Sophocles, Fragments of Known Plays

LCL 483: 226-227

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πέπλους τε νῆσαι λινογενεῖς τ᾿ ἐπενδύτας

Pollux, Vocabulary 7, 45 (2, 64, 9 Bethe) τε νῆσαι Canter: τάνυσαι FS: τε νίσαι A


τὸ κῦμά με παρῆ<λθεν, εἶτα δ᾿> ἥσυχ᾿ ἀναροιβδεῖ πάλιν

Photius 1645 Theodoridis; cf. Heyschius, Lexicon α 4553 Latte ἀναροιδοῖ (‘sic recte legit Schow’: Radt) . . . καὶ Σοφοκλῆς ἐν Ναυσικάᾳ ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀναρρίπτει

1 τὸ κῦμά Ll.-J.: ὄχημά cod.: <τὸ κῦμ᾿> ὄχημά μοι Pearson 2 παρῆ<λθεν, εἶτα δ᾿ > ἥσυχ᾿ ἀναροιβδεῖ Ll.-J.: παρήσυχα ἀναρροιβδεῖ cod. ΝΙΟΒΗ

In the last book of the Iliad Achilles reminds Priam of the story of Niobe, who boasted to the goddess Leto that she herself was the mother of many children, whereas Leto had only two. But Leto’s two children were Artemis and Apollo, and they killed all the children of Niobe. Perpetually weeping for her children, Niobe was turned to stone; she was identified with a rock upon Mount Sipylus in Lydia, down which streams of water perpetually ran. Niobe was the daughter of the Lydian king Tantalus (see on the Tantalus) and wife of Amphion, who with his brother Zethus built the walls of Thebes; in Sophocles’ play the children died at Thebes, but after their death their mother returned to her native land.


Fragments of Known Plays


. . . to weave robes and tunics made of linen . . .


The wave passed me by, and then slowly sucked me back.a


The hypothesis and the fragments of text found on papyri are assigned to Sophocles’ Niobe only on circumstantial evidence. But since in Aeschylus’ play of that name the children had been killed before the play began (see my Appendix to the LCL edition of Aeschylus, p. 556 f), and Euripides wrote no play about this subject, the assignation is virtually certain, since two papyrus texts of a play by one of the minor tragedians would have been unlikely to survive.

Different authorities differ over the number of Niobe’s children, but according to the tragedians there were seven boys and seven girls. The boys were evidently killed first, while hunting, probably on Mount Cithaeron. Their deaths were evidently described, probably by a messenger

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.sophocles-fragments_known_plays.1996