A Saying for Windbags, Chatterers, Praters, etc. etc. etc.

Erasmus, Adagia 7:

“Δωδωναῖον χαλκεῖον, that is, a Dodonaean cymbal or bell. This is usually said against someone of improper or unsuitable loquacity. Zenodotus cites it from the Ariphorus of Menander. He says however that in Dodona there were two lofty columns; on one of these was placed a bronze basin, and on the other a hanging image of a boy holding a bronze scourge in his hand. Whenever the wind blew violently, it would happen that the whip would strike the basin, which in turn would give out a sound that lasted for a long time. Some refer the saying back to Corinthian bronze, which sounds more clearly than other types of bronze. Stephanus, is his entry for Dodona, mentions this saying. Juvenal seems to have alluded to the saying when he wrote,

‘You would think that so many basins, so many bells had been struck at once

when writing against feminine garrulity. Suidas [the Suda] applies a different interpretation of the saying from the Daemon. He says that there was once an oracle of Zeus in Dodona which was surrounded on all sides by bronze kettles, arranged so that they would all touch each other in turn. So, it necessarily happened that when one was struck, all of them would resound through contact, with the note proceeding from each to the others. That ringing noise lasted for a long time, with the sound going round in a circle. He thinks that it is a proverb spoken against those despicable people who complain about even the smallest thing. Yet Aristotle rejects this idea, and brings to bear a different interpretation, which I have just related, about the two columns and the statue of the boy. Plutarch, in his commentary On Chattering, writes that there was in Olympia a certain portico built with mathematical proportions in such a way that it would echo one voice as many, and on that account was called the Seven-Sounder. He compares excessively loquacious people to this portico, because if you touch them with one little verb, they will immediately pour out such a volume of words that there will not be any total end to their insipid chatter. Julius Pollux mentions this saying in his sixth book, in the chapter about chatty people, by using these words: the bronze from Dodona.”

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Dodonaeum aes.vii

Δωδωναῖον χαλκεῖον, id est Dodonaeum cymbalum aut tintinnabulum. In hominem dici consuevit improbae atque importunae loquacitatis. Zenodotus citat ex Ariphoro Menandri. Tradit autem in Dodona duas fuisse sublimes columnas, in altera positam pelvim aeream, in altera pensile pueri simulachrum flagellum aereum manu tollentis, quoties autem ventus vehementius flauerit, fieri ut scutica impulsa crebrius lebetem feriat isque percussus tinnitum reddat ad multum etiam temporis resonantem. Alii referunt ad aera Corinthia, quae prae caeteris clarius tinniant. Meminit hujus adagii Stephanus in dictione Dodone. Juvenalis ad adagium allusisse videtur, cum ait :

Tot pariter pelves, tot tintinnabula credas


muliebrem garrulitatem taxans. Suidas diversam adagii adfert interpretationem ex Daemone. Ait enim oraculum Jovis quod olim erat in Dodona, lebetibus aereis undique cinctum fuisse, ita ut inuicem sese contingerent. Itaque necessum erat fieri, ut uno quopiam pulsato vicissim et omneis resonarent sonitu per contactum ab aliis ad alios succedente. Durabatque in longum tempus tinnitus ille, videlicet in orbem redeunte sono. Putatque paroemiam dictam in sordidos et quantumvis pusilla de re querulos. Verum Aristoteles hoc commentum ut ficticium refellit adferens aliud interpretamentum, quod modo retulimus, de columnis duabus et simulachro pueri. Plutarchus in commentario Περὶ τῆς ἀδολεσχίας indicat in Olympia porticum quandam fuisse ratione mathematica ita compositam, ut pro una voce multas redderet, atque ob id ἑπτάφωνον appellatam. Cumque hac confert homines impendio loquaces, quos si verbulo tangas, continuo referunt tantum verborum, ut nullus omnino sit garriendi finis. Meminit hujus adagionis et Iulius Pollux libro sexto, capite de loquacibus, his verbis : τὸ ἐκ Δωδώνης χαλκεῖον.

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