1–2 αὐτὴ νῦν κάματόν γε, θεά, καὶ δήνεα κούρης / Κολχίδος ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα, Διὸς τέκος· ‘You yourself, goddess, now tell of the suffering and plans of the Colchian girl, Muse, child of Zeus.’ The opening of Book 4 contains allusions that hint at how the poem might develop. A. may recall the invocations of both Iliad and Odyssey (Rossi (1968) 151–63) by combining θεά with Μοῦσα; cf. Il. 1.1 μῆνιν ἄειδε θεά and Od. 1.1 ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε Μοῦσα. Although the narrative of Medea’s love for Jason continues, the tone in Book 4 is primarily heroic, not erotic (cf. Acosta-Hughes (2010) 43–4 and Albis (1996) 93–4 on the Homeric echoes contained in this opening). Also, Priestley (2014) 176 mentions the possibility of links between the alternatives presented here – shameful flight and passion – and Herodotus’ Phoenician version of why Io left Argos (Hdt. 1.5.1–2). For other possible Herodotean influences on A. see nn. 257–93, 272–4. Κολχίδος ἔννεπε Μοῦσα could also be based on the opening words of the Odyssey, with θεά then used to describe the Muse as at Od. 1.10, and the substitution of Διὸς τέκος (cf. Il. 1.202, 2.157, Od. 4.762 = 6.324, Hom. Hym. 28.17, 31.1) for θύγατερ Διός of the same line. The allusion, however, may be more general. Μοῦσα often opens a poem; cf. Hom. Hym. 5.1–2, Hes. Op. 1–2. Callimachus probably began the fourth book of the Aetia Μοῦ]σαι μοι (Aet. fr. 86.1 Harder); see Finglass (2013) 4–5 on addresses to the Muse at the start of things. Yet the double allusion arma virumque cano (Virg. Aen. 1.1) argues that A.’s best interpreter (see Hunter (1993b) 170 n. 2, 170–89, Nelis (2001)) understood the allusion to be specifically Homeric. Other examples of split invocations are Theocr. 10.24–5 Μοῖσαι Πιερίδες . . . θεαί, Virg. Ecl. 10.70–2 divae . . . Pierides, Triph. 4 ἔννεπε, Καλλιόπεια, καὶ ἀρχαίην ἔριν ἀνδρῶν; see Harden and Kelly (2014) 8 on the conventions of the proem in archaic epic which A. may be deconstructing here. αὐτὴ νῦν stresses the link between the invocations of the Argonautica. At 1.1–2 ἀρχόμενος σέο, Φοῖβε, παλαιγενέων κλέα φωτῶν / μνήσομαι, the poet is the teller of the tale, at 3.1 παρά θ᾽ ἵστασο, καί μοι ἔνισπε he asks Erato to stand by his side, and finally here he abdicates responsibility for the narration: the anonymous Muse of Book 4 is to tell the tale on her own. It has been argued (Hunter (1987) 134, (1989) 95) that the unidentified Muse here is also Erato; however, the heroic allusions in the opening lines signal a change of tone (448n.). For vocative θεά in an address to the Muse cf. Il. 1.1, Od. 1.10, Thebais fr. 1 GEF, Stes. fr. 90 8–9 Finglass δεῦρ’ αὖτε θεὰ φιλόμολπε, Ar. Pax 816–7; plural at Il. 2.484–5, Lyr. Adesp. fr. 935.1 PMG. νῦν emphasises the immediacy of the song (cf. Il. 2.484 = 11.218 = 14.508 = 16.112, Hes. Th. 965–6, [Hes.] fr. 1.1–2 M–W, Bacchyl. 12.1–4. Pind. O. 9.5, fr. 52f. 58 S–M, Stes. fr. 100.9 Finglass; see id. (2013) 5 nn. 33, 39). Harder (LfgrE s.v. ἔννεπε) comments on the solemnity usually attached to this word. κάματος, frequently ‘physical toil’ or the resulting ‘weariness’ (2.673, 3.274, Od. 7.325), here describes human emotions, linking the opening of Book 4 with 3.288–9 καί οἱ ἄηντο / στηθέων ἐκ πυκιναὶ καμάτῳ φρένες, 3.961 Αἰσονίδης, κάματον δὲ δυσίμερον ὦρσε φαανθείς; cf. Sappho fr. 43.5–7 Voigt ἄκαλα κλόνει / [ ]κάματος φρένα / [ ]ε̣ κ̣ατισδάνε[ι where κάματος is linked in some way with the mind. Most importantly, κάματος denotes the suffering of disease (Hippocr. de Arte 3, Simon. fr. 8.9 IEG οὐδ᾽, ὑγιὴς ὅταν ᾖ, φροντίδ᾽ ἔχει καμάτου), a common way of viewing love (cf. Eur. Hipp. 476 with Barrett ad loc., Soph. Trach. 443, 491, 544 (Deianeira referring to Heracles’ passion for Iole as a disease), Theocr. 2.82–5 χὠς ἴδον, ὡς ἐμάνην / . . . / καπυρὰ νόσος ἐξεσάλαξε; see Cyrino (1995) 2 and passim, Faraone (2009) 44). The word is suitable for female suffering in what is a vaguely sexual context. γε emphasises κάματον as the alternative deemed to be more important (cf. K–G ii 509 quoting Hdt. 1.11 ἤτοι κεῖνόν γε, τὸν ταῦτα βουλεύσαντα, δεῖ ἀπόλλυσθαι, ἢ σέ, τὸν ἐμὲ γυμνὴν θεησάμενον and other examples; also Od. 1.10 τῶν ἁμόθεν γε, θεά, θύγατερ Διός, εἰπὲ καὶ ἡμῖν). The combination of δήνεα (cf. Od. 10.289 ὀλοφώια δήνεα Κίρκης) with κάματον alludes to Medea’s two-sided character; see Hunter (1987) and Dyck (1989) on the inconsistency alleged by critics. The Moon’s speech (57–65) develops this, ending with a parting shot echoing the first line: ‘although you are wise (καὶ πινυτή περ ἐοῦσα ∼ δήνεα κούρης), ‘you must suffer a sorrowful torment’ (πολύστονον ἄλγος ἀείρειν ∼ κάματον). For the lovesick maiden / witch character cf. Simaetha in Theocr. 2 and the woman in the Fragmentum Grenfellianum (text in Esposito (2005) 19–25). The two words also continue the ‘refracted’ (Acosta-Hughes (2010) 43) allusion to the beginning of the Odyssey. Both openings feature a single figure, enduring suffering and capable of ethically misguided judgments. A. makes this emergence from amatory to heroic mode more effective by self-quoting phrases used in an erotic context: κάματον δὲ δυσίμερον (3.961), in itself an implicit echo of Sappho (fr. 31 Voigt), is now used as part of a choice that is at once epic (4.1) and lyric (4.4). Κολχίς is used of Medea elsewhere in A. only at 4.689, though cf. Eur. Med. 131–3 ἔκλυον δὲ βοὰν / τᾶς δυστάνου / Κολχίδος, Hom. Hym. 5.1–2 Μοῦσά μοι ἔννεπε ἔργα πολυχρύσου Ἀφροδίτης, / Κύπριδος (cf. Κολχίδος at 4.2).
2–3ἦ γὰρ ἔμοιγε / ἀμφασίῃ νόος ἔνδον ἑλίσσεται ὁρμαίνοντι ‘For my mind within whirls in helplessness, as I debate.’ The poet now explains why he is appealing to the Muse to continue the story. Despite calling upon her after the style of both Homeric poems, he cannot choose between two possible motives for Medea’s leaving Colchis; his hesitation is cast in the form of a dubitatio (Quint. Inst. 9.12.9, [Cic.] Rhet. Her. 4.29.40; for examples cf. Hom. Hym. 3.19, Pind. P. 11.22–5, O. 2.2, Antagoras fr. 1 CA, Call. h. 1.5). In Book 3 she is, for the most part, infatuated with Jason, though there are moments when she feels doubt (e.g. 3.635–44). In 4.6–33, however, her love for Jason is overcome by her fear of her father because she has helped his enemy. Throughout these lines, Medea’s doubt mirrors that of the narrator. ἦ γὰρ ἔμοιγε (Il. 21.439, Od. 15.152) marks the change to a personal tone, as A. voices his doubts about Medea’s emotional state. A. uses ἀμφασίη of Medea’s astonishment at her first sight of Jason (3.284) and of her hesitation before finally deciding to help him (3.811). Here, Medea’s internal psychological struggle is also echoed in the poet’s inability to speak. This form of the word is rare in Homer (Il. 17.695, Od. 4.704) but ἀφασία occurs in tragedy (Eur. Hel. 549, Her. 515, IA 837). For νόος ἔνδον cf. Od. 24.474 εἰπέ μοι εἰρομένῃ, τί νύ τοι νόος ἔνδοθι κεύθει, 20.217–8 αὐτὰρ ἐμοὶ τόδε θυμὸς ἐνὶ στήθεσσι φίλοισι / πόλλ᾽ ἐπιδινεῖται. There is an elaborate development of the idea at [Aesch.] PV 881–2 κραδία δὲ φόβῳ φρένα λακτίζει. / τροχοδινεῖται δ᾽ ὄμμαθ᾽ ἑλίγδην (~ ἑλίσσεται), on which see Sansone (1975) 69. ἑλίσσω used of thought is not Homeric; but cf. Od. 20.23–4 τῷ δὲ μάλ᾽ ἐν πείσῃ κραδίη μένε τετληυῖα / νωλεμέως. ἀτὰρ αὐτὸς ἑλίσσετο ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα and later 28 ὣς ἄρ' ὅ γ' ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα ἑλίσσετο, μερμηρίζων. Pindar and Callimachus (cf. Vian (1981) 147) often create similar moments of excitement: Call Aet. fr. 43.85 Harder ἦ γάρ μοι θάμβος ὑπετρέφ[ετ]ο̣, Pind. P. 11.38–9 ἦ ῥ᾽, ὦ φίλοι, κατ᾽ ἀμευσιπόρους τριόδους ἐδινήθην, /ὀρθὰν κέλευθον ἰὼν τὸ πρίν; Both poets, like A., use emphatic particles to give more vigour to their statements. Similar examples of this emotional language are Arg. 2.248 νόος ἔνδον ἀτύζεται, 4.1061 ἀχέων εἱλίσσετο θυμός, 4.1673 ἐνὶ φρεσὶ θάμβος ἄηται.
