Thursday, November 10, 2016


Euripides, Orestes

The translations of Euripides by Arthur Sanders Way (1847-1930) were among the worst of the old Loebs, with the sense too often marred by the intrusion of rhymes. Those by David Kovacs are among the best of the new. Here are some nit-picking observations on the translation of Orestes in Euripides, Helen, Phoenician Women, Orestes. Edited and Translated by David Kovacs (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002 = Loeb Classical Library, 11). They're intended more as aids to my comprehension than as corrections (which it would be presumptuous of me to make).

965 (pp. 518-519):
ἰαχείτω δὲ γᾶ Κυκλωπία...

Let the Cylopean land loudly proclaim ...
For Cylopean read Cyclopean. The typographical error persists in the digital version.

1303-1307 (pp. 556-557):
καίνετε, καίνετε, θείνετ᾿ ἀπόλλυτε,
δίπτυχα δίστομα φάσγαν᾿ ἐκ χερὸς ἱέμενοι
τὰν λιποπάτριδα λιπογάμετον, ἃ πλείστους 1305
ἔκανεν Ἑλλάνων
δορὶ παρὰ ποταμὸν ὀλομένους...

Slay, slay, smite, destroy her,
plying at close range your twin double-edged swords,
slay the betrayer of country and husband, who killed
so many Greeks
by the spear at the river's edge...
In line 1307 ὀλομένους may be otiose, but it deserves to be translated—so many Greeks destroyed by the spear at the river's edge.

1344 (pp. 560-561):
ἰδού, διώκω τὸν ἐμὸν ἐς δόμους πόδα.

There, I am going quickly into the house!
More literally—I am pursuing my foot into the house.

1346 (id.):
οὐχὶ συλλήψεσθ᾿ ἄγραν;

seize your prey!
More literally a question—will you not seize your prey?

1369-1370 (pp. 564-565):
ἐκ θανάτου / πέφευγα

From the realm of death I have escaped
At first I thought that "From death I have escaped" would be simpler, but now I'm inclined to agree that there might be an ellipsis of house or something similar.

1598 (pp. 590-591):
ἆ ἆ, μηδαμῶς δράσῃς τάδε.

Ah, ah, don't!
More fully—Ah, ah, by no means do these things.

1626 (pp. 598-599):

Euripides could have written Apollo, but he wrote Phoebus.

1691 (pp. 604-605):
ὦ μέγα σεμνὴ Νίκη

More fully—Most august Victory.

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