with a word that sums up his attitude: 'forethought', of course for his own welfare. He would have agreed with the Theban herald in Supp. 510 καὶ τοῦτʼ ἐμοὶ τἀνδρεῖον, ἡ προμηθία; cf. S. fr. 302.
691–2. The Chorus leader's attempt at peace-making is regular, conventional, and, as usual, ignored by both contestants.
693–702. These democratic sentiments are ostensibly provoked by boasts of Menelaus (see 703–5), but in fact in the speech to which Peleus is replying M. hardly boasts at all, and these lines, not particularly appropriate to the context or the speaker, may well have some contemporary reference.1 To judge from allusions in the Orators to contrasts between the early fifth century, when the glories of Marathon and Salamis were ascribed to the Athenians, and their own day, when credit for military successes was claimed by an Iphicrates or a Chabrias, it looks as though there was a growing tendency for generals to take more credit to themselves. See, e.g., Dem. 23. 198; Aeschin. 3. 183, 185, 243. If the play was completed after 425, it is just possible that Eur. had Cleon in mind; cf. Ar. Eq. 392 κᾆτʼ ἀνὴρ ἔδοξεν εἶναι τἀλλότριον ἀμῶν θέρος.
According to some accounts it was the quotation of 693–8 by Kleitos at the climax of his quarrel with Alexander that roused the latter to pg 179such fury that he killed his friend; see Plutarch, Alex. 51; Arrian, Anab. 4. 8. 1–5; see also A. Aymard in Mélanges Henri Grégoire, 1. 43–74.
693. οἴμοι sometimes, as here, denotes indignation or impatience, rather than lamentation; cf. S. Ant. 82 οἴμοι, καταύδα 'Oh, denounce it!'
νομίζεται: impersonal: 'how wrong the practice is'.
694. τροπαῖα πολεμίων στήσῃ: for the genitive (on the analogy of verbs of mastering) cf. S. Tr. 1102 οὐδεὶς τροπαῖʼ ἔστησε τῶν ἐμῶν χερῶν 'no man has triumphed over my prowess'; Andoc. 1. 147 πολλὰ τροπαῖα τῶν πολεμίων ἀπέδειξαν. This phrase came to mean 'triumph over' and is often purely metaphorical, as in 763 below. In this passage too the main point is the victory, though here the literal sense is also appropriate.
695. πονούντων: πόνος is common in Homer and later of the toil of war, e.g. Il. 6. 77 ἐπεὶ πόνος ὔμμι μάλιστα … ἐγκέκλιται; Od. 12. 117 πολεμήϊα ἔργα … καὶ πόνος; in the fifth century it denotes particularly the service of the common soldier. Cf. 705; S. Ai. 1112 οἱ πόνου πολλοῦ πλέῳ, with Jebb's note; Hcld. 932.
696. δόκησιν: 'reputation', for which δόξα is usual. Cf. El. 381 δοκήσει ὠγκωμένος; Thuc. 4. 18 ἀκίνδυνον δόκησιν ἰσχύος … καταλιπεῖν. Nouns in -σις, mainly abstract, were probably fashionable in intellectual circles in the late fifth century and are characteristic of Eur. See G. R. Vowles, 'Studies in Greek Noun Formation: Words in -σις', CPh 23 (1928), 38–59; E. W. Handley, '-σις nouns in Aristophanes', Eranos, 51 (1953), 129–42; W. Breitenbach, Untersuchungen zur Sprache der Euripideischen Lyrik, p. 29, 14.
697–8. An oddly prejudiced and limited view of a general's function, which may have gone down well with some private soldiers in the audience but comes rather surprisingly from Peleus. It is likely that Athenian independence and initiative would sometimes overflow into military operations; for an occasion when the common soldiers seem to have taken matters into their own hands see Thuc. 4. 4.
698. λόγον: 'esteem', 'consideration'.
