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Headword: Maza
Adler number: mu,35
Translated headword: barley-cake
Vetting Status: high
Properly the food, the one made of milk and grain,[1] from the [verb] to be kneaded.[2] It is properispomenon.[3] In reference to the dung-beetle Aristophanes has used it by misapplication. For he does not wish to denote the one kneaded from barley-groats, for this [is] not the food of dung-beetles; instead, excrement -- that is, faeces. The slaves were kneading some bran:[4] for to knead faeces [would be] unbelievable. "Quick, quick, bring the dung-beetle his maza". [5]
Also [sc. attested is] a saying applying to those who boast about the efforts of others: 'kneading a barley cake, the one I’d kneaded'.[6] "The other day I had just kneaded a Laconian cake at Pylos, the cunning rogue came behind my back, sneaked it and offered the cake, which was my invention, in his own name"[7] -- one that was already prepared.[8] This he has taken from a story, about which Thucydides tells us.[9]
Greek Original:
Maza: kuriôs hê trophê, hê apo galaktos kai sitou, para to mazesthai. properispatai. epi de tou kantharou Aristophanês katachrêstikôs kechrêtai. ou gar tên ex alphitôn phuratheisan dêloun thelei, ou gar hautê kantharôn trophê, alla to apopatêma, toutesti tên kopron. pitura de tina ematton hoi oiketai: kopron gar phuran apiston. air', aire mazan hôs tachista kantharôi. kai paroimia epi tôn allotriois ponois enkauchômenôn: mazan memachôs tên hup' emou memagmenên. kai prôiên g' emou mazan memachotos Lakônikên, panourgotatôs paradramôn, hupharpasas autên parethêke tên hup' emou memagmenên kai en hetoimôi genomenên. touto de apo historias eilêphen, hês memnêtai Thoukudidês.
For this headword see already mu 34, and cf. mu 30, mu 36. The present entry draws on the scholia to Aristophanes, Peace 1 and Knights 54-57; cf. mu 549, alpha 110, alphaiota 280, alphaiota 299.
[1] si=tos properly means wheat grain (see L. Foxhall and H.A. Forbes, Chiron 1982, 41-90), but here it must have a less specific sense since ma=za means barley-bread or barley-cake.
[2] No verb ma/zw or ma/zomai is recognised by LSJ, though it has several listings in TLG. LSJ does include maza/w 'I knead a barley-cake'. But as the general verb fura/w 'I knead' occurs later in this extract, I have used a different English verb to translate ma/zw.
[3] i.e. accented with a circumflex on the penultimate syllable. According to LSJ s.v., it was deemed properispomenon by the grammarian Herodian (2. 937) but was later paroxytone.
[4] Presumably a comment on the actual staging of the play.
[5] Aristophanes, Peace 1 (trans. O’Neill on Perseus: web address 1).
[6] Also quoted at mu 549 (memagme/nhn); cf. n.8 below.
[7] Aristophanes, Knights 55-57 (trans. O’Neill on Perseus, but with substitution of 'Laconian' for 'Spartan': web address 2). The slave who is a thinly disguised version of General Demosthenes is speaking about Kleon (kappa 1731).
[8] At mu 549 this phrase (from the scholia) appears before the quotation from Knights instead of after.
[9] Thucydides 4.26-41.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: agriculture; biography; botany; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; food; geography; historiography; military affairs; proverbs; stagecraft; zoology
Translated by: D. Graham J. Shipley on 27 March 2008@02:40:55.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes; supplied keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 27 March 2008@07:06:05.
David Whitehead (further tweaks and cosmetics) on 27 March 2008@10:19:19.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 25 April 2013@10:16:39.
Catharine Roth (added links) on 27 June 2020@19:10:57.


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