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Κλυταιμήστρα — Beacon speech 281-316

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Κλυταιμήστρα — Beacon speech 281-316

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:38 pm

296-297
σθένουσα λαμπὰς δ' οὐδέπω μαυρουμένη,
ὑπερθοροῦσα πεδίον Ἀσωποῦ, δίκην

304
ὤτρυνε θεσμὸν μὴ χατίζεσθαι πυρός.

312-313
τοιοίδε τοί μοι λαμπαδηφόρων νομοί,
ἄλλος παρ' ἄλλου διαδοχαῖς πληρούμενοι
·

Aeschylus’ use of “legal” language has captured the attention of some scholars/critics. While δίκη may be a “theme” in the Orestia, δίκην used as an adverb with the genitive isn’t legal language. In other words, the adverbial δίκην doesn’t cart around all the other possible meanings with it everywhere it appears. Two other examples of “legal” language being used outside of a legal context are found on line 304 θεσμὸν ... πυρός and related to this νομοί on line 312. One might argue that θεσμὸν ... πυρός and νομοί refer to commands issued and carried out but that invokes a different semantic framework than “legal process.”
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Re: Κλυταιμήστρα — Beacon speech 281-316

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:13 pm

The legal nuances of the language seem relevant to me too. I'm thinking for instance of Πριάμου μέγας ἀντίδικος, Μενέλαος ἄναξ at 40-42. ἀντίδικος is a technical legal term, plaintiff according to Raeburn-Thomas.

How these legal-sounding terms should be interpreted in the context of Clytaemestra's speech is difficult. It's hard in general to interprete nuances in this difficult text. According to Raeburn-Thomas, in the Beacon speech "many of the toponyms (and possibly all) ominous associations with female treachery, ambushes, and the death of kings"; this seems far-fetched to me, because given the richness of Greek mythology, probably about any place in Greece has such associations. But I don't really know, I don't know Aeschylus well enough yet.
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Re: Κλυταιμήστρα — Beacon speech 281-316

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:11 pm

Paul,

I am using Raeburn-Thomas while I have it (a copy from U of Oregon). I agree with you on "ominous associations with female treachery" which left me wondering what on earth... but this happens a lot with Classics reference works. My background doesn't prepare me for critiquing insights of this nature. Have to conclude that there is something going on here I don't know about. This is so common in my reading in Classical greek secondary literature that I hardly even notice it.
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