699–702. The absence of any noun or pronoun to indicate a change of subject suggests that the plural σεμνοί is used as though στρατηγός had been plural. The change is awkward; moreover the wording of the sentence suggests the political, not the military scene, and the new complaint in 700–2 breaks the continuity of thought between 693–8 and 703–5. These points, and perhaps the disproportionate length of the opening generalization as it stands, raise the possibility of interpolation, but are not conclusive. On the other hand the words σεμνοὶ ἐν ἀρχαῖς ἥμενοι in 699 are picked up by ἐξωγκωμένοι κάθησθε στρατηγίᾳ in 703–4. If these lines are genuine and in their right place we must suppose that the accusation against generals leads to a complaint about other unworthy holders of positions of authority, and that Peleus thinks of Menelaus and Agamemnon as really no better than pg 180jacks in office. P. is not convincing, but perhaps a certain wildness and inconsequence is in keeping with his great age and waning powers, as indicated or suggested elsewhere; see 80, 547, 551, 713–14, 717 ff. and notes ad locc.
σεμνοί: here 'arrogant'; cf. A. Cho. 975 (Orestes is speaking of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra) σεμνοὶ μὲν ἦσαν ἐν θρόνοις τόθʼ ἥμενοι; Hipp. 94 τίς δʼ οὐ σεμνὸς ἀχθεινὸς βροτῶν; Alc. 773; Med. 216.
700. 'They look down upon the people, though they themselves are nobodies.' For this sense of οὐδένες cf. IA 371 τοὺς οὐδένας; S. Aj. 1114 τοὺς μηδένας; Hdt. 9. 58 οὐδένες ἄρʼ ἐόντες. For the similar use of οὐδέν cf. HF 635 οἵ τʼ οὐδὲν ὄντες. See A. C. Moorhouse, CQ 15 (1965), 31–40.
701. οἱ δʼ: members of the δῆμος.
μυρίῳ: this adverbial use of the dative is elsewhere found only in Plato, e.g. R. 520 c μυρίῳ βέλτιον 'infinitely better'.
702. Editors explain this sentence as a mixed condition, as in 770–1 below and elsewhere, e.g. S. Ant. 666, 1032. This accounts for the change of mood from εἰσί to προσγένοιτο, but the difficulty here is the lack of logical connection between protasis and apodosis: the existence of σοφία cannot depend on the addition of τόλμα or βούλησις. It is presumably for this reason that Σ in one version substitutes βελτίονες for σοφώτεροι and Paley seems to think that σοφώτεροι can be translated 'better men'. If the text is right it looks as though the true apodosis is suppressed and the sense must be something like 'they are far wiser ⟨and, e.g., might become rulers⟩ if only they had also boldness and a common purpose'.
βούλησις seems to mean 'common will' or 'purpose'; see on δόκησις in 696. βούλησις appears first in this passage and again in HF 1305 ἔπραξε γὰρ βούλησιν ἣν ἐβούλετο, but not elsewhere in verse. It is a distinctly prosaic word and belongs mainly to the language of philosophy. In IT 1019 the MSS. have ἥδε βούλησις παρά, which is, as England says, a very weak remark and many editors accept Markland's βούλευσις. Here too one explanation in Σ implies the reading βούλευσις, but there seems no reason to doubt the text.
704. Τροίᾳ: i.e., as Σ notes, τοῖς ἐν Τροίᾳ γεγενημένοις.
κάθησθε: here, as often, with the connotation 'sitting back and doing nothing'; cf. 670 and Dem. 11. 17.
706–7. δείξω is here virtually equivalent to διδάξω, as in 1001 and Ar. Thes. 673 δείξει … πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις σεβίζειν δαίμονας (though here δείξει picks up ἔσται παράδειγμα in 670 and is perhaps a condensed expression for 'his example will teach them'). This use of δείκνυμι is not mentioned in LSJ.
