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Hippolytus

  • D. W. Lucas (a1)
Abstract

The character of Hippolytus, as it is drawn by Euripides, usually receives but half-hearted praise. His coldness, inherited, no doubt, from his Amazon mother, and his consciousness of virtue, inevitably allied to priggishness in the eyes of a society which tolerates any extreme of self-depreciation, are not attractive. It is, perhaps, more surprising that no surprise seems to be provoked by the dramatic portrayal of a disposition unique in Greek literature. The association of holiness with a life of celibacy is so familiar from the history both of Christianity and of other faiths that it seems natural to us that one who aspires to the highest purity, like Hippolytus, should allow no place in his life for sex. Hippolytus is pure, we are apt to imagine, for the same reason that a monk is pure, because such purity is pleasing to the god whom he serves and favourable to the life of the spirit.

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page 65 note 1 The theory is fully argued in a paper by Tiemey M. in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. xliv, to which Mr. W. K. C. Guthrie first drew my attention.

page 65 note 2 ἢδη νυν αὒχει κα⋯ δι' ⋯ψ⋯;χου βορ⋯ς σίτοις καπ⋯λευ', ‘ορφ⋯α τ’ ἂνακτ’ ἒχων β⋯κχευε πολλ⋯ν λραμμ⋯των τιμ⋯ν καπνοὐς. The text is uncertain but the sense is not in doubt.

page 65 note 3 This has been suggested by Linforth , The Arts of Orpheus, University of California, 1941, p. 50.

page 65 note 4 936–80, and 983–1035.

page 66 note 1 991–2.

page 66 note 2 Bacchae 272–98.

page 66 note 3 Nock A. D., Conversion, p. 28.

page 66 note 4 Guthrie W. K. C., Orpheus and Greek Religion, pp. 204–5.

page 66 note 5 Of course Orphics who went so far as to be complete vegetarians would to some extent set themselves apart from other men, since a meat meal was a normal consequence of a sacrifice to the Olympian gods. Much is made of this peculiarity in the Middle Comedy, though there it is always in connexion with Pythagoreans. (Cf. Diels-Franz , Fragm. Vors. 5 i. 479). If Hip polytus was a vegetarian, hunting was a curious hobby for him, and, as has often been pointed out, βορ⋯ς κορεσθε⋯ς, 112, implies a meat meal.

page 66 note 6 73–87. Cf. Forster E. M., A Passage to India, p. 299.

page 66 note 7 1378–83.

page 67 note 1 819–21.

page 67 note 2 Od. 6. 102–9.

page 67 note 3 Paus. 2. 31.

page 67 note 4 Kern , Orphicorum Fragmenta, Test. 76.

page 67 note 5 Guthrie , op. cit., pp. 49, 50. The most significant piece of evidence is the statement of Conon that in his time (the age of Augustus) women were still excluded from the precinct of Orpheus (Kern, Test. 39 and 115), just as according to legend they were excluded from his mysteries. But can this outweigh the silence of Plato and of Comedy?.

page 67 note 6 Diog. Laert. 8. 9.

page 68 note 1 Kern , op. cit., fr. 291.

page 68 note 2 Séchan , ‘La Légende d'Hippolyte dans l'antiquité’, Revue des études grecs, xxiv (1911), pp. 110–12.

page 68 note 3 Cf. Frazer , Golden Bough, i. 25; Farnell , Greek Hero Cults, p. 69.

page 68 note 4 The comparison is as old as Servius on Aeneid 7. 761.

page 68 note 5 1423–30.

page 68 note 6 e.g. at the κουρε⋯τις on one of the days of the Apaturia. Farnell , Cults of the Greek States, ii. 463.

page 68 note 7 Cf. Sappho, frs. 102, 109 Bergk. Catullus, 62. 20–4.

page 68 note 8 Med. 230–51. Cf. an eloquent passage of Wilamowitz , ed. Hipp., pp. 26–7.

page 68 note 9 616–68.

page 69 note 1 Paus. 8. 13.

page 69 note 2 Farnell , Cults of the Greek States, ii. 446; E. Fehrle, Die kuliische Keuschheit, ch. i.

page 69 note 3 The dates of the Stheneboea and Phoenix are not known; the former was earlier than 423, the latter than 425. It is not unlikely that our Hippolytus, as the most refined, is also the latest of these plays.

page 69 note 4 47, 1300–6.

page 69 note 5 664–8, 728–31.

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