Printer Friendly

Foxy or out-foxed citizens? Solon, Fr. 11 West (15 Gentili-Prato).


This article deals with the much-debated problem of the meaning and reference of the metaphor of the fox in line 5. Philological, historical and literary arguments are marshalled in an attempt to understand the metaphor and its significance in the fragment/poem as a whole. The conclusions reached are that the metaphor signifies that the Athenians, rather than being cunning, have been tricked by a 'fox', and that this 'fox' is a tyrant, probably Peisistratus.

The problem

Solon, the first poet of Athens of whose poetry we have any examples, (1) used the medium of poetry to analyse the social, economic and political problems afflicting Athens, and to explain, defend and justify his reforms before, during and after his term as archon in 594/3 BCE. In Fr. 11 he tells the Athenians in direct terms that their present suffering is their own fault and not to be blamed on the gods. The citizens themselves have created the environment for the rise to power of certain persons and have thus caused their own political enslavement. The poet then uses a metaphor of people following in a fox's footprints, refers to the community's stupidity and criticises his audience for being beguiled by the words of a particular person. The interpretation of the fox-metaphor has caused some difference of opinion, and it is on this problem that the present article concentrates. The text reads as follows:
 ei de peponqate lugra di umeterhn kakothta,
 mh qeoisin toutwn moiran epamferete:
 autoi gar toutou~ huxhvsate rumata donte~,
 kai dia tauta kakhn escete doulosunhn.
 umewn d ei~ men ekasto~ alwpeko~ icnesi bainei, 5
 sumpasin d umin cauno~ enesti noo~:
 e~ gar glwssan orate kai ei~ eph aimulou andro~,
 ei~ ergon d ouden gignomenon blepete.

 3 Plut. Diod.: rusia Diog. Laert.

 If you have suffered misery through your wrong-doing,
 do not apportion blame for this to the gods;
 for you yourselves strengthened these men, giving guards,
 and because of this you have evil slavery.

 Every one of you walks in the steps of a fox, 5 5
 and the mind of all of you is puffed up;
 for you give heed to the tongue and words of a sly man,
 but of what he does you see nothing.

In spite of differences of interpretation, scholars recognise the complexity, aptness and evocative power of the image in lines 5-6. (2) But the precise meaning and application of the metaphor have long been the subject of debate.

The philological debate

In the absence of en most scholars have understood icnesi as dativus instrumenti or modi, translating alwpeko~ icnesi bainei as 'walks with the steps of a fox', that is 'behaves like a fox'. (3) Thus Linforth translated: 'walks with the tread of a fox'. (4) Similarly, Edmonds rendered the line: 'Each one of you walketh with the steps of a fox ...' (5). Dietel also understood icnesi as modal: 'In fr. 8,5 [Diehl] vergleich S. den einzelnen Athener wegen seiner Schlauheit mit einem Fuchs', and 'Es heisst wortlich: "Von euch geht jeder Einzelne in den Spuren des Fuchses"'. (6) Masaracchia also preferred reading icnesi in the simplest and most common way, as an instrumental dative, indicating careful and circumspect movement. (7) In this reading, the poet is seen as distinguishing between the Athenians who as individuals behave with cunning, but as a community display folly or lack of thought. Wilamo-witz paraphrased as follows: 'Denn ihr seid trotz aller Schlauheit der Einzelnen ein Volk von Gimpeln.' (8) More recently Mulke has argued in favour of this interpretation, mainly because the carefully formulated and positioned antithesis between umewn d ei~ men ekasto~ and sumpasin d umin would be meaningless if both verses meant the same. (9) In this interpre-tation, the fox is a general analogue for the Athenians' behaviour, with no reference to a particular person.

