Sophocles, Electra

LCL 20: 170-171

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ὦ φίλτατ᾿ ἀνδρῶν προσπόλων, ὥς μοι σαφῆ σημεῖα φαίνεις ἐσθλὸς εἰς ἡμᾶς γεγώς. 25ὥσπερ γὰρ ἵππος εὐγενής, κἂν ᾖ γέρων, ἐν τοῖσι δεινοῖς θυμὸν οὐκ ἀπώλεσεν, ἀλλ᾿ ὀρθὸν οὖς ἵστησιν, ὡσαύτως δὲ σὺ ἡμᾶς τ᾿ ὀτρύνεις καὐτὸς ἐν πρώτοις ἕπῃ. τοιγὰρ τὰ μὲν δόξαντα δηλώσω, σὺ δὲ 30ὀξεῖαν ἀκοὴν τοῖς ἐμοῖς λόγοις διδούς, εἰ μή τι καιροῦ τυγχάνω, μεθάρμοσον. ἐγὼ γὰρ ἡνίχ᾿ ἱκόμην τὸ Πυθικὸν μαντεῖον, ὡς μάθοιμ᾿ ὅτῳ τρόπῳ πατρὶ δίκας ἀροίμην τῶν φονευσάντων πάρα, 35χρῇ μοι τοιαῦθ᾿ ὁ Φοῖβος ὧν πεύσῃ τάχα· ἄσκευον αὐτὸν ἀσπίδων τε καὶ στρατοῦ δόλοισι κλέψαι χειρὸς ἐνδίκου σφαγάς. ὅτ᾿ οὖν τοιόνδε χρησμὸν εἰσηκούσαμεν, σὺ μὲν μολών, ὅταν σε καιρὸς εἰσάγῃ, 40δόμων ἔσω τῶνδ᾿, ἴσθι πᾶν τὸ δρώμενον, ὅπως ἂν εἰδὼς ἡμὶν ἀγγείλῃς σαφῆ. οὐ γάρ σε μὴ γήρᾳ τε καὶ χρόνῳ μακρῷ γνῶσ᾿, οὐδ᾿ ὑποπτεύσουσιν, ὧδ᾿ ἠνθισμένον. λόγῳ δὲ χρῶ τοιῷδ᾿, ὅτι ξένος μὲν εἶ 45Φωκέως παρ᾿ ἀνδρὸς Φανοτέως ἥκων· ὁ γὰρ μέγιστος αὐτοῖς τυγχάνει δορυξένων. ἄγγελλε δ᾿ ὅρκον προστιθεὶς ὁθούνεκα τέθνηκ᾿ Ὀρέστης ἐξ ἀναγκαίας τύχης, ἄθλοισι Πυθικοῖσιν ἐκ τροχηλάτων

  • 33πατρὶ LacK: πατρὸς cett.
  • 37ἐνδίκου Lange: -ους codd.
  • 45Φωκέως Bentley: -εὺς codd.
  • 47ὅρκον Reiske: ὅρκῳ codd.



Dearest of retainers, how clearly you show your loyalty to us! Just as a noble horse, even if he is old, does not lose his spirit in a time of danger, but pricks up his ear, just so do you urge us on and yourself are foremost in support. So I will explain my decisions, and do you lend a prompt ear to my words, and if I do not hit the mark, correct me! When I went to the Pythian oracle to learn how I might get vengeance for my father on his murderers, Phoebus gave me a prophecy which you shall soon hear; that alone, without the help of armed men or of an army, I should accomplish by cunning the slaughter done by a righteous hand. Then, since this is the nature of the oracle I heard, do you go into this house, when you have the chance to enter it, and find out everything that they are doing, so that you can report to us with certain knowledge. They will never know you, grizzled as you are with age and the passage of time, and they will not suspect you. Tell this story, that you are a foreigner come from Phanoteus the Phocian—for he is the greatest of their allies—and tell them, speaking on oath, that Orestes is dead by an accident, having fallen from his moving chariot in the Pythian

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.sophocles-electra.1994