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Headword: *)asfo/delos
Adler number: alpha,4298
Translated headword: asphodel
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] the plant [of that name],[1] but a)sfodelo/s [sc. is an adjective applied to] the meadow.[2]
Greek Original:
*)asfo/delos: to\ futo/n, *)asfodelo\s de\ o( leimw/n.
Entry lacking, Adler reports, in several of the manuscripts.
[1] Asphodelus microcarpus. It was a "famine food for the poor. Galen states that asphodel, which he had seen consumed in famines during his own time, was barely edible. However, Theophrastus, who was less fussy than Galen, praised [in Enquiry into Plants 7.12-13] the utility of asphodel, saying that its stalk was edible when fried, its seed if roasted, and its tuberous roots made a good meal when chopped up with figs. It was eaten again in Greece during the First World War" (R. Sallares, The Ecology of the Ancient Greek World (London 1991) 230-1).
[2] The distinction is one of accentuation: the noun (as the headword) is proparoxytone, but this adjective oxytone. The "asphodel meadow" was supposedly haunted by the shades of dead heroes; cf. Homer Odyssey 11.539 and 24.13 (web address 1 and web address 2 respectively); also alpha 4299.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: botany; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; food
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 5 February 2002@14:46:21.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 6 February 2002@04:39:35.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 3 August 2011@04:57:51.
Catharine Roth (tweaked links) on 14 October 2011@15:32:50.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note) on 18 August 2013@01:59:05.
Catharine Roth (expanded abbreviation) on 24 November 2014@19:47:42.
Catharine Roth (tweak) on 25 November 2014@23:11:53.
David Whitehead on 26 November 2014@02:46:51.
David Whitehead on 2 September 2015@05:41:33.


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