The minority view is that icnesi is dativus loci, 'in the footprints', that is 'following the trail' of a fox. (10) This view was advanced by Kynaston, Buch-holtz and Peppmuller, and Bucherer, (11) but rejected by Linforth because it offered 'a metaphor which does not properly describe the cunning of the Athenians'--a reading which, of course, understands icnesi as instrumental or modal dative. (12) To eliminate the perceived antithesis between the indivi-dual and collective behaviour, Cook tentatively suggested changing cauno~ ('puffed up', 'empty') to chno~ ('of a goose'). But in the subsequent discus-sion, Page argued that there was no antithesis and that the words meant 'follow where the fox leads', as in Babrius' fable 95. Cook conceded that 'Professor Page is evidently right if the fable is as old as Solon.' (13) According to this reading, then, alwpeko~ icnesi must be understood in the sense, not of imitating the fox's cunning, but of being deceived and lured by it into a trap. This view is supported by the fact that the only other recorded use of bainein with the dative icnesi, and again without en, is in Strattis, the fifth-century Attic comic poet: penthkonta podwn icnesi bainete ('go in the tracks of fifty feet'), where the locative use is beyond question. (14) This reading interprets the 'fox' as referring to a particular individual.

The historical context

Since antiquity readers have naturally tried to connect words in the poem to actual historical persons and events. At the root of the problem is the fact that Solon wrote poetry, not history, and chose general rather than specific terms the content of which his audience would have readily understood: lugra, kakothta, toutou~, rumata.

After his term of office, Solon left Athens for an intended absence of ten years, during which political unrest and anarchy prevailed until Peisistratus gained control in 561/60. (15) Diodorus Siculus (1st century BCE), Plutarch (1st century CE) and Diogenes Laertius (3rd century CE) explain that Fr. 11 was composed when Peisistratus became tyrant. Solon had apparently returned to Athens as we are told that he experienced the tyranny for nearly two years or more before his death in c. 559/8. (16) We cannot, of course, fully recover the original audience's understanding of the text before us. All we have are the statements of Diodorus, Plutarch and Diogenes, writing between five and eight hundred years after Solon. Yet they preserve at least one of the branches of the ancient reception of this poem. Diodorus prefaces his quotation of Frr. 9 (12 G-P) and 11 with the statements (9.20.2-3) that Solon wrote the former to warn the Athenians against the imminent tyranny and the latter when the tyranny was in place. Further along (19.1.4) he identifies Peisistratus as the person referred to in Fr. 9.3-4. (17) Plutarch (Sol. 30.3) quotes from Fr. 11, names Peisistratus and, with Ariston of Ceos (c. 225 BCE) as his source, refers to the fifty-strong bodyguard offered to Peisistratus. (18) Diogenes (1.50-51) quotes Frr. 9 and 11, connecting both specifically to Peisistratus. (19) For these three writers the cunning political player in this poem was Peisistratus.

Unfortunately, the ancient sources do not specify who 'these men' (toutou~, 3) were. The majority of scholars follow the ancient testimony, and suggest various possible identities for the men involved: Peisistratus and his followers, (20) a group of powerful people, (21) some ruling group not mentioned in the sources, (22) 'those who administered and executed the law' of Draco, (23) 'capi del popolo', (24) or unknown persons outside of and opposed to Solon's own sympotic audience of hetairoi. (25) Wilamowitz questioned the identification of Peisistratus as the anhr in question, on the grounds that toutou~ referred to a group, not an individual. He excluded the Peisistratids as such a group and instead proposed certain megaloi andre~ (mentioned in Fr. 9) as the agents of political stasei~, the nature and details of which could not be determined without more of the poetry and the lists of officials. (26) This view has recently been restated, in particular because of the change from the plural toutou~ to the singular andro~. (27) But there is no real problem in the switch from plural to singular four lines later. Far from it being 'out of tune with the historical context as well as the grammatical syntax', (28) it is stylistically and dramatically valid and effective, gradually focusing attention from a group of men to one ring-leader. (29) There is also the matter of oral performance. With deictic body-language like voice-inflection and finger-waving the poet could have signalled the transition quite unambiguously. Then, apart from the actual naming of Peisistratus and Draco, the various proposals as to the persons involved are not all that different: power-seeking aristocrats who were embarked on a different course from Solon's own--in short, the megaloi andre~ of Fr. 9. The crucial point is then the reliability of Diodorus, Plutarch and Diogenes: if they are correct, Peisistratus is the only possible candidate to fit the profile of Solon's fox.

