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

Lexicographic entries

ἀμφίκαυστις
(Phryn. PS fr. *18)

A. Main sources

(1) Phryn. PS fr. *18 (~ Phot. α 1332): ἀμφίκαυστις· ἡ πρώτη τῶν ἀσταχύων ἔκφυσις. καλεῖται δὲ καὶ καῦστις, καθ’ ὅσον εἰώθασιν ἔτι χλωροὺς ὄντας τοὺς πρώτους στάχυς καίειν. οἱ δὲ ἁπλῶς τὸν στάχυν φασίν. Φρύνιχος δὲ ἀμφίκαυστιν τὴν ὡραιοτάτην. (cf. B.3)

ἀμφίκαυστις: The first growth of the ears of grain. It is also called καῦστις, because they used to parch the first ears of grain while they were still green. Some authorities say, however, that it simply refers to grain. Phrynichus [says] that ἀμφίκαυστις is the [grain at its] ripest.


B. Other erudite sources

(1) Hsch. α 4033: ἀμφίκαυστις· ἡ πρώτη τῶν ἀσταχύων ἔκφυσις. λέγεται δὲ καὶ καῦστις.

ἀμφίκαυστις: The first growth of the ears of grain. It is also called καῦστις.


(2) Hsch. κ 1923 (cf. Phot. κ 222): καῦστις· ἡ ἔκφυσις τῶν σταχύων. πυροὶ ἁδρυνόμενοι, καὶ χόρτος. τὸ δὲ αὐτὸ καὶ ἀμφίκαυστις. καὶ ἐπώνυμον Δήμητρος. Κρατῖνος δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ μορίου ἔταξεν αὐτό. καλεῖται δὲ καὶ εὔστρα, καὶ στρῶμα.

καῦστις: The first growth of the ears of grain; mature wheat, also fodder. The same thing is also ἀμφίκαυστις. Also an epithet of Demeter. But Cratinus (fr. 409 = C.1) used it in reference to the [female] genitals. And [καῦστις] is also called εὔστρα and στρῶμα (Transl. Olson, Seaberg 2018, 237).


(3) Phot. α 1332 (cf. Ael.Dion. α 108): ἀμφίκαυστις· ἡ πρώτη τῶν ἀσταχύων ἔκφυσις. καλεῖται δὲ καὶ καῦστις, καθ’ ὅσον εἰώθασιν ἔτι χλωροὺς ὄντας τοὺς πρώτους στάχυς καίειν. οἱ δὲ ἁπλῶς τὸν στάχυν φασίν. Φρύνιχος δὲ ἀμφίκαυστιν τὴν ὡραιοτάτην. οἱ δὲ τὴν ἐρυσίβην. οἱ δὲ ἀμφίκαυστιν τὴν ὥριμον κριθήν. παρὰ δὲ τοῖς τραγικοῖς καῦστις εἴρηται μεταφορικῶς ἡ μάχη, παρά τισι δὲ ἡ ὀσφῦς καὶ τὰ ἰσχία, παρ’ ἐνίοις δὲ ὁ ξηρὸς χόρτος. ἔνιοι δὲ τὸ αἰδοῖον.

ἀμφίκαυστις: The first growth of the ears of grain. It is also called καῦστις, because they used to parch the first ears of grain while they were still green. Some authorities say, however, that it simply refers to grain. Phrynichus [says] that ἀμφίκαυστις is the [grain at its] ripest. Others say it is grain-rust, others that ἀμφίκαυστις is ripe barley. In the tragedians (Trag. adesp. fr. 591a = C.2), battle is referred to metaphorically as καῦστις, whereas in other authors it is the rump or the flanks, while in some it is dry fodder. Some, in addition, [use it of] the private parts. (Transl. adapted from Olson, Seaberg 2018, 239).


(4) Et.Gen. α 715 ~ EM 90.33–7 (~ Ael.Dion. α 108): ἀμφίκαυτις· ἡ †ὀρεινὴ† κριθή, ἣν ἡμεῖς εὔστραν καλοῦμεν· καὶ οὕτω μὲν οἱ τραγικοί, οἱ δὲ κωμικοὶ <***> τῶν αἰδοίων ἀμφίκαυστις ἀπὸ τοῦ περικεκαῦσθαι. οἱ δὲ τὴν πρώτην ἔκφυσιν τῶν πυρῶν. ἣν λήϊον (ἡλήϊον cod.) προσαγορεύουσιν, ὡραῖον, διὰ τὸ τοὺς πρωΐμους καέντων τῶν ἀχύρων ἐπιτηδείους εἶναι εἰς τροφήν. οὕτως Μεθόδιος.

