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

Lexicographic entries

ἀφῆλιξ, ἀφηλικέστερος
(Phryn. Ecl. 56, Phryn. PS 1.1–6, Poll. 2.17, Moer. α 153, [Hdn.] Philet. 168)

A. Main sources

(1) Phryn. Ecl. 56: ἀφῆλιξ λέγοντες ἁμαρτάνουσιν οἱ ῥητορικοί, τοὐναντίον γὰρ ἢ δεῖ χρῶνται· τὸν μὲν γὰρ πρεσβύτερον ῥητέον ἀφήλικα· οἱ δ’ ἐπὶ τοῦ μηδέπω τῆς ἐννόμου ἡλικίας χρῶνται.

The rhetoricians are wrong when they say ἀφῆλιξ, for they use it in the opposite way than it ought to be. Namely, one should call ἀφῆλιξ an elderly person, but they use it for one who has not reached legal age yet.

(2) Phryn. PS 1.1–6: ἀφηλικέστεροι· οἱ πρεσβύτεροι, ὡς ἄπο τῆς ἡλικίας ὄντες· ἡλικίαν γὰρ ἔλεγον καὶ τὴν νεότητα οἱ ἀρχαῖοι. οἱ μέντοι νέοι καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν νεωτέρων τάττουσιν. πλὴν κατὰ σύγκρισιν ἡ λέξις προφέρεται καὶ ἐν ὑπερθέσει, ἀφηλικέστατος καὶ ἀφηλικέστατοι. οἱ δὲ ἀπολελυμένως λέγοντες ἀφῆλιξ, ἀφήλικες ἀμαθέστατοι.

{καὶ} τὴν νεότητα de Borries.

ἀφηλικέστεροι: The elderly, as being away from the young age. For the ancients called ἡλικία also the young age. But the moderns also use it (i.e. ἀφηλικέστεροι) for the young people. Besides the comparative this form is also used in the superlative, ἀφηλικέστατος and ἀφηλικέστατοι. Those who use it in the positive grade ἀφῆλιξ, ἀφήλικες are most uneducated.

(3) Poll. 2.17: καὶ Φρύνιχος μὲν ὁ κωμικὸς τὰς νέας ἀφήλικας λέγει· ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες ἀφήλικες. Φερεκράτης δὲ τὴν γεραιτέραν ὡς ἀφηλικεστέραν, ὡς καὶ Κρατῖνος ἀφήλικα γέροντα.

γεραιτέραν ἀφηλικεστάτην C : γεραιτάτην ἀφηλικεστάτην B : γεραιτάτην ὡς ἀφηλικεστάτην MA.

The comic poet Phrynichus calls the young girls ἀφήλικες: ‘There were also young women’ (Phryn.Com. fr. 71 = C.6). But Pherecrates calls ἀφηλικεστέρα an elderly woman (Pherecr. fr. 231 = C.5), like Cratinus too calls ἀφῆλιξ an old man (Cratin. fr. 385 = C.2).

(4) Moer. α 153: ἀφηλικεστέραν τὴν πρεσβυτέραν οἱ Ἀττικοί· τὴν νεωτέραν Ἕλληνες.

Users of Attic [call] ἀφηλικεστέρα an old woman, users of Greek a young one.

(5) [Hdn.] Philet. 168: ἀφηλικέστερος λέγεται ὁ προβεβηκὼς τὴν ἡλικίαν.

Cf. ἐκ τοῦ Ἡρωδιάνου 73 Dain: ἀφηλικέστερος ὁ τὴν ἡλικίαν προβεβηκὼς.

A person who is advanced in age is called ἀφηλικέστερος.

(6) Σ 1154 (= Σb α 2529 ex Σ´, cf. Su. α 4603 = Phot. α 3340, [Zonar.] 351.22–4): ἀφήλικα· τὸν πρεσβύτην. τινὲς δὲ χρῶνται τῇ λέξει ἐπὶ τοῦ μηδέπω τῆς ἐννόμου ἡλικίας παιδός, ὅπερ δεῖ φυλάττεσθαι· ἐπὶ γὰρ πρεσβυτέρου λέγεται.