The matter is complicated by another problem facing the reader: the choice between the reading rumata given by Plutarch and Diodorus, and rusia preserved from a different tradition by Diogenes. The former, ruma, is unattested before Solon, appearing after him in Classical Athenian texts in the literal sense of 'defence' or 'protection' offered by something concrete like an altar or sanctuary (Aesch. Supp. 85; Eur. Heracl. 260) or tower (Soph. Aj. 159), or, in an abstract sense, like death (Aesch. Fr. 353); rare in the plural, it is equivalent to bohqhmata, 'resources', 'auxiliaries'. (30) That Solon is recorded as the first to use the term need not count against this reading: a number of other words, metaphors and iuncturae are attested first in Solonian texts. (31)

The reading rusia was defended by Linforth, who argued that the plural rumata denoted 'means of defense' and was therefore too vague to mean 'bodyguard'. He preferred rusia meaning 'pledges or hostages', and related the text to the mortgaged lands which Solon had set free in his seisachtheia. (32) An examination of rusia indeed reveals that the term is used of a 'pledge' in the form of property (Hom. Il. 11.674), person (Soph. OC 858; Joseph. BJ 1.14.1) or money (SIG 56.41; Joseph. AJ 16.9.2) held as security; but also of 'reprisals' exacted in the form of physical punishment, war or death (Soph. Ph. 959; Polyb. 4.53.2; IG 12[2].15.19), or the seizure of persons (IG 12[5].653.11). (33) The occurrence of the word in Homer proves its availability to Solon, and, considered together with the fact that rumata is attested only after Solon, could shift the balance in favour of rusia. The case for rusia has recently been restated by Rihll and Gottesman. (34) The former understands rusia as 'sureties' of land or people (hostages) dealt with in Draco's legislation. The latter rejects the meaning 'pledges' in favour of various forms of exacted reprisals, taken by force rather than given, so that donte~ has a bitter tone in keeping with the rest of the poem. (35) In this reading the bodyguards disappear to be replaced by some form of reprisals. With the removal of the bodyguards, Peisistratus is left undefended: (36) the 'fox' must be someone else, some unknown person who instituted debt-bondage (Linforth), or Draco (Rihll). It is perhaps significant that, although Diogenes preserves the reading rusia, he still connects it with Peisistratus.

Linforth's suggestion is possible, if it refers (as he stated) to events preceding Peisistratus. In that case, however, as Wilamowitz realised, the event referred to and its perpetrator(s) are unknown to us. This would reject ancient testimony: Diodorus, Plutarch and Diogenes all explain that, whereas Fr. 9 predicted a tyranny, Fr. 11 was composed when Peisistratus had already seized power. Furthermore, the nature of the economic reforms, including the so-called seisachtheia, and their connection with Solon are still much debated, and it is by no means certain that rusia refers to any debt-bondage lifted by the seisachtheia. (37)

For the meaning 'reprisals' the same argument holds: no specific reference can be tied to the word; Gottesman's 'recent setback at the hands of an opposed hetaireia' is even vaguer than 'resources' for bodyguards for which there is at least testimony. In the case of rusia it is also difficult to make sense of the resultant translation: 'you yourselves strengthened these men by giving them reprisals.' The meaning 'auxiliaries' at least provides a meaning linked with the suggestion of abnormal power, the central theme of the text.

It seems clear from the above that Fr. 11 fits in with the broader context of Solon's negative attitude to tyranny expressed in other poems (Frr. 9, 32, 33, 34), and that a specific tyranny is the focus of his attention. The only other possible figure, apart from Peisistratus, to qualify as a 'tyrant' in Attica would be Draco, as argued by Rihll. (38) However, her well-argued case is weakened by the lack of any ancient testimony or evidence, as she herself acknowledges. (39)

The literary context

A wider perspective, suggested by Page in his reference to Babrius, may advance our argument. First we glance at the fox's literary pedigree. This animal is absent in Homer, but appears in Archilochus in a number of fragments dealing with the fable of the vixen and the eagle (Frr. 172-181 W) and a fox and a monkey (Frr. 185-187), in Semonides where it is one of the animals used to characterise women (Fr. 7.7), and in several other poets after Solon, where its cunning is proverbial. (40) It is a leading character in the fables of Aesop. This would suggest that the background of the use here is the world of fable rather than epic. The surprising occurrence here in an elegy is an indication of Solon's wish to address his audience on a more accessible level. (41)

