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image of Mnemosyne

The Parodos of Medea, with the following musical exchanges between Chorus, Medea (offstage) and Nurse, has some unsatisfactory features in the manuscripts and in editions, for which some new remedies are proposed. Already in the Entry-verses (131-8) the detail of the text has long been controversial, on grounds partly linguistic, partly metrical. Later, at 160 Medea is heard invoking "Themis and Artemis", in words directly referred to by the Nurse at 168-9 as addressed to "Themis and Zeus", and less directly at 208-9 by the Chorus as addressed to "Themis (wife) of Zeus". The apparently irrelevant '′Αρτεμι in 160 has been variously emended by Weil and others. A number of other points of interest (especially of metre) are discussed in passing. But the most important single proposal is a transposition putting lines 160-72 after 173-203; thus on the one hand making the antistrophe 173-83 directly sequential to the strophe 148-59, and on the other hand making the concluding choral epode (204-13: "I heard . . .") directly responsive to the Nurse's question at 168-70 ("Do you hear . . .?"). The Nurse's sinister forecast at 171-2 becomes her parting words, as she goes into the house (we shall not see her again) to fetch her mistress.


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