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Headword: *bwmoloxeu/esqai
Adler number: beta,486
Translated headword: altar-ambusher
Vetting Status: high
Properly speaking "altar-ambushers" was the name for those who sat under the altars during the sacrifices and pleaded disarmingly [for a share of the offering], but beyond that [sc. the term is applied to] the pipers and seers who were associated with the sacrifices.[1] As a metaphor from these, "altar-ambushers" used to be the name, too, for certain opportunistic low-lifes, ready for anything by way of japes and jokes if there was a profit in it.[2] Consequently the word has three meanings.
Greek Original:
*bwmoloxeu/esqai: bwmolo/xoi kuri/ws e)le/gonto oi( e)pi\ tw=n qusiw=n u(po\ tou\s bwmou\s kaqi/zontes kai\ meta\ kolakei/as prosaitou=ntes, e)/ti de\ kai\ oi( paralambano/menoi tai=s qusi/ais au)lhtai\ kai\ ma/nteis. e)k metafora=s de\ tou/twn e)le/gonto bwmolo/xoi kai/ tines eu)/koloi kai\ tapeinoi\ a)/nqrwpoi kai\ pa=n o(tiou=n u(pome/nontes e)pi\ ke/rdei dia\ tou= pai/zein te kai\ skw/ptein. w(/ste tou)/noma tri/a shmai/nei.
Abridged and adapted from Harpokration s.v., which quotes Pherecrates fr. 141 Kock (158 K-A) and cites Aristophanes fr. 166 Kock (171 K-A).
For other entries on this word-family see beta 487, beta 488, beta 489, beta 490, chi 296; cf. beta 484, beta 485.
[1] This gloss evokes two related uses. At Clouds 968ff. Aristophanes ridicules those who sing the innovative scales of Phrynis (phi 761) and the 'new dithyramb' (kappa 2647, delta 1029) as 'altar-ambushers' (see beta 488); and indeed the dithyramb was sung to accompany dances in ceremonies at the altars of various gods, primarily of Dionysus. There is, secondly, a suggestion at chi 296 that such singers may have also sung for money as crowd-pleasers at the altars, after the fashion of beggars there.
[2] See beta 490, beta 489.
Keywords: comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; ethics; imagery; meter and music; poetry; religion
Translated by: David Whitehead on 12 October 2000@08:06:01.
Vetted by:
Robert Dyer (Added notes, keywords. Cosmetics. Raised status.) on 21 February 2002@15:28:22.
David Whitehead (added keyword; cosmetics) on 22 February 2002@02:52:46.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 18 October 2005@06:03:27.
David Whitehead (expanded primary note; more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 1 July 2011@10:29:39.


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