In Babrius' fable 95 a fox, who attends on an aged and ailing lion in a cave, cunningly lures an unsuspecting stag into the cave on the pretext that the stag has been chosen to succeed the lion as king. But the lion pounces too soon, catching only an ear of his quarry with his claw. The stag flees, but, commanded by the angry lion, the fox tracks down the bleeding stag and with great skill manages to persuade it to return to the cave. This time the lion makes no mistake, and the fox comments on the stag's folly in being deceived twice. (42) Cook noted the similarity of Solon's cauno~ and Babrius' ecaunwqh (95.6-7: th~ d o nou~ ecaunwqh / logoisi poihtoisin, 'and the stag's heart was puffed up with conceit by the spell of those false words'). (43) There are other similarities: both writers use nou~ to express the empty headedness or folly of their targets, and both citizens and stag are deceived by persuasive speech (glwssan ... eph, Sol.; logoisi poihtoisin, Bab.). The two 'plots' share the basic theme of thoughtless beings deceived by persuasive words. These aspects are relevant for the political situation sketched in the poem: on the one hand there is the fox with its cunning, persistence and persuasive powers, and its offer of power to the unsuspecting victim; on the other there is the stag's folly in being conned into the same trap twice.

One of Aesop's fables (147 Hausrath, 142 Perry) involves a fox and the footprints of various animals leading one-way into a cave where again an aged lion lies in wait for unsuspecting prey. It is, of course, impossible to determine whether Solon borrowed from Aesop, or vice versa, or both from a common source. (44) My intention is not so much to establish provenance as to attempt to recreate the linguistic net-working and fathom the semantic world in which the text operated. The ultimate origin is surely folklore--fables by their very nature exist in a communal pool before their recording in written form.

Dietel related the words ei~ ergon d ouden gignomenon blepete and the contrast between eph and ergon to the lion's deception, and the special significance of the animal tracks. The fox is too clever to follow the footprints. (45) Is this the intended meaning: that Athenians as individuals are, like the fox, cunning enough not to fall for the deception? But then: the Athenians have already been duped and trapped into tyranny. Solon's 'plot' is different: there is no lion at the end of the footprints which are those of the fox alone. (46) So the fox itself is the deceiving animal, cunningly leading others into a trap. (47)

We return to the text as it survives and construct a narrative around it. (48) The 'you' plural (ei ... peponqate, 1; mh ... epamferete, 2) can refer to fellow-symposiasts or to the Athenians in general. Even if the original performance took place in the ambience of a symposium, the most likely setting for an elegiac poem, (49) the poet clearly intended his message for a wider audience. Ancient testimonia record that on several occasions Solon went to extraordinary lengths to get his message across. He addressed his poem on Salamis (Frr. 1-3 W) to the Athenians in the guise of a herald (auto~ khrux hlqon, Fr. 1), and claims his spirit moved him to teach the Athenians the city's ills (tauta didaxai qumo~ Aqhnaiou~ me keleuei, Fr. 4.30). In circumstances very like those of Fr. 11, we are told by Diogenes Laertius (1.49) that Solon rushed into the assembly carrying a spear and shield, and warned the people against Peisistratus; on being pronounced mad by the pro-Peisistratid gathering, he responded in verses which warned that time would prove him right: deixei dh; manihn men emhn baio~ crono~ astoi~ (Fr. 10). Though ancient reception may have embellished the poems with fanciful reconstructions of the original context, (50) the statements in the fragments clearly involve the Athenians as a whole.

It is therefore unlikely that Solon was rebuking only his own group of hetairoi for allowing such a process to happen: they would constitute only a small group within the polis, powerless to stop the slide into 'slavery'. Diodorus, Plutarch and Diogenes all say as much. The citizen-body are as a whole to blame for their servile situation, for they themselves handed power to certain men. No exceptions or exclusions among them--Solon's fellow symposiasts, for example--are stated or implied. (51) Every single one follows the steps of a fox, and so they are collectively empty-headed.

