Monday, January 28, 2019


Ares, Begone!

Sophocles, Oedipus the King 190-197 (tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
And may savage Ares, who
now without the bronze of shields
is scorching me as he attacks with shouts,
turn his back and hasten from our land,
carried back either to the great
chamber of Amphitrite
or to the Thracian billow
bare of harbours!

Ἄρεά τε τὸν μαλερόν, ὃς        190
νῦν ἄχαλκος ἀσπίδων
φλέγει με περιβόητος ἀντιάζων,
παλίσσυτον δράμημα νωτίσαι πάτρας,
ἔπουρον εἴτ᾿ ἐς μέγαν
θάλαμον Ἀμφιτρίτας        195
εἴτ᾿ ἐς τὸν ἀπόξενον ὅρμων
Θρῄκιον κλύδωνα.
This is an example of epipompē, or banishment of evil to a particular place. In Sophocles, Oedipus the King. Edited with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary by P.J. Finglass (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), p. 228, the incorrect term apopompē (ἀποπομπή) is used:
Two possible destinations are specified in this ἀποπομπή (190/1-193/4n.): the Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea. These locations represent the furthest extremes of the known world...
Richard Wünsch (1869-1915) first used the terms apopompē and epipompē to describe two different ways of banishing evil in "Zur Geisterbannung im Altertum," Festschrift zur Jahrhundertfeier der Universität zu Breslau = Mitteilungen der Schlesischen Gesellschaft für Volkskunde 13-14 (1911) 9-32. The difference between apopompē and epipompē can be seen most clearly in the Gospels. In most of the exorcisms recorded in the Gospels, Jesus simply drove demons away from the possessed (apopompē). But at Gadara (or Gerasa or Gergesa), Jesus drove the demons away to a particular place (epipompē), into a herd of pigs (Matthew 8.30-32; par. Mark 5.11-13 and Luke 8.32-33).

Cf. Jacob Stern, "Scapegoat Narratives in Herodotus," Hermes 119.3 (1991) 304-311 (at 305; he doesn't use the terms apopompē and epipompē):
The scapegoat is not only to be driven out, but is to be driven toward the enemy, who will receive it to his own harm.
For more on the difference between these two methods of banishing evil see:

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