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Headword: Ophthalmos basileôs
Adler number: omicron,1012
Translated headword: King's Eye
Vetting Status: high
Meaning someone very influential with the [sc. Persian] king. This is what they used to call the satraps,[1] through whom the king keeps a watch on everybody; as the 'King's Ears' [were] the eavesdroppers, through whom he listens to what is happening to everyone everywhere.
Greek Original:
Ophthalmos basileôs: anti tou mega dunamenos para ba- silei. houtôs de ekaloun tous satrapas, di' hôn pantas ho basileus episkopei: hôs basileôs ôta tous ôtakoustas, di' hôn akouei ta prattomena hekastôi pantachou.
From the scholia to Aristophanes, Acharnians 92, where this dignitary is mentioned; see web address 1. For other attestations see LSJ s.v. o)fqalmo/s, under II.
[1] For Persia's satraps see generally sigma 153. (It is not, however, the case that 'King's Eye' was a generic term for them.)
J.M. Balcer, 'The Athenian Episkopos and the Achaemenid "King's Eye"', American Journal of Philology 98 (1977) 252-263
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: comedy; definition; geography; history; imagery
Translated by: David Whitehead on 30 September 2002@06:31:03.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added link, set status) on 8 February 2004@21:56:47.
David Whitehead (augmented notes) on 8 October 2004@10:15:43.
David Whitehead on 2 August 2013@07:19:15.
Catharine Roth (tweaked link) on 20 February 2021@14:29:50.


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