ἀφήλικα: An elderly person. Some use this form for a child who is not of age yet, which one should avoid, for it is said of an elderly person.

(7) [Zonar.] 351.22–4: ἀφήλικα. τὸν πρεσβύτην. τινὲς δὲ χρῶνται τῇ λέξει ἐπὶ τοῦ μηδέπω τῆς ἐννόμου ἡλικίας παιδὸς, ὅπερ δεῖ φυλάττεσθαι.

ἀφήλικα: An elderly man. Some use this word for a child who is not of age yet, which one should avoid.

(8) Thom.Mag. 20.8–12: ἀφηλικεστέρα, οὐ πρεσβυτέρα. εὕρηται δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ νεωτέρα, πλὴν οὐ παρὰ τοῖς δοκίμοις. καὶ ἀφῆλιξ, καὶ ἔξω τῆς ἡλικίας, ὁ γέρων, οὐ πρεσβύτερος. Ἀριστείδης ἐν τῷ Παναθηναϊκῷ· παῖδας δὲ καὶ γυναῖκας καὶ τοὺς ἔξω τῆς ἡλικίας.

ἀφηλικεστέρα, not πρεσβυτέρα. It is also found in use for a younger woman, but not among the approved authors. There is also ἀφῆλιξ and ἔξω τῆς ἡλικίας (‘beyond young age’), the old man, not a πρεσβύτερος. Aristides in the Panathenaic oration says: ‘Children and women and those who are beyond the young age’ (3.333 Lenz–Behr [= 46.287.8–11 Dindorf] = C.7).

B. Other erudite sources

(1) Hsch. α 8635: *ἀφηλικεστέραν· νεωτέραν (ASn).

ἀφηλικεστέραν: Young [woman].

(2) Hsch. α 8636: *ἀφῆλιξ· καταδεής AS, ἀτελὴς S τὴν ἡλικίαν (ASn).

ἀφῆλιξ: Lacking, incomplete in age.

(3) Lex.Herod. (A) 3.14.7 = Lex.Herod. (B) α 18: ἀπηλικέστερον· πρεσβύτερον (cf. Greg.Cor. De dialectis 134.529: ἀφηλικέστερον δέ τὸν πρεσβύτερον).

ἀπηλικέστερον: An elderly man (= C.4).

(4) Phot. α 3338: ἀφήλικες· οὐδετέρως εἶπε Σοφοκλῆς Πριάμῳ· ἀφήλικες θέαμα.

ἀφήλικες: Sophocles used it in the neuter in Priam: ‘Elderly sight’ (Soph. fr. 528a = C.3).

(5) Phot. α 3339: ἀφηλικέστερον ἄνδρα· Ἡρόδοτος εἶπεν.

ἀφηλικέστερον ἄνδρα: Herodotus said thus (3.14.7 = C.4).

(6) [Zonar.] 351.19–21: ἀφήλικες. οἱ τὴν ἥβην μὲν ὑπεραναβάντες, ἥττους δὲ τῶν κεʹ ἐτῶν· ὧν προΐστανται οἱ κουράτωρες.

ἀφήλικες: Those who are beyond youth, but younger than 25 years, who are tutored by curators.

(7) Lex.Vind. α 112: ἀφήλικες ἄνδρες μέχρι τῶν κεʹ χρόνων· γυναῖκες δὲ μέχρι τῶν ιηʹ.

Men are ἀφήλικες until 25 years of age, women until 18.

C. Loci classici, other relevant texts

(1) H.Hom.Cer. 139–40:
                                        ἵνα σφίσιν ἐργάζωμαι
πρόφρων οἷα γυναικὸς ἀφήλικος ἔργα τέτυκται.

So that I, benevolent, will do for them what is fitting for an old woman to do.

(2) Cratin. fr. 385 = Poll. 2.17 re. ἀφῆλιξ (A.3).

(3) Soph. fr. 528a:
ἀφήλικες θέαμα.

Elderly sight (= B.4).