With the words aimulou andro~ (7) a definite connection is made between the cunning of 'a man' (not each Athenian) and the cunning of 'a fox'. The adjective aimulo~ in fact sustains the fox-metaphor. (52) Alcaeus also applied the metaphor to someone (Pittacus?) whom he considered a tyrant. (53) The second dev therefore indicates a continuation of the previous statement, rather than introducing a different one. The hexameter and pentameter of the first couplet (5-6) are therefore not antithetical, but in tandem, with the pentameter rising to a climax. (54) The second couplet explains the first (gar): as individuals they walk one-by-one into the trap (as in the fable of the lion), that is, they each pursue their own interests, while as a group they lack sense in the cause of the public good.

This reading shifts the comparison with a fox away from 'each one of you' to someone specific, whose identity would have been obvious to Solon's original audience: the use of the present participle gignomenon (8) indicates an event 'real' at the time of writing. Whoever the 'fox' was, the poet's thought seems to be that no Athenians have the fox's cunning; all follow unthinkingly and blindly in the tyrant's steps, that is, where he leads, listening to his words, but ignoring his actions. The poet depicts the danger inherent in the mixture, on the one hand, of a demagogue with the power of rhetorical persuasion and, on the other, the irrational behaviour of the populace. (55)


This whole construct, as is the fate of all literary interpretation, is, of course, not provable. Arguments on the philological problem of the kind of dative in line 5 are evenly balanced, with the parallel from Strattis perhaps adding extra weight to the locative use. Identification of the historical persons and events depends entirely on one's acceptance of the reliability of the ancient sources. If one rejects the tradition as represented by Diodorus, Diogenes and Plutarch, one is forced to construct another, unknown and undocumented socio-political institution or event and instigator or tyrant--a less defensible position. (56) Finally, the broader context of the fable provides a related pattern of thought in the deceptive behaviour of the fox and the gullibility of its victims: the fox refers to a cunning ruler who has deceived the Athenians. In the light of the surviving testimony and the arguments above that person was probably Peisistratus.


Blok, J.H. & Lardinois, A.P.M.H. (edd.) 2006. Solon of Athens. New Historical and Philological Approaches. Leiden.

Bowie, E.L. 1986. 'Early Greek elegy, symposium and public festival.' JHS 106:13-35.

Bravo, B. 1980. Sylan. Represailles et justice privee contre les etrangers dans les cites grecques. Pisa.

Bucherer, F. (ed.) 1904. Anthologie aus den griechischen Lyrikern. Gotha.

Buchholtz, E. & Peppmuller, R. (edd.) 1900. Anthologie aus der Lyrikern der Griechen fur den Schul- und Privatgebrauch. 5th edition. Leipzig.

Campbell, D.A. 1982. Greek Lyric Poetry. A Selection of Early Greek Lyric, Elegiac and Iambic Poetry. Bedminster [1967].

Cook, R.M. 1954/55. 'Solon, fr. 8 (Diehl), 11.5-6.' PCPhS n.s. 3:3.

Degani, E. & Burzacchini, G. 1977. Lirici Greci. Antologia. Florence.

Denniston, J.D. 1966. The Greek Particles. Oxford.

Dietel, K. 1939. Das Gleichnis in der fruhen griechischen Lyrik. Wurzburg (Diss. Munich 1938).

Edmonds, J.M. 1957. The Fragments of Attic Comedy. 4 vols. Leiden.

Edmonds, J.M. 1968. Elegy and Iambus. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA (1931).

Foxhall, L. 1997. 'A view from the top. Evaluating the Solonian property classes.' In Mitchell & Rhodes 1997:113-136.

Frankel, H. 1975. Early Greek Poetry and Philosophy. Transl. M. Hadas & J. Willis. Oxford.

French, A. 1984. 'Solon's act of mediation.' Antichthon 18:1-12.

Gentili, B. & Prato, C. 1988. Poetae Elegiaci Testimonia et Fragmenta, Pars I. 2nd Edition. Leipzig.

Gerber, D.E. 1999. Greek Elegiac Poetry. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA.

Gottesman, A. 2005. 'Two notes on Solon Fr. 11 W.' Mnem. 58:412-415.

Harris, E.M. 1997. 'A new solution to the riddle of the seisachtheia.' In Mitchell & Rhodes 1997:103-112.

Henderson, W.J. 2006. 'The imagery of Solon, Fr. 4 West (3 Gentili-Prato).' AClass 49:129-136.

Irwin, E. 2005. Solon and Early Greek Poetry. The Politics of Exhortation. Cambridge.

