Master of the Game: Competition and Performance in Greek Poetry

  Collins, Derek. 2004. Master of the Game: Competition and Performance in Greek Poetry. Hellenic Studies Series 7. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

2. The ἀντιλαβή and Aristophanes’ Frogs 1198–1248

Old Comedy furnishes us not only with parallel statements that seem to include virtual definitions of tragic stichomythia (as e.g. above, Clouds 1374–75 with Eumenides 586), but it also provides examples of “stichomythic” exchanges that would lose their point if they were not meant to be understood as modeled on instances from tragedy. Heated confrontations, such as that between the chorus of old men and the chorus of women occupying the Acropolis in Lysistrata (350–86), easily lend themselves to stichomythic form, especially as the stichic form itself can imply a measure of strife and contest. The exchange in Lysistrata reaches a pitch at the moment when the motives of the respective choruses, as articulated by the coryphaei, are clarified (371–74):

Χο.γε  τί δ’ ὦ θεοῖς ἐχθρὰ σὺ δεῦρ’ ὕδωρ ἔχουσ᾽ ἀφίκου;
          Why have you come here with water, you crone?

Χο.γυ  τί δαὶ σὺ πῦρ ὦ τύμβ’ ἔχων; ὡς σαυτὸν ἐμπυρεύσων;
          Why do you have fire, you old fool? To burn yourself up?

Χο.γε  ἐγὼ μὲν ἵνα νήσας πυρὰν τὰς σὰς φίλας ὑφάψω.
          I’m here to build a pyre and burn your friends.

Χο.γυ  ἐγὼ δέ γ’ ἵνα τὴν σὴν πυρὰν τούτῳ κατασβέσαιμι.
          And I’m here to put out your fire with this.

The underscored words offer another excellent example of how subtle but powerful shifts of meaning, which are not fully translatable into English, can be achieved through repetition in stichomythia, especially when this occurs in the first metron. The pickups (τί δαὶ, ἐγὼ δέ γ’) by the female coryphaeus are mocking and are aimed at extinguishing (quite literally) the proposals of the male coryphaeus to smoke the women out of the Acropolis. The basic format of this exchange should be familiar from the question and answer stichomythia in tragedy. From a series of other examples in Old Comedy that have been surveyed by others and need not detain us here, [1] we can conclude that Aristophanes tends to employ full-line stichomythiai in contexts where characters vie for one-upsmanship, whether this is intended as deliberately or inadvertently comedic.

According to Gross’s classification, [2] there is also a second class of tragic stichomythia that involves the division of a line between two speakers. This phenomenon is called ἀντιλαβή (plural ἀντιλαβαί) by ancient grammarians, but it is not otherwise connected by them to stichomythia. [3] Yet Gross was correct, in my view, to connect these two phenomena, as most antilabae in tragedy either follow or are embedded in passages of stichomythia. We may recall that according to Hesychius, speaking parts in antilabae are constructed ἐξ ἡμιστιχίων ‘from hemistichs’. In turn these hemistichs, as we shall see, often depend upon the medial caesura (e.g. of the iambic trimeter). The antilabê occurs once in Prometheus Bound (980–81) and in nearly all the plays of Sophocles and Euripides. [4] An especially good example of how the antilabê is used occurs in Sophocles’ Electra after the stichomythic exchange between Orestes, as yet unrecognized by Electra, and Electra as she realizes that Orestes has returned home safely. The stichomythia proper, parts of which contain questions and answers, is at 1176–1219. But the ἀναγνώρισις ‘recognition’, the climax of the exchange, happens in antilabae (1217–1226):

    Ελ. ποῦ δ’ ἔστ’ ἐκείνου τοῦ ταλαιπώρου τάφος;
          Where is the tomb of that sufferer?

    Ορ. οὐκ ἔστι· τοῦ γὰρ ζῶντος οὐκ ἔστιν τάφος.
          It doesn’t exist, since there is no tomb for the living.

Ελ. πῶς εἶπας, ὦ παῖ;
      What did you say, child?

Ελ. ἦ ζῇ γὰρ ἁνὴρ;
      Is he alive?

Ελ. ἦ γὰρ σὺ κεῖνος;
      Are you he?

Ελ. ὦ φίλτατον φῶς.
      Oh, dearest day.

Ελ. ὦ φθέγμ’, ἀφίκου;
      Your voice, have you arrived?