(4) Hdt. 3.14.7: παρελθόντων δὲ καὶ τούτων συνήνεικε ὥστε τῶν συμποτέων οἱ ἄνδρα ἀπηλικέστερον […] παριέναι Ψαμμήνιτόν τε τὸν Ἀμάσιος καὶ τοὺς ἐν τῷ προαστίῳ κατημένους Αἰγυπτίων.

After these people too came, it happened that an elderly man, one of his fellow-drinkers […] passed before Psammenitus the son of Amasis and the people who sat in the suburb (cf. A.7, B.5).

(5) Pherecr. fr. 231 = Poll. 2.17 re. ἀφηλικέστερος (A.3).

(6) Phryn.Com. fr. 71: ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες ἀφήλικες.

There were also young women (= A.3).

(7) Aristid. 3.333 Lenz–Behr (= 46.287.8–11 Dindorf): ἐλθόντων τοίνυν Λακεδαιμονίων […] καὶ ὑπισχνουμένων παῖδας καὶ γυναῖκας αὐτοῖς καὶ τοὺς ἔξω τῆς ἡλικίας θρέψειν […].

When the Lacedaemonians came […] and promised that they would feed the children and the women for them […] (cf. A.8).

(8) Cyr.Al. Glaphyra in Pentateuchum MPG 69.145.42–6: ἀνὴρ εἰς γῆρας ἐληλακὼς βαθὺ, ἕνα καὶ ὀψιγενῆ πλουτήσας υἱὸν, παρῃρημένος τῷ χρόνῳ τὸ καὶ ἑτέρων δύνασθαι γενέσθαι πατὴρ, ἀφηλ[ι]κεστέραν δὲ καὶ αὐτὴν ἔχων τὴν συνῳκισμένην (ἦν γὰρ καὶ αὐτὴ πρεσβύτις ἡ Σάρρα).

The man, having reached a very old age and having only one child, and one who was born very late, deprived from time of being able to become the father of other children, but also having an elderly wife (for Sarah too was an old woman).

(9) [Bas.Sel.] V.Thecl. 2.Prol.82–90: τούτων τῶν ἁγίων καὶ ἡ μεγίστη μάρτυς ἐστὶ Θέκλα, ἀεὶ παροῦσα, ἀεὶ φοιτῶσα, τῶν δεομένων ἐπαΐουσα πάντοτε, καὶ πάντας ἀφθόνως ἐφορῶσα […] δεσπότας καὶ οἰκέτας, ἀφηλικεστέρους καὶ νέους.

Of these saints the greatest witness is Thecla, who is always present, always around, listens to the people praying on any occasion and looks generously upon everyone […] masters and slaves, elderly and young.

(10) Maximus Planudes Epistulae 28.60 Leone: σὺ τοῖς ἥλιξιν ὑπόδειγμα πρόκεισαι, τοῖς νεωτέροις σκοπός, τοῖς ἀφηλικεστέροις ἔλεγχος.

You are set as a model for those of the same age, as a target for the young, as a reproach for the elderly.

(11) Nicephorus I Apologeticus maior pro sacris imaginibus MPG 100.556b.29–31: ὧν οἱ μὲν ἅτε παρηβηκότες τὴν ὥραν καὶ ἀφήλικες […] τῆς μοίρας τῆς ἐνοπλίου ἀπελήλανται.

Some of whom, since they have lost the vigour of youth and are elderly […] are kept away from the military group.

(12) Matthaeus Blastares Collectio alphabetica μ.15.305 Plotes–Ralles: καὶ ταῖς ἀφηλικεστέραις τὰς νέας σωφρονίζειν παρεγγυᾷ.

And he entrusts the young girls to elderly women to make them learn self-control.

