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Aeschylus vs. Euripides: a textual problem at Frogs 818–19

  • E. K. Borthwick (a1)

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The literary contest of the two tragedians in Frogs is introduced by four stanzas redolent of Homeric combat, with their predominantly dactylic metre and a number of high-flown epic words. I am surprised that several editors prefer the reading ὑψὑλøωυ at 818, as íππóλοøος surely has a resonance of íπποκορυστ⋯ς of Iliad 2.1, etc. The readings and sense, however, of both halves of 819 have long been controversial. As Dover suggested in his 1993 edition (accepted more recently by Sommerstein) the MSS ‘linch-pins of splinters’ is less satisfactory than his proposed transposition to ‘splintering of linch-pins' (σὐáυδάλαμοí τε παραξουíωυ), which suggests a recollection of the dangers of chariot accidents or collisions, as in the funeral games of Il. 23. But the following expression ‘shavings of deeds’ is even more puzzling, and highly improbable, and Heiberg's emendation to σμιλο⋯, agreeing with φωτÓς (Euripides), is preferred by Stanford among others, though doubted by Dover.

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1 Cf. also the description in Xen. Cyr. 7.1.32 of chariot wheels ‘leaping out’ from their sockets in a battle melée.

2 A number of MSS of Herodotus actually spell the word with a single rho.

3 Mixture of connection and asyndeton with τε or δέ is common enough in lists (e.g. A. Pers. 882ff., 958ff., 967ff., Eub. fr. 63, Alex. fr. 268), and Denniston, Greek Particles 164, refers amongst others to Simon, fr. 13.18. In Aristophanes himself there is variation at At. 586, where, however, Nan Dunbar emends; and at Pax 758 = Vesp. 1035, the δ’ after Aαμíας is omitted in a set of three, in the former in both R and V, and in the latter again in R, but Bentley's supplying of δ’ in the former is easily done.

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Aeschylus vs. Euripides: a textual problem at Frogs 818–19

  • E. K. Borthwick (a1)

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