Ελ. ἔχω σε χερσίν;
      Do I have you in my arms?

Ορ. ψεῦδος οὐδὲν ὦν λέγω.
      There is no lie in what I speak.

Ορ. εἴπερ ἔμψυχός γ’ ἐγώ.
      If I am alive, at least.

Ορ. τήνδε προσβλέψασά μου
      σφραγῖδα πατρὸς
      ἔκμαθ᾽ εἰ σαφῆ λέγω.
      Look at my father’s seal and
      learn whether I speak

Ορ. φίλτατον, συμμαρτυρῶ.
      It is the dearest, I agree with you.

Ορ. μηκέτ’ ἄλλοθεν πύθῃ.
      Look nowhere else.

Ορ. ὡς τὰ λοίπ’ ἔχοις ἀεί.
      May you hold me thus ever more.

Orestes gives the main clue in 1218 that he is still alive, and the hemistichs increase the rapidity and the emotional intensity of Electra’s recognition. [
5] The riddling nature of Orestes’ responses should remind us of the stichomythic examples that we examined in Aeschylus, and this further supports Gross’s inclusion of antilabae with stichomythiai; they are alike both in formal structure and theme. But the most important detail to be established from this sequence is that all of Electra’s responses end at the penthemimeral caesura (x – – – |), which is the most common caesura in the iambic trimeter. [6] Without offering precise statistics, other examples of antilabae from Sophocles [7] and Euripides [8] regularly assume the penthemimeral, and occasionally the hepthemimeral, caesura as the point of line division. As we are about to see, Aristophanes makes productive use of this metrical phenomenon, particularly as it appears in Euripides, by combining it with hemistich responses that are stichomythic in spirit and devastatingly comic in effect.

The broader outlines of this debate will not concern us here because the political consequences of rhetoric and oratory and their relationship to correct usage of language in poetry—topics explicitly dealt with in the context of the contest—have been extensively discussed elsewhere. [10] Instead our focus will return to the most discussed exchange in recent years within the larger contest involving prologues, namely lines 1198–1248 in which “Aeschylus” demonstrates his ability to destroy “Euripides’” prologues by adding the tag, ληκύθιου ἀπώλεσεν “he lost his little bottle of oil.” The importance of this game for our purposes is that we are now in a position to situate it within the larger context of Greek poetic gaming in general, and within metrical shapes found within tragedy in particular. Previous discussions of this exchange have primarily been interested in discovering the exact range of references, sexual or otherwise, of the ληκύθιον ‘little oil bottle’. They have less often emphasized that the lêkythion apôlesen exchange is a game of capping. This game differs from stichomythia mainly insofar as an iambic line is recited by “Euripides” until the penthemimeral caesura, [11] at which point the verse is continued by “Aeschylus” with the lêkythion apôlesen tag. The basic principle of spontaneously continuing an iambic verse, especially after an expected caesura or verse-end, to humorous or abusive effect would have been familiar to Greek audiences from a variety of contexts. [12] Yet the lêkythion apôlesen game depends, as many have noted, not only on the peculiarities of Euripides’ prologues, but its closest metrical antecedent is the antilabê in tragedy, which as we have seen also divides an iambic verse at the penthemimeral caesura to produce stichomythia from hemistichs. What this means is that Aristophanes has actually invented less than commentators even such as Radermacher, who astutely connected the game with sympotic customs (citing e.g. Athenaeus 457e, on which see Part II), have suggested. [13] Structurally and thematically the lêkythion apôlesen game corresponds with sympotic customs that, as we shall see, themselves accord with rhapsodic techniques. But metrically the game corresponds with tragic stichomythia and its byform of antilabê. The remaining ingredients derive from certain peculiarities in Euripides’ prologues, some of which also have antecedents in genres of Greek poetic gaming outside of tragedy. Let us explore all of this now in more detail.