4–5ἠὲ μιν ἄτης πῆμα δυσίμερου, ἦ τόγ' ἐνίσπω / φύζαν ἀεικελίην, ᾗ κάλλιπεν ἔθνεα Κόλχων. ‘whether I should call it the misery of an ill-starred infatuation or shameful panic, which was the reason for Medea’s leaving Colchis.’ With ὁρμαίνοντι / ἠὲ . . . ἦ . . . ἐνίσπω another nuance is added; cf. Finglass on Soph. Aj. 177–8 for examples and discussion of similar disjunctive interrogative or deliberative sentences. The indirect question construction, often introduced by ὁρμαίνω, is Homeric (cf. Il. 16.713–4, Od. 4.789–90, 15.300, 19.524–8), often of a warrior in a moment of doubt, not a poet worrying about his theme. Cf. particularly Il. 16.435–8 διχθὰ δέ μοι κραδίη μέμονε φρεσὶν ὁρμαίνοντι, / ἤ μιν . . . /. . . / ἦ, where Zeus is deciding Sarpedon’s fate: will he have an heroic death on the field of battle, or not? Hera provides the answer by insisting on Sarpedon’s death. At the opening of Book 4 the poet ponders which of two narratives he will follow – and again, Hera provides the answer, here by driving Medea to flight. A. portrays himself as being immersed in the psychological struggle that his character is undergoing and debates the decisions that he must make about his narrative in the manner of a warrior on the battlefield. Although the basic allusion is to a Homeric verbal pattern, the relationship implied between Muse and poet is different from that described explicitly at the beginning of the Catalogue of Ships (Il. 2.484–92). μιν . . . τόγ' (mss.) is supported against Fränkel’s (OCT) suggestion τόγ . . . μιν by Il. 16.435–6 (see above), Od. 15.304–6 πειρητίζων, / ἤ μιν ἔτ᾽ ἐνδυκέως φιλέοι μεῖναί τε κελεύοι / αὐτοῦ ἐνὶσταθμῷ κτλ. In A. μιν can be followed by some form of ὅ(γε) or vice versa in a disjunctive; cf. 1.212–16 τήνγε . . . μιν, 620–3 μιν . . . τὸν, 1.941–2 μιν . . . τό, 1.1118–20 τό . . . μιν, 2.745–6 μιν . . . τόν, 3.140–2 μιν . . . τήν, Fränkel (1968) 453. For ἄτης πῆμα δυσίμερου cf. Od. 3.152 Ζεὺς ἤρτυε πῆμα κακοῖο, 14.338 δύης ἐπὶ πῆμα γενοίμην, Soph. Aj. 363 πλέον τὸ πῆμα τῆς ἄτης τίθει, Phil. 765 τὸ πῆμα τοῦτο τῆς νόσου, Aesch. Ag. 850 πῆμ᾽ ἀποστρέψαι νόσου. Merkel’s ((1854) 205) conjecture δυσίμερου (for transmitted δυσίμερον) emphasises Medea’s infatuation, a theme already mentioned (3.961) and one to which she will return (4.412–3, 1080, 1082). It achieves an elegant arrangement of adjective and noun which seems typically Hellenistic (cf. 4.201 δῄων θοὸν ἔχμα βολάων, possibly originating from phrases such as Theogn. 343 κακῶν ἄμπαυμα μεριμνέων). For δυσίμερος (a coinage by A., here and 3.961) cf. δύσερως (Eur. Hipp. 193, Call. A.P. 12.73.6 = 1062 HE, Theocr. 1.85, 6.7, Posidipp. Epigr. 19.8 A–B with Williams (1969) 123). φύζα ἀεικελίη should be translated ‘shameful panic.’ The allusions to fear or general distress on Medea’s part in 11–29 provide the tacit answer to the question which A. asks in 2–5; cf. 4.360–2 ἐγὼ οὐ κατὰ κόσμον ἀναιδήτῳ ἰότητι / πάτρην τε κλέα τε μεγάρων αὐτούς τε τοκῆας / νοσφισάμην. At Il. 9.2 it is Φύζα Φόβου κρυόεντος ἑταίρη and elsewhere φύζα ἀνάλκις (Il. 15.62) and φύζα κακή (Od. 14.269 = 17.438), ‘rout’ or ‘the panic which follows the rout’. Aristarchus glossed the word as ἡ μετὰ δειλίας φυγή (p. 338 van Thiel). A. uses ἀεικελίος as a variation for κάκος; cf. 1.304 μίμνε δόμοις, μηδ᾽ ὄρνις ἀεικελίη πέλε νηί, with Il. 24.218–9 μηδέ μοι αὐτὴ / ὄρνις ἐνὶ μεγάροισι κακὸς πέλευ. For ἔθνεα Κόλχων cf. 2.1204–5 Κόλχων / ἔθνεα, 3.212 Κόλχων μυρίον ἔθνος, 4.646 ἔθνεα μυρία Κελτῶν, with Il. 11.724 ἔθνεα πεζῶν and Herodotus’ frequent πολλὰ ἔθνεα (plus genitive) used to describe the nations encountered on his travels (e.g. 3.98), Emped. fr. 35.24 D–K ἔθνεα μυρία θνητῶν, Theocr. 17.77 ἔθνεα μυρία φωτῶν, Simylus, elegiacus aet. inc.ap. Plut. Rom. 17.5 ἔθνεα μυρία Κελτῶν (perhaps Hellenistic: see Horsfall (1981) 303).
6–9ἤτοιὁμὲνδήμοιομετ᾽ἀνδράσιν,ὅσσοιἄριστοι / παννύχιοςδόλοναἰπὺνἐπὶσφίσιμητιάασκεν / οἷσινἐνὶμεγάροις, στυγερῷἐπὶθυμὸνἀέθλῳ / Αἰήτηςἄμοτονκεχολωμένος. ‘Aietes, together with the leading men of the people, spent all night devising sheer treachery against them in his palace, raging with anger in his heart at the outcome of the hated contest.’ The following narrative, picking up the end of Book 3 and also Aietes’ first Colchian assembly (cf. 4.7 with 3.578 ἀτλήτους Μινύῃσι δόλους καὶ κήδεα τεύχων and 3.1406 πορφύρων ~ 4.7 μητιάασκεν, 3.1407 ἦμαρ ἔδυ ~ 4.7 παννύχιος; see Clare (2002) 217–9 on the significance of the two assemblies) reflects the pattern of Medea’s experience: her fear of being discovered, ‘her sense of isolation from other young girls, the option of suicide, and finally Hera’s deflection of that option’ (Acosta-Hughes (2010) 45) and so this connection between the two books reflects the consistency that can be traced in her characterisation (1–2 n.). The threatening mood is increased by the delay of the name Αἰήτης (cf. 4.127–8, 4.912–14, 4.956–8, Theocr. 24.23–25, Hor. C. 3.7.5) and the use of oratio obliqua (cf. on A.’s use of indirect speech Hunter (1993b) 143–51 with Lightfoot (1999) 270–2 on its general use in literature and Finglass on Soph. El. 491 on the word ‘Erinys’ often similarly delayed in tragedy). Night is a dramatic time to plan revenge: cf. Od. 19.1–2 αὐτὰρ ὁ ἐν μεγάρῳ ὑπελείπετο δῖος Ὀδυσσεύς / μνηστήρεσσι φόνον σὺν Ἀθήνῃ μερμηρίζων and provides a backdrop for treachery as at John 13.30 λαβὼν οὖν τὸ ψωμίον ἐκεῖνος ἐξῆλθεν εὐθύς· ἦν δὲ νύξ; see Finglass on Soph. Aj. 285–7, below: παννύχιος and nn. on 4.47–9, 66–81. Aietes’ temper is emphasised from the first (2.1202) and its description can be of a violent nature (cf. 3.367–71, 3.396–400); cf. ὀλοόφρονος Αἰήταο (Od. 10.137). A. may be caricaturing the bad–tempered tyrants of Greek tragedy such as Creon, Oedipus and particularly Thoas in Euripides’ Iphigeneia in Tauris, whose plot bears great similarities to the Argonautica (189–205n.). Hunter (1991) 81–99 = (2008) 95–114 emphasises the barbarian element in his character and Williams (1996) finds him to be a character adhering to old-fashioned Homeric values (231–5n.). For μέν following an invocation cf. Il. 2.494, Od. 1.11, Arg. 3.6, Hes. Th. 115–6, 969, Denniston (1954) 389, 554. For μητιάασκεν / οἷσιν ἐνὶ μεγάροις cf. Od. 16.93–4 ἀτάσθαλα μηχανάασθαι / ἐν μεγάροις, Arg. 3.213 ἐν μεγάροις ἀέκητι σέθεν κακὰ μηχανάασθαι, and the similar 4.1070–1 κούρης πέρι μητιάασκον / οἷσιν ἐνὶ λεχέεσσι. Aietes’ gathering of his best men recalls Agamemnon’s council of war in the Doloneia; cf. Il. 10.197 αὐτοὶ γὰρ κάλεον συμμητιάασθαι and also 208 ἅσσα τε μητιόωσι μετὰ σφίσιν. A.’s use of μητιάασκεν might reflect a Homeric v.l. in one of these passages. For παννύχιος in the context of plotting cf. Il. 7.478–9 παννύχιος δέ σφιν κακὰ μήδετο μητίετα Ζεὺς / σμερδαλέα κτυπέων (66–9n.). For deliberation at night cf. Hdt. 7.12.2 νυκτὶ δὲ βουλὴν διδούς, Eur. Hcld. 994 νυκτὶ συνθακῶν ἀεί, Handley (2007) 95–100, Hall (2012) 153 with n. 31. For δόλον αἰπύν cf. Hom. Hym. 4.66 ὁρμαίνων δόλον αἰπὺν ἐνὶ φρεσίν, Od. 4.843 φόνον αἰπὺν ἐνὶ φρεσὶν ὁρμαίνοντες, Hes. Th. 589, Op. 83; also Od. 8.276 τεῦξε δόλον κεχολωμένος. The theme of δόλος is of prime importance in the story of Jason and Medea, particularly in their plot against Apsyrtus (cf. 4.421 μέγαν δόλον ἠρτύνοντο with nn. 70–4, 341–4, 404–5, 456–80). Although ἀνήρ δήμου is often contrasted in Homer and elsewhere with βασιλεύς, ἔξοχος ἀνήρ, οἱ ἄριστοι (Il. 2.188, 198, Hes. Op. 261, Hdt. 3.81, 5.66), cf. Il. 6.314 ἔτευξε σὺν ἀνδράσιν οἳ τότ᾽ ἄριστοι and 11.328 ἀνέρε δήμου ἀρίστω. Aietes’ initial plans against the Argonauts are similarly described; cf. 3.606–7 καί ῥ’ὁ μὲν ἄσχετα ἔργα πιφαύσκετο δημοτέροισιν / χωόμενος.
9–10οὐδ᾽ὅγεπάμπαν / θυγατέρωντάδενόσφινἑῶντελέεσθαιἐώλπει. ‘Nor was he at all imagining that these things were being accomplished without his daughters.’ Aietes’ daughters are implicated in the treachery by the intricate syntax. The word that denotes their deeds (τάδε), menacing because of its indefinite nature, is embedded in the phrase (θυγατέρων . . . νόσφιν ἑῶν) that implicates them in Medea’s escape. For τελέεσθαι ἐώλπει cf. τελέεσθαι ὀΐω (Il. 1.204, Od. 1.201 etc.). A. has substituted a rare form for the ordinary ὀΐω. Fränkel’s proposed alteration to τετελέσθαι is unnecessary since A. has ὀϊσσάμενος τελέεσθαι at 2.1135. The present infinitive adds drama to the description (Vian ad loc.). Aietes suspects that a plot is going on around him. τετελέσθαι does not occur elsewhere in the Argonautica, Iliad or Odyssey; see Campbell (1976) 337 n. 18 against Fränkel. The Alexandrians thought of ἐώλπει (Il. 19.328, Od. 20.328, 21.96, 24.313) as an imperfect; cf. Theocr. 25.115 οὐ γάρ κεν ἔφασκέ τις οὐδὲ ἐώλπει. Here it balances μητιάασκεν; cf. 3.370 with Campbell ad loc., ‘he was convinced’. This interpretation is contradicted by LSJ9 s.v. ἔλπω ii where it is explained as 3rd person singular pluperfect; see Marxer (1935) 8–36 on A.’s interpretations of Homeric verb forms.
11τῇδ᾽ἀλεγεινότατονκραδίῃφόβονἔμβαλενἭρη. ‘Into Medea’s heart, Hera cast most grievous fear.’ Via 6 ἤτοι ὁ μὲν . . . 11 τῇ δ᾽, A. contrasts the moods of Aietes and his daughter. For the gods’ role see Feeney (1991) 57–69, Hunter (1993b) 75–101, Knight (1995) 267–305. ἔμβαλεν is frequently used of inserting a thought or emotion into the mind; cf. 1.803, 2.865–6, Il. 17.118 θεσπέσιον γάρ σφιν φόβον ἔμβαλε Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων, Eur. Or. 1355 μὴ δεινὸν Ἀργείοισιν ἐμβάλῃ φόβον. Hera works through silent action or suggestion elsewhere in the Argonautica at 3.250, 818, 1184–5, 1199–1200; see Campbell (1983) 50–6, Mori (2012) 12.
