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

Lexicographic entries

(Phryn. PS 32.2–4, Moer. α 129)

A. Main sources

(1) Phryn. PS 32.2–4: ἀναριχᾶσθαι· πάνυ Ἀττικὴ ἡ φωνή. σημαίνει δὲ τὸ τοῖς ποσὶ καὶ ταῖς χερσὶν ἀντεχόμενον ἀναβαίνειν, οἷον ἀνέρποντα. οἱ δὲ δύο ρρ γράφοντες ἁμαρτάνουσιν.

ἀναριχᾶσθαι: The word is very Attic. It means to climb up holding on by the feet and the hands, as if creeping upwards. Those who write it with two ρ are wrong.

(2) Moer. α 129: ἀναρριχᾶσθαι Ἀττικοί· προβαίνειν ἀνέρπων Ἕλληνες.

Attic-speakers say ἀναρριχᾶσθαι. Greek-speakers say ‘to advance creeping upwards’.

B. Other erudite sources

(1) P.Oxy. 17.2087.42–4 (= TM 63597) [2nd century CE]: ἀναρριχᾶσθαι· τὸ ἀντεχ[όμ(εν)ον] τοῖς ποσὶν | [ἅ]μα ταῖς χερσὶν ἀ(να)βα[ίνειν] κ(αὶ) Ἀριστοτέλ(ης) | ἐπ’ Εὐρυβάτου. (Text after Esposito 2012)

In order to increase legibility, the underdots have been removed from the text. For all the details concerning the status of conservation of each letter, see Esposito (2012).

ἀναρριχᾶσθαι: The act of climbing by holding on by the feet and the hands together. Aristotle too [uses the term] in reference to Eurybatus (cf. C.9).

(2) Poll. 5.82: ἡ μὲν ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ δένδρον ἀναρριχησομένη κατὰ τὸν καρπὸν ἐπείγεται, τὸ δ’ ὄρυγμα αὐτὴν θραυσθεισῶν τῶν δοκίδων ὑπεδέξατο.

She (i.e. the bear) hurries with the intent of climbing up the tree towards the fruit, but when the planks break the pit [underneath] entraps her.

(3) Hsch. α 4549: *ἀναριχᾶσθαι· ἀναβαίνειν (A³⁰⁰).

ἀναριχᾶσθαι: To climb.

(4) Hsch. α 7444: ἀρριχᾶσθαι· εἰς ὕψος ἀναβαίνειν χερσὶ καὶ ποσίν.

ἀρριχᾶσθαι: To climb upwards with hands and feet.

(5) Phot. α 1641 (~ Su. α 2049): ἀναρριχᾶσθαι· τὸ πρόσαντες ἀναβαίνειν ἅμα ταῖς χερσὶν ἀντιλαμβανόμενον καὶ στηριζόμενον. Ἀριστοφάνης Εἰρήνῃ· ‘πρὸς ταῦτ’ ἀνηρριχᾶτ’ ἂν εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν’.

ἀναρριχᾶσθαι: The act of climbing uphill holding fast and supporting oneself at the same time with the hands. Aristophanes in the Peace (67–71 = C.3): ‘along these [light little ladders] he kept trying to climb towards the sky’.

(6) Et.Gen. AB α 805 (= EM 99.14–25 ~ Εt.Sym. 30.26–8, 31.21 ~ [Zonar.] 206.20–207.1): ἀναρριχᾶσθαι· σημαίνει τὸ ἀναδίδοσθαι τὸ ὕδωρ· καὶ οἱονεὶ τρόπον ἀράχνης τοῖς ποσὶ καὶ χερσὶν ἀντιλαμβανόμενον ἀνιέναι πρὸς τὸ πρόσαντες. ἀραχνιῶ ἀραχνιᾶσθαι καὶ ἀναρριχᾶσθαι τοῦτό ἐστιν· οὕτως γὰρ ἔθηκεν ὁ ἀνήρ. οὐ κλίνεται δὲ ὁ παρατατικὸς ἠναρριχώμην, ἀλλὰ ἀνηρριχώμην. εὑρίσκεται δὲ καὶ χωρὶς τῆς ἀν συλλαβῆς παρ’ Ἱππώνακτι· ἀρριχῶμαι. ἄλλως οὖν ἐσχημάτισται· ἄρριχος λέγεται ὁ κόφινος, ἐν ᾦ κομίζουσι τοὺς βότρυς, καὶ ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἀρριχῶ καὶ ἀναρριχῶ. ἀλλ’ οὖν γε οὕτως κρεῖττόν ἐστιν, ἀραχνιᾶσθαι καὶ ἀναρριχᾶσθαι. οὕτως Ἡρωδιανὸς ἐν τῷ Περὶ παθῶν.

