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Headword: Xuêlên
Adler number: xi,91
Translated headword: knife, cheese-grater, xyele
Vetting Status: high
What we call a cua/lh.[1] Xenophon in Anabasis of Cyrus [writes]: "they had linen corslets as far as the abdomen, but, in place of the flaps, thick twisted cords. They also had [both greaves and] helmets, and a dagger about the belt the size of a Laconian cuh/lh".[2] What Attic [writers call] a cheese-grater, knh=stis, Laconians call a cuh/lh only. "And he grated the goat-cheese with a bronze knh=stis."[3] So while Attic [writers] use a verb, like "both to grate up and to eat",[4] Laconians [have] the noun cuh/lh. And as Xenophon says in the 4th [book] of Anabasis: that Dracontius fled from Sparta while still a boy, after killing a boy with a Laconian cuh/lh.[5] Hence the Dorians also say cu/ein for knei=n,[6] and so does Sophron: "if someone should scrape back the scraper", and again "the chorus-leader is scraped".[7]
Greek Original:
Xuêlên: hên xualên legomen. Xenophôn Kurou Anabasei: eichon de thôrakas linous mechri tou êtrou, anti de tôn pterugôn hôs para ta pukna estrammena. eichon de kai kranê, kai peri tên zônên machairion, hoson xuêlê Lakônikê. hên Attikoi knêstin, Lakônes de xuêlên legousi monon. epi d' aigeion knê turon knêstei chalkeiêi. hoi men oun Attikoi to rhêma houtôs legousi, kapiknein kapesthiein, hoi de Lakônes tounoma xuêlên. hôs kai Xenophôn phêsin en têi d# tês Anabaseôs, hoti Drakontios ephugen ek Spartês pais eti ôn, apokteinas xuêlêi Lakônikêi paida. dia touto de kai to knein hoi Dôrieis xuein legousin: hôs kai Sôphrôn: an tis ton xuonta antixuêi. kai palin: xuetai ho choragos.
Same or similar material elsewhere; references at Photius xi40 Theodoridis.
[1] That is, the Doric form, xuAle rather than xuEle.
[2] Xenophon, Anabasis 4.7.15-16. Besides the omission indicated, the word "cords", spa/rta, has been corrupted here to the nonsensical w(s para\. See web address 1.
[3] Homer, Iliad 11.639-640 (web address 2). (See M.L. West, "Grated cheese fit for heroes", JHS 118 (1998) 190-1.) For the basic point, implicit rather than explicit here, that a knestis can be a knife as well as a cheese-grater, see kappa 1871.
[4] Comica adespota fr. 722 Kock, now 519 K.-A.
[5] Xenophon, Anabasis 4.8.25.
[6] That is, the verb meaning grate or scrape.
[7] Sophron frs. 149-150 Kaibel (147 K.-A.); cf. tau 767.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; children; clothing; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; food; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; trade and manufacture
Translated by: James L. P. Butrica ✝ on 18 February 2000@12:29:30.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation and notes; added headword, further notes, keywords; cosmetics) on 19 January 2001@04:22:53.
Catharine Roth (restorative and other cosmetics) on 8 August 2007@22:56:48.
Catharine Roth (links, betacode, status) on 24 March 2008@00:23:47.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 24 March 2008@04:37:04.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords) on 19 June 2013@04:51:27.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links) on 16 July 2013@01:03:24.
David Whitehead (corrected a ref) on 28 December 2014@09:04:40.
David Whitehead (coding) on 19 May 2016@07:47:04.


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