Irwin, E. 2006. 'The transgressive elegy of Solon?' In Blok & Lardinois 2006:36-78.

Kassel, R. & Austin, C. 1983. Poetae Comici Graeci. Vol. 4. Berlin & New York.

Keller, O. 1909. Die antike Tierwelt. Leipzig.

Knox, B.M.W. 1985. 'Solon'. In P.E. Easterling & B.M.W. Knox (edd.), The Cambridge History of Classical Literature, 146-153. Cambridge.

Kohler, C.S. 1967. Das Tierleben im Sprichwort der Griechen und Romer. Hildesheim (Leipzig 1881).

Kynaston, H. 1890. Extracts from the Greek Elegiac Poets. London.

Lardinois, A.P.M.H. 2006. 'Have we Solon's verses?' In Blok & Lardinois 2006:15-35.

Linforth, I.M. 1971. Solon the Athenian. Repr. New York & London (Berkeley 1919).

Masaracchia, A. 1958. Solone. Florence.

Mitchell, L.G. 1997. 'New wine in old wineskins: Solon, arete and the agathos.' In Mitchell & Rhodes 1997:137-147.

Mitchell, L.G. & Rhodes, P.J. (edd.). 1997. The Development of the Polis in Archaic Greece. London & New York.

Mulke, C. 2002. Solons Politische Elegien und Iamben (Fr. 1-13; 32-37 West). Einleitung, Text, Ubersetzung, Kommentar. Munich & Leipzig.

Noussia, M. 2001. Solone. Frammenti dell'opera poetica. Milan.

Noussia, M. 2006. 'Strategies of persuasion in Solon's elegies.' In Blok & Lardinois 2006:134-156.

Pelissier, R. 1911. De Solonis verborum copia. Diss. Berlin.

Perry, B.E. 1984. Babrius and Phaedrus. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA.

Podlecki, A. 1987. 'Solon or Peisistratus? A case of mistaken identity.' AncW 16:3-10.

Rihll, T.E. 1989. 'Lawgivers and tyrants (Solon, Frr. 9-11 West).' CQ 39:277286.

Roth, P. 1993. 'Solon Fr. 25 West: "Der jugend Bluten." RM 136:97-101.

Schmid, W. 1959. Geschichte der griechischen Literatur. Munich.

Schwyzer, E. & Debrunner, A. 1950. Griechische Grammatik. Munich.

Stehle, E. 2006. 'Solon's self-reflexive political persona and its audience.' In Blok & Lardinois 2006:79-113.

Von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, U. 1893. Aristoteles und Athen. Berlin.

Vox, O. 1984. Solone autoritratto. Padua.

West, M.L. 1992. Iambi et Elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. Vol. 2. 2nd edition. Oxford.

West, M.L. 1993. Greek Lyric Poetry. The Poems and Fragments of the Greek Iambic, Elegiac, and Melic Poets (excluding Pindar and Bacchylides) down to 450 B.C. Transl. with introd. and notes. Oxford.

William J. Henderson

University of Johannesburg

* A shorter version of this article was read at the 27th Biennial Conference of the Classical Association of South Africa held at the University of Cape Town on 2-5 July 2007. I am grateful to the referees for their comments, criticism and corrections.

(1) Cf. Schmid 1959:1.1.364: 'der Begrunder der attischen Literatur'; Frankel 1975: 218: 'the first time the voice of Attica is heard in literature'; Knox 1985:1.146: first and an 'unforgettable personality'.

(2) Cf. Masaracchia 1958:293: 'vivace e arguta e l'immagine'; Mulke 2002:225: 'Solon verwendet also ein eindrucksvolles Bild'; Rihll 1989:278: 'strong language.'

(3) Cf. LS s.v. icno~ I.

(4) Linforth 1971:207.

(5) Edmonds 1968:1.125.

(6) Dietel 1939:25; she also cites I. Heinemann, Studia Solonea (Diss. Berlin, 1897) 15 n. 1, who glosses icnesi as 'similes estis.'

(7) Masaracchia 1958:293-94.

(8) Wilamowitz 1893:2.311.

