PURA. Purism In Antiquity: Theories Of Language in Greek Atticist Lexica and their Legacy

Lexicographic entries

ᾄδειν ὅμοιον
(Phryn. PS 20.1–2, Phot. α 551)

A. Main sources

(1) Phryn. PS 20.1–2: ᾄδειν ὅμοιον· σημαίνει τὸ μάτην λέγειν. τὸ γὰρ ᾄδεις ἐπὶ τοῦ μάτην λέγεις.

ᾄδειν edd. : ἄδην cod. | τὸ γὰρ ᾄδειν ἐπὶ τοῦ μάτην λέγεις cod. : τὸ γὰρ ᾄδειν ἐπὶ τοῦ μάτην λέγειν de Borries | Ruhnken (1789, 199) proposes emending the gloss into ᾄδειν ἄλλως· ὅμοια σημαίνει τῷ μάτην λέγειν. τὸ γὰρ ἄλλως ἐπὶ τοῦ μάτην λέγεται : Kaibel (1899, 21) proposes instead ᾄδεις ἔχων.

ᾄδειν ὅμοιον (‘to sing the same song’, Eup. fr. 39 = C.1): It means ‘to speak in vain’. In fact, ‘you sing’ (Ar. fr. 101 = C.2) [stands for] ‘you speak in vain’.

(2) Phot. α 551: ᾄδειν ὅμοιον· καινοτάτη ἡ σύνταξις καὶ Ἀττικῶς, εἰ καί τις ἄλλη, εἰρημένη. σημαίνει δὲ τὸ μάτην λέγειν, ὡς εἰ καὶ ἄλλως ᾄδειν ἐθέλοι τις ἐν οὐδενὶ πράγματι ἀνυσίμῳ. Εὔπολις ἐν Ἀστρατεύτοις ‘ὅμοιον ᾄδειν· οὐ γὰρ ἔστ’ ἄλλως ἔχον’. Ἀριστοφάνης δὲ ἐν Γεωργοῖς ἐξηγούμενος τὸ ᾄδεις, ὅπερ ἐπὶ τοῦ μάτην λέγεις τίθεται, παροιμιῶδες αὐτὸ ποιεῖ· φησὶ γάρ ‘καὶ τὰς δίκας οὖν ἔλεγον ᾄδοντες τότε; – νὴ Δία, φράσω δ’ ἐγὼ μέγα σοι {καὶ} τεκμήριον· ἔτι γὰρ λέγουσιν οἱ πρεσβύτεροι καθήμενοι, ὅταν κακῶς τις ἀπολογῆται τὴν δίκην, ᾄδεις’. <ἐν> συνουσίᾳ χρῶ κατὰ Φρύνιχον.

ἄλλως (before ᾄδειν) Wilamowitz (1907, 4) : ἄλλος codd. Phot. b z | ἔχον Wilamowitz (1907, 531) : ἔχων codd. Phot. b z (defended by Theodoridis 1982, 64) : ἔχειν Reitzenstein (1907, 48) | καὶ (before τεκμήριον) was suppressed by Reitzenstein (1907, 48) | ἐν (before συνουσίᾳ) was added by Reitzenstein (1907, 48).

ᾄδειν ὅμοιον: The construction is original and expressed in an Attic fashion like no other. It means ‘to speak in vain’, as if one wanted [to say] ‘to talk idly’ (ἄλλως ᾄδειν), ‘to no useful purpose’. Eupolis in Draft-evaders (fr. 39 = C.1) [says]: ‘[…] to sing the same song, for it cannot be otherwise’. And Aristophanes, in Farmers (fr. 101 = C.2), explaining ᾄδεις (‘you sing’), which is intended as ‘you speak in vain’, treats it as a proverb. For he says: ‘At that time, did they use to sing their pleas? Yes, by Zeus, and I am going to give you great evidence. The elder judges, when someone defends himself poorly against an accusation, still tell: You are singing’. It can be used in conversation, according to Phrynichus (PS 20.1–2 = A.1).

B. Other erudite sources

(1) Hsch. α 1766: ᾄδεις ἔχων· ἴσον τῷ μάτην λέγεις καὶ ληρεῖς.

Cf. Phot. α 538; Diogenian. 5.11; Apostol. 1.32, 8.39; Phryn. PS fr. *109.

ᾄδεις ἔχων (‘you go on singing’, com. adesp. fr. *822 = C.3): [It is] equal to ‘you talk in vain’ and ‘you talk nonsense’.