ἀναρριχᾶσθαι: It means ‘to be sent up’ [in relation to] the water and, like a spider, to go uphill holding fast with the feet and the hands. ἀραχνιῶ, ἀραχνιᾶσθαι and ἀναρριχᾶσθαι are the same thing. Indeed, so the man (i.e. Aristophanes) used it. The imperfect does not inflect ἠναρριχώμην, but ἀνηρριχώμην. It is also found without the prefix ἀν- in Hipponax (fr. 137 West [= fr. 150 Degani] = C.1): ἀρριχῶμαι. Therefore it is formed differently: ἄρριχος is the basket in which they carry the grapes and from this [come] ἀρριχῶ and ἀναρριχῶ. But really [the etymology] is better like this: [with] ἀραχνιᾶσθαι and ἀναρριχᾶσθαι. So says Herodian in On modifications of words (GG 3,2.387.5).

(7) Lex.A. α 138 (= Et.Gud. α 133.17–21 = EM 99.26): ἀναρριχώμενοι· ἀναλαμβανόμενοι πρὸς ὕψος ἀντεχόμενοι ποσὶν ἢ χερσὶν ἐπὶ τοῖχον ἢ δένδρον· Ἀριστοφάνης Εἰρήνῃ ‘πρὸς ταῦτ’ ἀνερριχᾶτ’ ἂν εἰς <τὸν> οὐρανόν’· ἀπὸ μεταφορᾶς τῶν ἀραχνῶν, οἵτινες τὰ οἰκεῖα νήματα κατέχοντες ἄνω φέρονται.

ἀναρριχώμενοι: Bringing themselves upwards holding on by the feet or the hands along a wall or a tree. Aristophanes in the Peace: ‘along these [light little ladders] he kept trying to climb towards sky’ (C.3). From the metaphor of the spiders, that carry themselves up holding on to the threads of their own webs.

(8) Schol. Ar. Pac. 70a–c–d–b–e (cf. 70f, Su. α 2313): πρὸς τὸ ὕψος ἀνέβαινε. πρὸς δένδρα καὶ τοίχους ἢ σχοινίον ταῖς χερσὶ καὶ τοῖς ποσὶν ἀνα<βαίνειν ἀνα>ρριχᾶσθαι λέγεται. φησὶ δὲ Ἐρατοσθένης Κυρηναίους οὕτω λέγειν. (V) εἴρηται δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀρρίχων, ὅ ἐστι κοφίνων, οὓς εἰώθασι διὰ σχοινίων ἀνιμᾶν. ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀραχνῶν, καὶ ἔστιν οἷον ἀραχνᾶσθαι. αἱ δὲ ἀράχναι πολλάκις νήθουσι κατακτὰς ἐναερίους ὁδούς. (RV) ἄλλως. καὶ τὸ ἀναρριχᾶσθαι δὲ τοῖς Ἀττικοῖς παρὰ τὸ ἀράχνιόν ἐστι γενόμενον, ἀραχνιῶ, καὶ ἐν ὑπερθέσει τῶν στοιχείων ἀναρριχῶ τοῦ μὲν ν εἰς τὴν χώραν τοῦ ρ τεθέντος, τοῦ δὲ ⟦ι⟧ ἀμοιβαίως ⟦καὶ τοῦ ρ⟧ εἰς τὴν χώραν τοῦ ν, τοῦ δὲ χ πλησίον τοῦ ω. ταῦτα Ἡρωδιανὸς ἐν τῷ <ι>ϛʹ τῆς καθόλου. ἄλλως. (V) τὸ ταῖς χερσὶ καὶ τοῖς ποσὶ βιαζόμενον εἰς ὕψος ἀναβαίνειν ἀναρριχᾶσθαι ἔλεγον. (RV) Ἑλλάνικος ‘ἀναρριχῶνται δὲ ὥσπερ οἱ πίθηκοι ἐπ’ ἄκρα τὰ δένδρα’. ἄλλως. ἀνιέναι ἐπειρᾶτο εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν. ἐναργεῖ δὲ λέξει ἐχρήσατο τῷ ἀναρριχᾶται, ἐπεὶ διὰ τῶν χειρῶν δοκοῦσι μάλιστα ἀνέρχεσθαι ἐρειδόμενοι αὐταῖς καὶ ἑλισσόμενοι οἱ διὰ κλιμάκων τὴν ἄνοδον ποιούμενοι. (V)

He climbed upwards. The act of climbing along trees and walls or a small rope with the hands and the feet is called ἀναρριχᾶσθαι. Eratosthenes (fr. 18) states that the Cyrenaeans say so. It comes from the ἄρριχοι, that is the baskets, which they used to draw up with small ropes. Or from the spiders (ἀράχναι), as if it were ἀραχνᾶσθαι. The spiders often spin fragile paths in the air. Alternatively, the ἀναρριχᾶσθαι [found] in Attic authors comes from ἀράχνιον (‘spider web’), ἀραχνιῶ and, with transposition of the letters, ἀναρριχῶ, with ν taking the place of ρ, ι and ρ in turn taking the place of ν, and χ close to ω. So [says] Herodian in the sixteenth book of the General [prosody]. Alternatively: they called ἀναρριχᾶσθαι the act of forcibly climbing upwards with the hands and the feet. Hellanicus [writes]: ‘they climb to the treetops like monkeys’ (FGrHist 4 F 197 = C.2). Alternatively: ‘He tried to go up towards the sky’. [Aristophanes] used the vivid term ἀναρριχᾶται because those who make their way up with ladders appear to climb more with the hands, supporting themselves on them and turning around.