12–13τρέσσενδ᾽, ἠύτετιςκούφηκεμάς, ἥντεβαθείης / τάρφεσινἐνξυλόχοιοκυνῶνἐφόβησενὁμοκλή. ‘She fled like a gentle fawn which, in the thickets of a deep wood, the baying of dogs has startled.’ A.’s simile has multiple points of comparison, tying it closely to the action (nn. 35–9, 139–42). The simile is typical of the Homeric battlefield; cf. Il. 11.546–51 τρέσσε δὲ παπτήνας ἐφ ὁμίλου θηρὶ ἐοικὼς / . . . / ὡς δ᾽ αἴθωνα λέοντα βοῶν ἀπὸ μεσσαύλοιο / ἐσσεύαντο κύνες (4.13∼ κυνῶν . . . ὁμοκλή) τε καὶ ἀνέρες ἀγροιῶται, / . . . / πάννυχοι ἐγρήσσοντες (4.7∼ παννύχιος δόλον αἰπύν), where Ajax, put to flight by Zeus, is likened to a lion driven from the fold by men and dogs. A. adapts this to fit Medea; so instead of the λεών, we have the κεμάς whose behaviour is more appropriate to the fearful heroine, though one who will later exhibit warrior characteristics (16–7n.) For the more timid animal cf. Il. 10.360–1 (Diomedes and Odysseus in pursuit of Dolon) ὡς δ᾽ ὅτε καρχαρόδοντε δύω κύνε εἰδότε θήρης / ἢ κεμάδ᾽ ἠὲ λαγωὸν ἐπείγετον ἐμμενὲς αἰεί. The timidity of deer is a frequent topos in Homer (Il. 11.473–81, 22.189–93). For ἠύτε τις κούφη κεμάς cf. τεθηπότες ἠύ̈τε νεβροί (Il. 4.243, 21.29) or πεφυζότες ἠύ̈τε νεβροί (22.1). On the interpretation of τρέσσεν (4.1522, 11.481, Il. 11.546, 17.603, Od. 6.138), see Nelis (1991) 250 who points out that τρεῖν was explained as the equivalent of φεύγειν in antiquity (Lehrs (1882) 78–82) and compares Virg. Aen. 4.72 (Dido described as a fleeing deer) illa fuga silvas saltusque peragat where Virgil’s use of fuga suggests that he understood A.’s simile to describe a fleeing deer. The usage recurs in lyric: Acosta-Hughes (2010) 45 compares Sappho fr. 58.15–6 βάρυς δέ μ’ ὀ [θ]ῦμο̣ς̣ πεπόηται, γόνα δ᾽ [ο]ὐ φέροισι, / τὰ δή ποτα λαίψηρ’ ἔον ὄρχησθ᾽ ἴσα νεβρίοισι (text in West (2005) 5). κεμάς is Homeric hapax (cf. Il. 10.361 quoted above). Callimachus explains his use of κέμας at h. 3.112 by the phrase (102) μάσσονες ἢ ταῦροι, ‘bigger than bulls’ (163 κεμάδας is similarly taken up by 167 ἐλάφοισι), perhaps emphasising that, since the word is used as a comparison for a full-grown man in the Iliad, it should not be used of a fawn or young deer. A. uses κεμάς three times and offers two interpretations. At 3.878–9 he copies Callimachus’ picture of Artemis’ chariot drawn by full-grown stags. However at 2.696 and here, κέμας means fawn; cf. Σ 2.696 (p. 181 Wendel) ἡλικία ἐλάφων, ‘the young (?) age of stags’, 4.12 (p. 262 Wendel) κέμας ἐστιν ἡ νέα ἔλαφος, Hesych. κ 2193 = i 459 Latte κεμάς· νεβρός, ἔλαφος· τινὲς δὲ δορκάς with De Jan (1893) 25, Erbse (1953) 177, 181 nn. 2, 3, Rengakos (1994) 102–3. For κούφη cf. Anacr. fr. 417.1–5 PMG πῶλε Θρηικίη . . . κοῦφά τε σκιρτῶσα παίζεις, Aesch. Eum. 111–13 ὁ δ᾽ ἐξαλύξας οἴχεται νεβροῦ δίκην / καὶ ταῦτα κούφως ἐκ μέσων ἀρκυστάτων / ὤρουσε (Clytemnestra describing Orestes’ escaping the ‘hounds of justice’, the Erinyes); also Eur. Alc. 584–6, El. 860–1 with Hunter (1993b) 66 n. 80. For ἥν τε βαθείης / τάρφεσιν ἐν ξυλόχοιο cf. Il. 5.554–5 (describing two Greek heroes, Crethon and Orsilochus) λέοντε δύω ὄρεος κορυφῇσιν / ἐτραφέτην ὑπὸ μητρὶ βαθείης τάρφεσιν ὕλης, 15.605–8 (of Hector being roused against the Greek ships 607 τὼ δέ οἱ ὄσσε ∼16 ἐν δέ οἱ ὄσσε, 608 λαμπέσθην ∼ πλῆτο πυρός), 16–17n. κυνῶν ἐφόβησεν ὁμοκλή alludes to a possible pursuit on Aietes’ part; cf. Aesch. Cho. 1054 ἔγκοτοι κύνες, Eum. 246–7 ὡς κύων νεβρὸν / πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σταλαγμὸν ἐκματεύομεν, with Finglass (2007) on Soph. El. 1388n. on the Erinyes described as dogs. A.’s simile has multiple points of comparison, tying it closely to the action (nn. 35–9, 139–42). For ὁμοκλή cf. Call. h. 4.158–9 ὑπ’ ὀμοκλῆς / πασσυδίῃ φοβέοντο, 231 αἰὲν ἑτοῖμα θεῆς ὑποδέχθαι ὀμοκλήν (referring to a hunting hound). For ἐφόβησεν cf. Il. 11.172–3 φοβέοντο βόες ὥς, / ἅς τε λέων ἐφόβησε, 11.544–50, Od. 16.162–3.
14–15αὐτίκαγὰρνημερτὲςὀΐσσατο,μήμινἀρωγὴν / ληθέμεν, αἶψαδὲπᾶσανἀναπλήσεινκακότητα. ‘For immediately she was quite sure that her help would not escape his attention and that at any moment she would suffer a terrible fate.’ Cf. Od. 19.390–1 αὐτίκα γὰρ κατὰ θυμὸν ὀΐσατο, μή ἑ λαβοῦσα / οὐλὴν ἀμφράσσαιτο καὶ ἀμφαδὰ ἔργα γένοιτο (another important secret is being revealed: Odysseus is worried that Eurycleia will recognise him from his hunting wound). The use of indirect speech to describe Medea’s fears and the vagueness of the vocabulary (ἀρωγήν and κακότητα at opposite ends of the subordinate clause cover a range of threatening possibilities) maintain the tension. Direct speech is saved for Medea’s farewell (30–3). ὀΐσσατο occurs in A. at 3.456, 1189; for ὀΐσατο cf. Od. 1.323, 9.213, 10.232, 19. 390, Hom. Hym. 2.391 with Fränkel (OCT) on 2.1135 for the mss. variation between –σσ and –σ in A. and Homer and the uncertainty of knowing what A. actually wrote. For ἀναπλήσειν κακότητα cf. Il. 8.34 κακὸν οἶτον ἀναπλήσαντες, 11.263, 15.132, Od. 5.207, 302, Hdt. 5.4 ἀναπλῆσαι κακά, ἔχει πᾶσαν κακότητα, Hippon. fr. 115.7 IEG πόλλ᾽ ἀναπλήσει κακά, Theogn. 500–1 IEG ἀνδρος δ᾽ οἶνος ἔδειξε νόον / καὶ μάλα περ πινυτοῦ· κακότητα δὲ πᾶσαν ἐλέγχει (∼ 65 καὶ πινυτή περ ἐοῦσα, πολύστονον ἄλγος ἀείρειν). The use of the four syllable abstract noun (rather than κακά) emphasises Medea’s possible fate.
16–17τάρβειδ᾽ ἀμφιπόλουςἐπιίστορας.ἐνδέοἱὄσσε / πλῆτοπυρός, δεινὸνδὲπεριβρομέεσκονἀκουαί· ‘She feared what her servants knew: her eyes filled with fire and there was a terrible roaring in her ears.’ A. shortens his phrases, marking the frantic nature of Medea’s mood, pointed by the repetition of π. ἐπιίστορας is Homeric hapax (Od. 21.26 μεγάλων ἐπιίστορα ἔργων). A. offers two interpretations (2.872 ἐπιίστορα νηῶν, 4.1558 ἐπιίστορα πόντου, ‘skilled in’ or ‘having knowledge of’ and 4.89 ‘having knowledge of’ in the sense of ‘being witness to something’). Here, A. uses the word absolutely with no qualifying phrase. The meaning is again ‘having knowledge of’ or ‘being witness to’; cf. Σ Od. 21.26 μεγαλουργὸν· ἐπὶ μεγάλοις ἱστορούμενον· ἐπιστήμονα, Hesych. ε 4826 = i 158 Latte ἐπιΐστορα· ἔμπειρον, ε 4761 = i 156 Latte ἐπιείστορε· ἐπιμάρτυρας. See Rengakos (1994) 87, 173–4 on ἐπιίστωρ, (2001) 203 on A.’s treatment of Homeric hapax and dis legomena and 228–30n. for ἐπιμάρτυρας similarly disputed. ἐν δέ οἱ ὄσσε . . . ἀκουαί mixes epic and lyric elements, referring both to Sappho fr. 31.11–2 Voigt (quoted below) and the Homeric battlefield. Rissman (1983) 72 discusses fr. 31 in terms of the application of ‘Homeric battle simile and terminology to lovers’; cf. Il. 15. 605–8 μαίνετο δ᾽ ὡς ὅτ᾽ Ἄρης ἐγχέσπαλος ἢ ὀλοὸν πῦρ / . . . βαθέης ἐν τάρφεσιν ὕλης / . . . τὼ δέ οἱ ὄσσε / λαμπέσθην βλοσυρῇσιν ὑπ᾽ ὀφρύσιν, 19.16–17, 365–7, Od. 5.151–2, 6.131–2, 10.247–8, 19.471–2, 20.348–9 where the reference to eyes is followed by a phrase saying that they were either full of fire or full of tears (e.g. Od. 4.704–5 δὴν δέ μιν ἀμφασίη ἐπέων λάβε τὼ δέ οἱ ὄσσε / δακρυόφι πλῆσθεν). At the beginning of line 17, instead of the expected tear formula, we get the description usually used of warriors (cf. 1.1296–7 (Telamon), 4.1437 (Heracles), 4.1543–5 (δρακών)). On fire in the eyes of Homeric warriors, see Lovatt (2013) 311–24. Women on the point of suicide are often described as having blood-shot eyes; e.g. Virg. Aen. 4.642–3 effera Dido / sanguineam volvere aciem. In descriptions of the eyes, fire and blood imagery are often combined; cf. 2.210 (of the serpents) ardentisque oculos suffecti sanguine et igne. Medea’s fear is changing into a desperation close to anger; cf. her denunciation of Jason (30–3). A. is allusively portraying the volatility of Medea’s character; cf. 3.973–4 γνῶ δέ μιν Αἰσονίδης ἄτῃ ἐνιπεπτηυῖαν / θευμορίῃ with the desperate threats uttered at the end of the scene (especially 3.1111–7). For subtle changes of emotion within a scene in Hellenistic poetry cf. Mosch. Eur. 145–6 (with Bühler’s note), and Theocr. 2 throughout. The epic flavour of δεινὸν δέ (Il. 3.337, 11.42, Od. 16.401, 22.124) contrasts with περιβρομέεσκον ἀκουαί, imitating Sappho fr. 31.10–12 Voigt χρῷ πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμηκεν, / ὀππάτεσσι δ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ἒν ὄρημμ’, ἐπιρρόμ / βεισι δ᾽ ἄκουαι (cf. for other compounds of this verb 4.240 ἐπιβομέειν πελάγεσσιν, 4.908 ἐπιβομέωνται ἀκουαί, 1.879 περιβρομέεσκον μέλισσαι and Catull. 51.10–11 sonitu suopte / tintinant aures for a later imitation). A. is either varying Sappho or knew another reading (περιρρόμβεισι / περιβρόμεισι for ἐπιρρόμβεισι; see Acosta-Hughes (2010) 45 n. 128, 238–40n.). For similar symptoms to those quoted by Sappho and A. cf. the Indian epic Bhagavad Gita (chapter 1.29–30 = Zaehner (1969) 117): ‘ . . . My limbs give way (beneath me) / My mouth dries up, and trembling / Takes hold upon my frame: / My body’s hairs stand up (in dread). / (My bow) Gandiva, slips from my hand, / my very skin is all ablaze; / I cannot stand, my mind seems to wander (all distraught)’; see D’Angour (2013) 59–72.