Amid the sophisticated concern with poetic style and its usefulness to the citizenry, in Frogs 1198–1248 Aristophanes uses the lêkythion apôlesen game to illustrate the clever directions of meaning in which a single verse can be taken through “improvisation.” What is “improvised” in each succeeding tag is not a new verse, however, but the ever-expanding range of meaning to be given to the same phrase (ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν) as it is repeated in different contexts. Once again it is worth stressing that capping in its manifold expressions was not a trivial pastime for the Greeks. But it is all the more remarkable to find it demonstrated here in a publicly performed drama, especially given that the stakes for Aristophanes in the exchange between “Aeschylus” and “Euripides” are so high. At issue is the very worth of the poet for Athenian society, and this point is made in several ways throughout the play. Orpheus, Musaeus, Hesiod, and Homer are mentioned as all having made contributions to the spiritual, physical, and moral well-being of Athens (1032–36), while the chorus in the parabasis—to which this play’s victory at the Lenaia in 405 is especially indebted—defends comic poets against the power of politicians to curtail their privileges once they have been made the subject of comedy (367–68). But “Aeschylus” and “Euripides,” with “Sophocles” conspicuously absent, [14] represent the extremes of tragic styles—and through them, at yet another level of abstraction, Old Comedy as presented by Aristophanes claims the right to judge tragedy. These, then, are some of the concerns meant to resonate through the contest of poetic competence (ἀγὼν σοφίας, 882) between “Euripides” and “Aeschylus,” of which the capping of prologues is one significant component.

Before we look more closely at the individual contributions to the capping game, it is worth noting that Aristophanes characterizes the contest generally in terms that are applied to a variety of other poetry games that we will examine. We expect, for example, to find the contest described as an ἀγών ‘contest’ (882), a νεῖκος ‘quarrel’ (1099), even a πόλεμος ‘war’ (1099), all of which can be covered as well by the more encompassing verb ἐρίζειν ‘to strive’ (866, 1105). At 856–58, Dionysus in his reply to “Aeschylus” introduces the idea that as the exchange of retorts heats up, this might lead to abuse (λοιδορεῖσθαι, 857), which he does not think fitting for poets. We shall see in Part II how extensively, almost technically, this verb is used to characterize the abusive exchanges that take place at symposia. Λοιδορεῖσθαι is in fact the same verb that Aristophanes uses in the Clouds (1353) to describe the quarrel, metaphorically characterized by the chorus as a μάχη ‘battle’ (1351), that breaks out between Strepsiades and Pheidippides at a symposium. There the issue is not what sort of poetry is fitting for the tragic stage but whether lyrics from Simonides or verses of Aeschylus and Euripides are suitable for sympotic recitation. It is also in the context of that quarrel that Strepsiades depicts the verbal wrangle with his son as one of ἔπος πρὸς ἔπος ἐρείδεσθαιto hurl word against word” (Clouds 1375). In the Frogs, the chorus returns to the same metaphor with a more militaristic coloring when it visualizes “Aeschylus” and “Euripides” in the contest in the following way (1101–2):

ὅταν ὁ μὲν τείνῃ βιαίως,
ὁ δ’ ἐπαναστρέφειν δύνηται κἀπερείδεσθαι τορῶς.

Whenever one strains violently,
and the other is able to reverse into the charge and vigorously oppose.

The critique to follow will thus pivot on the syntactic and metrical predictability of Euripides’ prologues. Part of the humor to be developed in the scene will depend, in the view of some observers, [21] on building sets of associations between the metaphor of the ληκύθιον as a phallic object and its subsequent loss. Other commentators take the ληκύθιον in a nonsexual sense that still achieves the effect of diminishing the heroic status of Euripides’ heroes and gods by calling attention (in a typically Euripidean way) to a prosaic detail of daily life—such ληκύθια that Greek men took to the gymnasium or bath must have been lost as a matter of course. [22] As we are about to see once “Euripides” begins reciting some of his prologues, in his characters’ opening speeches he has a tendency to produce a penthemimeral caesura (x – – – |), which in turn leaves open the possibility for “Aeschylus” to fill out the rest of the verse with the hemistich tag, ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν (– – ||). This is significant for our purposes in two respects. The first is that the means by which the penthemimeral caesura is created in the sampling of Euripidean prologues depends on participial enjambement. [23] This kind of enjambement resulting in a penthemimeral caesura is common enough in Euripides’ prologues for Aristophanes’ criticism to withstand scrutiny. [24] Participial enjambement is a connective technique that Greek audiences could readily associate with tragic stichomythia, antiphonal lament, and, as we will see later, rhapsodic exchange. The second is that this caesural division of the line and its apportionment between two speakers is identical to examples of the penthemimeral ἀντιλαβαί found in Sophocles and Euripides—indeed, I venture to suggest that a tragic, “stichomythic’’ coloring of the ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν game is intentional.