D. General commentary

Atticist lexicography aims to restate that the only correct use of ἀφῆλιξ is to indicate ‘elderly people’, in opposition to the widespread tendency in Post-classical Greek towards using ἀφῆλιξ for under-age people. This semantic interchange does not seem odd. Indeed, the other Greek compoundCompounds with a second element -ῆλιξ (which are collected in Buck, Petersen, 1945, 619) also reflect the same fluctuation: while some forms indicate old age (ἐξῆλιξ ‘old’, παρῆλιξ ‘past one’s prime’, ὑπερῆλιξ ‘above a certain age’ and ‘too old’, τανυῆλιξ ‘of advanced age’), for many others the opposite is the case (βραχυῆλιξ ‘youthful’, ἐνῆλιξ ‘in the prime of manhood’, ἐφῆλιξ ‘adolescent’, μεγαλοῆλιξ ‘in the full of one’s prime’, νεοῆλιξ ‘young in years’, προῆλιξ ‘not having attained puberty’). Thus, the discrimen for the word’s semantics is the first element of the compound, whereas the second element ἡλικ- oscillates between the unmarked use of ἡλικίαἡλικία with the generic meaning ‘age’ (as in ὁμῆλιξ ‘of the same age’) and the more marked use of ἡλικία as ‘young age’ (see LSJ s.v. I.2). As regards ἀφῆλιξ, Rutherford (1881, 157) collects a few important examples for the double value of ἀπό, indicating a distance either beyond (e.g. ἀπακριβόομαι) or before (e.g. ἀποτυγχάνω) a given point of reference.

The evidence provided by literary sources largely confirms the Atticist norm that ἀφῆλιξ indicates ‘elderly’ people. Pollux (A.3) is an exception among Atticist lexicographers, as he alone records that ἀφῆλιξ was already used for young women in a fragment of the comic poet Phrynichus. Olson, Seaberg (2018, 210) stress that we cannot take for granted that Pollux is right about Phrynichus’ use of ἀφήλικες for young women, though at least Stama (2014, 330–1) has a more legitimist approach and does not challenge Pollux’s contention.

To the Attic evidence collected and discussed in Atticist lexicography, one may add passages from the Homeric hymn to Demeter (C.1), Herodotus (C.4), and the Hippocratic corpus (Epid. 7.101, Morb. 1.22, Mul. 2.120). As regards the Hippocratic occurrences, although ἀφηλικέστερος does not quite seem to be a fully technical term (see Langslow 2000, 12–3), at least in Mul. 2.120Hp. Mul. 2.120 it specifically indicates ‘mature’ people as an intermediate stage between the ‘elderly’ and the ‘young’, since in that context αἱ ἀφηλικέστεραι can still give birth (see Mul. 2.120: ἡ δὲ νοῦσος γίνεται μάλιστα, ἢν ἐν αὐτῇσί τι διακναισθῇ ἢ ἐνσαπῇ ἐν τῷ τόκῳ· αἱ δ’ ἀφηλικέστεραι μᾶλλον πάσχουσιν, οὐ πάνυ δὲ ἡ τοιαύτη νοῦσός ἐστιν εὐήθης ‘The disease happens especially if something in them is lacerated or putrefied in childbirth. Mature women suffer more of it, such a disease is in no way mild’).

In Hellenistic and Imperial Greek, the evidence from literary texts is fully in line with the prescriptions of Atticist lexicography: the only documented use of ἀφῆλιξ and ἀφηλικέστερος is for ‘elderly’ people (e.g. Lucian, Dio Cassius, Aelian, Alciphron, Eunapius). However, the usage of ἀφῆλιξ, against which Atticist lexicographers reacted, is abundantly documented in non-literary sources. If one looks at the evidence provided by documentary texts, in over 330 documentary papyri, dating from as early as the end of the 2nd century BCE (plus SEG 34.1532.20), the adjective ἀφῆλιξ is the proper word for under-age people (see Lewis 1979).

