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Headword: *kra/mbh
Adler number: kappa,2318
Translated headword: cabbage
Vetting Status: high
A kind of pupil-blunter [koramblĂȘ] which dulls [amblunousa] clear-sightedness.[1] Better [put], [something] going against sleep.[2] Hence it is the first thing served in banquets, and is not planted near a vine.[3]
And the Egyptians would eat boiled cabbage before other dishes, so they would not get drunk on wine.[4]
And Alcaeus' offspring says: "kneading most ingenious notions from a quite loud [krambotatou] mouth". Namely from a very sweet one, from a very dry one.
Because the cabbage is the only thing a vine will not wrap itself around. [5]
Greek Original:
*kra/mbh: kora/mblh tis ou)=sa, h( a)mblu/nousa to\ dioratiko/n. be/ltion de\ h( tw=| ka/rw| a)ntibai/nousa. o(/qen kai\ prw/th e)n sumposi/ois di/dotai kai\ par' a)/mpelon ou) futeu/etai. kai\ oi( *ai)gu/ptioi pro\ tw=n a)/llwn e)desma/twn e(fqa\s kra/mbas h)/sqion, dia\ to\ mh\ mequ/skesqai oi)/nw|. fhsi\ de\ *)alkei/das: a)po\ krambota/tou sto/matos ma/ttwn a)steiota/tas e)pinoi/as. oi(=on h(duta/tou, chrota/tou. o(/ti h( a)/mpelos kra/mbh| mo/nh| ou) periple/ketai.
[1] Folk etymology from the scholia to Aristophanes, Knights 539 (see below, at n.5); also in the Etymologicum Gudianum and Etymologicum Magnum; kora/mbh and kora/mblh are made up from ko/rh "pupil" and a)mblu/nw "make (something) dull". See the LSJ entry for kra/mbh at web address 1.
[2] In the Etymologicum Gudianum and Etymologicum Magnum ko/rw| "satiety? boy?" This spelling is consistent with the folk etymology of kora/mblh, but makes no more sense.
[3] Also from the Etymologicum Gudianum and Etymologicum Magnum. The first claim is elaborated on below. The context for the latter claim comes from the myth (also mentioned in the scholia to Knights) that cabbages came from the tears of Lycurgus, king of the Edones, after Dionysus had driven him mad and caused him to murder his children. As Geoponica 12.17.17 (Paxamos, here citing Nestor) explains, "Lycurgus, bound under the vine left his tears there, and cabbage is said to have grown from the tears; and for that reason the cabbage and the vine are hostile to each other. So if a cabbage is brought near a vineyard in arable land, it either withers at once, or makes the vine wither".
[4] Further illustration of the perceived enmity of cabbage and wine, from Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 1.34C-E (1.62 Kaibel). Athenaeus also cites Timaeus as reporting that the Sybarites ate cabbage before drinking, because it would make wine "dimmer", and adds support from Alexis and Eubulus (referring to the equivalent r(a/fanos). Cabbage is as a hangover cure in [Aristotle], Problems 3.17 (873a37-b24).
[5] On the interpretation of this quotation from Aristophanes, Knights 539, see kappa 2319. 'Alcaeus' offspring' is Heracles (grandson of Alcaeus), but the verse is spoken by the Chorus, and Heracles does not feature in Knights. The verse is explained here in terms of the hostility of vines and cabbages, though no real connection is made.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: botany; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; food; geography; medicine; mythology; poetry
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 9 March 2009@02:08:20.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (supplied keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 9 March 2009@04:34:42.
Aikaterini Oikonomopoulou (Corrected refs. in note {4}; added LSJ-Perseus link; added keyword.) on 8 June 2012@10:05:30.
Catharine Roth (tweaks) on 8 June 2012@12:55:37.
David Whitehead on 17 March 2013@05:16:20.
David Whitehead (my typo; other tweaks) on 2 May 2016@07:34:03.
Catharine Roth (tweak) on 20 January 2020@00:48:40.


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