If, with Murray, we accept ἥσσω, the reading of MSS. other than P, the sense seems to be 'I will teach you not to consider Paris a lesser enemy than Peleus.' We should expect 'a greater enemy', and P has pg 181μείζω, but this may well be an attempt at correction; Σ evidently knew only ἥσσω, and provides two explanations: (1) μὴ ἥσσονα is merely equivalent to ἵσον. This is accepted as a possibility by Méridier, and by Paley, who observes that equality might equally be expressed by μὴ ἥσσω or μὴ κρείσσω. This is true in strict logic, but emotionally there is all the difference between them. (2) Under the cloak of ἀντίπτωσις the knot is cut by supposing that the cases are reversed and translating as though the text were τὸν Πηλέα ἥσσω … τοῦ Πάριδος. Kamerbeek and Méridier consider as possible a confusion on the part of Eur. between μὴ κρείσσω νομίζειν and ἥσσω νομίζειν, but the confusion seems rather gross, and S. Ant. 4, cited by K., is not really parallel owing to its conglomeration of negatives, and in E. El. 383 the text is probably corrupt.
Other editors emend. Kirchhoff's σσυ … νομίζων gives a quite different sense: 'I will show that I do not reckon Paris a lesser enemy of mine than you.' Other emendations, such as Murray's καί instead of μή and Wilamowitz's ἔγωγέ σοι instead of ἐγώ σοι μή, remove the negative from 706. We then have 'I will teach you to consider Paris a lesser foe than Peleus', which is better sense, but the choice of comparison is not happy (particularly with Murray's καί), since in the Iliad Paris runs away from Menelaus and later is ignominiously worsted by him. ἧσσον (with καί) would give slightly better sense: 'that even Paris was less your enemy than Peleus now is', the stress being on the bitterness of enmity rather than the formidable quality of Paris. If the ν of ἧσσον dropped out before νομίζειν the ο might then be altered to ω.
708. φθερῇ: φθείρεσθαι and compounds are used of angry dismissal in Eur. and Comedy. See 715; HF 1290 οὐ γῆς τῆσδʼ ἀποφθαρήσεται; Hcld. 284; fr. 613; Ar. Ach. 460; Eq. 892; Men. Perik. 403. This use is probably colloquial and its appearance twice in eight lines is appropriate to the choleric old man.
710. τήνδʼ: see on 650. Musgrave's τῶνδ' is not necessary. Hermione is not present but inside the house (635); the deictic pronoun can thus be justified by a gesture towards the door. Garzya thinks it has a depreciatory sense. See on 735 and 1243.
711. ἣ … ἀνέξεται: the present tense would be more natural in a causal rel. clause, and Wilamowitz's εἰ … ἀνέξεται, the usual construction in threats, may be right, with a comma after κόμης; for this common corruption cf. 1051.
712. τίκτοντας ἅλλους: the reference is of course to Andromache. We should say 'other women' but in Greek the generalizing plural is masculine; see on τοὺς ἐμούς in 375. This example is more striking since τίκτειν, though it can be used of both parents, in this context clearly means 'giving birth'.
713. τὸ κείνης: here a mere periphrasis for κείνη. Cf. Alc. 785 τὸ τῆς pg 182τύχης; Tr. 616 τὸ τῆς ἀνάγκης; Pl. Phaedr. 230 c πάντων δὲ κομψότατον τὸ τῆς πόας; Men. fr. 410. This purely periphrastic use of the article with a genitive is found mainly in Eur., Comedy, and Plato and is probably another colloquialism.
714. ἄπαιδας τέκνων: gen. of separation; see on 612.
717. ἔπαιρε σαυτήν: a regular formula of encouragement, as in 1077; Alc. 250; Held. 635; Ar. V. 996. It is generally addressed to someone prostrate or falling and here probably indicates that Andromache is still on her knees; see 572–3.
τρέμων: another indication of Peleus' age and weakness; cf. 722–3.
718. πλεκτὰς ἱμάντων στροφίδας: 'the knotted thongs'. στροφίς, found only here, must be equivalent to στρόφος 'cord or rope', not as in LSJ to στρόφιον, which is a breast-band worn by women; ἱμάντων indicates that the cords are leathern thongs; πλεκτός normally means 'plaited, twisted' but here may perhaps refer to knots.
ἐντείνειν: ἐ̓λπίζειν in the sense 'imagine, suppose' naturally takes a present infinitive.
712. ἀμυνάθοιτο: for this form cf. 1079 and IA 910; it also occurs once each in Aesch., Soph., and Ar. See Jebb's note on εἰκάθω in S. OT 651.
