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Headword: *(upe\r o)/nou skia=s
Adler number: upsilon,327
Translated headword: about a donkey's shadow
Vetting Status: high
They say that when Demosthenes the orator was pleading on behalf of a defendant and the jurors were showing impatience he said: 'Listen, gentlemen, to a diverting tale. A young man once hired a donkey [for a journey] from Athens to Delphi. At midday he unhitched the load and took shelter under the donkey's shadow, but the driver moved him away, saying that he had not hired the shadow as well; and the pair of them took the matter to a jurycourt'. When he had said this Demosthenes left the podium. But the jurors wanted to learn what happened to the lawsuit in the end, so he mounted the podium again and said: 'You are eager, gentlemen, to hear about a donkey's shadow, yet you do not tolerate even the voice of a man on trial for his life'. This made an impact on the judges, and he saved the accused. Accordingly the proverb is applied to people making a fuss over something useless.
Greek Original:
*(upe\r o)/nou skia=s: le/gousin o(/ti *dhmosqe/nhs o( r(h/twr a)pologou/menos u(pe/r tinos kinduneu/ontos, ou)k a)nexome/nwn tw=n dikastw=n, ei)=pen: a)kou/sate, w)= a)/ndres, dihgh/matos terpnou=: neani/skos pote\ *)aqh/nhqen ei)s *delfou\s o)/non e)misqw/sato: meshmbri/as de\ katalabou/shs katalu/sas to\n go/mon u(pe/du th\n skia\n tou= o)/nou. e)kballo/menos de\ u(po\ tou= o)nhla/tou, mh\ kai\ th\n skia\n memisqw=sqai le/gontos, ei)sh=lqon ei)s dikasth/rion a)mfo/teroi. ei)pw\n de\ tau=ta o( *dhmosqe/nhs kate/bainen e)k tou= bh/matos. a)ciou/ntwn de\ tw=n dikastw=n to\ te/los th=s di/khs maqei=n, ei)=pen, a)naba\s pa/lin e)pi\ tou= bh/matos: u(pe\r me\n o)/nou skia=s a)kou/ein, w)= a)/ndres, e)piqumei=te: a)nqrw/pou de\ kinduneu/ontos u(pe\r yuxh=s ou)de\ fwnh=s a)ne/xesqe. tou/tw| kaqaya/menos tw=n kritw=n to\n kathgorou/menon perie/swse. ta/ttetai toi/nun h( paroimi/a e)pi\ tw=n u(pe\r mhdeno\s xrhsi/mou filotimoume/nwn.
Cf. Zenobius 6.28. Earlier allusions to the proverb occur in (e.g.) Aristophanes, Wasps 191 and Plato, Phaedrus 260C.
See also omicron 400 (with details different from the present version), summarily omicron 401, and pi 1216.
Keywords: biography; daily life; ethics; geography; law; proverbs; rhetoric; zoology
Translated by: David Whitehead on 16 April 2003@08:36:40.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, keyword) on 17 April 2003@00:13:24.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 14 June 2004@04:07:40.
David Whitehead (another x-ref) on 10 August 2011@08:28:21.
David Whitehead on 10 August 2011@08:29:22.
David Whitehead on 24 November 2013@05:08:52.


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