(9) Mulke 2002:224-25. His observation that icno~ with a verb of giving means 'to copy someone' or 'take someone as an example' (as at Pind. P. 10.12-13; Plat. Resp. 553a9-10), i.e. the Athenians are following the fox's behaviour, is less effective in the absence here of any verbum dandi. Gentili & Prato 1988:112 record Schneide-win's gloss 'singuli sapitis, cuncti disipitis.'

(10) Cf. Gerber 1999:127: 'Each one of you follows the fox's tracks ...' Mitchell 1997: 142 translates 'each one of you comes with the marks of a fox', but does not explain or motivate her version.

(11) Kynaston 1890; Buchholtz & Peppmuller 1900; Bucherer 1904 ad loc.

(12) Linforth 1971:207.

(13) Cook 1954/55.

(14) See Kassel & Austin 1983; Noussia 2001:293. Also, the modal use of icno~ is expressed differently at Hom. Od. 5.193: met icnia baine qeoio.

(15) Ps.-Aristot. Ath. Pol. 11.

(16) According to Plut. Sol. 32.3, Phanias of Eresus (4th-3rd cent. BCE) placed Solon's death in the archonship of Hegestratus, nearly two years after the beginning of Peisistratus' reign, while Heracleides of Pontus (4th cent. BCE) stated that Solon survived for a considerable time into Peisistratus' reign. Rihll 1989:277-78 argues for a different chronology.

(17) Diod. 9.20.2, 3; 19.1.4.

(18) Plut. Sol. 30.3 (repeated by Clem. Alex. Strom. 1.23.1); cf. Hdt. 1.59.

(19) Diog. 1.50, 51.

(20) Linforth 1971:207 (if the poem was composed after the Peisistratid usurpation); Masaracchia 1958:292-3; Gentili & Prato 1988:112.

(21) Linforth 1971:207; Podlecki 1987:9.

(22) West 1993:203.

(23) Rihll 1989:286 n. 45.

(24) Noussia 2001:290-91. She re-affirms the identification, while conceding that proof is impossible.

(25) Gottesman 2005:414-15.

(26) Wilamowitz 1893:2.312; cf. also Linforth 1971:207.

(27) Gottesman 2005:412

(28) Gottesman 2005:412.

(29) This type of anacolython is described by Schwyzer & Debrunner 1950:704-05: it occurs in natural speech when psychological impetus outweighs grammatical consideration in longer sentences as if the earlier part has been forgotten.

(30) Mulke 2002:222-25 also proposes a metaphorical use, 'defences', which is rejected by Gottesman 2005:412-13.

(31) Words: sigwsa (4.15; cf. Degani & Burzacchini 1977:109), andrwn ... megalwn (9.3, of politically powerful men; cf. Mulke 2002:208-09), flaurh (13.15; cf. Mulke 2002:266), puar (37.8, if the correct reading); metaphors: kosmon epewn (1.2; cf. Mulke 2002:79), Dikh~ qemeqla (4.14; cf. Gentili & Prato 1979:103; Campbell 1982:242; Noussia 2001; 246-47; Mulke 2002:121-22), elko~ (4.17, of ills afflicting a city; cf. Henderson 2006:131), polemon q eudont (4.19; cf. Degani & Burzacchini 1977:110; Noussia 2001:251), empedo~ ek neatou puqmeno~ e~ korufhn (13.10; cf. Mulke 2002:259), the follower (13.11-13; cf. Campbell 1982:236), hbh~ ... ep anqesi (25; cf. Roth 1993:97-101), miana~ kai kataiscuna~ kleo~ (32; cf. Vox 1984:73-85; Mulke 2002:336), cauno~ (here and in Fr. 34.4); iunctura: krateron sako~ (5.5; cf. Mulke 2002:192).

(32) Linforth 1971:207.

(33) LSJ s.v. ruma (B), rusion I, II.

(34) Rihll 1989:279, 285-86; Gottesman 2005.

(35) Gottesman 2005:413. In support he cites Bravo 1980:785-92 on the practice of reprisals (sulan, suvlh).

(36) Lardinois 2006:29 states that, if rusia is the correct reading, it would also cast doubt on Solon as the author.

