Νησαι in sophocles, fr. 439 R

Classical Quarterly 65 (2):881-882 (2015)
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Abstract

πέπλους τε νῆσαι λινογενεῖς τ’ ἐπενδύταςτε νῆσαιCanter: τε νίσαιPoll.A: τάνυσαιPoll.FSnêsaimantles and outer garments born of flaxGreek has three verbs νέω: ‘swim’, ‘spin’ and ‘heap up, pile’. The aorist infinitive of both and is νῆσαι. LSJ takes Sophocles, fr. 439 R. to be an instance of νέω. Pearson comments: ‘νῆσαι is loosely used for ὑϕαίνειν. The process of spinning, being preparatory to that of weaving, was apt to be regarded as part of the same operation rather than as a distinct art … Soph. probably had in mind η 96 πέπλοι | λεπτοὶ ἐΰννητοι βεβλήατο, ἔργα γυναικῶν’. Lloyd-Jones accordingly translates the fragment ‘to weave robes and tunics made of linen’.

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