18–19πυκνὰδὲλαυκανίηςἐπεμάσσατο, πυκνὰδὲκουρὶξ / ἑλκομένηπλοκάμουςγοερῇβρυχήσατ᾽ἀνίῃ. ‘Often she clutched her throat and often pulling her hair out by the roots she screamed in sorrowful pain.’ For the anaphora cf. 4.358–9n., 3.1071 (πῇ), 3.1088–9 (πρῶτος); cf. for the whole phrase Colluth. 340–1 γοεραὶ μὲν ἐπιμύουσιν ὀπωπαί / πυκνὰ δὲ μυρομένης θαλεραὶ μινύθουσι παρειαί; also 391 πυκνὰ δὲ τίλλε κόμην. Perhaps the repetition of πυκνά is meant to recall ‘something of the iterative nature of the pathos of Sappho fr. 31’ (Acosta-Hughes (2010) 45 n. 129; see Markovich (1972) 21 on the subjunctive ἴδω (line 7), ‘whenever I look you’). For the combination of lament and self-beating cf. Soph. El. 88–9, Aj. 627–33 with Finglass ad loc. For the Homeric dis legomenonλαυκανίη (Il. 22.325, 24.642) the spelling λαυκ– is better attested, but, especially at 24.642, λευκ– is found; see West (2000) app. crit. At 2.192, mss., Σ (p. 141 Wendel) and testimonia unanimously read λευκ– , but at 4.18 λαυκ– is the more frequent reading. A. perhaps alludes to a Homeric zetema (Nagy (1996) 1) by using both forms (thus Rengakos (1993) 42, 135–6, (2002b) 148;). Arg. 2.192 would constitute A.’s allusion to Il. 24.642, both sharing the context of ‘feeding’, while Il. 22.325 and 4.18 refer to the neck per se; see Cuypers (1997) on 2.192. κουρίξ is Homeric hapax (Od. 22.188); cf. [Call.] fr. incerti auctoris 772.1 Pfeiffer κουρὶξ αἰνυμένους. A. adopts an interpretation later sanctioned by Aristarchus (ΣV = p. 384 Ernst) ὁ μὲν Ἀρίσταρχος τῆς κόμης ἐπιλαβόμενοι, ὁ δὲ Κράτης κουρίξ τὸ νεανικῶς, Apoll. Soph. s.v. κουρίξ· σημαίνει δὲ τὸ τῆς κόρης λαβέσθαι. ἔνιοι δὲ κουρικῶς, οἷον νεανικῶς). The use of κούρη (20) may be an indirect allusion to the interpretation κουρικῶς, οἷον νεανικῶς (Rengakos (1994) 177). The relationship between the two explanations is unclear. Did the Callimachean fragment continue κουρὶξ / αἰνυμένους [πλοκάμους] or is something is seized ‘in the fashion of a young man’? Although Pfeiffer thinks that the authorship of this fragment is doubtful, it would suit Theseus in the Hecale, which describes the hero’s youthful exploits (cf. fr. 236 Pfeiffer = fr. 10 Hollis). On A.’s relationship to the scholarship of Aristarchus see Rengakos (1994) 106, (2001) 201–2. ἑλκομένη πλοκάμους creates a chiasmus with the beginning of 21; cf. 28 and the variatio between 28 and 30, πλόκαμον ∼ πλόκον (for which see below). Pulling out the hair is a demonstration of grief from Homer onwards (Il. 10.15, 22.77–8, 22.405–6, Val. Flacc. 8.7–8, Triphiod. 374, Nonn. D. 1.127, 34.224, 35.370, with Finglass on Soph. Aj. 627–33). There is also early evidence from Geometric art: the Dipylon krater (c. 750–35 B.C., Accession number: 14.130.14, Metropolitan Museum, New York) shows women tearing out their hair in grief. βρυχήσατ᾽ is properly used of a lion according to Hesych. β 1278 = i 352 Latte βρυχέται· μαίνεται βρυχήσεσθαι ὡς λέων. Cf. particularly Soph. Tr. 904 (of Deianeira) βρυχᾶτο μὲν βωμοῖσι προσπίπτουσ᾽. Sophocles’ audience must have been shocked to hear the word used of a woman; cf. 1070–2 οἴκτιρόν τέ με / πολλοῖσιν οἰκτρόν, ὅστις ὥστε παρθένος / βέβρυχα κλαίων. It is used to liken Ajax to a bull at Soph. Aj. 322 (with Finglass ad loc.), and in the Iliad mostly of the death–cry of wounded men (cf. 13.392–3 κεῖτο τανυσθεὶς / βεβρυχώς).
20–1καίνύκεναὐτοῦτῆμοςὑπὲρμόρονὤλετοκούρη / φάρμακαπασσαμένη. ‘There and then the young girl would have killed herself by taking poison.’ Cf. Od. 5.436–7 ἔνθα κε δὴ δύστηνος ὑπὲρ μόρον ὤλετ᾽ Ὀδυσσεύς, / εἰ μὴ ἐπιφροσύνην δῶκε γλαυκῶπις Ἀθήνη. For καί νύ κεν cf. Il. 5.311–2 καί νύ κεν ἔνθ᾽ ἀπόλοιτο . . . Αἰνείας, / εἰ μὴ ἄρ’ ὀξὺ νόησε . . . Ἀφροδίτη; similar are 5.388–9, 8.90–1. For φάρμακα πασσαμένη cf. Il. 5.401 ὀδυνήφατα φάρμακα πάσσων, 5.900, 11.515, 11.830. In Homer φάρμακα πάσσων means ‘sprinkle medicines’; A. produces a variation by using πατέομαι ‘I taste’ (thus Belloni (1979) 69). For a heroine in Greek mythology contemplating or committing suicide, a rope or sword is a more common method; cf. 3.789–90 τεθναίην, ἢ λαιμὸν ἀναρτήσασα μελάθρῳ / ἢ καὶ πασσαμένη ῥαιστήρια φάρμακα θυμοῦ with Eur. Tro. 1012–14 ποῦ δῆτ᾽ ἐλήφθης ἢ βρόχοις ἀρτωμένη / ἢ φάσγανον θήγουσ’, ἃ γενναία γυνὴ / δράσειεν ἂν ποθοῦσα τὸν πάρος πόσιν;. Hanging is an exclusively female means of death in tragedy (Loraux (1991) 8). However it is natural that Medea, as a woman skilled in drugs, contemplates poison as means of taking her life.
21–3Ἥρηςδ᾽ἁλίωσεμενοινάς / εἰμήμινΦρίξοιοθεὰσὺνπαισὶφέβεσθαι / ὦρσενἀτυζομένην ‘and frustrated the desires of Hera, had not the goddess made her decide to flee in fear with the sons of Phrixos.’ The suspense of this part of the conditional is heightened by its rhetoric and word order (Φρίξοιο θεὰ σὺν παισί literally implicates the sons of Phrixos in the goddess’s machinations). The sentence structure previously used to describe the preservation of such heroes as Aeneas and Odysseus on the battlefield (see above) is now used of a panic-stricken girl; cf. φέβεσθαι (Il. 6.41, 21.4 ἀτυζόμενοι φοβέοντο) and ἀτυζομένην, used again of Medea at 4.39 in the ‘slave-girl’ simile.
23–4πτερόειςδέοἱἐνφρεσὶθυμὸς / ἰάνθη. ‘Her fluttering heart within her chest was calmed.’ πτερόεις is applied to ὀϊστοί (Il. 5.171), κεραυνός (Ar. Av. 576), ἔπεα (Il. 1.201), ὕμνον (Pind. I. 5.63), τροχῷ (Pind. P. 2.22), φυγάν (Eur. Ion 1238), but nowhere else to θυμός. Usually the adjective denotes something moving quickly in a definite direction, but here A. seems to be thinking of ἀναπτερόω which can mean metaphorically ‘excite’ or ‘make agitated’ (cf. Eur. Supp. 89 ὡς φόβος μ᾽ ἀναπτεροῖ, Or. 876). For similar verbs denoting mental agitation in an erotic context cf. Alcaeus fr. 283.3–5 Voigt κ’Αλένας ἐν στήθ[ε]σιν [ἐ]πτ[όαις] / θῦμον Ἀργείας Τροΐω δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἄν[δρι / ἐκμάνεισα, Sappho fr. 22.13–4 Voigt ἀ γὰρ κατάγωγις αὔτ̣α[ / ἐπτόαισ’ ἴδοισαν, 31.5–6 καὶ τό μ’ ἦ μὰν / καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόαισεν, (for πτοέω see Rissman (1983) 110 n. 22, O’Higgins (1990) 158 = Greene (1996b) 70), 47.1–2 Ἔρος δ᾽ ἐτίναξέ μοι / φρένας and Bacchyl. 3.74–6 Maehler βραχ[ύς ἐστιν αἰών·] / [πτερ]όεσσα δ᾽ ἐλπὶς ὑπ[ολυει ν]όημα / [ἐφαμ]ερίων, Mosch. Eros drapetes 15–6 νόος δέ οἱ ἐμπεπύκασται / καὶ πτερόεις ὅσον ὄρνις ἐφίπταται ἄλλον ἐπ’ ἄλλῳ. Although φρεσὶ θυμὸς ἰάνθη and its variations occur in Homer as clausulae (Il. 23.600, 24.321, Od. 15.165), the only place with matching metrical quantity and enjambment is Il. 23.597–8 τοῖο δὲ θυμὸς / ἰάνθη (Od. 22.58–9 σὸν κῆρ / ἰανθῇ, Il. 15.103); cf. 2.306, 3.1019, 4.1591–2, Theocr. 2.82, 27.70, Call. Aet. fr. 80.8 Harder, Mosch. Eur. 72, [Mosch.] Megara 1. The rhythm is striking: a molossus (– – –) followed by dactyls to denote the speed with which she transfers the drugs; see Mooney (1912) 412.
24–5μετὰδ᾽ἥγεπαλίσσυτοςἀθρόακόλπῳ / φάρμακαπάντ᾽ἄμυδιςκατεχεύατοφωριαμοῖο. ‘and then in a sudden rush she poured all the drugs back from the casket into the fold of her dress.’ Medea is a φαρμακίς like Simaetha in Theocr. 2; cf. 161 τοῖά οἱ ἐν κίστᾳ κακὰ φάρμακα φαμὶ φυλάσσειν. There are parallels between this passage and 3.803–24, where her taking down this chest seems to presage an imminent death. As she replaces it, she resolves to live, a decision brought about by Hera. At 4.24–5, again under the influence of Hera (21), she takes the drugs from the chest, an action which symbolises her decision to live. The box is left behind, in the same way as the lock of hair. The separation of drugs from their coffer is a metaphor for the separation of magician from her native land. It is at Hera’s suggestion that Medea is first consulted (3.27) because she is πολυφάρμακος. Hera, Medea and drugs remain a recurrent theme. πολυφάρμακος also connects Medea with Circe, her aunt (Od. 10.276): ‘Circe, enchantress of many drugs is also the . . . most successful and most dangerous practitioner of erotic seduction. Her thelxis is simultaneously magical and erotic’ (Segal (1996) 62). ἀθρόα . . . πάντ᾽ ἄμυδις combines two Homeric phrases: ἀθρόα πάντα (Il. 22.271, Od. 1.43, 2.356) and πάντ᾽ ἄμυδις (Il. 12.385, Od. 12.413); cf. 4.666 ἀθρόα φάρμακ' ἔδαπτεν. The phrase emphasises that, as she prepares for flight, she is taking all her most precious possessions, packed into the capacious pocket of her chiton (cf. Gow on Theocr. 16.16, S. West on Od. 3.154 for κόλπος used of this pocket). Later in this description of her escape she does not appear to be carrying a chest (44–6). κόλπῳ is Platt’s emendation of transmitted κόλπων (Platt (1914) 37; cf. Il. 6.136 Θέτις δ᾽ ὑπεδέξατο κόλπῳ, Arg. 3.155 ἀριθμήσας βάλε κόλπῳ, 3.542 ἔμπεσε κόλποις, 3.867, Val. Flacc. 8.17–9 prodit medicamina cistis / virgineosque sinus ipsumque monile venenis / implicat. Livrea’s defence of mss. κόλπων ((1973) ad loc. and (1983) 421) as a genitive of destination, with φωριαμοῖο as a genitive of origin produces a clumsy sentence not supported by his chosen parallels (Il. 23.281–2 ὑγρὸν ἔλαιον / χαιτάων κατέχευε, Od. 22.88 κατ᾽ ὀφθαλμῶν δ᾽ ἔχυτ᾽ ἀχλύς). The middle of καταχέω is not Homeric; apparently first at Hes. Op. 583, though cf. Od. 5.487 χύσιν δ᾽ ἐπεχεύατο φύλλων, then Call. h. 6.5, fr. 69.11 Hollis and for the present phrase Euphorion fr. 15c.1 Lightfoot βλαψίφρονα φάρμακα χεῦεν.