ἀμφίκαυτις: †Mountain† barley, which we call εὔστρα; thus also the tragic poets […], whereas the comic poets [speak of] the ἀμφίκαυστις of the genitals, from ‘to be scorched’. Or they refer thus to the ripe grain-crop, on account of the fact that the early [grains of wheat], when their chaff has been burnt off, provide good nourishment. Thus Methodius. (Transl. adapted from Olson, Seaberg 2018, 238).


(5) Eust. in Od. 1.98.37–9 (~ Ael.Dion. α 108): [εὗστρα] ἕτεροι δὲ, ὅτι ἡ ὡρίμη κριθὴ, ἡ καὶ ἀμφίκαυστις παρὰ Αἰλίῳ Διονυσίῳ. κωμικοὶ δὲ, καὶ ἐπὶ γυναικείου μορίου φασί. Κρατῖνος δὲ τὴν ὀσφὺν οὕτως ἔφη.

Others say that [εὗστρα] means ripe barley, which [is] also [called] ἀμφίκαυστις in Aelius Dionysius (α 108; cf. Phot. α 1332 = B.3). But comic poets also use it with reference to female genitals. And Cratinus (fr. 409 = C.1) used it to refer to the rump.


(6) Schol. Ar. Eq. 1236a: εὕστρα ἡ ὡρίμη κριθή. εἴρηται δὲ καὶ ἀμφίκαυστις παρὰ κωμικοῖς καὶ τραγικοῖς ἀπὸ τοῦ περικεκαῦσθαι. οἱ δὲ τὴν πρώτην ἔκφυσιν τῶν πυρῶν, ἣν λήϊον προσαγορεύουσιν ὡραῖον, διὰ τὸ τοὺς πρωΐμους καέντων τῶν ἀχύρων ἐπιτηδείους εἶναι εἰς τροφήν. (VEΓ³)

εὕστρα is ripe barley. And ἀμφίκαυστις too is used in the comic and tragic poets, from περικεκαῦσθαι (‘to have been parched’). But some authorities [say that the word means] the first growth of the wheat, which they refer to as the ripe crop, on account of the fact that the early (grains of wheat), when their chaff is burnt off, provide good nourishment. (Transl. Olson, Seaberg 2018, 237).


C. Loci classici, other relevant texts

(1) Cratin. fr. 409 = Hsch. κ 1923 re. ἀμφίκαυστις (B.2).

(2) Trag. adesp. fr. 591a = Phot. α 1332 re. καῦστις (B.3; cf. Et.Gud. α 715 ~ EM 90.33–7, B.4).

D. General commentary

This lemma deals with the feminine noun ἀμφίκαυστις, a prefixed variant of καῦστις, from καίω (DELG s.v. classes it as a feminine agent noun, but the meaning is more consistent with a -σις nomen rei actae). The attestations of both ἀμφίκαυστις and καῦστις are exclusively of a lexicographical and erudite nature. Ancient and Byzantine interpreters mostly deal with the question of whether ἀμφίκαυστις and καῦστις refer to a type of ripe or roasted grain, to ripe barley, or simply to grain; some of them also mention a sexual understanding of both words as ‘private parts’. Since the base verb is καίω, the best explanation is that καῦστις and ἀμφίκαυστις refer to ripe grain which the sun has scorched, to toasted or parched grain, or to genitals entirely depilated by means of fire. In ἀμφίκαυστις, the meaning is intensifiedintensification through the prefix ἀμφι-ἀμφί (see Schwyzer, Debrunner 1950, 437 for this function).

Α reference in Eustathius (B.5) makes it likely that the original discussion concerning ἀμφίκαυστις goes back to Aelius Dionysius (α 108)Ael.Dion. α 108, although the fragment that Erbse (1950, 105) reconstructed by combining Photius and Eustathius is far from being a secure source (see further below on εὔστρα/εὗστρα). Photius (B.3) is our only evidence that Phrynichus dealt with the term ἀμφίκαυστις, and the entry in his lexicon conflates two separate lexicographical strands. The first sentence, explaining ἀμφίκαυστις as ‘the first growth of grain’, is shared by Hesychius (B.1). An etymological note follows, explaining that the name derives from the fact that the ancients were accustomed to parch the first ears of grain when they were still green. A similar etymological explanation (ἀμφίκαυστις ἀπὸ τοῦ περικεκαῦσθαι) is also found in the Et.Gud. and in the EM (cf. B.4). Photius then adds a synonymic-contrastive annotation, stating that other people applied ἀμφίκαυστις simply to grain itself; in relation to this, he credits Phrynichus with a further semantic and contrastive annotation, specifically that ἀμφίκαυστις should instead be used to refer to grain that has reached full ripeness.

