Archive for November, 2015


November 25, 2015


In the really excellent edition of Antigone by Mark Griffith, we come across the passage above in the third choral song, and are immediately struck by the rather strange dative plural Θρῄσσησιν, or Θρήισσησιν if you prefer.  Why not Θρήισσηισιν? Is this a new form, or was somebody suffering from iota fatigue?

There is an article that says
As for morphology, in the dative plurals of α- and o-declensions, both lyric and non-lyric passages of tragedy use longer forms (-αισι(ν) and -οισι(ν)) alongside the usual -αις and -οις. Until 420 BCE, Attic inscriptions frequently employ the forms -ασι (with long alpha) and -ησι, which Aeschylus may have used. Lloyd-Jones and Wilson occasionally print such forms in Sophocles (Ant. 589 Θρῄσσησιν, in lyrics)

That seems to be a reference to the Oxford Classical Text Sophocles, where the Preface says, and in English, strangely enough:In matters of orthography we have paid some attention to the evidence provided by epigraphical discoveries, even though one cannot be sure that poets followed exactly the same rules as officials responsible for drafting public decrees. [p xiii]

It seems reasonable  that if you were having lots of stuff engraved in stone you would naturally try to leave out iotas or indeed anything else.

Apart from that, Griffith seems to be indicating by modest silence that he prepared his own edition of the text, but it looks as though he may have been starting from the OCT rather than actual manuscripts.

Brooklyn, Peckham Multiplex 15 November

November 16, 2015



At the end of this showing, a rather full cinema broke into genuine and sustained applause, which is a rare thing indeed.  I think that was because it was a film for grown-ups dealing with grown-up themes, in spite of the extreme youth of the heroine and of the actress playing her.

The action followed the plot of Colm Toibin’s novel quite faithfully, with some understandable simplifications.  It seemed that Father Flood had been turned into a figure of straightforward benevolence, and indeed Colm Toibin’s representative in the film, since I had more than once heard Toibin praising Saoirse Ronan with paternal pride.  Different ways of relating to the symbolic sea seemed to have been abandoned, in favour of Saoirse doing with her face what takes me thirty pages, while there were some advert-y moments like Eilis exiting the immigration shed into a screenful of light.

But it was good to see a film about nice, decent people, and indeed nice, decent, lower-middle-class people…