Κ᾿[α]π ε᾿φη[φ]ε: A Future Scholion on #Covfefe

In a distant future, scholars laboring over dead languages and the confluence of allusions in the CET (Corpus Electronicum Pipiatorum) make learned guesses on the possible meanings contained within a mysterious neologism #cavfefe:

Κ᾿ <ά>π ε᾿φη[φ]ε [sc. κε μὴ…τοῦτο]: “would that he had not said it”
or Κ᾿ <ά>π ε᾿φη[φ]ε = κ<αὶ> ἀπ<έ>φη<να>: “And I declared…”

Ex. The lexical item often appears with references to speakers in a position of political or intellectual authority who are making official statements regarding an immutable truth. Vide Eur. Suppl. 335-7 where Theseus speaks:

“The words that I said were right, Mother.
And I have also declared [K’apephênamên] my opinion on the matter,
Of the kinds of councils over which he tripped.”

Θη. ἐμοὶ λόγοι μέν, μῆτερ, οἱ λελεγμένοι
ὀρθῶς ἔχουσ’ ἐς τόνδε κἀπεφηνάμην
γνώμην ὑφ’ οἵων ἐσφάλη βουλευμάτων.

Cf. Anth. Graec. 9.366

“Many people are worse” declared Bias of Priêne.
„Τοὺς πλέονας κακίους” δὲ Βίας ἀπέφηνε Πριηνεύς.

Cf. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Distinguished Philosophers

“[Plato] claimed that there are two origins of everything, god and matter, which he also called the mind and the cause.”

3.69 δύο δὲ τῶν πάντων ἀπέφηνεν ἀρχάς, θεὸν καὶ ὕλην, ὃν καὶ νοῦν προσαγορεύει καὶ αἴτιον.

Many contemporaries puzzled over the meaning. Proposals included scribal error (which we bar based on the lectio difficilior), a coded, but ungrammatical wish, a desire for an implement to brew a now extinct stimulant, and, as typical of those barbarous times, invocations of the occult.

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