(9) Eust. in Od. 1.213.31–2: Παυσανίας δὲ ἱστορεῖ καὶ ὡς τούτοις τοῖς ἀρρίχοις σταφυλαὶ συνεκομίζοντο ἐξ ὧν δοκεῖ γίνεσθαι καὶ τὸ ἀναρριχᾶσθαι.

Pausanias (Atticista, α 158) also testifies that grapes were collected in these ἄρριχοι, from which the [verb] ἀναρριχᾶσθαι seems to derive too.

(10) Thom.Mag. 18.11–2: ἀναριχᾶται, Ἀττικόν· δηλοῖ δὲ τὸ ταῖς χερσὶ καὶ τοῖς ποσὶν ἀντεχόμενον ἀναβαίνειν· γράφεται δὲ δι’ ἑνὸς ρ.

ἀναριχᾶται: Attic, [it] indicates the act of going up holding on by the hands and the feet. It is spelled with one ρ.

C. Loci classici, other relevant texts

(1) Hippon. fr. 137 West² (= fr. 150 Degani): ἀρριχῶμαι. (cf. B.6)

I clamber up.

(2) Hellanic. FGrHist 4 F 197: ἀναρριχῶνται δὲ ὥσπερ οἱ πίθηκοι ἐπ’ ἄκρα τὰ δένδρα.

They climb to the treetops like monkeys.

(3) Ar. Pax 69–71:
ἔπειτα λεπτὰ κλιμάκια ποιούμενος,
πρὸς ταῦτ’ ἀνηρριχᾶτ’ ἂν εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν,
ἕως ξυνετρίβη τῆς κεφαλῆς καταρρυείς.

Then he built light little ladders and on them he kept trying to climb up towards the sky, until he fell and crushed his head.

(4) Arist. HA 624a.33–624b.1: τὸν δὲ κηρὸν ἀναλαμβάνουσιν αἱ μέλισσαι ἀριχώμεναι πρὸς τὰ βρύα ὀξέως τοῖς ἔμπροσθεν ποσί.

ἀριχώμεναι Ea, P, n (ἀριχόμεναι Κᶜ) : ἀναριχώμεναι Mᶜ, Lᶜpr. (ἀναριχόμεναι Ald) : ἀρχόμεναι α (ἐχόμεναι Q) : ἀρυόμεναι β Lᶜrec. : ἀναρριχώμεναι Camus (1783) and Schneider (1811).

The bees build the honeycomb by climbing quickly along the catkins of the hazel with their front feet.

(5) Luc. Lex. 8: μετὰ δὲ ὁ μέν τις ἐπὶ τὴν κατήλιφα ἀναρριχησάμενος … ἐπιφόρημα ἐζήτει, ὁ δὲ ληκίνδα ἔπαιζεν, ἄλλος ἐρρικνοῦτο σὺν γέλωτι τὴν ὀσφῦν.

After that, one climbed up to the upper floor … and was looking for dessert, while another started thrumming a rhythm and another wiggled the hip and laughed.

(6) Gal. 6.140.6–9 Kühn (= 2.9.14 Koch): ἀναφέρεται γοῦν καὶ ἀναβαστάζεται κατ’ αὐτοὺς ὑπὸ τῶν πρώτων κινουμένων ὀργάνων ἅπαντα τὰ λοιπὰ μόρια τοῦ σώματος, ὥσπερ τι φορτίον. οὕτω δὲ καὶ ὅστις ἀναρριχᾶται διὰ σχοινίου, καθάπερ ἐν παλαίστρᾳ γυμνάζουσι τοὺς παῖδας εἰς εὐτονίαν παρασκευάζοντες.

In those [walks], all the other parts of the body together are lifted and carried up by the first organs that move, like a burden. The same goes also for whomever climbs up with a rope, much like how they train children in the wrestling-school, preparing them for strength.

(7) Gal. 5.734.4–10 Kühn (= 9.2.29–30 De Lacy): ὡς ἐάν γέ τις παραλαβὼν τὸν οὕτως πεφυκότα μεταβαίνειν μὲν ἐπὶ λεπτοῦ σχοινίου διδάξῃ, πρὸς ξύλον δὲ ὄρθιον ἀναρριχᾶσθαι, καθάπερ οἱ θαυματοποιοὶ διδάσκουσι τοὺς μαθητάς, οὐ μόνον οὐκ ἂν [ἕλοιντο νίκην] Ὀλυμπιονίκης, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ τῶν ἐπιτυχόντων ἀνθρώπων ὠκύτερος ἄν ποτε ὀφθείη.

