Thursday, September 19, 2013


Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus 96

Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus 95-98 (Creon speaking to Oedipus; tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
I will tell you what I heard from the god. The lord Phoebus orders us plainly to drive out from the land a pollution, one that has been nourished in this country, and not to nourish it till it cannot be cured.
The translation is from the Loeb edition of Sophocles, Ajax. Electra. Oedipus Tyrannus (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 335. But look at the Greek text on the preceding page:
λέγοιμ᾽ ἂν οἷ᾽ ἤκουσα τοῦ θεοῦ πάρα.
ἄνωγεν ἡμᾶς Φοῖβος ἐμφανῶς, ἄναξ,
μίασμα χώρας, ὡς τεθραμμένον χθονὶ
ἐν τῇδ᾽, ἐλαύνειν μηδ᾽ ἀνήκεστον τρέφειν.
By separating ἄναξ from the rest of the sentence with commas, Lloyd-Jones seems to suggest that it should be parsed as a vocative, not as a nominative in apposition with Φοῖβος. If the translation is to match the text, it should read:
Phoebus, o lord, orders us plainly...
Or, if the text is to match the translation, the commas on either side of ἄναξ should be removed. Cf. 80 ὦναξ Ἄπολλον (spoken by Oedipus) and 103 ὦναξ (Creon to Oedipus).

For vocatives with or without , see the summary by Eleanor Dickey in Egbert J. Bakker, ed., A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), p. 335. See also the entries for ἄναξ in Wilhelm Dindorf, Lexicon Sophocleum (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1870), pp. 35-36, and Friedrich Ellendt, Lexicon Sophocleum, rev. Hermann Genthe (Berlin: Borntraeger, 1872), p. 55.

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