723. δεσμόν: Murray's correction is accepted by recent editors, and the collective singular is certainly possible; in Hipp. 1237 the reins in which H. becomes entangled are described as δεσμόν and in 1244 as δεσμῶν. But in the sense 'bonds' Eur. elsewhere always uses the plural (29 exx.) and here we should perhaps accept Heath's δεσμὰ μητρός or Hermann's δέσμʼ ἕτʼ ἐν· … (LSJ note that the plural is usual but strangely add 'never δεσμά in this sense', though there are at least twelve examples in Eur. alone.)
723–4. ἐν φθίᾳ σʼ ἐγὼ θρέψω: he seems to forget that Neoptolemus, the child's father, is expected to return.
724–5. A grudging admission of Spartan military renown.
725. δορός and μάχης are defining genitives; cf. S. Tr. 20 εἰς ἀγῶνα συμπεσὼν μάχης. This is an example of hendiadys: 'spear-won glory and the battle's strife' (Hyslop) = glory won by the spear in battle.
726. μηδενὸς βελτίονες: cf. Pl. Prt. 335 a οὐδενὸς ἂν βελτίων ἐφαινόμην.
ἀνειμένον: 'relaxed, unconstrained' is the basic sense, but this adjective when applied to persons is always used in a bad sense, of those who do not show suitable restraint, e.g. Held.3; S. El. 516; Ant. 578.
727. χρῆμα: see note on 181; this is an example of the pleonastic use; pg 183cf. fr. 319. 4 ἐχθρὸν χ. πρεσβύτης ἀνήρ; Or. 70 ἄπορον χ. δυστυχῶν δόμος; Ar. Lys. 677; Hdt. 3. 53; Pl. Ion 534 b; Theoc. 15. 23.
729–46. Menelaus begins by echoing the reproach of the Chorus leader. His next few lines are halting in manner and unconvincing in matter. The combined effect of μέν 730 without corresponding δέ, the series of short sentences, and the vague repetition of τις in 733–4 is to suggest that M. is improvising and unsure of himself. Another feature of his speech is the repeated use of juxtaposition of different forms of the same word, as in παρὼν πρὸς παρόντας (738) and θυμούμενος τεύξεται θυμουμένων (742). This is a fairly common stylistic device at this period (see Denniston on El. 337 for a collection of examples) but its use five times in six lines (738–43) may be significant. Perhaps Eur. is representing M. as hiding the weakness of his withdrawal behind a show of rhetoric and reason. The effect of these expressions is to stress the idea of reciprocity: 'I behave to others as they behave to me.' This is quite different from the tone previously adopted by M. and the abandonment of his former arrogance and confidence is illustrated by a comparison of 738–9 with 378–9 and 740–1 with 440. It seems to be the intention of Eur. to present the Spartan Menelaus first as a bully, then as a weakling.
729. προνωπής: only here in the metaphorical sense of being 'inclined' or 'prone' to do something.
730. πρὸς βίαν: 'not of my own accord'; see on βίᾳ in 35. (Editors cite Pl. Phaedr. 236 d πρὸς βίαν μᾶλλον ἢ ἑκὼν λέγειν, but the previous words of Phaedrus 'we are alone and I am younger and stronger than you' show that physical force is meant, though of course only in jest.)
μέν: this can logically be related, with Hyslop, to παρὼν δέ 738, but the δέ is far removed and is separated from μέν by the further antithesis νῦν μέν … ὅταν δέ, which itself contains the antithesis πρὸ τοῦ μέν … νῦν δέ. This would be too elaborate, even where an involved effect is intended, and it is better to take the first μέν as solitarium. Denniston (GP 382–3) notes a tendency to begin speeches in this way in prose orators and in drama.
731. Cf. Ar. Lys. 1041 οὔτε δράσω φλαῦρον οὐδὲν οὔθʼ ὑφʼ ὑμῶν πείσομαι, which looks like a reminiscence of the Euripidean line of at least ten years before.
732. οὐ γὰρ ἄφθονον …: 'I haven't unlimited time to waste.'
