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Zoologica Pindarica

  • E. K. Borthwick (a1)


Bowra (Pindar, p. 270), referring to the image of the , and to the striking impression , states ‘Pindar seems to fuse two unusually disparate images into a single result… While the sheddingof leaves implies that he would have grown old without winning any wide renown, the cock means that such renown as he would have got would have beenof little account in the Greek world at large.’ Gildersleeve's comment ad loc, ‘The thus becomes a flower’, implies a similar assumption, that the secondimage is entirely unconnected with the first.



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1 Cf. the Latin proverb ‘gallum in sterquilinio plurimum posse’ (Sen. Apoc. 7).

2 The cock is called the (Opp. Cyn. 3.118): note the oath with which a speaker in Anaxandrides, Tereus fr.45, reacts when told . For moulting see Arist. H.A. 600a 23.

3 Cf. Arist. H.A. 601b 6 , and the more violent defeathering suffered by the ‘hen-pecked’ Callias in Ar. Av. 284–6, where he is alluded to as a defeated fighting-bird (see my note on this passage in CR N.S. 17 (1967), 249–50).

4 Cf. of feathers (Pl. Phdr. 246 d), leaves (D.22.70), hair (Arist. HA 518a 14); of feathers (Ar. Av. 104), hair (Arist. HA 518a 32); , properly of feathers, but of leaves in Nic. Ther, 524, Thphr. H.P. 3.9.6; of both hair, leaves, etc.

5 Including Pindar himself (P. 8.91).

6 Pindar's Pythian Odes (Oxford, 1962), p. 59.

7 For the correlation of evergreen trees and athletic victory, I am reminded of Plutarch's assertion (Mor. 723 f) of the recognized superiority of the palm tree over other (apparently) evergreens (), such as the laurel, and its consequent association .

8 Cf. Ar. Av. 757–9. Possibly relevant is A. Pers. 756 (of the ineffectual braggart Xerxes) which would be peculiarly appropriate in view of the tradition of the cock (see Ar. Av. 485 etc.).

9 Cf. Luc. Pisc. 34 .

10 Hsch. s.v. Note that the of is contrasted to the civil strife of the house-bound cock in the Eumenides passage cited above.

11 See the many refs. in Thompson, D' Arcy, Glossary of Greek Birds, pp. 34–6, and my note on Alciphr. 3.48 in CR N.S. 15 (1965), 261–2.

12 AJP 94 (1973), 319–26.

13 Although Young, in his detailed description (p.320, n.3) of the appearance of the words in D (based on a xerox of a photocopy), insists that , not , is to be read, and hence that Triclinius' is not ‘a reasoned conjecture’, but ‘further perversion of an already corrupt paradosis’, he also admits that ‘the second letter… seems an omicron rather than an iota, but it is so small that it is scarcely visible, and no space shows in its center’, and of course subsequent copyists of D had no hesitation in reading it as an iota, while many modern editors have demurred as to which letter was intended.

14 Po11.5.14 , Hdn. p.603.26 .

15 The origin is given in the fable of the ass and the snake in Nic. net 346– 56. Gilbert White's Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne contains a notable description of the process.

16 So that it is enough in the riddling language of Dosiad. Ara 14 to call the snake .

17 (spoken by Phoenix). That this is the origin of the metaphor is recognized by Leaf and van Leeuwen ad loc. (cf. Taillardat, , Les Images d'Aristophane, pp. 53). Though not noticed in the schol., it is presumably glanced at by Lycophron, Alex. 419, when he alludes to Phoenix as (cf. Eust. 762.25), since a comparison of snakes and crabs with reference to the theme is common (Arist. H.A. 549b 27, 601a 10, Ael. N.A. 9.43, Plin. N.H. 9.95, etc).

18 The word, though used by the schol., is not found in Nicander himself, unless one accepts in 139 Bentley's ) for (one of a number of alternative words for snake-hole in this writer).

19 Stephanus, Lex. s.v. col. 884, in quoting epic examples gives Et alibi Sebungevoe Edomitus s. Confectus senio, but I have been unable to trace this quotation.

20 Cooking and old age are connected in scholiastic explanations of the Homeric (II. 23.791). The metaphor of course could have suggested itself to Pindar in the context of Pelops' own experience in a cauldron.

21 ‘They [the Aeginetans] seem to have been unusually proud of their past and jealous of their reputation… In choosing his myths for Aegina Pindar is moved by the desire to show that the glorious past is alive in the present, and descent from heroes makes the Aeginetans what they are’ (Bowra Pindar, pp. 297–8).

22 Isth. 8.23–4; 38 ff.

23 Ibid. 33.

24 Paean 6.98–104; Nem. 7.35–6.

25 There is of course not absolutely certain proof of this, but the conjecture is as old as the schol. on line 12 and doubtless something similar would have been saidin the missing schol. on the last lines of the poem. If indeed Nikokles had died at Salamis where, it will be remembered, the Aeginetans had won the prize for valour (Hdt. 8.93), Pindar's use of Aeacid my thology becomes even more striking, when one recalls the tradition, presumably much talked of at the time of his composing the 8th Isthmian, that the Aeacidae had themselves appeared at the battle in answer to prayers (Hdt. 8.64, Plut. Them. 15).

