Wednesday, July 30, 2014



Here are a few notes on the translation of Philoctetes in Sophocles, Antigone. The Women of Trachis. Philoctetes. Oedipus at Colonus. Edited and Translated by Hugh-Lloyd Jones (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994 = Loeb Classical Library, vol. 21).

484-485 (pp. 302-303; Philoctetes to Neoptolemus):
νεῦσον, πρὸς αὐτοῦ Ζηνὸς ἱκεσίου, τέκνον,

Consent! In the name of Zeus the god of suppliants himself, be persuaded!
Many times in the play Philoctetes addresses Neoptolemus with the vocative τέκνον (son), as an older man to a younger. The two characters are not father and son, of course. In most of these passages, Lloyd-Jones translates the form of address, but not here, and also not at 1397-1399 (pp. 398-399):
ἔα με πάσχειν ταῦθ᾽ ἅπερ παθεῖν με δεῖ·
ἃ δ᾽ ᾔνεσάς μοι δεξιᾶς ἐμῆς θιγών,
πέμπειν πρὸς οἴκους, ταῦτά μοι πρᾶξον, τέκνον.

Allow me to suffer what it is my fate to suffer! But do for me what you swore, clasping my right hand, that you would do: escort me home!
At lines 484 and 1399, τέκνον is not translated.

755-756 (pp. 328-329):
δεινόν γε τοὐπίσαγμα τοῦ νοσήματος.
δεινὸν γὰρ οὐδὲ ῥητόν· ἀλλ᾽ οἴκτιρέ με.

The burden of the sickness is grievous.
Grievous, indeed, and indescribable!
Here Lloyd-Jones doesn't translate ἀλλ᾽ οἴκτιρέ με at the end of line 756: "But pity me."

1213-1217 (pp. 376-377; Philoctetes speaking):
ὦ πόλις πόλις πατρία,
πῶς ἂν εἰσίδοιμ᾽
ἄθλιός σ᾽ ἀνήρ,
ὅς γε σὰν λιπὼν ἱερὰν
λιβάδ᾽ ἐχθροῖς ἔβαν Δαναοῖς
ἀρωγός· ἔτ᾽ οὐδέν εἰμι.

O my city, O my native city, if only I could see you, wretched man that I am, I who left your sacred stream and went to help the Greeks! I am nothing any more!
In line 1216 the Greeks are ἐχθροῖς (hated), but the adjective is not translated. Jebb translates "the Danai, mine enemies."

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