If one takes charge of a man with such a nature and teaches him to walk on a tight rope and to climb up a vertical wooden pole, like showmen teach their pupils, not only would he not be an Olympic champion, but he would never even be seen as faster than the average person (transl. De Lacy 1980, with adaptations).

(8) D.C. 43.21.2: καὶ τότε μὲν καὶ τοὺς ἀναβασμοὺς τοὺς ἐν τῷ Καπιτωλίῳ τοῖς γόνασιν ἀνερριχήσατο μηδὲν μήτε [ἐς] τὸ ἅρμα τὸ πρὸς τὸν Δία ἀνιδρυθὲν αὐτῷ μήτε τὴν εἰκόνα τῆς οἰκουμένης τὴν ὑπὸ τοῖς ποσὶν αὐτοῦ κειμένην μήτε τὸ ἐπίγραμμα αὐτῆς ὑπολογισάμενος.

Then he also climbed up the stairs of the Capitol on his knees, taking no notice at all either of the chariot dedicated to Zeus in his honour, or of the image of the inhabited world lying beneath his feet, or of the inscription upon it.

(9) Su. ε 3718 (cf. Suet. Blasph. 4.12; Phot. ε 2310, 2311, 2312; Apostol. 8.12): Εὐρύβατος: πονηρός. ἀπὸ τοῦ πεμφθέντος ὑπὸ Κροίσου ἐπὶ ξενολογίαν μετὰ χρημάτων, ὥς φησιν Ἔφορος, εἶτα μεταβαλλομένου πρὸς Κῦρον. ἦν δὲ οὗτος Ἐφέσιος. οἱ δὲ τὸν Κέρκωπα τὸν ἕτερον. Διότιμος Ἡρακλέους ἄθλοις· ̒Κέρκωπές τοι πολλὰ κατὰ τριόδους πατέοντες Βοιωτῶν σίνοντο. γένος δ’ ἔσαν Οἰχαλῆες, Ὦλός τ’ Εὐρύβατός τε, δύω βαρυδαίμονες ἄνδρεςʼ. Νίκανδρος· ‘Αἰγιναῖον Εὐρύβατον πανουργότατον’, οὗ μνημονεύει Ἀριστοτέλης ἐν αʹ Περὶ δικαιοσύνης. Δοῦρις δὲ ἐν δʹ τῶν περὶ Ἀγαθοκλέα, ἀπὸ τοῦ Ὀδυσσέως ἑταίρου. καὶ Ἀριστοφάνης Δαιδάλῳ, ὑποθέμενος τὸν Δία εἰς πολλὰ ἑαυτὸν μεταβάλλοντα καὶ πλουτοῦντα καὶ πανουργοῦντα· ‘εἰ δή τις ὑμῶν εἶδεν Εὐρύβατον Δία’. λέγεται τὸν Εὐρύβατον κλέπτην ὄντα, εἰρχθέντα καὶ παραφυλαττόμενον, ἐπειδὴ συμπίνοντες ἔλυσαν αὐτὸν οἱ φυλάσσοντες, ἐκέλευσαν ἐπιδείξασθαι τὴν ἐπὶ τοὺς οἴκους ἀναρρίχησιν, τὸ μὲν πρῶτον διωθεῖσθαι· δεομένων δὲ ὡς οὐ βουλόμενον, ἐπεὶ μόλις ἀνέπεισαν, περιθέμενος τοὺς σπόγγους καὶ τὰς ἐγκεντρίδας, ἀναδραμεῖν εἰς τοὺς τοίχους. ἀναβλέποντες δὲ ἐκεῖνοι καὶ θαυμάζοντες τὰς τέχνας, λαβεῖν αὐτὸν τὸν ὄροφον καὶ ὑπερβάλλοντα, πρὶν ἐκεῖνοι κύκλῳ περιέλθωσι, διὰ τοῦ τέγους καταπηδῆσαι.

Αἰγιναῖον Phot. ε 2311 : Αἰγινέον Adler (see F.3).

Eurybatus: [a] knavish [person], since he was sent by Croesus to recruit mercenaries with [a large sum of] money – as Ephorus says (FGrHist 70 F 58) – but then he defected to Cyrus. He was from Ephesus. Some [say] he was one of the two Cercopes. Diotimus in Heraclesʼ labours (SH 393): ‘the Cercopes did much harm, walking the crossroads of the Boeotians. They were Oechalians by descent, Olus and Eurybatus, two men pressed by a heavy fate’. Nicander (fr. 112 Gow–Scholfield, FGrHist 271–2 F 42): ‘the Aeginetan Eurybatus, the most knavish’. Aristotle mentions him in the first book On justice (fr. 84 Rose). Duris in the third of the books On Agatocles (FGrHist 76 F 20) [says that the name comes] from Odysseus’ companion. And Aristophanes, in the Daedalus (fr. 198), implying that Zeus turned himself into many things, being both rich and knavish, [says]: ‘If any of you saw a Eurybatus-Zeus’. It is said that Eurybatus was a thief who was imprisoned and closely guarded. When the guards, who were drinking together, unchained him, they ordered him to show them [his technique for] climbing up the houses, but he initially refused. After they begged him, since he did not want to, once they fully persuaded him, he put on the sponges and the spikes and went up the walls. As they watched him and marvelled at his abilities, he seized the reed and forcing it up, before they could surround him in a circle, he leapt down through the roof.

