Two scenes of combat in Euripides

Journal of Hellenic Studies 90:15-21 (1970)
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Abstract

The lines come from the messenger's speech describing the attack of the Delphians on Neoptolemus, a passage which I have discussed elsewhere in connexion with the tradition of Neoptolemus as inventor of the armed Pyrrhic dance. LSJ seem to be in several minds about the meaning and connexion of some of the words describing the missiles used by the Delphians. S.v. ‘σφαγεύς’, they give ‘sacrificial knife, spit’ uniquely of a word elsewhere meaning ‘slayer, murderer’, etc.. S.v. ‘βουπόρος’, they cite ἀμφωβόλοι σφαγῆς … βουπόροι ‘spitst fit to pierce an ox's throat’—i.e. taking σφαγῆς as gen. sing., rather oddly dependent on βουπόροι. S.v. ‘ἔκλυτος’, they quote this passage, again uniquely, in the sense ‘easy to let go, light, buoyant, of missiles’. This last seems even less likely than Wecklein's ohne Riemen or the Budé's doubles dards sans poignée, which presumably invoke a rather frigid contrast of the true javelins fitted with thongs and the spits, sharp at both ends, which were pressed into service of a similar sort, but of course had to be thrown without this attachment: but these implements could hardly be described as ἔκλυτοι of thongs which they never had at all in the first place!With Murray's punctuation, since a combination of a, b, c τε, d is scarcely credible, σφαγῆς βουπόροι is presumably not to be taken as the description of a separate type of weapon, but as an explanatory appositional phrase with ἀμφώβολοι. This interpretation is found in the schol, ὀβελίσκοι σφάττειν δυνάμενοι and followed by Hermann and Paley.

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