733. The repetition of τις, confirmed by Σ, is probably intentional and should not be removed by emendation.
Some have assumed that there is here an allusion to Argos, and that inferences can be drawn for the date of the play, but, as Σ observes, it is quite possible that Menelaus' excuse is pure invention. Mantinea is less probable, since it would suggest a date after 420, which is unlikely on other grounds; see Intr., p. 19.
734. πρὸ τοῦ: 'before that', 'formerly'. This is one of the examples of the survival in Attic of the original demonstrative force of the article. It occurs again in 928 and Med. 696, in Ar., and in prose, but two examples in Aesch. tell against Bassi's view that it is characteristic of prose and colloquial language.
735. τήνδʼ: this pronoun is deictic and, though it does not necessarily refer to somebody or something that may actually be pointed to, there is always some justification for its use. Where the person referred to is not actually present, he is generally brought before the eye of imagination.1 See A. M. Dale in a review of Bond's Hypsipyle (JHS 84 (1964), 166), where she cites Hel. 98–100: 'You know Achilles?' 'Yes, Helen's suitor.' 'Well, he (ὅδε)…'; but the most striking example is IA 72 (if the text is sound) where ὅδε is used of the absent Paris without any preparation. τήνδε is therefore appropriate, and M. deliberately uses the deictic pronoun to counteract the impression of vagueness: 'now this is the city I mean to attack.'*
737. θῶ: for this sense cf. IA 672 θέμενος εὗ τἀκεῖ; Ba. 48–9 τὰνθένδε θέμενος εὖ.*
738–9. ἥξω: 'I shall be back.'
πρὸς παρόντας γαμβρούς: i.e. Neoptolemus.
διδάξομαι: the middle is here used in a passive sense, as in S. Ant. 726.
740. κολάζῃ: M. no longer claims the right to deal with Andromache.
741. σώφρων: must refer to Neoptolemus: 'if lie behaves reasonably to us, he will find me reasonable'.
742. θυμούμενος: M. admits the possibility that N.'s anger may be directed against Hermione and himself, not against Andromache.
743. This line repeats in general terms the sense of 741–2. This redundancy and the repetition of ἀντιλήψεται hardly justify Wecklein in bracketing the line.
διάδοχʼ: the actions of M. will succeed those of N. in the sense of arising out of them.
744. μύθους: often merely something said, with no depreciatory force; but the contrast with deeds is always latent, and here ἔργα in the previous line brings out this connotation: 'but you only talk, which doesn't worry me.'
ῥᾳδίως φέρω: for the sense 'to take lightly' 'not to be perturbed by something' cf. Ba. 640 ῥᾳδίως γὰρ αὐτὸν οἶσω, κἂν πνέων ἔλθῃ μέγα.
745. σκιά: is a common metaphor for weakness, especially in relation to old age. Kamerbeek gives a good collection of examples, e.g. fr. 512 pg 185τί δʼ ἄλλο; φωνὴ καὶ σκιὰ γέρων ἀνήρ; Pind. P. 8. 95; A. fr. 116 (Mette); S. Ai. 125. For the old as vox et praeterea nihil cf. also HF 229 (Amphitryon) οὐδὲν ὄντα πλὴν γλώσσης ψόφον; fr. 25.
ἀντίστοιχος, elsewhere only in prose, means 'standing opposite', e.g. in Xen. Smp. 2. 20 standing opposite a partner in a dance; here perhaps of the shadow standing over against a real man: 'like a shadow that attends upon reality you have no power save only to speak.' The wording is not altogether happy, since shadows do not speak, but may have been influenced by some proverbial association of φωνή and σκιά in relation to the aged. Reiske's ὤν for ὥς would be some improvement.
746. We can either, with Murray, Wecklein, and Méridier, put a comma after ἀδύνατος, which is thus used absolutely to mean 'helpless', and supply δυνατός or δυνάμενος with λέγειν, or, with other editors, take ἄλλο with ἀδύνατος and οὐδέν as a redundant negative: 'unable in respect of anything except talking'. I prefer the latter (with Bornmann and Kamerbeek), though I know no precise parallel, since in general a redundant negative is fairly common, particularly with πρίν, πλήν, μᾶλλον ἥ, and the like; cf. Hel. 322 πρὶν δʼ οὐδὲν ὀρθῶς εἰδέναι, τί σοι πλέον | λυπουμένῃ γένοιτʼ ἄν; and Pearson's note ad loc.
