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Headword: Ἀλάστωρ
Adler number: alpha,1082
Translated headword: alastor
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning a] sharp and murderous spirit, avenging, and doing unforgettable deeds.[1]
"He used to write sharply and furiously, taking in vain the names of alastors and blood-avenging [spirits] throughout the letter, if they abandoned the places so shamefully, without suffering or [even] seeing evil."[2]
Alternatively[3] an alastor [is] he who has dared such things as one cannot forget.
Greek Original:
Ἀλάστωρ: πικρὸς καὶ φονικὸς δαίμων, τιμωρῶν, καὶ ἀνεπίληστα ἔργα ποιῶν. ὁ δὲ ἔγραφε πικρῶς καὶ παραστατικῶς ἀλάστορας ἀποκαλῶν καὶ παλαμναίους διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς, εἰ οὕτως αἰσχρῶς προήσονται τοὺς τόπους, μηδὲν παθόντες ἢ ἰδόντες κακόν. Ἀλάστωρ, ὁ τοιαῦτα τολμήσας, ὧν μή ἐστιν ἐπιλαθέσθαι.
[1] Similar material in other lexica. This and the final sentence imply a derivation of the headword from alpha privative and the root of λανθάνω , aorist ἔλαθον .
[2] [Polybius] fr. 98 Büttner-Wobst, of uncertain location (and application); cf. pi 444 (end). This fragment was once attributed to Polybius by Casaubon, and subsequently endorsed by Ursinus (Fulvio Orsini, 1529-1600), but not accepted as reflecting Polybian style by Dindorf (Büttner-Wobst, p. 528). In fact, Büttner-Wobst doubts the attribution to Polybius (ibid.).
[3] This supernumerary paragraph abridges Harpokration s.v., commenting on Demosthenes 18.296 (and adding that the term is common in tragedy).
OCD(4) s.v. (p.48)
T. Büttner-Wobst, ed., Polybii Historiae, vol. IV, (Leipzig 1904)
Keywords: biography; definition; ethics; historiography; mythology; religion; rhetoric; tragedy
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 31 March 2000@11:24:54.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified headword and translation; added note and keyword) on 1 October 2000@10:25:46.
David Whitehead (added keywords; cosmetics) on 10 June 2002@08:33:02.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 7 February 2011@10:43:46.
David Whitehead (expanded n.3; more keywords) on 20 July 2011@07:08:34.
Catharine Roth (expanded note) on 20 April 2012@23:00:20.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 30 July 2014@04:09:58.
David Whitehead on 26 May 2015@10:49:14.
Ronald Allen on 5 May 2018@20:08:28.
Ronald Allen (supplemented n.2, added bibliography) on 6 May 2018@00:10:57.
Ronald Allen (cosmetics n.2, correctly formatted bibliographical entry, augmented n.2) on 8 June 2018@00:41:16.


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