On the Authenticity of Eur. Or. 1384

TitleOn the Authenticity of Eur. Or. 1384
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsAlmazova, N
Ancient AuthorsEuripides Trag. (TLG 0006), Apollodorus Phil. (TLG 2319)

According to the scholia, Apollodorus of Cyrene considered Eur. Or. 1384 to be a stage instruction interpolated into the text, and many modern editors follow him. A survey of the previous studies of the passage shows that acceptance of Apollodorus’ version requires a series of improbable assumptions, whereas acknowledgement of the verse’s authenticity does not involve serious difficulties. A new argument against Apollodorus’ hypothesis is proposed in this paper: namely, the exact meaning of such a stage instruction cannot be explained adequately. A direction to sing the text to a melody of Olympus is impossible: if the music of Euripides still existed, it would not be substituted, and even if the original music did not survive, such a complex lyrical part could not be sung to a melody not specially composed for it. As an indication of the mood of performance, the line would prove to be too obscure. It is improbable that Euripides himself composed the verses to a famous melody, because the music of Olympus was distinguished by its old-fashioned simplicity, which was impossible to imitate, whereas Euripides belonged to the musical ‘avant-garde’. If someone observed in the margin that Euripides’ music to the passage was stylistically close to a chariot nome, it would be a gloss and not a stage instruction, and it seems more reasonable that the poet himself underlined the resemblance in his text. Finally, instrumental insertions were not characteristic of a classical tragedy. [Nina Almazova]


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