To make these patterns clearer, I list the prologues recited by “Euripides” below, with the exception of 1238, which I will return to later. After each dash (—) will come the tag by “Aeschylus,” ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν:

Αἴγυπτος, ὡς ὁ πλεῖστος ἔσπαρται λόγος,
ξὺν παισὶ πεντήκοντα ναυτίλῳ πλάτῃ
Ἄργος κατασχών

“Aegyptus, as the story most widely spread has it,
with his fifty sons by ship
making for Argos—”


Διόνυσος, ὃς θύρσοισι καὶ νεβρῶν δοραῖς
καθαπτὸς ἐν πεύκῃσι Παρνασσὸν κάτα
πηδᾷ χορεύων

“Dionysus, who equipped with thyrsoi and fawns’ hides
amid the pines of Parnassos
dancing with a leap—”


οὐκ ἔστιν ὅστις πάντ’ ἀνὴρ εὐδαιμονεῖ·
ἢ γὰρ πεφυκὼς ἐσθλὸς οὐκ ἔχει βίον,
ἢ δυσγενὴς ὤν

“No man is fortunate in all things;
for either born well he has no livelihood,
or being of low birth—”


Σιδώνιόν ποτ’ ἄστυ Κάδμος ἐκλιπὼν
Ἀγήνορος παῖς–

“Cadmus once after leaving Sidon’s citadel,
son of Agenor—”


Πέλοψ ὁ Ταντάλειος εἰς Πῖσαν μολὼν
θοαῖσιν ἵπποις–

“Tantalid Pelops after coming to Pisa
on swift horses—”


Οἰνεύς ποτ᾽ ἐκ γῆς πολύμετρον λαβὼν στάχυν
θύων ἀπαρχάς–

“Oineus once reaped abundant harvest from his land
and while sacrificing the first fruits—”


What emerges from this comparison is that in all cases the words that are fitted in before the penthemimeral caesura compose an enjambed phrase that either itself incorporates a participle, or, as in 1225–26 and 1232–33, is a noun phrase that depends upon a participle preceding it at the end of the previous verse. I submit that this participial enjambement, whatever its predictability and demerits in the prologues of Euripides, is essentially the same in the case of stichomythia, tragic lament, and rhapsodic exchange. But with regard to Euripides’ prologues, “Aeschylus’” criticism is that by the frequent usage of such participial expressions instead of a main verb, the possibility is left open of later inserting a different verb and direct object, even a trivializing one (hyperbolically expressed by “Aeschylus” as “fitting anything in” ἐναρμόττειν ἅπαν, 1202), which in these cases will be the humorous ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν. At one level, then, “Aeschylus”’ criticism is syntactic and implies that “Euripides’” characters take too long in their prologues to finish an opening thought. But the interjection of ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν after the penthemimeral caesura also creates a stichomythic effect reminiscent of ἀντιλαβαί. At 1238, not cited above, a slightly different effect is achieved. There “Euripides” can only say Οἰνεύς ποτ’ ἐκ γῆς— before “Aeschylus” interrupts with ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν. Of all the examples cited, this one copies closest to a critique of Euripides’ preference for sense pauses at the penthemimeral caesura, independent of other ambiguities created by his use of participles. The lines from this prologue are in any case repeated more fully at 1240–41, with the same result as in the other prologues recited.

While “Aeschylus’” criticism depends on the ambiguity created by participial enjambement in the context of a Euripidean prologue, this same technique is exploited in the case of Aeschylean stichomythiai because of its hypotactic intimacy. We shall see later how the same technique can be exploited in other verbal gaming contexts (e.g. the Certamen) because of its flexibility. Thus I stress how pointless it would be to consign this technique to one poetic genre or another. Whether an Athenian audience would have grasped all of the subtleties of the exchange between “Euripides” and “Aeschylus,” especially with the cumulative resonance of ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν, we cannot say. But Euripides’ prologue enjambements can be related to a range of other competitive verbal exchanges that demonstrate the widespread nature of the form.

In fact the device of capping a verse with the same hemistich tag had already been used by Aristophanes in the Birds in an exchange between Peisetaerus and the oracle monger (974–90). [25] It will repay us briefly to consider this scene. We expect from the treatment of written oracles elsewhere in Aristophanes that this unnamed oracle monger, too, is a fraud, and that the scene anticipates the exposure of his deception. [26] In this scene, the expression λαβὲ τὸ βιβλίον “here’s the book” [27] is used in response to Peisetaerus’ disbelieving questions as to the details supposedly contained in the oracle of Bacis regarding Cloudcuckooland. To each uncomprehending question of Peisetaerus, the response of the oracle monger is the same:

Πε.     ἔνεστι καὶ τὰ πέδιλα;
          The sandals are also in there?