(37) French 1984 has (unconvincingly) linked the process of land-restitution to the readmission of the Alcmaeonids to Attica; but see Foxhall 1997. Harris 1997 has argued that the seisachtheia was not a cancellation of debt, but a gift-system used by 'lords' to gain and maintain power and influence, a practice exploited by Peisistratus, and that these 'pledges' are to be connected with the hektemoroi, a payment of one-sixth for services rendered as suggested by Thuc. 6.45.5 and Ps.-Aristot. Ath. Pol. 16 (110-11).

(38) Rihll 1989.

(39) Rihll 1989:283.

(40) Alc. Fr. 69.6-7 L-P; Timocr. 729 PMG; Pind. Olym. 11.19; Pyth. 2.77-78; Isth. 3.67; 4.45-47. Cf. Kohler 1967:55 n. 33: for example, 'An old fox does not let itself be caught' (Zenob. Centuria 2); as the 'prime minister' of the lion (Timotheus 13); and also 'Where the lion's skin does not reach, one must patch it out with the fox's' (Plut. Vita Lysandri 7.4); Kohler 117 no. 30. Keller 1909:1.88-89 records that the fox was hunted for the damage it caused rather than for its pelt, and in fable attacks birds, rabbits and vineyards.

(41) Cf. Dietel 1939:25. Mulke 2002:224-25 sees no indication that Solon took the image from colloquial language; see contra, Gentili & Prato 1988:112: 'ad imaginem alwp. icn. bainei e sermone Attico vulgari depromptam cf. Pelissier [1911] 2-3.' Contrast the heroic behaviour of the wolf in Fr. 36.26-27, an iambic poem.

(42) Text in Perry 1984.

(43) Cook 1954/55. Translation by Perry 1984.

(44) Cf. Mulke 2002:224-25, who, however, cedes priority to Solon.

(45) Dietel 1939:25.

(46) A similar change of animal, this time from lion to wolf, occurs in Fr. 36, on which see Noussia 2001:362-64; Irwin 2005:245-61.

(47) Noussia 2001:293 has made the further point that the fox is attested in antiquity as prone to corruption. Cf. Cratinus: umwn ei~ men ekasto~ alwphx dwrodokeitai ('each one of you singly is a fox in becoming corrupt by bribery'); Edmonds 1957:1.62 no. 128; Kassel & Austin 1983:135; or, reading dwrodokei ti (128 Kock: 'in committing some corruption by bribery'); cf. Gentili & Prato 1988:112. Gottesman 2005:414 cites Xen. Cyn. 5.4 and 6.3 and Sem. 7.11 for the idea that a fox's tracks are inconsistent, confusing and therefore dangerous; and regards rusia and the fox as two metaphors for the same idea of loss of direction.

(48) On this process, present in all literary interpretation, see Irwin 2005:4-5.

(49) See Bowie 1986. Lardinois 2006:17-18 believes that the majority of the Solonian elegies (excluding Frr. 1-4, 4a and 22a) 'are of a generic nature and could have been composed by almost any poet in almost any Greek city-state.'

(50) See further Irwin 2006:41 (on Frr. 1-3); Irwin 2006:69, 71 and Stehle 2006:86-87 (on Fr. 4.30); Stehle 2006:100 (on Fr. 10).

(51) Thus too Irwin 2006:69.

(52) For aimulo~ of foxes, cf. Aristoph. Lys. 1268.

(53) Fr. 69.6: w~ alwpa[; cf. Noussia 2001:291.

(54) Cf. Denniston 1966:162-65. Gottesman 2005:413 regards an antithesis between the couplets as incongruous with the poem's tone of rebuke.

(55) Irwin 2006: esp. 42-44 and 68-72 demonstrates how Solon actually transgressed the traditional boundaries of elegy, and broke down the exclusivity of the sympotic audience. Noussia 2006:139 also stresses the non-exclusive nature of the elegies.

(56) Cf. Harris 1997:107: 'An interpretation that explains Solon's verses in terms of what his poetry says is certainly superior to one that forces us to resort to guesswork about economic conditions in Archaic Attica.'
COPYRIGHT 2007 Classical Association of South Africa
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Henderson, William J.
Publication:Acta Classica
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Previous Article:The Sulpician law on debt: implications for the political elite and broader ramifications.
Next Article:School-teachers in the Roman empire: a survey of the epigraphical evidence.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters