The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Shorter Notes

A Note on Euripides, Medea 12

S. J. Harrisona1

a1 Balliol College, Oxford

Euripides, Medea 11–13 (Diggle's Oxford text):


12 πολιτxs22EFν codd. et Σbv; πολίταις (Bgl) V3, sicut coni. Barnes 13 αxs1F50τxs1FF7 Sakorrphos; αxs1F50τή codd. et gE et Stob. 4.23.30

In his recent discussion of this passage (CQ 34 [1984], 50–1), Diggle has convincingly argued for πολίταις and αxs1F50τxs1FF7, the latter of which he places in his new Oxford text, but recognises that xs0278υγxs1FC7 remains highly problematic (51): ‘The truth, I think, is still to seek’. It is to this last difficulty that I should like to suggest a solution.

The problems of xs0278υγxs1FC7 are syntactical, as Diggle clearly demonstrates (51): ‘With which verb (xs22EFνδάνουσα or xs22EFxs0278ίκετο) is xs0278υγxs1FC7 to be constructed?’ Of these xs22EFνδάνουσα is more likely for position, xs22EFxs0278ίκετο for sense; but the former construction produces an obscurity, the latter an unacceptable hyperbaton. Another complicating element is the juxtaposition xs0278υγxs1FC7 πολιτxs22EFν. it is clearly significant, and by its intervention appears to prevent taking xs0278υγxs1FC7 as xs22EFπxs22EF κοινοxs22EF with both verbs, the third possible construction.

As a solution I should like to revive a forgotten conjecture of Pierson's, made in his Verisimilia (1752). His xs0278υγxs22EFς πολίταις appears both to solve all the syntactical problems and to give appropriate point to the juxtaposition of ‘exile’ and ‘citizen’. xs0278υγάς would then go with xs22EFνδάνουσα and bear a concessive sense: ‘pleasing, though an exile, the citizens to whose land she came’, a nuance found already in Wecklein's paraphrase of his text xs0278υγxs1FC7 πολιτxs22EFν. ‘Sie gefällt denen, in deren Land sie gekommen ist, obwohl sie die Bürgerschaft als eine fremde, landesflüchtige Person gegenübersteht’. This contrast between citizen and exile and the necessity for the latter to please the former are naturally important themes in the dramatic situation of the Medea — cf. Medea's words at 222 χρxs22EF δxs22EF ξένον μxs22EFν κάρτα προσχωρεxs1FD6ν πόλει, with Page's note.