(2) Su. α 1399: ἄλλως ᾄδεις· ἐπὶ τῶν μάτην πονούντων.

Cf. Diogenian. 2.19; Zenob. 1.72; Macar. 1.92; Apostol. 2.31.

ἄλλως ᾄδεις (‘you sing idly’): [It is said] of those who toil in vain.

(3) Orio 23.1–4: ἀδολεσχεῖν· ἔγκειται τὸ αἴδειν, ὅπερ λέγεται ἐπὶ τοῦ τὰ αὐτὰ ἐπαναλαμβάνειν. Μένανδρος· ‘ἡ πόλις ὅλη γὰρ αἴδει τὸ κακόν’. οὐχ, ὡς τινὲς, παρὰ τὸ ἄδην. οὕτως ὁ αὐτὸς Εὐδαίμων.

Menander’s verse has been edited as fr. 882 CAF and restored as Men. Epit. 584–5 by Robert (1912, 411).

ἀδολεσχεῖν (‘to talk idly’): It contains [the root of] ᾄδειν (‘to sing’), which is said of repeating the same things. Menander (Epit. 584–5 = C.6) [says]: ‘the whole town is indeed humming with this scandal’. [It does] not [come] from the [adverb] ἄδην (‘enough’) as some [argue]. So [says] Eudaemon himself.

C. Loci classici, other relevant texts

(1) Eup. fr. 39:
ὅμοιον ᾄδειν· οὐ γὰρ ἔστ’ ἄλλως ἔχον (cf. A.2).

On the possibility to treat ᾄδειν as a jussive or exclamatory infinitive (‘Sing the same song! It cannot be otherwise’), see D. | ἔχον Wilamowitz (1907, 531) : ἔχων Phot. codd. (defended by Theodoridis 1982, 64) : ἔχειν Reitzenstein (1907, 48).

[…] to sing the same song, for it cannot be otherwise.

(2) Ar. fr. 101:
(Α) καὶ τὰς δίκας οὖν ἔλεγον ᾄδοντες τότε;
(Β) νὴ Δία· φράσω δ’ ἐγὼ μέγα σοι τεκμήριον.
ἔτι γὰρ λέγουσ’ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι καθημένοι,
ὅταν κακῶς τις ἀπολογῆται τὴν δίκην,

τότε Reitzenstein (1907, 48) : τῷ τε Phot. cod. b (τῶ τε Phot. cod. z) | λέγουσʼ οἱ Wilamowitz (1907, 53) : λέγουσιν οἱ Phot. cod. b z | ὅταν Reitzenstein (1907, 48) : ὅτʼ ἄν Phot. cod. z | Reitzenstein (1907, XXI) proposed adding ἔχων after ᾄδεις (‘you go on singing’), see B.1.

(A) At that time, did they use to sing their pleas? (B) Yes, by Zeus, and I am going to give you great evidence. The elder judges, when someone defends himself poorly against an accusation, still tell: ‘You are singing’.

(3) Com. adesp. fr. *822 = Hsch. α 1766 re. ᾄδεις ἔχων (B.1).

(4) Ar. Av. 39–41:
οἱ μὲν γὰρ οὖν τέττιγες ἕνα μῆν’ ἢ δύο
ἐπὶ τῶν κραδῶν ᾄδουσ’, Ἀθηναῖοι δ’ ἀεὶ
ἐπὶ τῶν δικῶν ᾄδουσι πάντα τὸν βίον.

δικῶν (‘lawsuits’) codd. : κάδων (‘voting-urns’) Blass (in Robert 1908, 176).

Cicadas chirp on their boughs for only a month or two, whereas Athenians harp on their lawsuits their whole lives long. (Transl. Henderson 2000, 19).

(5) Pl. Ly. 205c.2–6: ἃ δὲ ἡ πόλις ὅλη ᾄδει περὶ Δημοκράτους καὶ Λύσιδος τοῦ πάππου τοῦ παιδὸς καὶ πάντων πέρι τῶν προγόνων, πλούτους τε καὶ ἱπποτροφίας καὶ νίκας Πυθοῖ καὶ Ἰσθμοῖ καὶ Νεμέᾳ τεθρίπποις τε καὶ κέλησι, ταῦτα ποιεῖ τε καὶ λέγει.