(10) Eust. in Od. 2.201.29–202.18: ἡ δὲ τοῦ Εὐρυβάτου ἔκφρασις πάνυ καὶ σαφὴς καὶ σύντομος […]. Εὐρυβάτης δὲ ἦν καὶ τῷ Ἀγαμέμνονι κῆρυξ. ἀμφότεροι δὲ φερωνύμως ἐκαλοῦντο παρὰ τὸ εὐρὺ βάζειν, ὃ κηρύκων ἐστὶν ἀρετή. λέγεται δέ τις καὶ Ἐφέσιος ἐν τοῖς ὕστερον Εὐρυβάτης, πονηρὸς ἀνὴρ, ὁ καὶ Εὐρύβατος, ἐξ οὗ καὶ τὸ πονηρεύεσθαι εὐρυβατεύεσθαι παροιμιάζεται. […] ὡς δὲ καὶ κλέπτης ἦν Εὐρύβατος ἢ ὁ ῥηθεὶς ἢ καὶ ἕτερός τις, ἡ ἱστορία δηλοῖ. καθειρχθεὶς γάρ, φασι, πολλάκις καὶ διαδρὰς, εἶτα πάλιν ἁλοὺς, καὶ παρακαλούμενος ἐπιδείξεσθαι, ὅπως διεδίδρασκε, τὰς ἐγκεντρίδας ὑποδησάμενος καὶ σπόγγους λαβὼν καὶ ἀναῤῥιχώμενος διὰ τοῦ τείχους τῆς εἱρκτῆς, οἷα δῆθεν δεικνὺς οὕτω φεύγειν, ὡς τοῦ ἄκρου γέγονε καὶ τὸν ὄροφον τῆς οἰκίας ἐξεῖλε, βλεπόμενος καὶ καταπλήττων κατεπήδησεν ἔξω καὶ ᾤχετο ἐν ὅσῳ οἱ φύλακες περιῄεσαν ὅπως ἴδοιεν αὐτὸν κατιόντα. εἰ δὲ καὶ πλείους ἦσαν Εὐρύβατοι, περιεργάσασθαι μὲν τὸ κατ’ αὐτοὺς πλῆθος οὐκ ἀνάγκῃ, ἁπλῶς δὲ εἰπεῖν, ὅτι πλείονες ἐγένοντο, καθὰ δηλοῖ ὁ γράψας τὸ ‘ἠδ’ ὅσσα προτέροισιν ἀείδεται Εὐρυβάτοισι’. προσεπειπεῖν δὲ καὶ ὡς πάντες πανοῦργοι ἀπέβησαν. διὸ καὶ καθὰ ὁ μῦθος τὸν Δία ἔπλασε πολλάκις μορφούμενον ἄλλοτε ἄλλως ἐπὶ δόλῳ, οὕτω, φασὶ, καὶ Ἀριστοφάνης ἐν Δαιδάλῳ ὑποθέμενος αὐτὸν εἰς πολλὰ μεταβαλλόμενον καὶ πανουργοῦντα φησίν· ‘ἤδη τις ὑμῶν οἶδεν Εὐρύβατον Δία;’ ὡς τοῦ Εὐρυβάτου δηλαδὴ ποικίλου ὄντος πονηρεύεσθαι.

The description of Eurybates is fully clear and concise. […] Eurybates was also [the name of] a herald to Agamemnon. Both were called this way from [the act of] ‘speaking broadly’, which is the virtue of heralds. One Eurybates in later authors is said to be from Ephesus, a wicked man, also [called] Eurybatus, from whom [the act of] acting wickedly is also said ‘to act like Eurybatus’. […] That there was also a thief [called] Eurybatus – either the one already mentioned or another one – is shown by the following story. They say that, since he had been imprisoned and had escaped many times, after being caught once again and being asked to demonstrate how he had [previously] escaped, he wore the spikes and took the sponges and climbed up the wall of the cell, to show that he had escaped that way. Once he arrived at the top and removed the reed [of the roof] of the building, as he was being watched and was striking [the guards] with amazement, he leapt down outside and ran away, while the guards were gathering around to see him come down. If there were even more Eurybati, it is not necessary to investigate their number any further. Suffice it to say that they were more than one, as shown by the one who wrote: ‘how many things are sung already to the first Eurybati’ (Euph. fr. 83 Powell). Also, I had already added that they all turned out knavish. Therefore, and accordingly, the myth represented Zeus often changing into different shapes as a trick, so they say. And Aristophanes in the Daedalus, implying that he changes himself into many shapes and acts deceivingly, says: ‘Does any of you know of a Eurybatus-Zeus?’, because, being changeful like Eurybatus, he acted wickedly.