                                                        Χρ.     λαβὲ τὸ βιβλίον
                                                                 Here’s the book.


Πε.     καὶ σπλάγχνα διδόν’ ἔνεστι;
          Giving entrails is also in there?

                                                       Χρ.     λαβὲ τὸ βιβλίον.
                                                                 Here’s the book.


Πε.     καὶ ταῦτ᾽ ἔνεστ’ ἐνταῦθα;
          And that’s also in there?

                                                       Χρ.     λαβὲ τὸ βιβλίον.
                                                                 Here’s the book.


The effect of the repeated response by the oracle monger is to create a sense of oracular authority, false though it is. But by this point in the exchange, it has become clear to Peisetaerus that the oracle monger wants only to have a share in the meat about to be sacrificed in the foundation ceremony of the new city and has simply invented the Bacis oracle for that purpose, so he offers an oracle of his own, one which he says he wrote down directly from Apollo (983–85):

αὐτὰρ ἐπὴν ἄκλητος ἰὼν ἄνθρωπος ἀλαζὼν
λυπῇ θύοντας καὶ σπλαγχνεύειν ἐπιθυμῇ,
δὴ τότε χρὴ τύπτειν αὐτὸν πλευρῶν τὸ μεταξὺ–

But whenever an uninvited charlatan coming along
annoys the sacrifices and desires a share of the entrails,
then you must hit him right in the middle of his ribs—

To which the oracle monger quickly replies (986):

Χρ.     οὐδὲν λέγειν οἶμαί σε.
          You’re joking.

Peisetaerus now has control of the situation through his own oracular authority, and is equally quick to reply with:

                                                       Πε.     λαβὲ τὸ βιβλίον.
                                                                 Here’s the book.

All of the divided iambic trimeters in question here (974, 976, 980, 986) show a hepthemimeral caesura, which accords exactly with the hepthemimeral tragic antilabae (e.g. Alcestis 390), before the insertion of the tag labe to biblion. The conclusion seems inescapable that antilabae provided the model for Aristophanes, but to what end? We might first note that the exchange proceeds by question and answer, providing on a thematic level the coloring of stichomythia. In the mouth of the oracle monger, the punch delivered by the tag labe to biblion has the effect of staving off any further response by Peisetaerus. Its cumulative weight builds and creates the sudden deflation and reversal of meaning in 986 when it is picked up by Peisetaerus. But beyond the thematic and metrical parallels, as well as the obviously deadening effect of the tag, it is not at all clear that this scene is meant to mock tragic style.

This is emphatically not the case in the Frogs, where tragic style is at the heart of the contest between “Aeschylus” and “Euripides.” In this respect, it is possible that Aristophanes developed this contest with someone like the important fifth-century parodist, Hegemon of Thasos, in mind. [28] According to Aristotle, Hegemon invented the competitive poetic genre of παρῳδία ‘parody’ (Poetics 1448a 12–13), which in its earliest phases involved the parody specifically of Homeric epic and its performance by rhapsodes. [29] A Greek paroemiographer reports that whenever Hegemon while performing parody (viz. mock-epic, hexameter poetry) forgot a line, he added the iambic tag, καὶ τὸ Πέρδικος σκέλος “and Perdix’s leg.” [30] At one level, according to the paroemiographer, the “improvised” line referred to a real retailer in Athens named Perdix who was famous for being lame. In the context of Hegemons mock-epic performance, however, by means of this tag he presumably nullified the meaning or style of a preceding hexameter. The parallel between the parody of epic by Hegemon and “Aeschylus’” mockery of Euripidean style is suggestive, not least because early parodists like Hegemon performed rhapsodically and competed with rhapsodes. [31] Both critiques are thus made from the vantage point of experts in their respective poetic genres. At the same time, because one feature of early parody involved the intermixture of iambic with hexameter lines, as in the Margites (fr. 1 West), Hegemon’s “improvised” iambic tag might not have been employed to critique the meter of epic as such.