But he only writes and relates things that the whole city sings of, recalling Democrates and the boy’s grandfather Lysis and all his ancestors, with their wealth and the horses they kept and their victories at Delphi, the Isthmus and Nemea with chariot-teams and coursers. (Transl. Lamb 1925, 13).

(6) Men. Epit. 584–5:
ἄσωτ[                                     [ἡ πόλις]
ὅλη γὰ[ρ ᾄδει τὸ κακόν.

Scanty fragments of lines 583–644 survive, see the apparatus in Arnott (1979, 462). Lines 584–5 were restored on the basis of fr. 882 CAF = Orio 23.1–4 (B.3) by Robert (1912, 411). Kassel, Schröder (PCG vol. 6, 160) do not accept this restoration in their text.

Proflig[ate]/proflig[acy]. The whole town is indeed humming with this scandal. (Transl. Arnott 1979, 463, slightly adapted. Cf. B.3).

(7) Theophil. fr. 7:
πονηρὸν υἱὸν καὶ πατέρα καὶ μητέρα
ἔστιν μαγαδίζειν ἐπὶ τροχοῦ καθημένους·
οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἡμῶν ταὐτὸν ᾄσεται μέλος.

Theophilus’ fragment is preserved by Athenaeus (14.635a) | Two alternatives have been – not convincingly – proposed in place of καθημένους, trasmitted by Athenaeus: στρεβλουμένους (‘being tortured’, see Blaydes 1896, 181, likely comparing Ar. Lys. 846 and Ar. Pl. 875) and κατακειμένους (‘lying down’, see van Herwerden 1903, 141) | Kassel, Austin (PCG vol. 7, 704) are suspicious of ἐπὶ τροχοῦ (‘on the wheel [of torture]’) and cautiously suggest ἐπὶ θρόνου (‘on the seat’) | Meineke (1867, 305) proposed emending ἡμῶν (‘none of us will sing’) into ἡμῖν (‘no one will sing to us’).

It is bad that a son, a father and a mother play the magadis while sitting on the wheel [of torture]: for none of us will sing the same song.

D. General commentary

Phrynichus’ entry (A.1) deals with the meaning of the idiomatic phrase ᾄδειν ὅμοιον (‘to sing the same [song]’), meaning ‘to speak in vain’. Thanks to Photius’ entry (A.2), we know that such expressions attracted Phrynichus’ interest because he considered the phrasing to be both original and Attic and likely to make a good impression during conversation (for this interpretation of Photius’ <ἐν> συνουσίᾳ see the parallels in PS 2.9–10Phryn. PS 2.9–10; Phot. α 1977, which is a longer version of PS 5.11–4Phryn. PS 5.11–4; and especially Phot. α 1666, which preserves an extended version of PS 6.18–9Phryn. PS 6.18–9).

The verb ᾄδω (‘to sing’) may be used figuratively to indicate the repetitiveness and pointlessness of a speech – that is, with the meaning ‘to talk in circles’ or ‘to speak in vain’. Occurrences of this use of ᾄδω are found in Ar. fr. 101 (C.2, on which see Bagordo 2022, 11–2; see also Pellegrino 2015, 84; Ceccarelli 2019, 100–106) and Ar. Av. 39–41 (C.4, see Dunbar 1995, 148–50). The context of both occurrences is the mocking of the Athenian legal system and of its frequent, long and quibbling lawsuits (not, as Bers 2009, 64 argues, a reference to the tone of an overwhelmed defendant, which sounds song-like). ᾄδω may also refer to news that is disseminated citywide by word of mouth, as in Pl. Ly. 205c.2 (C.5), and Men. Epit. 584–5 (C.6, on which see Gomme, Sandbach 1973, 346, with a hypothetical reconstruction of the passage, and Furley 2009, 198–9). The same meaning is also attested for ὑμνέωὑμνέω ‘to sing’, ‘to recite’ and thus ‘to repeat’, conveying a sense of idleness. Such use of ὑμνέω may be found, for instance, in Soph. Ai. 292 (ὁ δ’ εἶπε πρός με βαί’, ἀεὶ δ’ ὑμνούμενα, ‘he said to me a few, hackneyed words’) and Pl. Prt. 317a.4–6 (οἵ γε πολλοὶ […] ἅττ’ ἂν οὗτοι διαγγέλλωσι, ταῦτα ὑμνοῦσιν, ‘the multitude repeats what they [i.e. leaders] proclaim’). τερετίζωτερετίζω too, properly intended as ‘to hum’, ‘to twitter’ (of cicadas and birds), can assume the figurative meaning ‘to talk idly’ (see LSJ, s.v.): according to Taillardat (1965, 286), lexicographical sources (Σ τ 103; Phot. τ 170; Su. τ 337) glossing τερετίζομεν as ‘τὸ αὐτὸ μέλος ᾄδομεν’ (‘we sing the same song’) refer precisely to this metaphorical use (but see LSJ s.v. τερετίζω: ‘to accompany with the voice’).

