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‘O Ancient Argos of the Land’: Euripides, Electra1

  • M. W. Haslam (a1)

Extract

Neither can stand. ‘Argos of the land’ (or, ‘of land’) is nonsense, and even if it were not, is absurd as an apostrophe of the River Inachus. ‘a plain’, indistinguishable from is similarly impossible: the audience would be baffled; in 6 has to be the first occurrence of the vox; ‘streams’ cannot be apposed to a ‘plain’, even if could have been understood as meaning this.

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2 Some of these, like Eur. El.1, are ‘hanging’: so too the initia of the Alcestis and the Andromache (where read with VP and Hermann). A semantic distinction is to be made between nom. and voc. in tragedy (despite the evident metrical expediency of the nom.). It is true that nom. is occasionally found where voc. might have been expected (e.g. with , Aesch. Ag.508–9, fr.14012, Soph. Phil. 1453–5; not vice versa); but transition from exclamation to address is to be recognized in such places as Soph. El.1354–5, Ant. 1284–5, Trach.1040–1, Phil. 530–1, 1348, Eur. Alc. 568–70, Andr.1186–7, cf. Aesch. P. V. 88–92. The voc. at Eur. El. 54, must be acknowledged to be anomalous.

1 These objections are in substance almost identical to those made by G. Zuntz in RhMus 113 (1970), 276–8, which I had not read when the above was written.

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