At 746 exit Menelaus with his attendants. Peleus contemptuously watches them file out and then turns to Andromache and the child.
747. ἡγοῦ: there is now no mention of the attendant referred to in 551, and P. asks the child and Andromache to guide him not merely into the house forming the back scene, since in 752–3 Andromache fears that they may be ambushed on the way, but presumably back to his own home in Phthia.
τέκνον μοι: cf. Alc. 313 σὺ δʼ, ὦ τέκνον μοι, …; but here it is perhaps better (with Wecklein, Méridier, and others) to place the comma after τέκνον, μοι being then either direct object of ἡγοῦ or ethic dative 'I pray you'.
ἀγκάλαις: since motion towards is implied ὑπʼ ἀγκάλας would be more usual, as in 722.
748–9: For this common metaphor cf. 891 and A. Ag. 900.
750. δοῖεν εὖ: cf. Alc. 1004 χαῖρʼ, ὦ πότνιʼ, εὖ δὲ δοίης; Or. 667; S. OT 1081, OC 642. εὖ is probably here an old substantival use, in origin a neuter of the epic adj. ἐύς, surviving, as might be expected, in traditional religious formulae. See Fraenkel on A. Ag. 121 τὸ δʼ εὖ νικάτω.
753. πτήξαντες: for the sense 'crouching in ambush' cf. Hom. Od. 14. 474 ὑπὸ τεύχεσι πεπτηῶτως; elsewhere it means crouching in fear or submission.
οἵδε: Menelaus and his men have only just departed, and Andromache looks and perhaps points in the direction they have taken.
754. They have apparently no escort.
755. σκόπει … μή: repeats the sense of ὅρα μή in 752 and emphasizes her apprehension.
757. οὐ μὴ εἰσοίσεις λόγον: in Attic Tragedy and Comedy οὐ μή with the 2nd person future indicative is often used to express a prohibition. On the origin of this construction see Goodwin, Moods and Tenses, Appendix II, and, for a different view, A. C. Pearson, Helena, Appendix 2, on v. 437.
758. κλαίων: for the colloquial use of κλαίειν in threats see on 577.
759. οὕνεχʼ: the sense varies slightly with different nouns: 'By the grace of the gods, and with the support of the army'.
762. ἀποβλέψας: in ἀποβλέπειν εἰς the force of the preposition is presumably 'away from other things' and the phrase always means 'to gaze at'; so here not 'with a mere glance' but perhaps 'with a single stare'.
763. τροπαῖον αὐτοῦ στήσομαι: for the metaphorical use in the sense 'triumph over' with a genitive cf. 694. Wilamowitz's αὐτός 'unsupported' is possible but not necessary.
764–5. The normal prose order would be καὶ γέρων ἢν εὔψυχος ᾗ κρείσσων (sc. ἐστί). Broadhead's πολλῶν νέων γέρων γὰρ ἢν εὔψυχος ᾗ (Tragica, p. 115) would avoid the hyperbaton, but I think the text can stand. Kirchhoff's ὤν for ᾗ would involve an ellipse of εἴη; κἄν is unlikely to be merely equivalent to καί since (except in κἂν εἰ) it is not so used before Menander (M. fr. 11 K.) and is mainly Hellenistic.
765. τί δεῖ; 'what's the use?' Cf. Med. 1046 τί δεῖ με πατέρα τῶνδε … λυποῦσαν αὐτὴν δὶς τόσα κτᾶσθαι κακά; IA 1035 εἰ δʼ εἰσὶ θεοί … ἐσθλῶν κυρήσεις, εἰ δὲ μή, τί δεῖ πονεῖν; Supp 450; perhaps Or. 28 and S. Aj. 393. Brunck's τί λύει, accepted by Wecklein, is therefore unnecessary.*