These verbs, whose original and primary meanings are connected to singing and the production of sounds, develop the metaphoricalMetaphors meaning related to idle or hackneyed communication because, anthropologically, music may be used not only as an image of joy and festivity but also to exemplify repetitiveness and boredom. As Tosi’s comparative analysis (2011, 280–1) demonstrates, Latin offers some interesting points of contact: both cano and decanto (‘to sing’) may denote tedious repetition and common knowledge, and the phrase ᾄδειν ὅμοιον has a homologue in the expression cantilenam eandem canis (‘you sing the same song’), used in Terence’s Phormio (495). This metaphorical significance of singing and music continues to surface in proverbs and sayings in Italian (‘la solita solfa’), English (‘he always harps on the same string’) and German (‘es ist immer die alte Leier’) too; see also the pejorative use of ‘chansons’ in French (for ‘nonsense’, ‘gibberish’).

The use of an expression that is indeed highly similar to ᾄδειν ὅμοιον may be found in the comic poet Theophilus (C.7: ταὐτὸν ᾄσεται μέλος, ‘s/he will sing the same song’). The meaning of Theophilus’ verses remains quite obscure (see F.4), and scholars (with the exception of Bulloch 1970, 274) trace no parallel whatsoever between Theophilus’ (C.7) and Eupolis’ (C.1) passages. Nevertheless, here too, the meaning of the expression is metaphorical, and ταὐτὸν ᾄσεται μέλος (literally, ‘s/he will sing the same song’) likely stands for ‘s/he will say the same things’, even though the tone is likely less derogatory. Although the image of singing the same song is not recognised as proverbial, its occurrences in comedy suggest that the expression was easily intelligible, at least in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE.

The metaphorical meaning of ᾄδω is well documented by the lexicographical and paroemiographical traditions. Whereas most sources limit the use of such metaphor to the sphere of communication, glossing ᾄδω with μάτην λέγω (A.1, A.2, B.1) and ληρέω (B.1), the paroemiographical tradition expands its area of application, using it to refer to vain effort in general (μάτην πονέω, B.2, see F.2). ᾄδω as ‘to talk idly’ also comes into play with respect to doctrines concerning ἀδολεσχέωἀδολεσχέω (‘to talk idly’), whose etymologyEtymology is debated by grammarians (see e.g. B.3 and entry ἀδολέσχης, ἀδόλεσχος). Orion (B.3), recalling a doctrine that he ascribes to the grammarian Eudaemon (4th century CE), supports the derivation of ἀδολεσχέω from ᾄδω (against that from the adverb ἄδην ‘enough’, which was instead proposed, for instance, by Phrynichus, PS 36.5–12Phryn. PS 36.5–12) arguing that ᾄδω may stand for ‘to repeat’ (on this use of ἔγκειται, see F.3).

Phrynichus’ doctrine on ᾄδειν ὅμοιον is particularly interesting in terms of his theories of style. The text of the gloss, as transmitted in cod. Par. Coisl. 345Par. Coisl. 345 (A.1), posed several problems to earlier scholars, who emended the lemma based on other lexicographical sources: Ruhnken proposed ᾄδειν ἄλλως (see B.2) and Kaibel ᾄδεις ἔχων (see B.1). However, Photius’ item (A.2), which preserves Phrynichus’ doctrine in a more extended version, verifies the correctness of the text in the epitomeEpitome. In the case in question, this is also made evident by the form itself of the short interpretamentum of the PS (A.1), juxtaposing two pericopes, which are part of a more articulated analysis in Photius (A.2). The epitomiser selected only information on semantics (of the phrasing ᾄδειν ὅμοιον and of ᾄδω in general), omitting all further explanations and neglecting both to quote the loci classici and to preserve the information on style and context. The item from Photius’ Lexicon (A.2), by contrast, goes far beyond being informative with respect to semantics and allows us to understand why this expression was noteworthy in Phrynichus’ eyes. Together with other entries in the PS and its indirect tradition, A.1 and A.2 allow us to reconstruct part of Phrynichus’ conception of καινότης, ‘originality’ (see: Σb 243 = Phot. α 101, cf. Phryn. PS fr. *5Phryn. PS fr. *5 (= Σb α 243, Phot. α 101), fr. 43Phryn. PS fr. 43 and entry ἀγανακτῶ σου; Σb 304 = Phot. α 273, cf. Phryn. PS fr. *66Phryn. PS fr. *66; Σb 404 = Phot. α 414, cf. Phryn. PS fr. *91Phryn. PS fr. *91; Phot. α 1377, cf. Phryn. PS 49.1–2Phryn. PS 49.1–2; Phot. α 1488, cf. Phryn. PS 14.6Phryn. PS 14.6; Σb 1351 = Phot. α 1801, cf. Phryn. PS 21.12Phryn. PS 21.12 and entry ἄνεμος καὶ ὄλεθρος ἄνθρωπος; Phot. α 1913, cf. Phryn. PS 44.7–10Phryn. PS 44.7–10; Phot. α 1980, cf. Phryn. PS fr. *193Phryn. PS fr. *193). Phrynichus selects ᾄδειν ὅμοιον based on his judgement that it is a useful Attic expression (even more, ‘expressed in Attic-fashion like no others’) and a highly original (καινοτάτη) one.

Photius’ entry (A.2), meanwhile, refers to σύνταξιςσύνταξις, and it is possible that Phrynichus also evaluated and approved the expression from a syntactic perspective. However, σύνταξις does not invariably refer to syntaxSyntax but can also be used for expressions and phrasings inasmuch as they are ‘combinations’ of words. Moreover, it is not possible to reach definitive conclusions regarding the syntactical structure on which Phrynichus might have commented. Given that ᾄδειν has occasionally been considered a jussive infinitive (‘sing!’, see Olson 2017, 164), it is worth briefly considering this possibility. Examples of the jussive infinitiveInfinitive, jussive abound in comedy: Aristophanes often uses it for positive commands, and it occurs several times in colloquialColloquial language (and non-parodic) contexts (eight examples in Bers 1984, 180; on the jussive infinitive, see Denizot 2011, 297–339; 341–94, on its comparison with the imperative). Although occurrences in Attic prose are scarcer, Plato uses jussive infinitives to enliven the dialogue, to ‘ask for a recapitulation’, ‘sanction an interruption’, and as a ‘method of inquiry’ (see Bers 1984, 176, with examples). Attested since Homer and common among Attic writers (see Humbert 1960, 125), the jussive infinitive not unexpectedly attracts the attention of Atticist lexicographers and grammarians, who promote it as an Attic feature (Phryn. PS 3.11–6Phryn. PS 3.11–6; Moer. λ 1Moer. λ 1, [Hdn.] Fig. 6: see entry αὐτοσχεδιάζειν, ἥκειν, λαμβάνειν specifically focused on the jussive infinitive). It is also possible to consider ᾄδειν as an exclamatory infinitiveInfinitive, exclamatory. The exclamatory infinitive is found in both poetry and prose and is understood as a colloquialColloquial language feature (see Bers 1984, 184–5; Collard 2018, 128–9); unlike the jussive infinitive, which is attested since Homer, it appears to be an innovation of 5th-century Attic (see Bers 1984, 183: ‘it is unknown until 458, when it appears twice in the Oresteia’). If in Eupolis’ line ᾄδειν is an exclamatory infinitive, this may be a good reason for Phrynichus’ appreciation of the syntax as both innovative and ‘Attic like no others’. Nevertheless, ᾄδειν is not necessarily an independent infinitive: as is frequently the case in grammatical and lexicographical sources, the fragment’s original context is missing and, although Eupolis’ line is transmitted in full, the main clause may be in a contiguous not-extant line (for this reason, the proposed translation tentatively treats ᾄδειν as an infinitive that is dependent on an untransmitted clause: see B.3, C.1). Shifting the focus, it is also possible to consider that the syntactic feature in which Phrynichus is interested is the cognate object (in this case, probably ᾆσμα, ‘song’, or μέλος, ‘song’, as in C.7). However, this would be a relatively weak example, given that the hypothetical cognate accusativeAccusative, cognate is not expressed: ὅμοιον may well be intended as an adverb.

