Now approaching line 1300, reading Agamemnon has become a routine. Transcription, evalutaing text-critical problems, lexical work, syntax analysis, constructing the flow of thought from the co-text, reading the versions and commentaries.
It's is like a factory assembly line, you feed a line or two of text into the front end and it comes out as a more or less understandable segment within a paragraph.
This process seems somewhat tedious. Would be nice to just READ Agamemnon, rather than feeding it into the Aeschylus Factory. Once in a while a line or two will be readable on sight, pretty rare however. Somewhat more frequently, a word or two needs to be looked up in LSJ and then the meaning emerges without fussing with other stages of the assembly line. In other words the assembly line has short cuts, rapid paths where the text under consideration doesn't require the full treatment. The frequency of encountering rapid processing of text segments increases. That is how progress is detected. When things begin to fall together with much less work, you see that all your previous labor is producing results.
There is a temptation to assume you know what a word means and skip lexical work. I have concluded that this is not a good idea. Looking up words you think you know often results in discovering Aeschylus has used a word in a way not common in other authors. So lexical work is pretty much indispensable.
An example from today's work,
ἐπεύχομαι δὲ καιρίας πληγῆς τυχεῖν,
Cassandra prays for a quick death. καιρίας is often temporal but it can also refer to vital portions of the body, being wounded in a place where it kills you certainly Homer Il.8.84,326.
Homerus Epic., Ilias (
Book 4, line 185
οὐκ ἐν καιρίῳ ὀξὺ πάγη βέλος, ἀλλὰ πάροιθεν
εἰρύσατο ζωστήρ τε παναίολος ἠδ' ὑπένερθε
ζῶμά τε καὶ μίτρη, τὴν χαλκῆες κάμον ἄνδρες.
I would have assumed only a temporal meaning if I had not looked this up. There is another reference from Agamemnon fatal moment, A. Ag.1122, it looks like the semantics of καιρίας might be somewhat complex in A.Ag 1292.
C. Stirling Bartholomew