In the PS (A.2), Phrynichus makes the additional remark that the comparative ἀφηλικέστεροςἀφηλικέστερος is the only correct form, whereas those who use the positive grade ἀφῆλιξ are ἀμαθέστατοι ‘most uneducated’. Such a view is implicitly endorsed by Moeris (A.4) and the Philaeterus (A.5). In extant sources, the comparative is used by Herodotus (C.4), Pherecrates (C.5), and the corpus Hippocraticum. However, the fragments of Cratinus (C.2), Phrynichus the comic poet (C.6), and Sophocles (C.3), plus the Homeric hymn to Demeter (C.1), provide evidence for the positive grade. Why, then, do some Atticist sources condemn ἀφῆλιξ, despite the fact that the positive grade is attested by authoritative 5th-century Attic writers? Olson, Seaberg (2018, 210) argue that this is a mistake on Phrynichus’ part (‘Phrynichus’ emphatic further claim […] that the positive form of ἀφῆλιξ is not used appears to be an error’). For a start, the possibility of an analogy with πρεσβύτεροςπρεσβύτερος should be taken into consideration as an element in favour of ἀφηλικέστερος, although this does not quite provide a justification of Phrynichus’ statement. An appealing interpretation is that the remark in the PS, according to which οἱ δὲ ἀπολελυμένως λέγοντες ἀφῆλιξ, ἀφήλικες ἀμαθέστατοι, may be the result of an epitomisation process that altered Phrynichus’ original statement. While the original sense may have been along the lines of ‘those who use the positive grade ἀφῆλιξ, ἀφήλικες <for the young> are most uneducated’, the epitomisation made it so that, eventually, the positive grade ἀφῆλιξ is presented as typical of the ἀμαθέστατοι (‘most uneducated’). The need for Phrynichus to single out the fact that only the positive grade was wrongly used with the meaning ‘young’ is confirmed by the fact that, unlike ἀφῆλιξ, the comparative ἀφηλικέστερος is exclusively used for ‘elderly’ people. Additionally, one may remark that ἀφηλικέστερος ultimately seems to have become the specialised form for ‘elderly’. As has already been pointed out by Lobeck (1820, 84), most prose authors who lived around Phrynichus’ time have a clear preference for the comparative over the positive grade (Cassius Dio: 9x comparative; Alciphron: 2x comparative; Aelian: 2x comparative, 1x positive grade in NA 14.18; Lucian has only one occurrence in the positive grade in Pseudol. 15), and this also holds true for late antique (Oribasius, Themistius, and Julian only use the comparative ἀφηλικέστερος ‘elderly’) and Byzantine writers (see E.).

E. Byzantine and Modern Greek commentary

The use of ἀφῆλιξ for young people is common in late antique Christian writings (a few examples can be found in Lampe s.v.) and is duly recorded in lexicography (see the Cyrillian glosses in Hesychius, B.1 and B.2, plus B.6 and B.7). ἀφῆλιξ as the proper term for under-age people remains the norm in Byzantine Greek (see also LBG s.vv. ἀφηλικιώτης and ἀφηλικίωσις). However, deviations in the classical direction are occasionally attested. In fact, ἀφῆλιξ and ἀφηλικέστερος may be found to indicate ‘elderly’ people in erudite or classicising writers (C.8, C.9, C.10, C.11, C.12; on De vita et miraculis sanctae Theclae see Narro 2010 and Narro 2016). One may also notice that the majority of Byzantine occurrences are in the comparative ἀφηλικέστερος (C.8, C.9, C.10, C.12): this might suggest an Atticist influence (A.2, A.4, A.5), but it also reinforces the view that the comparative ἀφηλικέστερος became the specialised form for indicating ‘elderly’ people, while ἀφῆλιξ was irremediably confined to carrying the meaning ‘young’.

F. Commentary on individual texts and occurrences

(1)    Phryn. Ecl. 56 (A.1)

The gloss in the Eclogue, through its re-use in the Synagoge (A.6), seems to have had a wider resonance than the gloss in PS. This inference is reinforced by the recurring expression ἐπὶ τοῦ μηδέπω τῆς ἐννόμου ἡλικίας (also in pseudo-Zonaras, A.7) and because no reference is made to a preference for the comparative ἀφηλικλέστερος over the positive grade. The polemic target of Phrynichus’ gloss is οἱ ῥητορικοί ‘the rhetoricians’οἱ ῥητορικοί. This category of speakers, more often indicated with οἱ ῥήτορεςοἱ ῥήτορες, can be identified with the intellectuals and rhetoricians of the Second Sophistic (see Ecl. 394), but also with the judicial orators (see Ecl. 89, 289, 357). They are often singled out by Phrynichus, who reproaches their mistakes, calling them by name, and recommends following the model of the ἀρχαῖοι ῥήτορες instead (see Ecl. 24, 357, 396).