26–7 κύσσε δ᾽ ἑόν τε λέχος καὶ δικλίδας ἀμφοτέρωθεν / σταθμούς καὶ τοίχων ἐπαφήσατο. ‘She kissed her bed and the double posts on both sides and touched the walls.’ This scene is foreshadowed at 3.635–64. The kiss (Hawley (2007) 12) is one of farewell to her family and the life, symbolised by the bedroom (and its structural elements) that she has known as an unmarried girl; for kissing or handling the door-posts in farewell cf. Virg. Aen. 2.490 amplexaeque tenent postes atque oscula figunt, Val. Flacc. 2.168–9 oscula iamque toris atque oscula postibus ipsis / ingeminant. Alcestis, in contrast to Medea, sees her bed as a symbol of her married life, as she prepares to die for her husband; cf. Eur. Alc. 175–7 κἄπειτα θάλαμον ἐσπεσοῦσα καὶ λέχος / ἐνταῦθα δὴ ’δάκρυσε καὶ λέγει τάδε· / ὦ λέκτρον ἔνθα παρθένει᾽ ἔλυσ’ ἐγώ, 183–4 κυνεῖ δὲ προσπίτνουσα, πᾶν δὲ δέμνιον / ὀφθαλμοτέγκτῳ δεύεται πλημμυρίδι. Medea herself will seek revenge for the sake of her bridal bed (Eur. Med. 999 νυμφιδίων ἔνεκεν λεχέων, 1354 σὺ δ᾽ οὐκ ἔμελλες τἄμ’ ἀτιμάσας λέχη); cf. Soph. Trach. 920–1 (Deianeira marking Heracles’ abandonment of her by a suicide carried out in a place that epitomises her married life) ὦ λέχη τε καὶ νυμφεῖ᾽ ἐμά, / τὸ λοιπὸν ἤδη χαίρεθ᾽, (~ 4.32 χαίροις), ὡς ἔμ’ οὔποτε δέξεσθ᾽ ἔτ᾽ ἐν κοίταισι ταῖσδ᾽ εὐνάτριαν, OT 1241–3 (Jocasta similarly carries out her suicide in her bedroom) παρῆλθ᾽ ἔσω / θυρῶνος, ἵετ᾽ εὐθὺς ἐς τὰ νυμφικὰ / λέχη, κόμην σπῶσ᾽ ἀμφιδεξίοις ἀκμαῖς (~ 4.28 ῥηξαμένη πλόκαμον), Virg. Aen. 4.650 (Dido sees her bed as epitomising the marriage that she thought she had) incubuitque toro dixitque novissima verba. The common context is the importance of the thalamos in a woman’s life; see Loraux (1987) 23-4, discussing the connection between marriage, death and the marriage chamber. The bedroom and the bed continue to be an important motif in later erotic writing; cf. Prop. 2.15.1–2 o tu / lectule deliciis facte beate meis, Plut. De Garrul. 513F οὕτω καὶ τοῖς ἐρωτικοῖς ἡ πλείστη διατριβὴ περὶ λόγους μνήμην τινὰ τῶν ἐρωμένων ἀναδιδόντας· οἵ γε κἂν μὴ πρὸς ἀνθρώπους, πρὸς ἄψυχα περὶ αὐτῶν διαλέγονται· ὦ φιλτάτη κλίνη and, in imitation of A., Nonn. D. 4.204–5 τυκτὰ πολυγλυφέων ἠσπάσσατο κύκλα θυράων / ἄπνοα καὶ κλιντῆρα καὶ ἕρκεα παρθενεῶνος. In the paradosis δικλίδας must agree with the σταθμούς. In this context, σταθμός apart from a reference in the Septuagint (LXX 4 Ki.12.9) always means ‘doorpost’. Homer always uses δικλίδες with words like θύραι (Od. 17.268, Arg. 1.786–7), πύλαι (Il. 12.455), σανίδες (Od. 2.345) to mean ‘double doors’. δικλίς, singular or plural, with or without a noun, is used of ‘a double or folding door’ (3.235–6 πολλαὶ / δικλίδες εὐπηγεῖς θάλαμοί τ᾽ ἔσαν ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα, Hesych. δ 1827 = ι 458 Latte δικλίδες· θύραι, Asclep. A.P. 5.145.1 = 860 HE and see Gow on Theocr. 14.42). This makes ‘double door posts’ a difficult phrase; cf. 1.786–7 ἄνεσαν δὲ πύλας προφανέντι θεράπναι / δικλίδας, εὐτύκτοισιν ἀρηρεμένας σανίδεσσιν, with LSJ9 s.v. σάνις 1 and 6b. Although A. takes a delight in varying Homeric phraseology, it seems foreign to his practice to create a formula so different from the Homeric context; see Fantuzzi and Hunter (2004) 266–74 on the nature of A.’s adaption of Homeric style and language. Campbell (1971) 418 conjectured δικλίδος, offering two parallels, Aratus 193 and Theocritus 14.42, the latter a conversational passage, with a colloquial tone unlike A.’s more Homerically influenced diction.
27–9χερσίτεμακρὸν / ῥηξαμένηπλόκαμονθαλάμῳμνημήϊαμητρὶ / κάλλιπεπαρθενίης, ἀδινῇδ᾽ ὀλοφύρατοφωνῇ. ‘and tearing away in her hands a long tress of hair, she left it in her bed chamber as a memorial of her maidenhood for her mother and lamented with a grieving voice.’ Although the background to this scene is traditional, that of a young girl leaving the family home and making a ritual dedication (cf. [Archil.] A.P. 6.133.1–2 = 536–7 FGE Ἀλκιβίη πλοκάμων ἱερὴν ἀνέθηκε καλύπτρην / Ἥρῃ, κουριδίων εὖτ᾽ ἐκύρησε γάμων, Call. h. 4.296–8, Eur. IT 820), Medea’s gesture is more violent because she is a bride embarking on a formal ceremony against her will, as the words of her farewell show. Her dedication of the lock to her mother, rather than to a deity, provides a dramatic subject for her first reported words. For the wider tradition of sacrificing hair to procure a good outcome, see Harder (2012) 803, quoting in particular Il. 23.140–1 (where Achilles sacrifices a lock of hair to Patroclus), Vian (1981) 148. The dedication of a lock also recalls Callimachus’ Coma Berenices (fr. Aet. 110–110f Harder; see Fantuzzi and Hunter (2004) 85–8, 87 n. 179, Acosta-Hughes (2007), (2010) 48). Both poets use the image of ‘involuntary separation’ (30–2n. λιποῦσα). Callimachus is attempting a clever literary conceit – the lock leaves its owner behind and speaks about its action, while A. uses the idea to raise the emotional level of Medea’s speech. The contrast is the same as that between Catull. 66.39 invita, o regina, tuo de vertice cessi and Virg. Aen. 6.460 invitus, regina, tuo de litore cessi, ‘a locus classicus of literary allusion’ (Wills (1998) 278; see Harder (2012) 811 and Pellicia (2010–11)). Although the Callimachean original is fragmentary (fr. Aet. 110 39–40) plausible reconstructions have been made, e.g. ἄκων ὦ βασίλεια, σέθεν κεφαλῆφιν ἀπῆλθον, fitting well with the following line, which is largely preserved, viz. ἄκων,] σήν τε κάρην ὤμοσα σόν τε βίον (Barber (1936) 351). If Medea’s speech is influenced by Callimachus, it is tempting to see 4.30 as another allusion to the missing line. The situation is reversed, with Medea’s abandoning the lock, this being emphasised by ἀντ᾽ ἐμέθεν, and εἶμι λιποῦσα, the equivalent of its later imitators’ cessi. For more possible allusions to Coma Berenices see 57–65n. A. uses the motif of unwilling departure more explicitedly at 4.1021–2 μὴ μὲν ἐγὼν ἐθέλουσα σὺν ἀνδράσιν ἀλλοδαποῖσιν / κεῖθεν ἀφωρμήθην; see 30–2n. on λιποῦσα. For ῥηξαμένη πλόκαμον cf. ἑλκομένη πλοκάμους and Soph. OT 1243 κόμην σπῶσ᾽ ἀμφιδεξίοις ἀκμαῖς but the word seems excessively violent for the removal of some hair (cf. more usually φάλαγγα (Il. 6.6), τεῖχος (Il. 12.198), πύλας (Il. 13.124), πρότονους (Od. 12.409)). It has been emended (τμηξαμένη – Maas OCT, Vian (1981) ad loc.) but the text is a sound, if daring, experiment in language, conveying emotion by suggesting an act of violence and continuing the use of heroic language for Medea’s situation (16–17n.); see Livrea (1983) 421 in support of ῥηξαμένη and cf. Aesch. Pers. 199 Ξέρξης, πέπλους ῥήγνυσιν ἀμφὶ σώματι, 468. If ῥήγνυσθαι can describe the ‘rending of clothes’ as a sign of grief, ‘rending of hair’ seems possible here. The influence of δαΐζω may also be felt; cf. 18.27 φίλῃσι δὲ χερσὶ κόμην ᾔσχυνε δαΐζων, and Nonn. D. 5.375 καὶ πλοκάμους ἐδαΐζεν, ὅλον δ᾽ ἔρρηξε χιτῶνα; also Virg. Aen. 12.870 infelix crinis scindit Iuturna solutos, Ov. Met. 11.683, Her. 3.79, Tibull. 1.10.55. μνημήϊα μητρί is an Ionicism; cf. Hdt. 2.135 ἐπεθύμησε γὰρ Ῥοδῶπις μνημήϊον ἑωυτῆς ἐν τῇ Ἑλλάδι καταλιπέσθαι ( 2.126), Eur. Ba. 6 μητρὸς μνῆμα, Or. 798 μητέρος μνῆμα, Boesch (1908) 23, 43–7. While μνημήϊον often refers to a permanent memorial left by, or in honour of people after their deaths, its use here underlines the extreme nature of the action that Medea is taking in cutting herself off from her family. For a farewell to παρθενίη cf. Sappho fr. 114.1 Voigt παρθενία, παρθενία, ποῖ με λίποισα (~ 30 λιποῦσα) †οἴχηι, Eur. Alc. 176–7 ἐνταῦθα δὴ ’δάκρυσε καὶ λέγει τάδε·/ ὦ λέκτρον ἔνθα παρθένει᾽ ἔλυσ’ ἐγώ, and Medea’s concern with her παρθενίη at 3.640; see Calame (1999) 126 on παρθενία and νύμφη as two formal stages of marriage. Medea’s words are an ironic twist on such statements as her relationship with Jason only achieves a degree of formality at 4.95–100 when he makes an offer of marriage, the motives for which are a mixture of sympathy and self-interest. There may be a reference to Call. Aet. fr. 110.7 Harder ἧς ἄπο, παρ[θ]ενίη μὲν ὅτ᾽ ἦν ἔτι with Harder ad loc., quoting Hes. Op. 518–20. For ἀδινῇ δ᾽ ὀλοφύρατο φωνῇ cf. 3.635 ἀδινὴν δ᾽ ἀνενείκατο φωνήν, Il. 19.314 ἁδινῶς ἀνενείκατο φώνησέν τε. The word ἀδινός describes lamentation and grief; cf. Silk (1983) 323–4 on the concept of the ‘iconym’, ‘a word which has become obsolete’ and in which it is ‘barely possible to separate the question of meaning from the effect’ and Tsagalis (2004) 55 comparing Il. 24.747 τῇσιν δ᾽ αὖθ᾽ Ἑκάβη ἁδινοῦ ἐξῆρχε γόοιο with 761 τῇσι δ᾽ ἔπειθ᾽ Ἑλένη τριτάτη ἐξῆρχε γόοιο to show how easily ἀδινός may be replaced by a more significant word in a formulaic phrase. The definitions of ἀδινός given by LSJ9 (close, thick, crowded, thronging, vehement, loud) show the impossibility of classifying such a word.
