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

Lexicographic entries

κολόκυνθα, κολοκύντη
(Phryn. Ecl. 405, Philemo [Vindob.] 395.6)

A. Main sources

(1) Phryn. Ecl. 405: κολόκυνθα· ἡμάρτηται ἡ ἐσχάτη συλλαβὴ διὰ τοῦ θα λεγομένη, δέον διὰ τοῦ τη ὡς Ἀθηναῖοι.

κολόκυνθα (‘round gourd’): To pronounce the last syllable with θα is not correct; you must [say it] with τη, as the Athenians [do].

(2) Philemο (Vindob.) 395.6: κολοκύντην· οὐ κολόκυνθα.

[You must say] κολοκύντην (‘round gourd’, acc. sing.), not κολόκυνθα.

B. Other erudite sources

(1) [Arcad.] 237.5–6 (= Hdn. Περὶ καθολικῆς προσῳδίας GG 3,1.253.5–7): τὰ εἰς ΘΑ ἔχοντα τὸ Α βραχὺ βαρύνεται· μίνθα (τὸ ἡδύοσμον), ἄκανθα, κολόκυνθα (ἡ ἀττικῶς κολοκύντη) μεθ’ ὧν καὶ ἡ δίαιτα.

The [nouns] ending in θα that have a short α have no accent on the final syllable: μίνθα (‘green mint’), ἄκανθα (‘thorn’), κολόκυνθα (‘round gourd’, in Attic κολοκύντη), and with them also δίαιτα (‘way of living’).

(2) Thom.Mag. 193.1–2: κολοκύντη, οὐ κολόκυνθα. Ἀριστοφάνης ἐν νεφέλαις· εἰ μὴ λημᾷς κολοκύνταις.

[You must say] κολοκύντη (‘round gourd’), not κολόκυνθα. Aristophanes [says] in Clouds (327 = C.2): ‘unless you have rheums the size of pumpkins’.

C. Loci classici, other relevant texts

(1) Hermipp. fr. 69:
                        τὴν κεφαλὴν ὅσην ἔχει·
ὅσην κολοκύντην

[He/she] has a head the size of a pumpkin.

(2) Ar. Nu. 327: νῦν γέ τοι ἤδη καθορᾷς αὐτάς, εἰ μὴ λημᾷς κολοκύνταις.

Griffith (2022) suggests correcting εἰ μὴ λημᾷς κολοκύνταις to ἢ λημᾷς οὐλοχύταισι.

But now you must see them (i.e., the clouds), unless you have rheums the size of pumpkins.

(3) Luc. Iud.Voc. 10.11: τοῦ Θῆτα δακρύοντος καὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς τὰς τρίχας τίλλοντος ἐπὶ τῷ καὶ τῆς κολοκύνθης ἐστερῆσθαι.

(Listen) to Theta crying and pulling out the hair of his head because he has had even his pumpkin (κολοκύνθη – κολοκύντη) taken away from him. (Transl. Harmon 1913, 407).


Griffith, R. (2022). ‘Aristophanes, Clouds 327: Groats Get in Your Eyes’. CQ 72.1, 428–30. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0009838822000052.

Harmon, A. M. (1913). Lucian. Vol. 1: Phalaris. Hippias or The Bath. Dionysus. Heracles. Amber or The Swans. The Fly. Nigrinus. Demonax. The Hall. My Native Land. Octogenarians. A True Story. Slander. The Consonants at Law. The Carousal (Symposium) or The Lapiths. Translated by A. M. Harmon. Cambridge, MA.


Elisa Nuria Merisio, 'κολόκυνθα, κολοκύντη (Phryn. Ecl. 405, Philemo [Vindob.] 395.6)', in Olga Tribulato (ed.), Digital Encyclopedia of Atticism. With the assistance of E. N. Merisio.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.30687/DEA/2974-8240/2023/02/028

This article collects the erudite texts on the words κολόκυνθα and κολοκύντη and the ancient loci classici concerning them.

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