D. General commentary

The verb ἀναρριχάομαι (‘to clamber up’, etymology unknown, see Ehrlich 1912, 53–4; GEW s.v.; DELG s.v.; EDG s.v.) is exclusively attested in literary texts, with a low number of occurrences. Still, the term caught the attention of Hellenistic scholars and, later, of Atticist lexicographers: Phrynichus in particular focused his entry on ἀναρριχάομαι in the Praeparatio sophistica (A.1) on the correct spelling of the verb (see below), while Moeris only registered the word as Attic (A.2).

There are only three certain occurrences of ἀναρριχάομαι in the 5th–4th centuries, namely in Hellanicus (B.8, C.2), in Aristophanes’ Peace (C.3), and in Aristotle’s lost work On justice (B.1, C.9). In all three cases the context of use is within a description of someone in the act of climbing upon a vertical surface (men going up trees ‘like monkeys’, possibly in search of a hiding place; Trigeus trying to reach Zeus with ‘light little ladders’; the thief EurybatusEurybatus gulling the guards and escaping prison). Moreover, Hipponax and Aristotle seem to have used the verb as well, but without the prefix (B.6, C.1, C.4, although in the case of Aristotle the manuscripts oscillate between various spellings with and without the prefix ἀν-; see the apparatus of C.4). While, for Hipponax, the context cannot be reconstructed, in the History of animals, the verb is used in reference to the bees. Overall, in light of these attestations, ἀναρριχάομαι seems to have belonged to colloquial languageColloquial language. This impression is confirmed by the slightly more frequent attestations from the imperial age (one in Lucian [C.5], one in Pollux [B.2], five in Galen [C.6, C.7], two in Dio Cassius [C.8], two in Aelian, one in Philostratus the Elder), where the verb is mostly used in relation to animals (the bear, the centaur, the monkey, the crab, the ibis, the spider). Only in four cases does the verb describe actions performed by people, but in all four contexts the use of ἀναρριχάομαι is motivated either by the peculiarity of the action (in C.6 and C.7 it indicates the gymnastic exercise of climbing a rope or a wooden pole, while in C.8 it is applied to Caesar going up the stairs of the Capitol on his knees) or by the general tone of the work (in the Lexiphanes [C.5] – which openly satirises the inappropriate use of Attic language – Lucian purposefully uses ἀναρριχάομαι in relation to the ordinary act of going to the upper floor of a house, thus achieving a comic effect).

According to the extant evidence, the first scholar to deal with ἀναρριχάομαι was Eratosthenes of Cyrene (fr. 18). Eratosth. fr. 18 This information comes from the annotation to Pax 70 (B.8), a scholium resulting from the compilation of different sources. These partially offer the same interpretations, though with different wording. Indeed, the scholium reports the explanation of ἀναρριχάομαι (‘the act of climbing upwards with hands and feet’) twice. The first time (πρὸς τὸ ὕψος […] οὕτω λέγειν), the interpretation is followed by the reference to EratosthenesEratosthenes of Cyrene, who is said to have attested that the term belonged to the dialect of Cyrene. The second time (τὸ ταῖς χερσὶ […] ἐπ’ ἄκρα τὰ δένδρα), it is paired with a quotation from Hellanicus (C.2). This explanation, according to which ἀναρριχάομαι defines the act of climbing up using the hands and the feet at the same time, is found with slight modifications in wording throughout the lexicographical tradition (namely in Phrynichus [A.1], in a papyrus lexicon from the 2nd century CE [B.1], in Hesychius [B.4], and in Byzantine lexica up to Thomas Magister [B.5, B.7, B.10]), while the formulation is different (though the meaning is approximately the same) in Moeris (A.2) and in Et.Gen. (B.6). The parallelism between the Aristophanic scholium and Hesychius, along with the references to EratosthenesEratosthenes of Cyrene (probably to his work On ancient comedy, see e.g. Montana 2020, 186–7) and Hellanicus, suggest that the doctrine may go back to DidymusDidymus (on his use of the historians, see Montana 2020), who might have dealt with ἀναρριχάομαι in both his commentary on Aristophanes’ Peace (from which the scholium would have drawn) and his Comic vocabulary, which Hesychius openly mentions among the sources of his lexicon.

After being dealt with by ancient scholars of comedy (Eratosthenes and, possibly, Didymus), the verb ἀναρριχάομαι was used – but not discussed – by Pollux (B.2), while Phrynichus included it in his Praeparatio: he offers the same interpretation (‘to climb up with hands and feet’) that may go back to Didymus (see above), but then focuses on the orthography of the verb, stating that the correct spelling is ἀναριχάομαι, with one ρ (the same spelling is also found in Hesychius, B.4, but see also Hsch. α 4829 ἀνειλυσπᾶσθαι· ἀναρριχᾶσθαι), and that those who write ἀναρριχάομαι are wrong (see Vessella 2018, 117).