30–2τόνδετοιἀντ᾽ ἐμέθενταναὸνπλόκονεἶμιλιποῦσα / μῆτερἐμή.χαίροιςδὲκαὶἄνδιχαπολλὸνἰούσῃ, / χαίροιςΧαλκιόπη, καὶπᾶςδόμος. ‘I go leaving this flowing lock for you instead of me, my mother. Farewell as I depart on a long journey. Farewell, Chalkiope and all my home!’ In 6–29 A. has adopted a voice similar to that of a messenger in tragedy, describing the last moments of a main character. Medea now speaks directly, increasing the drama of the moment. Eur. Alc. 175–7 (quoted 26–7n.) displays the same technique. For ταναός πλόκος cf. Eur. Ba. 455 πλόκαμός τε γάρ σου ταναός, 831 κόμην μὲν ἐπὶ σῷ κρατὶ ταναὸν ἐκτενῶ, 494 ἱερὸς ὁ πλόκαμος with Acosta-Hughes and Stephens (2012) 94–5, fr. 554b TrGF ὦ ταναὸς αἰθήρ (O outspread heaven), ‘Flowing hair’ is a characteristic of the ‘bacchant’, first mocked by Pentheus as effeminate and exotic but later adopted by him. Here the phrase connects Medea with the exoticism of Dionysos, even though as a woman, it would be natural for her to have long hair. Schaaf (2014) 223–47 argues that A. invokes the imagery of Maenadism to convey Medea’s troubled state of mind. For possible allusions to Callimachus’ Coma Berenices see 27–9n., and for the variation πλόκαμον ~ πλόκον cf. Damagetus A.P. 6.277.2, 4 = 1376, 1378 HE. λείπω and its cognates are a recurrent feature of the theme of unwilling departure. The archetypal passages are Sappho fr. 94.5 Voigt Ψάπφ’, ἦ μάν σ’ ἀέκοισ’ ἀπυλιμπάνω, the ironic Archil. fr. 5.2 IEG κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων (of his shield left on the battlefield), and Eur. Alc. 386 (Αδ.) ἀπωλόμην ἄρ’, εἴ με δὴ λείψεις, γύναι, 390 (Αλ.) οὐ δῆθ᾽ ἑκοῦσά γ’· ἀλλὰ χαίρετ᾽, ὦ τέκνα,; see Pelliccia (2010–11) 156–62 and add Eur. Phoen. 1738 λιποῦσ᾽ ἄπειμι πατρίδος ἀποπρὸ γαίας, which Tsagalis (2008) 269 compares to the language of a fourth century Attic epitaph. It retains something of that nature here. The verb represents one of the expected elements of the scene, which Medea’s exceptional gestures (28 ῥηξαμένη πλόκαμον) and language (32–3) distort and fracture. The statement χαίροις also characterises the departure as in Sappho fr. 94.6–8 Voigt τὰν δ᾽ ἔγω τάδ᾽ ἀμειβόμαν / χαίροισ’ ἔρχεο κἄμεθεν (~ ἀντ᾽ ἐμέθεν) / μέμναισ’, οἶσθα γὰρ ὤς σε πεδήπομεν and also Eur. Alc. 177–8 ὦ λέκτρον . . . / χαῖρ᾽, Tro. 458 χαῖρέ μοι, μῆτερ, δακρύσῃς μηδέν· ὦ φίλη πατρίς (Cassandra saying ‘farewell’ to her mother as she is taken from her native land). Pelliccia (2010–11) 160 discusses the wider tradition in which the word is often closely associated with μιμνήσκω. For the two words combined cf. Od. 8.461–2 χαῖρε, ξεῖν’, ἵνα καί ποτ᾽ ἐὼν ἐν πατρίδι γαίῃ / μνήσῃ ἐμεῖ’ where the tone of Nausicaa’s speech is poignant and nostalgic compared with Medea’s bitterness here. For πᾶς δόμος, marking Medea’s intention to split from her entire family cf. Eur. Med. 113–4 παῖδες ὄλοισθε στυγερᾶς ματρὸς / σὺν πατρί, καὶ πᾶς δόμος ἔρροι. Chalciope is mentioned particularly because of the complex interplay between the two sisters in Book 3 (3.674–740; see De Forest (1994) 114–17 on the way they attempt to manipulate one another, while masking this with Homeric allusions; cf. 3.732–3 ὧς δὲ καὶ αὐτὴ / φημὶ κασιγνήτη τε σέθεν κούρη τε πέλεσθαι with 4.368–9n.).
32–4αἴθε σε πόντος, / ξεῖνε, διέρραισεν, πρὶν Κολχίδα γαῖαν ἱκέσθαι. / ὧς ἄρ’ ἔφη, βλεφάρων δὲ κατ᾽ ἀθρόα δάκρυα χεῦεν. ‘Would that the sea had destroyed you, stranger, before you arrived in Colchis. So she spoke, and abundant tears poured down from her eyes.’ This is an echo of the ‘might-have-been’ thought from the opening of the Medea (Eur. Med. 1–15) which has its origin in Od. 18.401–2 (the suitors discussing Odysseus in disguise as a beggar) αἴθ᾽ ὤφελλ᾽ ὁ ξεῖνος ἀλώμενος ἄλλοθ᾽ ὀλέσθαι / πρὶν ἐλθεῖν. It was later much imitated; Enn. Medea Exul fr. 208–9 Jocelyn, Catull. 64.171–2, Virg. Aen. 4.657, Ov. Her. 12.9–10. Medea’s words are an expression of the common ancient wish to trace the origin of troubles back to an archē kakōn (e.g. the Judgment of Paris); see Finglass on Soph. Aj. 282 and Mastronarde (2010) 123–4, 134, 140. Medea mentions Jason for the first time in Book 4, addresses him as ξεῖνε (88–90n.) and curses him. Her first appeal for help is to the sons of Phrixos (4.71–2) to whom she is related. The arrival of a ‘stranger’ in Colchis perhaps reflects the contacts that had taken place in the eastern Mediterranean over a period of three hundred years in which encounters between native women and Greek men must have been frequent; see Stephens (2003) 191–2 discussing the theme of an adventuring male arriving in a foreign land and encountering a foreign woman, often high born. ῥαίω rather than διαρραίω is more usually used of a shipwreck (Od. 8.569, 13.151, 23.235) but cf. Od. 12.290 (Eurylochus giving a forceful answer to Odysseus) ἀνέμοιο θύελλα, ἢ Νότου ἢ Ζεφύροιο, οἵ τε μάλιστα νῆα διαρραίουσι. The use of the compound verb increases the violence of Medea’s curse. The combination δάκρυα χεῦεν is not Homeric but cf. Il. 16.3 δάκρυα θερμὰ χέων, Od. 23.33 βλεφάρων δ᾽ ἀπὸ δάκρυον ἧκεν, Eur. Her. 489 ἀθρόον . . . δάκρυ (similar are Il. 7.426 δάκρυα θερμὰ χέοντες, 17.437–8 δάκρυα δέ σφι / θερμὰ κατὰ βλεφάρων, Od. 4.114, 8.522, 14.129, 17.490, 23.33, 24.46, [Mosch.] Megara 57–9 δάκρυα / . . . κόλπον ἐς ἱμερόεντα κατὰ βλεφάρων ἐχέοντο / μνησαμένῃ τέκνων τε καὶ ὧν μετέπειτα τοκήων). Instead of repeating Homeric phraseology, A. gives his description particular point by combining it with the unique Euripidean usuage: to say that Medea’s tears are abundant stresses the emotion of the moment.
35–9οἵηδ᾽ἀφνειοῖοδιειρυσθεῖσαδόμοιο / ληιάς,ἥντενέονπάτρηςἀπενόσφισεναἶσα / οὐδένύπωμογεροῖοπεπείρηταικαμάτοιο, / ἀλλ᾽ἔτ᾽ ἀηθέσσουσαδύηςκαὶδούλιαἔργα / εἶσινἀτυζομενηχαλεπὰςὑπὸχεῖραςἀνάσσης. ‘Just like a prisoner-of-war dragged through a rich house, whom fate has just separated from her homeland – nor has she yet experienced wearying labour, but, unused to wretchedness and fearing the work of slaves, she goes under the harsh control of a mistress.’ The slave-girl unwillingly goes to face an immediate harsh fate, as Medea unwillingly (cf. 32–3) goes to find Jason and throw in her lot with him. The atmosphere is that of Euripides’ war plays. In the prologue of Andromache the eponymous character talks of her slavery, using phrases reminiscent of A.’s comparison; cf. 12–15 αὐτὴ δὲ δούλη τῶν ἐλευθερωτάτων / οἴκων νομισθεῖσʼ Ἑλλάδʼ εἰσαφικόμην / … / δοθεῖσα λείας Τρωϊκῆς ἐξαίρετον. The whole play has features which recall the Argonautica; e.g. the alleged use of φάρμακα by Andromache, ‘the foreign, barbarian woman’ to make her rival, Hermione, barren (Andr. 33). διειρυσθεῖσα (my emendation for mss. διειλυσθεῖσα) makes clearer the point of the simile that both girls go unwillingly to their respective fates; cf. 1.687 γειοτόμον νειοῖο διειρύσσουσιν ἄροτρον (~ – ειοῖο διειρύσ –), the point of similarity being the use of physical force. The slave-girl is dragged through the house to meet her mistress, after separation from her homeland. The idea that she is escaping (see Σ ad loc. below) from the house does not fit well with line 39. Medea leaves the house to find Jason. Medea hurries (ἐξέσσυτο), but this is of necessity. She goes to find Jason much against her will (cf. 20–33) and is similarly separated from her homeland. Since the presiding deities of both Books 3 and 4 are Erato and Eros (cf. the invocations 3.1, 4.1 and 4.445–9), the χαλεπὴ ἄνασσα of line 39 could also be Aphrodite and one implicit meaning of the simile as a whole that love has the power to ruin an innocent girl’s life and condemn her to an uncertain future. νέον, νύ πω and ἔτ᾽ ἀηθέσσουσα are all markers of the immediacy of the description. The picture is one of the slave-girl’s mental aguish at her immediate prospects after her arrival at her place of captivity. The unexpected comparison is not about speed of movement but about the state of mind that the two girls share. διειλύομαι occurs elsewhere only at Nonn. D. 4.363–4 ψαφαρὴ δὲ κατ᾽ αὐχένος ἔρρεε χαίτη / αὐτομάτης πλαδαροῖο διειλυσθεῖσα καρήνου, ‘ a rough mane slipping out of the dank head ran down disorderly over his neck.’ Nonnus who is fond of imitating A. (p. 7 n. 44) must have taken it from an already corrupted text of the Argonautica and like Σ (p. 263 Wendel) on Α. guessed that it meant λάθρα διεξέλθουσα τοῦ δόμου, ἀποδράσα, φύγουσα, based on 40 δόμων ἐξέσσυτο κούρη. Erbse (1963) 23 explained διειλυσθεῖσα by reference to 3.1313 διὰ φλογὸς εἶθαρ ἐλυσθείς but here and elsewhere (1.254) ἐλυσθείς means ‘enveloped, wrapped in’ (διὰ φλογός is practically equivalent to ἐν–; for this use of διά cf. 4.199, 4.874, Il. 9.468 = 23.33διὰ φλογὸς Ἡφαίστοιο, Theocr. 