In the Frogs, in contrast, tragic meter is centrally at issue. The range of stylistic features mocked and parodied in the contest extends beyond diction and syntax to include metrical line divisions characteristic of tragic antilabae. Having said that, it must be stressed that this scene is not as overtly parodic as, for example, the “anagnorisis” between Paphalgon and the Sausage-seller in the Knights (1229–52). [32] There is nonetheless a noteworthy oddity in the lêkythion apôlesen game cum antilabae between “Aeschylus” and “Euripides,” an oddity that may give a clue as to how the scene is to be interpreted. Except for one example of antilabê in the surviving plays of Aeschylus (which is technically wrong), [33] it is otherwise not attested. Many have noted the parodic use by “Aeschylus” of the lêkythion in virtue of its triviality and insignificance as an object; [34] and as a diminutive it already suggests a reversal of typical Aeschylean diction, which is explicitly defended by “Aeschylus” himself at 1058–60. [35] But by having “Aeschylus” engage “Euripides” in antilabê, the poets will not only take part in a stichomythic exchange reserved for characters in tragedy, they will do so according to a form developed after Aeschylus and found predominantly in Sophocles and Euripides. Without allowing this evidence to bear too much weight, it is as if Aristophanes’ “Aeschylus” is deprived in this scene of his characteristic stichomythic verse length along with his tragic diction, which therefore makes him more “modern” from “Euripides’” (and Aristophanes’) point of view. Such a “modernization” of “Aeschylus” is entirely apt in this scene because he is using modern (viz. Euripidean) trivialities against “Euripides” both at the level of diction (hence lêkythion), and now, through antilabae hemistichs, meter.

The entire exchange also operates, not unlike the stichomythic example we examined from Sophocles’ Electra, like a recognition scene. Each prologue of Euripides that is finished with lêkythion apôlesen brings “Euripides”—and Dionysus suggestively by 1234 and decisively by 1245—to the conclusion that “Aeschylus” is correct about the syntactic ambiguity of Euripides’ prologues. The scholarly debate over whether the lêkythion contains a sexual innuendo is not likely to be resolved any time soon, nor do I have anything decisive on this point to offer. But as Bain has shown quite clearly, [36] based on Dionysus’ reactions to “Aeschylus’” repetitions of the phrase, a sexual interpretation is difficult to assume and in several instances seems impossible (esp. at 1220–21, 1234–36, and 1242), though it need not be ruled out in principle. [37] Instead, what I hope to establish is that the syntactic ambiguity created by the participial enjambement in Euripides’ prologues is itself a feature exploited by many Greek verbal games. This connection further illustrates the degree to which tragedy in the classical period had incorporated earlier oral performance techniques into its dialogue structure. The mini-agôn gains an added measure of parody, if that is the appropriate term, or at least humor if we see that “Aeschylus” is criticizing Euripidean tragic style by means of engaging “Euripides” in a capping game that is structured like a tragic (antilabê) stichomythia. And the results are not left to the audience alone to decide. The proof of “Aeschylus’” claims against Euripides” that Dionysus had called for at 1180–81 has become painfully obvious by 1245–47. There Dionysus compares the lêkythion apôlesen tag to sties on the eye, only then sympathetically to turn the floor over to “Euripides” to offer critique, in a new contest, of “Aeschylus’” lyrics.


[ back ] 1. See Wallochny 1992:15–17 on Knights 367–74 and 691–727, Clouds 889–948, Acharnians 1071–1234. Also on the Acharnians passages, cf. Palumbo Stracca 1996.

[ back ] 2. Gross 1905:9.

[ back ] 3. Hesychius, s.v. ἀντιλαβαί.

[ back ] 4. West 1982:84. Because the line division in the Prometheus Bound example (980–81) occurs after the first foot of the first metron, it does not technically fit Hesychius’ definition that ἀντιλαβαί are constructed specifically from hemistichs.

[ back ] 5. Gross 1905:56.

[ back ] 6. West 1982:82–3.

[ back ] 7. E.g. Ajax 591–94, Oedipus at Colonus 652–56.

[ back ] 8. E.g. Medea 1396–97, Hippolytus 351, Andromache 1077; Alcestis 390 has hepthemimeral while 391 has penthemimeral division.

[ back ] 9. Cf. Prodicus’ dictum: πρῶτον περὶ ὀνομάτων ὀρθότητος μαθεῖν δεῖ “First one needs to learn about the correct usage of words” (Plato, Euthydemus 277e).

[ back ] 10. Dover 1993:10–37.