26 On this theme, see Köhnken, A., BICS 22 (1975) 2536, whose own earlier interpretation of 67 (which he now rejects) I am more inclined to follow: ‘this handing over ofa brave man and his achievements to poetry even today brings fame (as it formerly did with Achilles)’.

27 For the significance of the name, see Cypria fr. 14, (= Paus. 10.26.4), schol. II. 19.326, Philostr. Her. 20.5, Tryph. 54, Cic. de or. 2.63,257, Serv. on Verg. Aen. 2.263.

28 ‘Trojan Leap and Pyrrhic Dance’, JHS 87 (1967), 19: cf. Knox, B.W., ‘The Serpent and the Flame’, AJP 71 (1950), 393 ff. It may be that the autochthonous tradition of the Aeacids, derived from the myth of the infestation of Aegina with snakes and repopulation with the Myrmidons (‘ant-men’), acted as a stimulus to this motif. The name of Achilles himself has been derived by some etymologists from (see RE i, co1.222).

29 Especially if Beattie, A.J., in CR N.S. 5 (1955), 3, is right in his surmise that Callimachus of Ol. 8.82 was the great-grandfather of Alkimedon. Incidentally, any doubts that … (45–6) reckons the generations inclusively from Aeacus to Neoptolemus should be removed by a comparison with Lyc. Alex. where Achilles is called , a parallel apparently neglected by Pindaric commentators. (See also Hill, D.E. in CR N.S. 13 (1963), 24).

30 One observes that in the case of neither Neoptolemus nor Kleandros is it literally a question of their own revitalization; rather, they are seen as inheritors of a great tradition within consecutive generations of their families.

31 Knox (loc.cit.) notes other snake terminology at this point of the Aeneid, e.g. ‘implicuitque comam laeva’ (552), when Pyrrhus seizes Priam for the final blow.

32 I might take this opportunity of clearing up a textual problem here, unsolved by Lobel and Gow. P.Oxy. 2221 did not read in 392, but P.[ which Lobel thought might represent , and Gow a mistaken repetition of in 390. The solution to me seems to be to read , attested of the coils of a snake only in Ael. N.A. 17.37, which was replaced by the more commonplace in our manuscript tradition.

33 Note the force of (like Achilles) (Nikokles) in 65.

34 It starts with Aeacus himself . according to Nonnus 37.588. Isocrates devotes a long paragraph to the theme of Aeacid arete in the Evagoras oration (1319), and it is of interest that the son of this king of Cyprus, who traced his ancestry back to the Aeacids of Aegina, was also called Nikokles. Plato (Hipp. Ma. 286 b) records a tradition about Neoptolemus' anxiety on this subject.

35 Cf. lines 79–80, 88–9, 356–8, 940, 1284, 1304. The same theme appeared also in Crag. fr. adesp. 363, which Webster surmises may have come from Soph. Skyrioi (note on Philoctetes 358).

36 (Poll. 3.10).

37 For a critical reference, cf. Dio Chr. 58.5 on Thetis' influence on the young Achilles . A miscellaneous collection of refs. from later literature: Luc. Salt. 9, Philostr. Her. 20, Tryph. 54, Q.S. 7 passim, esp. 703 , Tz. Posthom. 531,552, Auson. 6.9.1.

38 The grisly notion of the dead Priam himself reporting the degeneracy of the latest of the Aeacids to his father Achilles in the underworld may be a black parody of both Od. 11.492–540, where Achilles anxiously awaits news of his son's war career, and the end of Ol. 8.81 ff., where Pindar piously prays that Angelia, daughter of Hermes, may convey the news of another, Aeacid deed of prowess (by his youthful victor Alcimedon) to his dead father, Iphion (a theme he employs also in Ol. 14.18 ff.).

39 mala gramina here replaces the of Il. 22.94. Eustathius ad loc. records a tradition that the in question was , (cf. Thphr. H.P. 9.8.1 ) Usually it is which is the plant associated with the sloughing of the old skin and the sharpening of the eyesight (cf. Il. loc. cit.) of the rejuvenated snake: Nic. Ther. 32, 391 (both with schol.), Plut. Mor. 9476, Ael. N.A. 9.16, Plin. N.H. 8.99, 20.254, Phot. s.v. , For grass associated with the act of sloughing itself, Gilbert White's account (loc. cit.) is of interest: ‘The reptile… had entangled itself intricately in the grass and weeds, so that the friction of the stalks and blades might promote this curious shifting of his exuviae.’

40 Lactantius ad loc. ‘quia deposita pelle dicuntur serpentes in iuventutem redire. herba quaedam dicitur marathos, quam cum comederint, senium deponunt aetatis’ (cf. Serv. on Verg. Aen. 2.473).

Zoologica Pindarica

  • E. K. Borthwick (a1)


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