25.219). ἐλυσθείς may also mean ‘crouched’ (cf. 3.281, Il. 24.510, Opp. Hal. 2.124, Theocr. 24.17). Nowhere, however, does εἰλύω (which in A. and late epic generally can equal ἐλύω; see Mooney on 3.1291 and LSJ9 s.v. εἰλυω and ἐλύω) bear any meaning denoting motion. Fränkel (1968) 456–7 suggested διειλκυσθεῖσα comparing Il. 22.62 (cf. Il. 6.464) υἷάς τ᾽ ὀλλυμένους ἑλκηθείσας τε θύγατρας, where there is a v.l. ἑλκυθείσας. However διέλκω is not the right word for prisoners-of-war being forcibly dragged. It means ‘tear apart’or ‘drag across (LSJ9 s.v.). For ληιάς cf. Il. 20.193–4 ληϊάδας δὲ γυναῖκας ἐλεύθερον ἦμαρ ἀπούρας / ἦγον, Od. 5.40 λαχὼν ἀπὸ ληΐδος αἶσαν, Eur. Andr. 12–13 (quoted above), Tro. 614 ἀγόμεθα λεία σὺν τέκνῳ, Aesch. Cho. 76–7 ἐκ γὰρ οἴκων / πατρώιων δούλιόν μ’ ἐσᾶγον αἶσαν. A. is using a typical motif (woman as slave-captive) in an erotic context; cf. 4.400 οἷά τε ληισθεῖσαν, Eur. Med. ἐκ γῆς βαρβάρου λελῃσμένη with Asclep. A.P. 12.50.2 = 881 HE οὐ σὲ μόνον χαλεπὴ Κύπρις ἐληίσατο (Sens (2011) ad loc.). For the idea of marriage as forced exile cf. Soph. fr. 583.8 TrGF in which a woman compares the pleasant life a woman leads in her father’s house to her life afterwards, when she is traded in marriage; see Hunter (1987) 137 = (2008) 54–5. αἶσα and μοῖρα are equivalent in A. and other authors; cf. 3.3–4 σὺ γὰρ καὶ Κύπριδος αἶσαν / ἔμμορες, 3.208 and Soph. Aj. 516 μητέρ᾽ ἄλλη μοῖρα τὸν φύσαντά τε /καθεῖλεν Ἅιδου θανασίμους οἰκήτορας; Eidinow (2011) 83–6 on possible nuances in the use of the two words. ἀηθέσσουσα δύης καὶ δούλια ἔργα / εἶσιν ἀτυζομενη closely parallels Medea’s fate. As a princess, she had a band of ἀμφίπολοι to do her bidding (3.838). Livrea printed Lloyd–Jones’s suggestion (OCT app. crit.) δύην, comparing Semon. fr. 7.58 IEG ἣ δούλι᾽ ἔργα καὶ δύην περιτρέπει. However, ἀηθέσσουσα is hapax in Homer (Il. 10.493) and takes the genitive. It is doubtful whether A. would have changed the case. The enjambment of the established text, taking δούλια ἔργα with ἀτυζομενη, (cf. 4.512 ἀτυζόμενοι χόλον ἄγριον Αἰήταο, Eur. Andr. 130–2 τί σοι / καιρὸς ἀτυζομένᾳ δέμας αἰκέλιον καταλείβειν / δεσποτᾶν ἀνάγκαις) is more in A.’s style. For δούλια ἔργα cf. Eur. Andr. 109–10 αὐτὰ δ᾽ ἐκ θαλάμων ἀγόμαν ἐπὶ θῖνα θαλάσσας / δουλοσύναν στυγερὰν ἀμφιβαλοῦσα κάρᾳ and also Deianeira at Soph. Trach. 302 αἳ πρὶν μὲν ἦσαν ἐξ ἐλευθέρων ἴσως / ἀνδρῶν, τανῦν δὲ δοῦλον ἴσχουσιν βίον on the captives made by her husband Heracles. χαλεπὰς ὑπὸ χεῖρας ἀνάσσης also has significance for Medea’s plight. The ἄνασσα is possibly Hera (cf. 4.21) or more probably Aphrodite (see p. 47), forcing her into the arms of Jason, although she does not want to go. She is often spoken of as a cruel goddess (Anacr. fr. 346 5-6 PMG δεσμ[ῶν / χαλεπῶν δι᾽ Ἀφροδίτη, Asclep. A.P. 5.189.3–4 = 1007–8 GP, Archil. fr. 193.1-2 West δύστηνος ἔγκειμαι πόθῳ, ἄψυχος, χαλεπῇσι θεῶν ὀδύνῃσιν ἕκητι); cf. for the whole phrase Eur. Andr. 29–31 ἐπεὶ δὲ τὴν Λάκαιναν Ἑρμιόνην γαμεῖ / τοὐμὸν παρώσας δεσπότης δοῦλον λέχος, / κακοῖς πρὸς αὐτῆς σχετλίοις ἐλαύνομαι, Soph. El. 1092 τῶν ἐχθρῶν . . . ὑπόχειρ ναίεις (Musgrave: ὑπὸ χεῖρα codd.), Call. h. 1.74 ὧν ὑπὸ χεῖρα, h. 62 δεσποτικὰν ὑπὸ χεῖρα.
40τοίη ἄρ’ἱμερόεσσα δόμων ἐξέσσυτο κούρη. ‘In such a state of mind the lovely maiden rushed from her home.’ A. is reminding us that in spite of her distress, Medea retains her beauty and that at 92 Jason has a tangible reason for rejoicing. The description of the simile concentrates on her inner state of mind; the main text on her outward appearance. Homer only uses ἐξέσσυτο once of anyone making a speedy exit; cf. Il. 7.1 πυλέων ἐξέσσυτο φαίδιμος Ἕκτωρ. There is a similar ‘turn of speed’ on the part of a female character described at Theocr. 14.35–6 ἀνειρύσσασα δὲ πέπλως / ἔξω ἀπῴχετο θᾶσσον, 14.41–2 ἔδραμε τήνα / ἰθὺ δι᾽ ἀμφιθύρω καὶ δικλίδος, ᾇ πόδες ἆγον.
41–2τῇ δὲ καὶ αὐτόματοι θυρέων ὑπόειξαν ὀχῆες / ὠκείαις ἄψορροι ἀναθρώσκοντες ἀοιδαῖς. ‘The door bolts yielded to her of their own accord, rapidly leaping back at the sound of her spells.’ Doors open magically at Il. 5.749–51 αὐτόμαται δὲ πύλαι μύκον οὐρανοῦ, Eur. Ba. 448 αὐτόματα δ᾽ . . . / κλῇδές τ᾽ ἀνῆκαν θύρετρ᾽ ἄνευ θνητῆς χερός, Call. h. 2.6–7 αὐτοὶ νῦν κατοχῆες ἀνακλίνεσθε πυλάων, / αὐταὶ δὲ κληῖδες, Nonn. D. 7.317 αὐτόμαται πυλεῶνος ἀνωίχθησαν ὀχῆες; see McKay (1967) 184–94, Weinrich (1929) 342–62, Schaaf (2014) 223–47. For θυρέων cf. Od. 21.47–50 ἐν δὲ κληῖδ᾽ ἧκε, θυρέων δ᾽ ἀνέκοπτεν ὀχῆας / . . . / ἔβραχε καλὰ θύρετρα / πληγέντα κληῖδι, πετάσθησαν δέ οἱ ὦκα. Penelope opens the door through effort: Medea through magic. Fränkel (1961) obelises ὠκείαις and suggests ἑρκείων. Campbell (1969) 282 defends the paradosis, as does Livrea, who tries to show that ὠκύς in certain senses is equivalent to ὀξύς when referring to sound. Campbell (quoting Od. 21.50) and Vian ((1981) 148 citing the v.l. suggested by Aristarchus at Il. 14.418 together with 23.880) must be right when arguing that ὠκείαις is equivalent to an adverb. For the adjective as adverb cf. Od. 8.38 θοὴν ἀλεγύνετε δαῖτα, Aesch. Ag. 476–7 πόλιν διήκει θοὰ / βάξις, Soph. Aj. 998 ὀξεῖα γάρ σου βάξις with Finglass ad loc. ‘ὀξύς means both swift . . . and bitter’), Arg. 4.907 κραιπνὸν ἐυτροχάλοιο μέλος κανάχησεν ἀοιδῆς. A.’s example is more involved because the transferred epithet-adverb is not attached to the subject or object of the phrase but to an instrumental dative. A. is fond of structuring the line with adjective and noun at opposite ends (cf. 3.1285, 3.1325, 4.97, 4.452, 4.623); see Wifstrand (1933) 134–5 for comparison with other epic poets.
43γυμνοῖσινδὲπόδεσσινἀνὰστεινὰςθέενοἴμους, ‘On bare feet she ran through the narrow streets.’ One way to describe haste is to say that the individual concerned did not have time to put on their shoes. Cf. Alcman fr. 1.15 PMGF ἀπ]έδιλος ἀλκά (‘unsandalled might’ of the horses of the Sun), [Aesch.] P.V. 135 σύθην δ᾽ ἀπέδιλος, Theocr. 24.36 μηδὲ πόδεσσιν ἑοῖς ὑπὸ σάνδαλα θείῃς, Arg. 3.646 νήλιπος, οἰέανος, one of the many links between these two scenes.
44–6λαιῇμὲνχερὶπέπλονἐπ’ὀφρύσινἀμφὶμέτωπα / στειλαμένηκαὶκαλὰπαρήια, δεξιτερῇδὲ / ἄκρηνὑψόθιπέζανἀερτάζουσαχιτῶνος.‘with her left hand wrapping her robe at eye-level around her forehead, covering her lovely cheeks and with her right lifting the hem of her tunic high off the ground.’ Medea is in disguise and, therefore hides beneath her drapped cloak. She raises the hem of her garment so she may flee all the faster. There are perhaps some similarities with this small bronze statue (250-150 BC, height 20.5cm., from Alexandria, current location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, serial no. 1972.118.95). While this figure is usually believed to be that of a dancer (Naerebout (2001), Martins (1985) 48–49), the pose that she adopts fits A.’s description of Medea. Movement and concealment are combined with a hint of seduction, although the statue uses the ‘wrong’ hand to hide her face (222–4n.). For similar examples from the art of the seventh century and later cf. CVA Louvre III I d, plate 51, nos. 4, 6, Webster (1964) plate X; XIXB, Havelock (1971) plates 118, 119, plate 130 and Llewellyn-Jones (2003) on veiled women in antiquity: the dancer appears to be wearing a face veil and was perhaps an image with which A. was familiar. The Homeric formula is σκαιῇ, δεξιτερῇ δ᾽ (Il. 1.501, 21.490); cf. Il. 16.734 σκαιῇ . . . ἑτέρηφι, 222–4n. A. does not place λαιῇ . . . δεξιτερῇ δὲ together but at opposite ends of consecutive lines, creating an chiastic arrangement. Medea is ‘wrapped’ in her cloak both physically and verbally. He uses the non-Homeric λαιῇ for σκαιῇ, (cf. 1.1237–8 λαιὸν μὲν . . . / . . . δεξιτερῇ δὲ, 2.599 where he follows the Homeric model: σκαιῇ, δεξιτερῇ, 4. 222–3 σκαιῇ μέν . . . / τῇ δ᾽ ἑτέρῃ). The image of girls raising their dress to run is not found in Homer or Hesiod. Nausicaa’s maids are described as running along side her at Od. 6.84, but cf. Hom. Hym. 2.176 ὣς αἳ ἐπισχόμεναι ἑανῶν πτύχας ἱμεροέντων which A. imitates at 3.874–5 ἂν δὲ χιτῶνας / λεπταλέους λευκῆς ἐπιγουνίδος ἄχρις ἄειρον, adding some sensual detail as he does at 4.940 when describing the Nereids; also Call. h. 3.11–12 ἐς γόνυ μέχρι χιτῶνα / ζώννυσθαι λεγνωτόν, Theocr. 14.35–6 (quoted above), 26.16–7, Mosch. Eur. 126–7, Catull. 64.128–9. There is probably no erotic connotation here or link with Artemis or Diana.
