‘A’ is for…Fire, Blood, and Laughter

Four Proverbs from Zenobius

1.33 “Burning robe”: [a proverb] applied to those who attack, and destroy, and make slander. For the story is told that Deianeira sent Herakles the robe by which he died because he was being burned up.”

Αἰθὴς πέπλος: ἐπὶ τῶν ὑπεκκαιόντων καὶ φθειρόντων καὶ διαβολὰς ποιούντων· εἴρηται δὲ παρόσον ἡ Δηϊάνειρα πέπλον ἔπεμψεν ῾Ηρακλεῖ, ὑφ’ οὗ καυθεὶς ἐφθάρη.


1.31 “to weep blood. Hyperbole, to weep not tears but blood.”

Αἵματι κλαίειν: κατὰ ὑπερβολὴν, οὐ δάκρυσιν ἀλλ’ αἵμασι κλαίειν.


1.43 “Aianteian laugh: [a proverb] applied to those who laugh madly. For Ajax started to become deranged and went made over the fact that Odysseus was preferred in honors over him in the awarding of the arms of Achilles. He rushed at the Greeks with his sword in hands and once he was turned against the animals thanks to divine care, he attacked them thinking they were the Greeks. He grabbed the biggest rams, tied them up, and tortured them. He laughed over them because he was insane. Later, when he came to his right mind, he killed himself.”

Αἰάντειος γέλως: ἐπὶ τῶν παραφρόνως γελώντων. ῾Ο Αἴας γὰρ παραφροσύνην νοσήσας καὶ μανεὶς διὰ τὸ προτιμηθῆναι τὸν ᾿Οδυσσέα εἰς τὴν τῶν ᾿Αχιλλείων ὅπλων κατοχὴν, κατὰ τῶν ῾Ελλήνων ξιφήρης ὥρμησε καὶ κατὰ τῶν βοσκημάτων προνοίᾳ θεῶν τραπεὶς ὡς ᾿Αχαιοὺς ταῦτα φονεύει. Δύο δὲ μεγίστους κριοὺς κατασχὼν ὡς ᾿Αγαμέμνονα καὶ Μενέλαον δέσμευσας ἐμάστιξε καὶ κατεγέλα τούτων μαινόμενος. ῞Υστερον δὲ σωφρονήσας ἑαυτὸν κτείνει.

Achilles and Ajax

1.48 “Aigieans, neither third nor fourth. A proverb applied to simple things, worthy of nothing. For the Aigieans in Akhaia, after conquering the Aitolians, asked the Pythia who of the Greeks were better. She said: “You Aigieans are neither third nor fourth.”

Αἰγιέες οὔτε τρίτοι οὔτε τέταρτοι: ἐπὶ τῶν εὐτελῶν καὶ μηδενὸς ἀξίων. Οἱ γὰρ Αἰγιεῖς οἱ ἐν ᾿Αχαίᾳ νικήσαντες Αἰτωλοὺς τὴν Πυθίαν ἐξηρώτων, τίνες εἰσὶ κρείττονες τῶν ῾Ελλήνων· ἡ δὲ εἶπεν, ῾Υμεῖς δ’ Αἰγιέες οὔτε τρίτοι οὔτε τέταρτοι.

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