(2)    Phryn. PS 1.1–6 (A.2)

De Borries’ expunction of καί is unnecessary: Phrynichus is likely to be saying that ἡλικία, besides the other documented uses, was also used for the young (LSJ s.v. ἡλικία I.2).

(3)    Poll. 2.17 (A.3)

Bethe (ad loc.) pointed out that many of the terms for age groups mentioned in Poll. 2.17–8 overlap with those registered in the surviving fragments of Aristophanes of Byzantium’sAristophanes of Byzantium Περὶ ὀνομασίας ἡλικιῶν (see Ar.Byz. frr. 71–90). More generally, not only do other parts of Pollux’s Onomasticon that are devoted to age group terms show connections with this material going back to Aristophanes’ treatise (see Ar.Byz. frr. 37–70, 27–137, and 172–203), but many of these terms are also attested in Phrynichus’ and other Atticists’ lexica. Although neither ἀφῆλιξ nor ἀφηλικέστερος occur in the scanty fragments that constitute the direct transmission of Περὶ ὀνομασίας ἡλικιῶν (see Miller 1868, 427–34 = LGM, 274–80), it remains plausible that these two forms may also have been discussed by Aristophanes.

(4)    Thom.Mag. 20.8–12 (A.8)

Thomas Magister erroneously says that παῖδας δὲ καὶ γυναῖκας καὶ τοὺς ἔξω τῆς ἡλικίας occurs in Aristides’ Panathenaic oration. However, the actual source of the quotation is a passage in Aristides’ Pro quattuor (C.7). Thomas Magister is likely quoting from memory, and the confusion is easily explained as the same episode is described almost identically in a passage of the Panathenaic oration (see Aristid. 1.178 Lenz–Behr [= 13.235.1–4 Dindorf]: ἀλλὰ ἐλθόντων Λακεδαιμονίων […] καὶ τοὺς παῖδας καὶ πρεσβύτας καὶ γυναῖκας αὐτοῖς θρέψειν ὑπισχνουμένων […] ‘But when the Lacedaemonians came […] and promising that they would feed the children and the elderly and the women […]’).

(5)    Hsch. α 8635 (B.1)

This Cyrillian gloss makes the unusual remark that the comparative ἀφηλικεστέραν carries the meaning νεωτέραν ‘young (woman)’. Latte and Cunningham (ad loc.) suggest an Atticist source and compare this with the gloss on ἀφηλικεστέραν in Moeris (A.4). However, not only is it odd for ἀφηλικεστέραν to be explained as ‘young’, but it is also striking that the comparative, rather than the positive grade of the adjective, is given such a meaning, since ἀφηλικέστερος is otherwise only attested with the meaning ‘elderly’ and is never used in texts that are less than formal. An appealing conclusion at this point may be that the exegesis of ἀφηλικεστέραν with νεωτέραν ‘young (woman)’ is either simply wrong, or the product of a faulty process of epitomisation.

(6)    Cratin. fr. 385 = Poll. 2.17 (C.2)

The sequence ὡς καὶ Κρατῖνος ἀφήλικα γέροντα is spaced by Kassel and Austin (PCG vol. 4, 306). Kassel and Austin’s editorial choice is followed by Olson, Seaberg (2018, 208), who take ἀφήλικα γέροντα to be the words used by Cratinus in reality. However, in light of the preceding sentence (Φερεκράτης δὲ τὴν γεραιτέραν ὡς ἀφηλικεστέραν [i.e. λέγει] ‘But Pherecrates calls ἀφηλικεστέρα an elderly woman’), the sense here is far more likely to be that ‘Cratinus calls ἀφῆλιξ an old man’. Consequently, the spacing that indicates the words actually used by Cratinus should be limited to the adjective ἀφήλικα.

