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The Fox and the Hedgehog

  • C. M. Bowra (a1)

Among the remains of Archilochus is an iambic trimeter which is as mysterious as it is charming. Zenobius, who quotes it (v. 68), says that it was written by Homer and used by Archilochus in his Epodes. If he is telling the truth, it must, as Bergk saw, come from the Margites. But its origin and original purpose need not now concern us. The important fact is that Archilochus used it, and we ought to be able to discover how he used it. What was his precise intention when he quoted or composed the line

πόλλ᾽ οἰδ᾽ ἀλώπη ἀλλ᾽ ἐχνος ἒν μέγα,

what was the contrast he drew between the Fox and the Hedgehog, and how did he make use of it? Zenobius gives two aids, but neither is so easy as it looks at first sight. First, he says that the proverb was used ἐπὶ τν πανουργοτάτων, and secondly he quotes as relevant some lines from the Phoenix of Ion of Chios (fr. 38 Nauck, 81 von Blumenthal) about the hedgehog:

ἀλλ᾽ ἔν τε χέρσῳ τὰς λέοντος ᾔνεσα

ἢ τὰς ἐχίνου μλλον οἰζυρὰς τέχνας.

ὃς εὐτ᾽ ἂν ἄλλων κρεισσόνων ὁρμὴν μάθῃ,

στρόβιλος ἀμΦ᾽ ἄκανθαν εἱλίας δέμας

κεîται δακεν τε καὶ θιγεν ἀμήχανος.

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The Classical Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0009-8388
  • EISSN: 1471-6844
  • URL: /core/journals/classical-quarterly
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