The only grammarian known to have attempted an etymology of the verb is HerodianHerodian, as attested by the scholium to Pax 70 (B.8) and an entry in the Etymologicum Genuinum (B.6). He proposed the derivation of ἀναρριχάομαι from ἀράχνηἀράχνη (‘spider’) with a series of transpositions of letters typical of ancient etymology (ἀράχνη > *ἀραχνιάω > ἀναρριχάω). While the scholium quotes from Herodian’s On general prosody, the Etymologicum Genuinum refers to another work by the same grammarian, i.e. On modifications of words. The entry from Et.Gen. quotes the etymology from ἀράχνηἀράχνη, but then criticises it in light of a morphological argument (the fact that the imperfect reads ἀνηρριχώμην – as in Aristophanes [C.3] – and not ἠναρριχώμην). Immediately afterwards, an alternative etymology is proposed, namely from ἄρριχοςἄρριχος, the name of a basket used to carry food (or possibly to lift it by pulling the basket up with a rope, see B.8). According to Eustathius (B.9), this etymology from ἄρριχοςἄρριχος should go back to the Atticist lexicographer PausaniasPausanias Atticista. Upon closer examination, Herodian’s proposed etymology ἀραχνιῶ […] τοῦ μὲν ν εἰς τὴν χώραν τοῦ ρ τεθέντος, τοῦ δὲ ⟦ι⟧ ἀμοιβαίως ⟦καὶ τοῦ ρ⟧ εἰς τὴν χώραν τοῦ ν, τοῦ δὲ χ πλησίον τοῦ ω (‘ἀραχνιῶ […] with ν taking the place of ρ, ι and ρ in turn taking the place of ν, and χ close to ω’) should result in *ἀναριχῶ, without geminate ρ (see Vessella 2018, 150). There can be two explanations: either a part of the etymology regarding a duplication of ρ went missing in the transmission of the scholium, or the spelling with ρρ was applied by analogy to the text of the entire annotation at some point in its transmission, obscuring Herodian’s original ἀναριχάομαι (the same should be supposed for the text of B.6). If indeed Herodian proposed to spell the verb with only one ρ (in accordance with the etymology from ἀράχνηἀράχνη), this would constitute a relevant parallel for Phrynichus’ statement (A.1, see also Thomas Magister, B.10), in which the spelling with geminate ρ is condemned as wrong. From this perspective, Phrynichus’ entry would represent the polarisation of the opposition between two competing etymologies of ἀναρ(ρ)ιχάομαι. On the one hand, there is the derivation from ἄρριχοςἄρριχος (*ἀρριχάομαι > (ἀν)αρριχάομαι with prefix), which goes back at least to Pausanias, but possibly even to Didymus (as it occurs right after the reference to Eratosthenes in the scholium to Pax 70), and on the other hand, the etymology from ἀράχνη (with an expected development *ἀραχνιάω > *ἀναριχάω).

E. Byzantine and Modern Greek commentary

The verb ἀναρριχαίνωἀναρριχαίνω is used in reference to the sea in three parallel accounts of an earthquake and tsunami that hit the eastern Mediterranean in the summer of 551 CE (see Georgius Monachus 641.19–642.4 de Boor, Symeon Logothetes 104.8.37–48 Wahlgren, Georgius Cedrenus 415.1.3–6 Tartaglia). LBG (s.v.) links the verb to ἀναρριχάομαι, although the meaning of ἀναρριχαίνω implied by the texts – and particularly by the indication μίλια βʹ – is not that of a vertical movement, but rather a horizontal one (hence ‘to recede’, ‘to go back’, to indicate the stage before the wave’s impact on land, when the water is sucked back from the shore).

In Modern Greek, the verb αναρριχώμαιαναρριχώμαι is still in use and maintains the original meaning of ‘to clamber up’.

F. Commentary on individual texts and occurrences

(1)    Et.Gen. AB α 805 (= EM 99.14–25) (B.6)

It is hard to discern the different sources of Et.Gen. on ἀναρριχάομαι. Firstly, the entry gives two different interpretations of ἀναρριχάομαι (‘to be sent up [in relation to] the water’ and ‘to go uphill holding fast with the feet and the hands like a spider’). Secondly, it mentions the etymology from ἀράχνηἀράχνη only to disprove it immediately afterwards, on the basis of a sound morphological argument (i.e. the verb is actually ἀρριχάομαι, attested in Hipponax [C.1], while ἀναρριχάομαι is a prefixed form, as shown by the imperfect ἀνηρριχώμην). Thirdly, it proposes the etymology from ἄρριχοςἄρριχος, but then ends up saying that the derivation from ἀράχνη is preferable, ‘so says Herodian in On modifications of words’. One possible interpretation is that the criticism of the etymology from ἀράχνη came from a (now unnamed) source available to Et.Gen., but that the refutation was not considered strong enough by the redactor of the gloss to completely exclude Herodian’s etymology (in this case the phrase οὕτως Ἡρωδιανὸς ἐν τῷ Περὶ παθῶν would refer only to the immediately preceding sentence). Alternatively, one could assume that Herodian himself in On modifications of words problematised the etymology that he had proposed in the work On prosody in general, comparing it with the competing derivation from ἄρριχοςἄρριχος, only to conclude that the one from ἀράχνηἀράχνη remained preferable. With regard to the explanation τὸ ἀναδίδοσθαι τὸ ὕδωρ, this interpretation may be linked in some way to the semantic shift displayed in Byzantine texts in the verb ἀναρριχαίνω (see section E.), where the term indicates the seawater receding from the shore before a tsunami collides with the land.