(7)    Soph. fr. 528a (C.3)

Radt (TrGF vol. 4, 428), who quotes Tsantsanoglou’s views that the figure alluded to in the fragment is Priam, considers ἀφήλικες to be a metaplasm, and he compares it with the comparative ἀφηλικέστερος and superlative ἀφηλικέστατος, presumably as though these presupposed a positive grade *ἀφηλικής, ἀφηλικές (i.e. ἀφηλικεσ- + -τερος/-τατος) rather than ἀφῆλιξ. This problematic fragment invites a number of observations. For a start, one may notice that the proparoxytone accent in Photius is rather strange for an adjective in -ης, -ες: recessive accentuation is standard in compounds that have an adjective ending with -ης, -ες as the second element, and one should perhaps print *ἀφηλικές instead. More importantly, the comparative and superlative endings -εστερος and -εστατος spread via the re-segmentation of the comparative and superlative of -ης, -ες stems (as in ἀληθεσ-τερος), from which the ending -εστερος was created and then attached to other stems (one may think of εὐδαιμονέστερος). Therefore, contrary to Radt’s perspective, ἀφηλικέστερος and ἀφηλικέστατος do not presuppose the existence of an adjective *ἀφηλικής, -ές, although it is true that one might have expected the ending to be -ιστερος and -ιστατος rather than -εστερος and -εστατος, as in the case of ἅρπαξ > ἁρπαγίστερος (see K–B vol. 1, §154.5.c). To conclude, one may wonder whether the comment in Photius, that ἀφήλικες is a neuter, may not be an error, assuming that in the passage of Sophocles the words ἀφήλικες θεάμα did not in fact form a syntactic unit. For instance, the sense might have been that elderly people, defined as ἀφήλικες, were in one way or another singled out as a remarkable sight, in which case θεάμα could have been an instance of Satzapposition (one can compare Eur. Med. 1200–2, Tr. 1156–7, Ar. Av. 1715–6, D. 19.65).

(8)    Pherecr. fr. 231 (C.5)

Phrynichus does not name any classical sources in either of his glosses on ἀφῆλιξ and ἀφηλικέστερος. However, the recommendation in the PS of the superlative ἀφηλικέστατος, a form that is otherwise unattested, is intriguingly compatible with the transmitted readings of Pherecr. fr. 231 in Pollux. Although editors of Pollux’s and Pherecrates’ fragment consistently emend the paradosis into ἀφηλικεστέραν, the paradosis unanimously presents the superlative. Whatever the correct reading may have originally been, indirect evidence from the PS probably testifies to the widespread ancient variant reading ἀφηλικεστάτην in Pherecrates’ fragment, thus suggesting that Phrynichus too was relying on Pherecrates.

(9)    Phryn.Com. fr. 71 (C.6)

Kaibel (apud PCG vol. 7, 424) suggested emending the paradosis into γυναῖκ’ ἀφηλικλεστέρα, so as to restore a full 3ia and to comply with the doctrine found in the PS that the positive ἀφῆλιξ is incorrect. However, Cratin. fr. 385 is solid evidence for the use of the positive grade. Stama (2014, 330–1) thus prints Phrynichus’ fragment in the form ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες < > ἀφήλικες.


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Federico Favi, 'ἀφῆλιξ, ἀφηλικέστερος (Phryn. Ecl. 56, Phryn. PS 1.1–6, Poll. 2.17, Moer. α 153, [Hdn.] Philet. 168)', in Olga Tribulato (ed.), Digital Encyclopedia of Atticism. With the assistance of E. N. Merisio.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.30687/DEA/2021/01/036

This article provides a philological and linguistic commentary on the compound ἀφῆλιξ and the comparative ἀφηλικέστερος, discussed in the Atticist lexica Phryn. Ecl. 56, Phryn. PS 1.1–6, Poll. 2.17, Moer. α 153, and [Hdn.] Philet. 168.

Age denominationsComparativesCompoundsSuperlativesπρεσβύτερος