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Headword: Βασανίζειν
Adler number: beta,137
Translated headword: to test
Vetting Status: high
It does not mean abusing or punishing or whipping in the Attic [authors], but interrogating without blows and investigating the truth through words; from the goldsmith's touchstone [βάσανος ], used metaphorically.[1]
And Polybius [writes]: "then, thinking he had [applied] the test of fire he was relieved of his suspicion."[2]
Also [sc. attested is] βασανίσας ["having tested"]; with an accusative. All [authors] worth speaking of use it to mean having made trial of [δοκιμάσας ].[3]
Aristophanes [uses it] this way: "take this person here and test him, and if you ever find that I've done wrong, take me away and kill me. -- And how do I test him? -- In every way. Tying him to a board, hanging him, whipping him with the lash, flaying him,[4] contorting him; even pouring vinegar into his nostrils, piling bricks on him, and all the other ways. Only don't hit him with this young onion."[5] Since free men before this used to flay [slaves] with leeks and garlic greens. [He is saying ] test him by all means, not in sport, nor as free men do to slaves with the shoot of a leek or an onion, that is, of a wild leek, or, as some [say], with the leaf of a leek.[6]
Greek Original:
Βασανίζειν: οὐ τὸ αἰκίζεσθαι καὶ τιμωρεῖσθαι καὶ μαστιγοῦν σημαίνει παρὰ τοῖς Ἀττικοῖς, ἀλλὰ τὸ χωρὶς πληγῶν ἀνακρίνειν καὶ ἐλέγχειν τἀληθὲς διὰ λόγων: ἀπὸ τῆς βασάνου τῆς χρυσοχοϊκῆς λίθου μεταφορικῶς. καὶ Πολύβιος: τότε νομίσας τὴν ἐκ πυρὸς ἔχειν βάσανον ἀπελύθη τῆς ὑποψίας. καὶ Βασανίσας: αἰτιατικῇ. ἀντὶ τοῦ δοκιμάσας κέχρηνται ἅπαντες οἱ ἀξιόλογοι. ὁ δὲ Ἀριστοφάνης οὕτως: βασάνιζε τουτονὶ λαβών, κἄν ποτέ μ' ἕλῃς ἀδικοῦντ', ἀπόκτεινόν μ' ἄγων. καὶ πῶς βασανίζω; πάντα τρόπον. ἐν πίνακι δήσας, κρεμάσας, ὑστριχίδι μαστιγῶν, δαίρων, στρεβλῶν: ἔτι δ' ἐς τὰς ῥῖνας ὄξος ἐγχέων, πλίνθους ἐπιτιθεὶς, πάντα τἄλλα, πλὴν πράσῳ μὴ τύπτε τοῦτον μηδὲ γητείῳ νέῳ. ἐπειδὴ οἱ ἐλεύθεροι πρὸ τούτου ἐδαίροντο πράσοις καὶ σκορόδοις. βασάνιζε αὐτὸν πανταχῶς, μὴ ἐν παιδιᾷ, μηδὲ ὡς τοὺς ἐλευθέρους παῖδας τῷ ἐκκαυλήματι τοῦ πράσου ἢ τοῦ γητείου, τουτέστιν ἀμπελοπράσου, ἢ ὥς τινες, πράσου φύλλῳ.
cf. generally beta 139.
[1] From the scholia to Aristophanes, Frogs 616, quoted below.
[2] Polybius fr. 26 Büttner-Wobst. Here the noun βάσανος is being used, rather than the verb βασανίζω of the headword.
[3] Paraphrased from Harpokration s.v., who had been more precise, citing Dinarchus (fr. XLII.4c Conomis) and Attic writers generally.
[4] Here and in the explanation that follows, Aristophanes' participle δέρων is spelled δαίρων , reflecting a pronunciation-based spelling at the time the gloss was first written.
[5] A close paraphrase of Aristophanes, Frogs 615-622, a patch of dialogue between the slave Xanthias and Aiakos (web address 1). Material from the scholia to line 621 (augmented by the mention of the wild leek: gamma 262) follows. See also kappa 1804, upsilon 692.
[6] For "the leaf of a leek," see pi 2228.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; botany; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; food; historiography; history; imagery; law; rhetoric; science and technology
Translated by: William Hutton on 7 June 2003@09:19:24.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation; modified and augmented notes) on 8 June 2003@06:50:08.
David Whitehead (added x-ref) on 8 June 2003@06:53:04.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 18 October 2005@06:02:15.
Catharine Roth (tweaked betacode, added cross-references) on 13 May 2008@09:46:05.
David Whitehead (augmented n.3; another keyword; tweaks) on 1 July 2011@08:25:59.
Catharine Roth (upgraded link) on 8 June 2012@01:44:03.
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 19 April 2013@01:27:03.
Ronald Allen (cosmetics) on 3 August 2018@01:49:04.


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