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Ipsamque in pectore Divæ
(Æn. 8. v. 438.)
The only variation between Euripides and Pausanias is, that the Poet mentions Gorgons in the plural number, but the Antiquary speaks of Medusa alone; nor am I able to (hew, by any other parallel instance of historical testimony with this of our Poet, that other Gorgons surrounded this Deiphkk stone: The fame Author, Pausanias9, speaks of the winged sisters of Medusa, or these Gorgons, as represented on the curious chest of Cypselus in a temple of Juno within the territories of Elis: This circumstance proves the consecrated quality of such images. We may easily admit, that the Medusa at Delphi was accompanied with her sister Gorgons i or that Euripides here indulged himself with the poetical licence of using the plural, instead of the singular number; Here then we must rest satisfied, having already proved the Garlands of the Delphick stone, the images upon it, and the Medusa within the shrine supporting a1 stone. ( The Reader, who is conscious of the difficulty of tracing historical anecdotes and local circumstances, which illustrate the descriptions of ancient poetry, wiH perhaps wonder that we have already been so fortunate in a point of this nice investigation, and not rigoroufly expect any additional evidence: I shall conclude with remarking, that if the horrible images of Gorgons were placed around to avert the unhallowed touch from,this consecrated stone, no epithet could possibly be more adapted than the uQrflov io of Sophocles which the Scholiast there ex-, plains by rtVparTr&afcy unapproachable.
» L. 5. e. 18. p, 423. »° Ocd. Tyr. v. 916.
Verse 229. Mv%w.
221. The recess.
THE received acceptation of this word applies to the inmost recess of the temple; which, as Ion here informs the Female Chorus, was liable to be visited at Delphi, after certain preliminary sacrifices: But Dr. Musgrave l has attempted to qualify the general fense of this expression for the same reason, that in another note2 he supposes a distinction between ympiMov and vuog; the former according to his idea may imply the oracular recess of the shrine, and the latter the whole temple: His object is to reconcile the express testimony of Euripides with that of Plutarch'; who mentions it as a problem to be solved, why no woman was ever permitted to advance to the %^igr^'ov, or the place, where the Oracle was delivered:" It is therefore from this alone, and not from the temple itself, that the Oxford Editor imagines, that Females by the Law of Delphi were prohibited: Consequently the word pv%ov must not here imply the recess, which would militate against that interpretation: But this supposed distinction between the words x^^w, as the oracular shrine, and vaog the whole temple, cannot avail Dr. Musgrave in this instance: because Ion in the sequel of the play
1 In his note on v. 233. of his edition. z On v. 244. of his edition.
3 Kai To p»JijUia yvvam) sspo; To Kgririgw £',al ssgoe-iivai. (EJ apud Delph. ed.
Xylan, vol.2, p.385.)
s expressly asks Creusa, whether she comes with her husband, or alone, to consult the "Xj^gr^toi, or oracular shrine,
2i* cadgi §' rJKSis, *l pawl "Xjyi$*l?l0i> (v* 299')
And Xuthus in another line informs her, that neither himself nor she will return home from the yjH&itfm * of Apollo according to Trophonius without children : Therefore Euripides and Plutarch must be admitted to be irreconcileable in regard to this circumstance. Ido not believe that the policy of Delphi ever excluded Visitants of either sex from approaching the inmost recess; nor can I imagine that our Poet would have offended against a custom which must have been universally known, had it been established in his time: No other historical passage, except this of Plutarch, I believe can be produced to confirm the supposed exclusion of Females from the oracular recess of this temple at Delphi: The only instance, which I ever remember to have read in all Antiquity, and which tends to countenance such a notion, occurs in Silius Italicns, who observes that Females were to be prohibited from visiting the inmost recess of the temple of Hercules at Gades,
Turn, quis fas & honos adyti penetralia noffe,
(L. 3. v. 22.)
Perhaps we may suppose, that the custom in the days of Plutarch was different in this respect at Delphi, than in those of Euripides : Or it might perhaps be a distinguished privilege, conferred on Ladies of Creusa's royal dignity, to visit the oracular sttrine, while Women of inferior quality were
4 V. 409.
exexcluded: Thus Ion afterwards 5 addresses the Chorus, as stationed round the edge of the temple, expecting their royal Master: But this partial idea of admittance is founded only on conjecture; and the expression here is general, addressed to the whole Chorus unqualified : We also know that Females administered to the services of the God by the authority of our Poet; for the Chorus in his Phcenissæ consists of Phœnician Captives, who were sent into Græce, as consecrated spoils or offerings to Apollo, in order to attend his temple, as the cfeA« [AshaSgwv6, or the Servants of it. It seems therefore strange to imagine, that where a Priestess presided as Pythia, and where there were female Attendants, Visitants of their own sex should be excluded from the consecrated recess of the oracle.
Verse 278. Tlot^svag.
2 jo. He slew the Virgins.
THESE Tiafevot, or Virgin Daughters of Erechtheus, Were called 'TaxivSiSoit, or the Hyacinthides, as we learn from Demosthenes ': And Suidas * informs us, that the reason of this appellation was derived from Hyacinthus, a district in Athens, where they were sacrificed: He has given us their several names; and he makes them to be six in number; of which according to him the two eldest were victims: Ccelius Rhodiginus 3 corresponds in the fame account: It also appears from a Greek Proverb 4 hence derived, that these Virgins were six in number. Other Authors, besides Euripides in this passage, and Suidas, speak of more than the sacrifice of one Daughter: Thus Cicero 5, Repetunt ab Erectheo, cujus etiam filiæ cupide mortem expetiverunt pro vita civium: And again, Mortem quam etiam Virgines Athenis Regis opinor Erecthei filiæ pro patria contempsisse dicuntur 6: But our Poet in the Play of his Erechtheus7 mentions a single Daughter, as the object of this sacrifice: And with him in this respect correspond Lycurgus % Plutarch % and Aristides ,0. ApollodorusJI and Hyginus 12 will fortunately serve to reconcile this variation: since they inform us, that the Sisters having engaged in a solemn oath to die together, after the sacrifice of the youngest according to the Oracle, which demanded only one, the others committed suicide: But Stobæus"3 asserts, that it was the eldest Daughter, who was sacrificed: We may conclude that in one instance the Authors allude to the original sacrifice, and in the other to the fatal consequences, which followed it. There is also a variation in regard to the number of these Daughters of Erechtheus; for Hyginus affirms, that he had four: And we may collect: from EuripidesI4, that at the time of the sacrifice there were only three: But if to these we add the infant Creiisa,
5 V. 510. 6 Phœn. v 211. See also v. 213. 222. 229. & 289.
1 In Epitaph Orat. Græci, ed. Reifce, vol. II. pars 1. p. 1393.
* Vox n*gflfvoi.
3 Lect. Ant. L. 13. c. 7. 4 Uat%tti>n I| ipiftiWio;. (Apost.
Cent. 1 £. 84. See also Meurs. de Reg. Athen, 1. 1. c. 9.)
7 Ed. Barnes, p. 467. v. 67 & 97. See also the Preliminary Essay on the Ion, (p. 4.) 8 Orat. Contra Ltocratem. Orat. Græci. ed. Reifke,
vol. 4. pats 2. p. 202. 9 Patal. ed. Xylan, vol. 2. p. 310.
10 In Panat. Il Bibltot. 1. 3. p. 134. ed. Spolet, IJ55.
11 Fab. 46 & 238. '3 Serm. 38. ,+ K*» Mu y Ipovxipi e-uo-tt. (ed. Barnes, p. 468. v. 100.)