Moreover, Phrynichus does not necessarily discuss the expression out of concern for its syntax, and he may well recommend it inasmuch as he considers it noteworthy. His judgement regarding the Attic pedigree of ᾄδειν ὅμοιον is coherent with the occurrences of the metaphoricalMetaphors use of ᾄδω: this usage stands a good chance of being typical of 5th-century BCE Attic, not least because it does not appear to survive in later Greek. The image of singing the same song, moreover, was likely considered by Phrynichus to be vivid and effective, contributing somewhat to the figurative use of ᾄδω. Phrynichus’ appreciation of the phrasing was likely also encouraged by its humorous and mildly abusiveAbuse (terms of) tone; this expression can indeed easily be imagined as a witty and humourous way of silencing or interrupting one’s interlocutor.

Interestingly, this match between καινός and Ἀττικῶς finds some parallels in the scholia: καινοπρεπήςκαινοπρεπής (‘novel’, used technically for σχήματα in Hermog. Id. 1.12) is coupled with Atticist markers (e.g. Ἀττικός, Ἀττικῶς, οἱ Ἀττικοί) in schol. [Aesch.] PV 118.3 Herington; schol. Aesch. Th. 400–400b Smith. Jacopo Cavarzeran kindly informed me that he also found the same match in an unpublished scholium by Thomas Magister (schol. rec. Eur. Hec. 38 [Vat. gr. 51]), in which the verse is said to be a σχῆμα ‘καινοπρεπὲς καὶ Ἀττικῶς ‹λεγόμενον›’ (‘novel and shaped in an Attic fashion’).

E. Byzantine and Modern Greek commentary

The expression ᾄδειν ὅμοιον is never employed in Byzantine literature. The verb ᾄδω regularly occurs in Byzantine authors employing high-register and Atticising Greek, such as Michael Psellus, Photius, Anna Comnene, and Michael Choniates. Nevertheless, the verb is primarily used in its proper meaning ‘to sing’, often with reference to hymns and sacred music, and I could not identify any cases in which it is used metaphorically to denote idleness. However, many references may be found to the biblical image of singing a new song to the Lord, with which some psalms open (LXX Ps. 95.1; 97.1; 149.1: ᾄσατε τῷ κυρίῳ ᾆσμα καινόν, ‘Sing to the Lord a new song’; see also LXX Ps. 32.3 and LXX Ps. 143.9: ὁ θεός, ᾠδὴν καινὴν ᾄσομαί σοι, ‘O Lord, I will sing to you a new song’).

F. Commentary on individual texts and occurrences

(1)    Hsch. α 1766 (B.1)

The expression ᾄδεις ἔχων (‘you go on singing’), in which ἔχων is used with the present to emphasise the duration of the action, has been identified both as a comic adespoton (com. adesp. fr. *822 = C.3, likely because it suits an iambic metre) and as a fragment of Phrynichus’ PS (fr. *109)Phryn. PS fr. *109. According to Reitzenstein (1907, XXI), who restores the final line of Ar. fr. 101 (C.2) as ᾄδεις ἔχων, Hesychius’ gloss and the paroemiographical tradition would depend directly on the Aristophanic fragment (on the frequency of ἔχων + present in Aristophanes, see LSJ s.v. ἔχω, B.IV.2; Ceccarelli 2019, 106). Reitzenstein’s integration remains doubtful (Photius’ gloss includes no trace of the participle) and is not accepted by the fragment’s editors. Moreover, the gloss (B.1) establishes no connection whatsoever between the expression and comedy, and the phrase itself could easily be suited to any other context. The identification of ᾄδεις ἔχων as a comic fragment should thus be considered – if not wrong – at least highly doubtful. Concerning de Borries’ inclusion of this entry in the PS (uniquely based on the analogies with A.1), it is also unnecessary.

(2)    Su. α 1399 (B.2)