47–9καρπαλίμως δ᾽ἀΐδηλος ἀνὰ στίβον ἔκτοθι πύργων / ἄστεος εὐρυχόροιο φόβῳ κίεν, οὐδέ τις ἔγνω / τήνγε φυλακτήρων, λάθε δέ σφεας ὁρμηθεῖσα. ‘She quickly went in fear, unseen along a path outside the walls of the city with its broad ways; none of the guards recognised her and she escaped their notice as she went on her way.’ We should read ἀΐδηλος rather than transmitted ἀΐδηλον. The adjective is only found in Homer meaning ‘unseen’ as a v.l. in the secondary tradition (= Et. Mag. 41.44 Gaisford) at Il. 2.318 τὸν μὲν ἀρίζηλον θῆκεν θεὸς ὅς περ ἔφηνε and at Hes. Op. 756; but see Finglass on Soph. Aj. 606–7/8, ‘ἀΐδηλος . . . in Homer and Hesiod always signifies ‘making invisible’, and hence ‘consuming. destructive, abominable’. He translates 608 ἀΐδηλον Ἅιδαν, ‘unseen Hades’. In A. it means ‘unseen’ three times, here and at 1.102, 4.865. In the present case what is ‘unseen’ is not the path but Medea (48 οὐδέ τις ἔγνω reinforces the fact that no one sees her). She is wrapped up in her cloak. A. nowhere else combines στίβος with an adjective (cf. 1.781, 1253, 3.534, 3.927, 3.1218). Perhaps the line was in Virgil’s mind when he wrote Aen. 6.268 ibant obscuri sola sub nocte, where obscuri is Virgil’s equivalent of ἀΐδηλος, with the transferred sense of sola sub nocte stressing that the walkers are alone. For ἄστεος εὐρυχόροιο cf. Od. 24.468 ἁθρόοι ἠγερέθοντο πρὸ ἄστεος εὐρυχόροιο, Sappho fr. 44.12 Voigt (news of the wedding of Hector and Andromache) φάμα δ᾽ ἦλθε κατὰ πτ̣όλιν εὐρύχο̣ρ̣ο̣ν φίλοις, Stes. fr. 100.15 F εὐρυ]χόρ[ο]υ Τροΐας. The use of the epithet with ἄστεος stresses the richness of the life that Medea is leaving behind her for the sake of the Greek foreigner. For the dative φόβῳ cf. Aesch. Th. 240–1 ταρβοσύνῳ φόβῳ τάνδ᾽ ἐς ἀκρόπτολιν / τίμιον ἕδος ἱκόμαν, Arg. 2.552. Fränkel (OCT app. crit.) objects to the mss. ἵκετ᾽, suggesting that a verb denoting flight is required such as δίετ᾽. His objection is a valid one and cannot be answered, as Livrea tries to do, by quoting Il. 19.115 καρπαλίμως δ᾽ ἵκετ᾽ Ἄργος Ἀχαιικόν. What is required is a verb not of arrival, but of progression as at 4.1182–3 ἥρωας δὲ γυναῖκες ἀολλέες ἔκτοθι πύργων / βαῖνον ἐποψόμεναι. A more plausible suggestion than Fränkel’s is κίεν. There has already been a reference to the speed of Medea’s progress (ἐξέσσυτο κούρη) and she has not yet arrived at her destination. The corruption is easily explained. ΦΟΒΩΙΚΙΕΝ was wrongly divided as ΦΟΒΩ / ΙΚΙΕΝ which led to ΦΟΒΩΙ ΙΚΕΤ᾽. For κίεν with ἀνά cf. 1.310 τοῖος ἀνὰ πληθὺν δήμου κίεν. οὐδέ τις ἔγνω recalls Il. 24.690–1 Ἑρμείας ζεῦξ’ ἵππους ἡμιόνους τε, / ῥίμφα δ᾽ ἄρ’ αὐτὸς ἔλαυνε κατὰ στρατόν, οὐδέ τις ἔγνω where the context is similar: Priam and his herald escape the Greek camp by night after their visit to Achilles; cf. Phoenix’s escape from his father’s palace, Il. 9.475–7 καὶ τότ᾽ ἐγὼ θαλάμοιο . . . / . . . ἐξῆλθον . . . / ῥεῖα, λαθὼν φύλακάς τ᾽ ἄνδρας δμῳάς τε γυναῖκας. Darkness and secrecy pervade the opening of Book 4; this atmosphere is only dispelled when Jason and Medea gain the Fleece with its illuminating radiance at 4.167–86. For similar contrasts between light and dark cf. Eur. Ba. 608–11ὦ φάος μέγιστον (the light of deliverance – Dionysus released from a gloomy prison) and see Rood (2014) 72 n. 16 discussing Arg. 4.296–7 (a literal instance) and Eur. IT 746.
50–1ἔνθενἴμεννειόνδεμάλ᾽ἐφράσατʼ· οὐγὰρἄιδρις/ ἦεν ὁδῶν. ‘From there she intended to make straight for the plain: for she was not ignorant of the way.’ Most mss. (LASG) want to send her to the temple of Hecate (νηόνδε) but νειόνδε (PE) is to be preferred. The plain of Ares, where the contest has been held, was on the south bank of the river opposite the city (2.1266–9). The Argonauts have moored beside it (3.1270–7). The conjecture νηΰνδε (Maas OCT app. crit.) is unnecessary and supposes an unusual diaeresis (cf. 1.1358). Vian (1981) 149 argues for the retention of νηόνδε. In terms of the plot, there is little point in her going to the temple of Hecate. She wants to cross the river and reach the Argonauts (68), who then come to meet her in the Argo (77–80). οὐ γὰρ ἄιδρις signals a change of tone in the narrative. The escape-by-night of a scared young girl becomes an allusive disquisition on the skills and habits of Thessalian witches, concluding with the ironic intervention of the goddess of the Moon.
51–3 θαμὰκαὶπρὶνἀλωμένηἀμφίτενεκρούς,/ ἀμφίτεδυσπαλέαςῥίζαςχθονός, οἷαγυναῖκες / φαρμακίδες. ‘as often in past days she had roamed in search of corpses and roots that were difficult to dig up as women who work with drugs do.’ At 3.531–3 Argos talks of Medea’s extraordinary skills as a witch. This is one of the first things that we hear of her in the poem (see Fantuzzi (2007) 77–95, (2008) 302–3, 4.51–3n.). Medea is at once witch and love-sick maiden; cf. Simaetha in Theoc. 2 and the woman in the Fragmentum Grenfellianum (Esposito (2005) 19–25). Part of the rites of ancient witches involve corpses; cf. Hor. Sat. 1.8.21–2, Ov. Her. 6.89–90, Lucan. 6.511–2. For θαμά see 58–61n., where it also marks recurrent actions and feelings. A’s use of δυσπαλέας (LSJ9 s.v. 2 δυσπαλής ‘dangerous’ should be deleted; cf. Et.Mag. 292.32–4 Gaisford δυσπαλέας ῥίζας Ἀπολλώνιος τὰς κακῶς ἀναδιδομένας) recalls Od. 10.310 μῶλυ δέ μιν καλέουσι θεοί, χαλεπὸν δέ τ᾽ ὀρύσσειν. For ῥίζας χθονός cf. Sophocles’ Root-cutters in which Medea is described cropping evil plants while turning away, so that the power of their noxious smell will not kill her (F534.1–6 TrGF). For the activities of γυναῖκες φαρμακίδες described elsewhere cf. Ar. Nub. 749–50 γυναῖκα φαρμακίδ᾽ εἰ πριάμενος Θετταλήν / καθέλοιμι νύκτωρ τὴν σελήνην, Dio Chrys. 58.4.1 πρῴην δέ ποτε καὶ ῥίζας ὀρύττειν, ὥσπερ αἱ φαρμακίδες. See Mirecki (2002) 378–86 on the witches of Thessaly.
53τρομερῷδ᾽ὑπὸδείματιπάλλετοθυμός. ‘But her heart trembled with quivering fear.’ δέ marks a strong contrast: Medea is used to wandering around in this area, searching for raw materials; but fear now makes her heart beat. For δείματι πάλλετο θυμός cf. Il. 22.451–2 ἐν δ᾽ ἐμοὶ αὐτῇ / στήθεσι πάλλεται ἦτορ ἀνὰ στόμα Il. 22.461 παλλομένη κραδίην, Hom. Hym. 2.293 δείματι παλλόμεναι, Aesch. Suppl. 566–7 χλωρῷ δείματι θυμὸν / πάλλοντ᾽ ὄψιν ἀήθη, Aesch. Cho. 524, Soph. ΟΤ 153, Arg. 4.752. Hdt. 7.140.3 (from an oracle) δείματι παλλόμενοι, Mosch. 2.16–17). For φρένα as the object in a related expression cf. [Aesch.] PV 881 κραδία δὲ φόβῳ φρένα λακτίζει (2–3n.).
54–6τὴνδὲνέονΤιτηνὶςἀνερχομένηπεράτηθεν / φοιταλέηνἐσιδοῦσαθεὰἐπεχήρατοΜήνη / ἁρπαλέωςκαὶτοῖαμετὰφρεσὶνᾗσινἔειπεν. ‘The daughter of Titan, the Moon goddess, was just rising from the horizon and seeing her mad haste rejoiced heartily and such were her unspoken thoughts.’ The introduction of the goddess of the Moon alters the mood entirely. The past misfortunes of the goddess and her present unexalted emotion adds a delightful twist to the narrative whose chief note has previously been pathos, fear and excitement; see further Hutchinson (1990) 123. The intricacy of the word order of 54–5 heightens the bizarreness and the surprise: Medea is ‘trapped’ (φοιταλέην) between the two references to the Moon (Τιτηνὶς . . . Μήνη). Lovers address the Moon, stars and night as a way of relieving their feelings; cf. Pind. fr. 104 S–M where Σ says τῶν ἐραστῶν οἱ μὲν ἄνδρες εὔχονται <παρ> εῖναι Ἥλιον, αἳ γυναῖκες Σελήνην, Σ Theocr. 2.10 with Fantuzzi (2008) 303, PGM 4.2785 ‘Come to me, O beloved mistress, three-faced Selene; kindly hear my sacred chants; Night’s ornament, young, bringing light to mortals’, Theocr. 2.165–8, Marc. Argent. A.P. 5.16, Philod. A.P. 5.123 = 3212–17 GP with a mention of Endymion in the last line, Meleager A.P. 5.191 = 4378–85 HΕ. On this critical occasion the Moon addresses the lover. We can only guess at the actual extent of Α’s originality. He may have had a precedent in New Comedy and its use of divine prologists. The prologue in Plautus’ Rudens, spoken by the star Arcturus, goes back to Diphilos; see Marx (1928) 52, and on divine prologues in general, Hunter (1985) 24–35, Christenson (2000) 130–1, Hunter (2008) 177. ἀνερχομένη περάτηθεν may be astrological terminology; cf. Arat. 821 ἀμφότερον δύνοντι καὶ ἐκ περάτης ἀνιόντι and [Manetho] Apotelesmatica 6.558–60 with similar phraseology and also 68 ἀντιπέρην, 71 περαιόθεν, 78 περαίης adding realistic descriptive detail to the scene; see Rengakos (1994) 127 for πέρατη, περάτηθεν and ἐκ περάτων, with discussion of Od. 23.243–4 as a Homeric source for the Hellenistic use of these words and also Redondo (2000) 144 for A.’s non-epic use of ἀντιπεράτηθεν, ἀντιπέρην and similar as prepositions. For φοιταλέην cf. Eur. Or. 326–7 λαθέσθαι λύσσας / μανιάδος φοιταλέου, Mosch. Eur. 46 φοιταλέη δὲ πόδεσσιν ἐφ’ ἁλμυρὰ βαῖνε κέλευθα. The word is used of characters pushed to the edge of reason; cf. Hesych. φ 719 (p. 172 H/C) φοιταλέος· παράκοπος, μανιώδης. For ἐσιδοῦσα . . . ἐπεχήρατο cf. Il. 11.73 Ἔρις δ᾽ ἄρ’ ἔχαιρε πολύστονος εἰσορόωσα. ἁρπαλέως usually used of a ‘strong appetite’ (cf. 2.306, Od. 6.249–50 πῖνε καὶ ἦσθε πολύτλας δῖος Ὀδυσσεὺς / ἁρπαλέως) emphasises the relish with which the Moon speaks. For καὶ τοῖα . . . ἔειπεν cf. Arg. 3.18 τοῖα μετὰ φρεσὶν ὁρμαίνουσαν, Theocr. 25.76 χαίρων ἐν φρεσὶν ᾗσιν, Od. 11.428 τοιαῦτα μετὰ φρεσὶν ἔργα βάληται. This half line marks the beginning of an interior monologue on the part of the Moon. Cf. in Homer the frequent opening ὀχθήσας δ᾽ ἄρα εἶπε πρὸς ὃν μεγαλήτορα θυμόν (e.g. Il. 11.403), after which the sentiments expressed by the character in question are usually highly emotional as they debate a critical course of action. It is part of the surprise that the reported thoughts of the Moon are of a different nature; the interior monologue in A. is discussed in Fusillo (2001) 127–46.