[ back ] 11. Navarre 1933:279.

[ back ] 12. Radermacher 1921:311 judged this correctly when he wrote, “der aristophanische Einfall ist eine originelle Ausgestaltung von Motiven und Wirkungen, die an sich nicht ungewöhnlich sind.” “The aristophanic idea is an original arrangement of motifs and effects that in themselves are not unusual.” Cf. Henderson 1972:140n25.

[ back ] 13. Radermacher 1921:310–11.

[ back ] 14. On Sophocles’ absence from the play, see Dover 1993:7–9.

[ back ] 15. Cf. έπαναστρέφειν ‘to reverse into the charge’ in Thucydides 4.130.6 and 8.105.3.

[ back ] 16. This concern is specifically addressed by the chorus at 1109–14.

[ back ] 17. Harrison 1923:12. Before him Radermacher 1921:311, who is not cited by Harrison, had already made the same observation.

[ back ] 18. E.g. Sider 1992:360.

[ back ] 19. Dover 1993 ad 1203.

[ back ] 20. Harrison 1923:11.

[ back ] 21. Gerö and Johnsson 2002 (with a good summary of earlier bibliography at p. 38 n1), Sider 1992 and Henderson 1972.

[ back ] 22. Navarre 1933:280 with n1, citing Plato, Charmides 161e (λήκυθον) and Demosthenes, Against Timocrates 114.

[ back ] 23. Both Navarre 1993:279 and Rau 1967:125 note the presence of participles, but do not discuss them in terms of enjambement.

[ back ] 24. See e.g. Alcestis 3 (cf. 5), Medea 1–4, Andromache 1–4, Suppliant Women 5, Electra 4–5, Trojan Women 1–2, Ion 5–6, Helen 1–3 (gen. absolute), Orestes 4–5. Based on this evidence and the prologues cited by Aristophanes, I fail to see how Navarre (1933:279) can conclude that “La plupart des prologues d’Euripide, en effet, ne présentent pas une telle uniformité.” “The majority of Euripides’ prologues really do not show such uniformity.”

[ back ] 25. Cf. the repetition of περὶ ἐμοῦ δ᾽ οὐδεὶς λόγος “no word about me” at Frogs 87, 107, 115. Other parallels cited in Dunbar 1995 ad 974–89.

[ back ] 26. See further Smith 1989:153 and passim.

[ back ] 27. Translation of this phrase by Henderson 2000.

[ back ] 28. Glei 1992:57. Hegemon’s fragments in Brandt 1888:37–49 and Degani 1983. His testimonia are discussed by Schrader 1865.

[ back ] 29. Householder 1944:3–4, 8; Lelièvre 1954:78–9; Glei 1992:50, 52 (with further bibliography at p. 50n39).

[ back ] 30. Paroem. Gr. I 406.65: Πέρδιξ γὰρ ἦν τις Ἀθήνησι χωλὸς κάπηλος, οὖ διαβεβοημένου Ἡγήμων ὁ Θάσιος ὁπότε παρῳδῶν ἀπορήσειε, προσετίθει, Καὶ τὸ Πέρδικος σκέλος. “Perdix was a lame retailer in Athens; because he [Perdix] was well-known, whenever Hegemon of Thasos hesitated during a parody, he added ‘and Perdix’s leg’.”

[ back ] 31. Hegemon records a victory over rhapsodes in Athens in the only fragment of his parodies to survive (Brandt p. 43, lines 9–10). The fragment is preserved by Polemon apud Athenaeus 698d–699a and Chamaeleon apud Athenaeus 406e–f.

[ back ] 32. For more on this scene, see Rau 1967:168–73.

[ back ] 33. Prometheus Bound 980–81, which shows in 980 the wrong word division after ὤιμοι (– –) in the first foot.

[ back ] 34. Bain 1983:36–7.

[ back ] 35. Here “Aeschylus” tells “Euripides” that ἀνάγκη | μεγάλων γνωμῶν καὶ διανοιῶν ἴσα καὶ τὰ ῥήματα τίκτειν. | κἄλλως εἰκὸς τοὺς ἡμιθέους τοῖς ῥήμασι μείζοσι χρῆσθαι “one must create expressions equal to big thoughts and ideas. And anyway it is fitting for demigods to use big expressions (1058–60).”

[ back ] 36. Bain 1985.

[ back ] 37. On this I agree with Sider 1992:361–62.