Proverbs for Pointlessness, Prostitution and Poverty

More Entries from the Suda

“Khamai: on the ground.  There is also a proverb:’ to trace water on the ground’—which is the same as accomplishing nothing. Another example of this is “washing a brick”. These are uttered for tasks that have no end.”

Χαμαί: ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. καὶ παροιμία· Χαμαὶ ἀντλεῖν, ἐν ἴσῳ τῷ οὐδὲν ἐργάζεσθαι. οἷον καὶ τὸ πλίνθον πλύνειν. ἐπὶ τῶν ἀνηνύτων λέγεται.


“Khoiros: An animal, piglet, piggy. But in Corinth this also means female genitals. This is the origin of the proverb: “You seem like you’re going to sell piggies in Acrocorinth”; we use this to mean “earning a wage in Corinth” because there are many prostitutes there.”

Χοῖρος: τὸ ζῷον. παρὰ Κορινθίοις δὲ τὸ γυναικεῖον αἰδοῖον. ἔνθεν καὶ παροιμία· ᾿Ακροκορινθία ἔοικας χοιροπωλήσειν. ἀντὶ τοῦ ἔοικας μισθαρνήσειν ἐν Κορίνθῳ· πολλαὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖ ἑταῖραι.

pig vase
This is not the pig in the proverb….

“Worshiping Dionysus in Psyra”: A Proverb found in Cratinus.  Psyra is a poor, small island close to Khios and it is unable to produce wine.  Therefore, we use this proverb for people reclining at the symposium but not drinking.  It is also used in reference to other displays of poverty.”

Ψύρα τὸν Διόνυσον ἄγοντες: ἡ παροιμία παρὰ Κρατίνῳ. τὰ δὲ Ψύρα εὐτελὴς νῆσός ἐστι καὶ μικρὰ πλησίον Χίου, μὴ δυναμένη οἶνον ἐνεγκεῖν. λέγομεν οὖν τὴν παροιμίαν ἐπὶ τῶν ἐν συμποσίῳ ἀνακειμένων καὶ μὴ πινόντων. λέλεκται δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν εὐτέλειαν σημαινόντων.

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