The item of the Suda concerning ἄλλως ᾄδεις (‘to sing in vain’) clarifies the scope of the saying, assigning it to the sphere of comments pertaining to effort expended in vain: the entry depends on the paroemiographical tradition; the same doctrine occurs in Macarius’ and Apostolius’ collections of proverbs. In the paroemiographical tradition, the interpretation ‘ἐπὶ τῶν μάτην πονούντων’ (‘[It is said] of those who toil in vain’) is shared by many proverbial sayings referring to futile efforts that manifest in absurd actions (known as ἀδύνατα, see Tosi [2017, 380] for bibliography). Several curious examples (this list is by no means exhaustive) include αἰθέρα νήνεμον αἱρήσεις/ἐρέσσειν (‘you grasp windless air’, Diogenian. 1.38; Zenob. 1.39; Apostol. 1.58; Su. αι 114), δικτύῳ ἄνεμον θηρᾶν (‘to chase the wind with a net’, Diogenian. 2.40, Zenob. 3.17, Apostol. 6.12, Phot. δ 612, Su. α 1115); πρὸς κενὸν/κενὴν ψάλλεις (‘to play music to the void’, Diogenian. 7.60; Apostol. 14.92); πόντον σπείρειν (‘to sow in the sea’, Diogenian. 7.67); and Αἰθίοπα σμήχειν (‘to wash an Ethiopian white’, Luc. Ind. 28.14, Diogenian. 1.19, Zenob. 1.46, Apostol. 1.71, Su. αι 125; see Tosi [2018, 384–5]).

(3)    Orio 23.1–4 (B.3)

ἔγκειταιἔγκειμαι (‘there is’, ‘is embedded [in it]’) is sometimes used to indicate the presence of a letter/sound in a word (see, for instance, Orio 19.31: ἀκολασία· κατὰ στέρησιν ἔγκειται τοῦ α, ‘ἀκολασία [‘intemperance’]: [It has a] privative α embedded [in it]’). Here, Orion uses ἔγκειται to say that the root and meaning of ᾄδω are embedded into ἀδολεσχέω. The verb is thus used to assess the word’s etymological derivation; examples of this use may be found in Orio 23.5–10; 122.24–6; 126.22–3. This use of ἔγκειμαι is also frequent in scholia: see, for instance, schol. (D) Hom. Il. 10.375c: βαμβαίνων· […] οὐ γὰρ ἔγκειται τὸ βαίνειν. (A), ‘βαμβαίνων (‘chattering’, ‘stammering’): [...] It does not contain [the root of] βαίνειν (‘to walk’)’.

(4)    Theophil. fr. 7 (C.7)

Athenaeus (14.635a) quotes Theophilus’ fragment because it contains the rare verb μαγαδίζωμαγαδίζω ‘to play the magadis’ (the noun μάγαδιςμάγαδις refers to a musical instrument – often a stringed one, similar to a harp, more rarely a flute – or to a specific musical effect – the counterpoint: see Barker 1988). In its technical meaning, μαγαδίζω is associated with response to and repetition of a sound: Bothe (1855, 628) suggests that Theophilus used it with the same metaphorical meaning as that of ᾄδω and canto; admittedly, its meaning is reiterated by the image of singing the same song. In any case, the passage’s sense and context remain obscure. According to Dobree (1831–1833 vol. 2, 348), the sentence would be uttered by a slave threatened with torture: the man would say that no one will get a confession out of him and his family. Although imagining a similar scenario, Meineke (1867, 305) proposes emending ἡμῶν to ἡμῖν: the slave would thus say ‘no one will sing to us the same song’ – that is, ‘no one will persuade us with hackneyed discourses’. Kassel and Austin (PCG vol. 7, 704) express doubt regarding the reference to torture and propose to emend ἐπὶ τροχοῦ (‘on the wheel [of torture]’) to ἐπὶ θρόνου (‘on the seat’). The word θρόνος would admittedly fit with κάθημαι (‘to sit’): the seat would likely be the judges’ bench (as in C.2 and C.4), on which the characters mentioned in the first line (son, father, and mother) would sit. However, it appears unlikely that the relatively generic θρόνος would be corrupted to the more specific τροχός. Moreover, the use of τροχός, which can also indicate the wheel of the mechane, might create a meta-theatrical pun (I thank the anonymous referee for this suggestion). The passage (on which, see also Citelli in Canfora 2001 vol. 3, 1639–40) in any case appears to allude to insistent enquiry (whether concretely or metaphorically intended), but it remains hard to decipher.


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Giulia Gerbi, 'ᾄδειν ὅμοιον (Phryn. PS 20.1–2, Phot. α 551)', in Olga Tribulato (ed.), Digital Encyclopedia of Atticism. With the assistance of E. N. Merisio.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.30687/DEA/2974-8240/2023/02/012

This article provides a philological and linguistic commentary on the expression ᾄδειν ὅμοιον discussed in the lexica Phryn. PS 20.1–2, Phot. α 551.

ComedyInfinitive, independentκαινόςκαινότηςσυνουσία