Euripidis Orestes Argumentum

I’ve been looking at Greek textbooks from the Renaissance recently—large volumes written in Latin, all basically beginning with the Greek alphabet, working through morphology and up to rhetorical figures, most illustrated with examples from the auctores. The greatest variation in the format seems to come at the end of the books, where various extra readings are sometimes appended. These are often prayers and hymns, but occasionally the most interesting miscellanea—short readings, presented in both Greek and Latin, designed as first samples for Greek students who have worked through the grammar. I will post some of this miscellanea in the next few weeks, including a nice bilingual Vita Homeri found in Melanchton’s Grammatica Graeca.

For today, a short example from Alexander Scot’s 1605 Universa Grammatica Graeca. The final section of his work, “Praxis Praeceptorum Grammatices”, following a few common prayers in both languages, offers simple readings based on Greek texts. It begins with this argumentum from Euripides’ Orestes.

Euripidis Orestes argumentum
Orestes propter matris caedem, simul & a Furiis exterritus, & ab Argivis condemnatus morte, interfecturus Helenam & Hermionen, eo quod Menelaus praesens non tulerat opem, prohibitus est ab Apolline. Apud nullum autem ponitur fabula. Praefatur vero Electra ut soror Orestis, miserabili oratione utens propter Tantalum.

Εὐριπίδου Ὀρέστης ὑπόθεσις
Ὁρέστης διὰ τὴν τῆς μητρὸς σφαγὴν, ἅμα καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἐριννύων δειματούμενος, καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν Ἀργείων κατακριθεὶς θανάτῳ, μέλλων φονεύειν Ἑλένην καὶ Ἑρμίονην, ἀνθ’ ὧν Μενέλαος παρὼν οὐκ ἐβοήθησεν, ἐκωλύθη ὑπὸ Ἀπολλωνος. Παῤ οὐδενὶ δὲ κεῖται ἡ μυθολογία. Προλογίζει δὲ ἡ Ἠλέκτρα ὡς ἀδελφὴ Ὀρέστου, ἐλεεινολογοῦσα διὰ τὸν Τάνταλον.

From Scot’s 1605 Universa Grammatica Graeca, p. 969 (

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