(2)    Schol. Ar. Pac. 70a–c–d–b–e (cf. 70f, Su. α 2313) (B.8)

The sentence αἱ δὲ ἀράχναι πολλάκις νήθουσι κατακτὰς ἐναερίους ὁδούς, which in the scholium to Pax 70 follows the first reference to the etymology from ἀράχνη (ἢ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀραχνῶν, καὶ ἔστιν οἷον ἀραχνᾶσθαι), sounds like a poetic reminiscence (perhaps of Hes. Op. 777–8Hes. Op. 777–8 τῇ γάρ τοι νεῖ νήματ’ ἀερσιπότητος ἀράχνης | ἤματος ἐκ πλείου).

(3)    Su. ε 3718; Phot. ε 231; Apostol. 8.12 (C.9)

The adjective ΑἰγιναῖοςΑἰγιναῖος (‘Aeginetan’) seems to have been used only for objects – especially monetary units of measurement, see e.g. Th. 5.47.6 (τρεῖς ὀβολοὺς Αἰγιναίους […] δραχμῆν Αἰγιναίαν) – or to indicate the women of Aegina (see Hdn. Περὶ παρωνύμων GG 3,2.860.32–861.2), while the male ethnic adjective is mostly Αἰγινητής or, much less often, Αἰγινεύς (see St.Byz. α 105 Billerbeck). Gow and Scholfield (1953, 166), who do not deal with the meaning of the adjective, put it between cruces – since the EurybatusEurybatus that Nicander should be mentioning is the Ephesian bandit defeated by Heracles, a figure also mentioned by Diotimus in the immediately preceding quotation (in fact, it is hard to suppose that the epic poet would be talking about the thief known to Aristophanes and Aristotle). A possible interpretation could be that, in the original text, ΑἰγιναῖονΑἰγιναῖος referred to (as it almost always does in extant literary texts) the measure of an amount of money, and that, in the process of excerption of the quotation, a misunderstanding of its syntactic role occurred, which caused the loss of its original referent. Furthermore, one might speculate that the name Νίκανδρος (already found in Phot. ε 2311, as well as in the Suda and Apostol. 8.12) could be the corruption of the name of another author, potentially a comic playwright (Nicophon? Nicochares?), that referred – like Aristophanes in the Daedalus – to the famous thief named EurybatusEurybatus as a komodoumenos. The presence of πανουργότατον points in this direction, as πανοῦργος and its derivatives are amply attested in comedy (first and foremost in Aristophanes, but also in other 5th-century playwrights – like Archippus [x1], Eupolis [x2], Pherecrates [x1] – as well as in Menander [x2]), while being completely absent from Nicander. If the quotation is indeed of comic origin – and if, consequently, the EurybatusEurybatus in question is the thief mentioned by Aristophanes and Aristotle – the presence of an Aeginetan measurement of a sum of money could be speculatively explained as relating to a theft by Eurybatus.


Camus, M. (1783). Histoire des animaux d’Aristote. Paris.

De Lacy, P. (1980). Galen. On the doctrines of Hippocrates and Plato. Edition, translation and commentary. Vol. 2. Berlin.

Ehrlich, H. (1912). Untersuchungen über die Natur der griechischen Betonung. Berlin.

Esposito, E. (2012). ‘P.Oxy. XVII 2087, col. II 42-44’. Bastianini, G.; Haslam, M.; Maehler, H.; Montanari, F.; Römer, C. (eds.). Commentaria et lexica Graeca in papyris reperta, I.1.4., Aristophanes – Bacchylides. Berlin, Boston, 250–2.

Gow, A. S. F.; Scholfield, A. F. (1953). Nicander. The Poems and the Poetical Fragments. Cambridge.

Koch, K. (1923). Galeni de sanitate tuenda libri sex. Leipzig, Berlin.

Montana, F. (2020). ‘Didymus and the Greek Historians’. Coward, T. R. P.; Prodi, E. E. (eds.), Didymus and Graeco-Roman Learning. London, 62–78.

Schneider, J. G. (1811). Aristotelis De Animalibus Historiae libri X. Graece et Latine. Leipzig.

Vessella, C. (2018). Sophisticated Speakers. Atticistic Pronunciation in the Atticist Lexica. Berlin, Boston.


Federica Benuzzi, 'ἀναρριχάομαι (Phryn. PS 32.2–4, Moer. α 129)', in Olga Tribulato (ed.), Digital Encyclopedia of Atticism.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.30687/DEA/2021/01/044

This article deals with the verb ἀναρριχάομαι, discussed in the Atticist lexica Phryn. PS 32.2–4 and Moer. α 129.