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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Orestes seeks guidance from Apollo

Sophocles Trag., Electra 32-37
When I went to the Pythian
oracle to learn how I might
avenge my father’s murder
Apollo told[1] me:
alone, without weapons or troops
with cunning and stealth
your own hand with justice
will slaughter the guilty.

Sophocles Trag., Electra 32-37
Ἐγὼ γὰρ ἡνίχ' ἱκόμην τὸ Πυθικὸν
μαντεῖον, ὡς μάθοιμ' ὅτῳ τρόπῳ πατρὶ
δίκας ἀροίμην τῶν φονευσάντων πάρα,
χρῇ μοι τοιαῦθ' ὁ Φοῖβος ὧν πεύσῃ τάχα·
ἄσκευον αὐτὸν ἀσπίδων τε καὶ στρατοῦ
δόλοισι κλέψαι χειρὸς ἐνδίκους σφαγάς.

[1] The introduction to Apollo’s instructions is long and awkward, “Phoebus told me such things as you will quickly learn” χρῇ μοι τοιαῦθ' ὁ Φοῖβος ὧν πεύσῃ τάχα. J. H. Kells claims that τοιαῦθ' marks a vague and indirect quotation. However, Ann Carson and Pound-Fleming treat it as direct speech and reduce it to “Apollo/Phoebus answered.” This significantly reduces the processing effort. The long version is more difficult and doesn’t repay the extra effort. 


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