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Headword: Ἀστάθμητον
Adler number: alpha,4218
Translated headword: uncertain
Vetting Status: high
"[They] not suspecting the obscurity and uncertainty of their fortune."[1]
Also [sc. attested is the masculine] ἀστάθμητος , [meaning someone who is] un-level, unstable.[2]
"And with respect to other [sc. kinds of] excellence this man was, so to speak, uncertain."[3]
"They endured the sea on account of necessity, reckoning that in their current constraint the uncertainty of that element offered them more security than the land."[4]
And to speak poetically, "there will be a day when sacred Ilios will be destroyed." And taking account, in saying this, of the uncertainty of men.[5]
Also[6] [sc. attested is the superlative] ἀσταθμητότατον ["most/very uncertain"], concerning which no one would be able to guess or estimate, what at some point might be known or what might happen. Demosthenes in [his speech On] the Dishonest Embassy [uses this word].[7]
Greek Original:
Ἀστάθμητον: τὸ ἄδηλόν τε καὶ ἀστάθμητον τῆς τύχης οὐχ ὑφορώμενοι. καὶ Ἀστάθμητος, ἄνισος, ἄστατος. καὶ δὴ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην ἀρετὴν ἀστάθμητος, ὡς εἰπεῖν, ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος ἦν. οἱ δὲ ἐπετόλμησαν τῇ θαλάττῃ διὰ τὴν ἀνάγκην, τὸ τέως ἀστάθμητον στοιχεῖον ἡγούμενοι τῆς γῆς πιστότερον ἔσεσθαι σφίσιν ἐν τῇ βίᾳ τῇ τότε. καὶ τὸ ποιητικὸν εἰπεῖν, ἔσσεται ἦμαρ ὅταν ποτ' ὀλώλῃ Ἴλιος ἱρή. καὶ τοῦτο εἰπεῖν τὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀστάθμητον εἶναι λογιζόμενος. καὶ Ἀσταθμητότατον, περὶ οὗ οὐδεὶς ἂν δύναιτο τεκμήρασθαι οὐδὲ σταθμήσασθαι, τί ποτε διανοεῖται, ἢ τί πράξαι. Δημοσθένης ἐν τῷ Παραπρεσβείας.
The unglossed headword is presumably extracted from the first quotation given.
[1] Quotation unidentifiable, but Adler (apparatus) suggested Polybius. It may be an aphorism or proverbial saying, also reflected in Leo the Deacon (History p.41.16), τὸ γὰρ ἀστάθμητον τῆς τυχῆς καὶ ἄδηλον… ὑπολογιζόμενος .
[2] For the second gloss here cf. the scholia to Thucydides 4.62.4, where the headword appears (web address 1).
[3] Quotation unidentifiable, but Adler (apparatus) suggested Damascius, and now Life of Isidore fr. 375 Zintzen.
[4] Quotation unidentifiable.
[5] The passage quoted is Homer, Iliad 4.164 (web address 2). The quotation as a whole has been attributed to Polybius (see Adler, apparatus), though far from securely.
[6] This final paragraph derives from Harpokration s.v.
[7] Demosthenes 19.136 (web address 3).
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: biography; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; ethics; historiography; history; proverbs; rhetoric
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 7 March 2002@12:28:30.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation; augmented and modified notes; cosmetics) on 8 March 2002@03:37:24.
Robert Dyer (Added parallel to first citation, and keyword.) on 9 March 2002@15:01:24.
Catharine Roth (expanded note 3, cosmetics, keyword) on 14 September 2010@23:10:17.
David Whitehead (added primary note and more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 15 September 2010@03:44:24.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 30 June 2011@11:07:10.
Catharine Roth (tweaked links) on 5 December 2015@00:46:36.


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