Friday, February 12, 2016


A Tragic Periphrasis for the First Person Singular Personal Pronoun

In Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus I noticed three examples of ἀνήρ plus the demonstrative pronoun ὅδε used as a periphrasis for the first person singular personal pronoun ἐγώ, at lines 649, 1472, and 1618, all three in oblique cases. The first two aren't listed in Ellendt's Lexicon Sophocleum, s.v. ἀνήρ, category "Cum pronomine demonstrativo addito articulo." In Hugh Lloyd-Jones' translation for the Loeb Classical Library, the first example is translated "me," the others "this man."

The usage is recognized by Liddell-Scott-Jones, s.v. ἀνήρ, sense VI.3 ("ἀ. ὅδε, ὅδ' ἀ., in Trag., = ἐγώ, S.Aj.78, E.Alc.690, etc."), and by Diccionario Griego–Español, s.v. ἀνήρ, sense IV.4 ("usos deícticos ἀνὴρ ὅδε en trág., igual ἐγώ: ἀνδρὸς τοῦδε S.Ant.1034 ἐχθρός γε τῷδε τἀνδρί S.Ai.78, μὴ θνῇσχ' ὑπὲρ τοῦδ' ἀνδρός E.Alc.690"). Probably it's common, but I'd never noticed it before.

P.S. Maybe the usage isn't confined to tragedy. See J. Enoch Powell, A Lexicon to Herodotus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1938), p. 27, col. 2, who translates an example at Herodotus 1.108.5 (dative case) as "yours truly."

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