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Headword: Epibolê
Adler number: epsilon,2239
Translated headword: plan, project
Vetting Status: high
Also [meaning] an undertaking, a first beginning.[1]
Polybius [writes]:[2] "for there is a time when accident counteracts the plans of good men, and again a time when, as the proverb goes, 'A good man meets in his turn someone better'."[3] They say this about Hyllus the Heraclid and Echemus of Tegea.[4]
Greek Original:
Epibolê: kai hê encheirêsis, hê prokatarxis. Polubios: esti men gar hote kai tautomaton antepraxe tais epibolais tôn agathôn andrôn, esti d' hote palin, kata tên paroimian, esthlos eôn allou kreittonos antetuche. touto de phasi peri Hullou tou Hêrakleidou kai Euchemou tou Aigeatou.
[1] Also, according to Adler, in the Ambrosian Lexicon (1448). The two primary definitions are apparently extracted from a longer set. For the diverse meanings of the headword see LSJ (at web address 1), and cf. epsilon 2238 and epsilon 2240.
[2] This quotation (also at epsilon 3141) is from the end of Polybius’s account (15.9-16) of Hannibal’s defeat at Zama (OCD(4) 1586-7) in 202 BC by Scipio Africanus. The accidental event (tau)to/maton) is one that happens of its own accord ('automatically'), i.e. outside any possible calculation. In saying that no such event happened at Zama, Polybius implies that everything depended on the skill of the two successful generals in planning their tactics and implementing the plan; the better man won. This is designed as a compliment to his patron, Scipio Aemilianus.
[3] This proverb is the second line of an elegiac couplet, listed as of unknown authorship in Iambi et Elegi, ed. M.L. West, vol.2 (2nd. edn., Oxford, 1992) §10. O.Crusius argued that the epigram is Hellenistic (Philologus 48, 1889, 1799), but later commentators compare it to the collection of epigrams attributed to Theognis [OCD(4) 1459-60]: Bergk (Poetae Lyrici Graeci 3.690); Foulon and Weil (Polybius, Budé edn., vol.10, p.63n.), cf. West p. 9. The use of a)nte/tuxen is markedly similar to the same verb at [Theognis] line 642, in a sequence where the end of a successful enterprise may not be what you wish, yet you cannot tell your true friends until you meet in your turn serious trouble; 2.1334, where, for using cruel words now, the boy sought may meet the same in his turn; cf. [Simonides], Epigrams 7.516, where the poet prays that those who kill him should in their turn meet men like themselves. The uses of the compound exemplify well the root meaning of tugxa/nw; cf. epsilon 3344 and its cross-references.
[4] The Suda mss wrongly give his name as 'Euchemus the Aegeatan'; see also epsilon 3821. Echemus (or Echemedon) of Tegea, king of the Arcadians and a renowned wrestler (the winner at the legendary first Olympic Games, Pindar, Olympians 10.66 and scholia to 79, 80), defeated Hyllus in single combat as the Heraclids first tried to enter the Peloponnese (Herodotus 9.26). See RE 5.1913; Hesiod fr. 23a.31, 176.3 Merkelbach/West; Diodorus Siculus 4.58.3-5; etc. Pausanias saw the battle depicted on a stele at Tegea (8.53.10). We have no other evidence of the proverb being used of this fight, but he was the great hero of Tegea and it is appropriate there.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: athletics; daily life; definition; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; mythology; poetry; proverbs
Translated by: Robert Dyer on 10 March 2003@10:03:04.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added x-ref; augmented keywords; cosmetics) on 11 March 2003@03:26:13.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 10 October 2012@08:23:02.
David Whitehead (updated some refs) on 1 August 2014@08:52:45.
Catharine Roth (upgraded link, coding) on 2 January 2015@01:33:03.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 27 January 2016@04:51:45.


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