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Headword: Gugou daktulios
Adler number: gamma,473
Translated headword: Gyges' ring
Vetting Status: high
[sc. A proverbial phrase] in reference to resourceful and villainous men. For Gyges was a cowherd who after an earthquake found a corpse which was wearing a ring, and stripped it off. The nature of the ring was such that, by twists of the bezel,[1] one would be [first] seen and [then] unseen. By means of this Gyges killed his predecessor and ruled as king.
Greek Original:
Gugou daktulios: epi tôn polumêchanôn kai panourgôn. Gugês gar boukolos ôn, tês gês hupo seismou rhageisês, nekron heurôn phorounta daktulion touton perieilen. ho de eiche phusin hôste kata tas strophas tês sphendonês horasthai kai mê. di' autou kteinas ton pro autou ebasileusen.
The usual story of how Gyges (gamma 472) killed Kandaules and became king of Lydia in c.680 BCE is radically different (see Herodotus 1.8-14, at web address 1); the version here summarizes Plato, Republic 359C-360B (web address 2).
[1] For the noun sfendo/nh in this sense, the ring part itself, see LSJ s.v., II.3; and cf. sigma 1726.
A. Laird, "Ringing the changes on Gyges: philosophy and the formation of fiction in Plato's Republic", Journal of Hellenic Studies 121 (2001) 12-29
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: aetiology; biography; daily life; ethics; geography; historiography; history; philosophy; proverbs
Translated by: David Whitehead on 3 August 2001@09:01:17.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added links) on 4 August 2001@21:47:59.
David Whitehead (added bibliography) on 27 November 2001@06:08:02.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 19 October 2003@07:30:28.
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 24 January 2005@14:38:31.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 25 January 2005@02:54:07.
David Whitehead on 11 June 2012@09:57:06.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links) on 20 October 2012@01:11:30.
David Whitehead on 30 September 2015@03:19:50.


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