It is unclear whether the entire first part of Photius’ entry should be attributed to Phrynichus, or only the closing semantic specification (as de Borries 1911, 134 suggests in his apparatus). At any rate, Phrynichus’ explanation is consistent with the information presented by Photius in the next sentence, which considers other alternative meanings: ἐρυσίβη ‘grain-rust’ (this explanation is not found elsewhere) and ὥριμος κριθή ‘ripe barley’ (cf. B.4 and B.5; in B.4, the faulty ὀρεινή is likely to be a corruption of ὡρίμη: cf. Reitzenstein (1897, 35) and B.5). Photius then moves on to other meanings of the simplex καῦστις: the metaphorical ‘battle’ in tragic language; ‘rump’ (cf. B.5) or ‘flanks’; ‘dry fodder’; ‘genitals’.

These last two meanings first appear in Hesychius (B.2), seemingly with reference to both καῦστις and ἀμφίκαυστις. The sexual interpretation is picked up in the Etymologica (B.4) and by Eustathius (B.5), who, however, introduces a further, confusing distinction between the generic comic usage (ἐπὶ γυναικείου μορίου ‘with reference to female genitals’ – note that this usage is not edited as a comic adespoton in PCG) and Cratinus’ specific usage (τὴν ὀσφύν ‘rump’, in this context more probably ‘ass’: see Olson, Seaberg 2018, 239). B.4 further para-etymologises this sexual understanding as ἀπὸ τοῦ περικεκαῦσθαι (‘from to be scorched’). Olson, Seaberg (2018, 239), recalling the frequent use of agricultural terms for sexual parts, consider the possibility that ἀμφίκαυστις referred to female genitals depilated by means of fire, providing a number of parallels.

The paucity of ancient passages that employ ἀμφίκαυστις and καῦστις makes it impossible to assess the trustworthiness of these competing explanations. Clearly, later Greek exegetes were quite confused about the correct sphere of application of these terms. Two final considerations can be made. First, as far as one can understand from Photius, Phrynichus does not seem to have been concerned with the metaphorical and sexual applications of ἀμφίκαυστις. Second, in some of the sources, the discussion of ἀμφίκαυστις intersects with explanations concerning εὕστραεὕστρα, another ambiguous term (‘place for singeing slaughtered swine’; ‘roasted barley’: cf. LSJ s.v.), which shares with ἀμφίκαυστις the reference to grain/barley (for lexicographical passages on εὕστρα, see Poll. 6.91.8Poll. 6.91.8, Paus.Gr. ε 84Paus.Gr. ε 84, Hsch. ε 7216Hsch. ε 7216, Phot. ε 2342Phot. ε 2342, Phot. ε 2343Phot. ε 2343, Su. ε 3756Su. ε 3756, Eust. in Il. 4.677.16Eust. in Il. 4.677.16 and Eust. in Od. 1.98.35–6Eust. in Od. 1.98.35–6; cf. Olson, Seaberg 2018, 237–9). Since neither ἀμφίκαυστις/καῦστις nor εὕστρα appear to have had any use in Byzantine Greek, the lexicographers must have been concerned with the correct semantic application of these words, perhaps not unrelated to a wish to indicate the appropriate meaning in Attic, given the interest shown by Phrynichus and Aelius Dionysius.

E. Byzantine and Modern Greek commentary

N/A

F. Commentary on individual texts and occurrences

N/A

Bibliography

de Borries, I. (1911). Phrynichi Sophistae Praeparatio sophistica. Leipzig.

Erbse, E. (1950). Untersuchungen zu den attizistischen Lexika. Berlin.

Olson, S. D.; Seaberg, R. (2018). Kratinos frr. 299–514. Translation and Commentary. Göttingen.

Reitzenstein, R. (1897). Geschichte der griechischen Etymologika. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Philologie in Alexandria und Byzanz. Leipzig.

Schwyzer, E.; Debrunner, A. (1950). Griechische Grammatik. Syntax und syntaktische Stilistik. Munich.

CITE THIS

Olga Tribulato, 'ἀμφίκαυστις (Phryn. PS fr. *18)', in Olga Tribulato (ed.), Digital Encyclopedia of Atticism.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.30687/DEA/2021/01/050

ABSTRACT
This article deals with the term ἀμφίκαυστις, discussed in the Atticist lexicon Phryn. PS fr. *18.
KEYWORDS

Comic languagePrefixesSemantics

FIRST PUBLISHED ON

01/10/2022

LAST UPDATE

05/12/2023