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Headword: *xrusoxoei=on
Adler number: chi,586
Translated headword: goldsmithy
Vetting Status: high
Dinarchus says: "for when he again stopped going to Aeschines and [went] to this man, it is clear that he was learning to 'to smelt gold', but not [so much] to perform what was in store for him as to experience it".[1] Plato too employs the proverb: "well, said Thrasymachus, is he 'smelting gold'?".[2] They say that the proverb originated as follows. A certain rumor once struck the mass of the Athenians, to the effect that on [Mount] Hymettos a great mound of gold-dust had appeared and was guarded by warrior ants.[3] [The Athenians] took up their arms and sallied forth against them; but once they had returned without accomplishing anything, and gone to a lot of trouble for no purpose they began to taunt each other, saying "you thought you would be smelting gold", that is, "you thought you would collect lots of gold-dust, smelt it and become rich". And they were mocked [sc. for this] by the comic poets. At any rate Eubulus says: "we once persuaded Kekropian men[4] to take up arms and go out onto Hymettos".[5]
Greek Original:
*xrusoxoei=on: *dei/narxo/s fhsi: pa/lin par' *ai)sxi/nhn a)pofoith/sas, para\ tou/tw| dhlono/ti xrusoxoei=n e)ma/nqanen, a)ll' ou) to\ prokei/menon au)tw=| pra/ttein h)\ pa/sxein. ke/xrhtai de\ th=| paroimi/a| kai\ *pla/twn: ti/ de/; h)=d' o(\s o( *qrasu/maxos, xrusoxoei=. a)/rcasqai de/ fasi th\n paroimi/an e)nteu=qen: e)/pese/ tis fh/mh pote\ ei)s to\ plh=qos tw=n *)aqhnai/wn, w(s e)n *(umhttw=| xrusou= yh=gma polu\ fanei/h kai\ fula/ttoito u(po\ tw=n maxi/mwn murmh/kwn. oi( de\ a)nalabo/ntes o(/pla e)ce/qeon e)p' au)tou/s: a)/praktoi de\ u(postre/yantes kai\ ma/thn kekakopaqhko/tes e)/skwpton a)llh/lous, le/gontes, su\ de\ w)/|ou xrusoxoh/sein. o(/per dhloi=, su\ de\ w)/|ou yh=gma polu\ sulle/cas kai\ xrusoxoh/sas plouth/sein. e)xleua/zonto de\ u(po\ tw=n kwmikw=n. *eu)/boulos gou=n fhsin: h(mei=s pot' a)/ndras *kekropi/das e)pei/samen labo/ntas ei)s *(umhtto\n e)celqei=n o(/pla.
Abridged from Harpokration s.v.
The headword is translated here as it appears in Adler's text: xrusoxoei=on (again chi 587). This is the reading in some manuscripts of the Suda and Harpokration. Others read the infinitive xrusoxoei=n ('to smelt gold'), which is more pertinent to the gloss and actually occurs in the quoted passages.
[1] Dinarchus fr. VI.14 Conomis.
[2] Plato, Republic 5.450B (web address 1), here abridged.
[3] For the idea of gold-digging ants (in India) cf. Herodotus 3.102 (web address 2).
[4] A poetic term for the Athenians, from their legendary king Kekrops (kappa 1269, kappa 1270, kappa 1271, kappa 1272).
[5] Eubulus fr. 20 Kock (19 Kassel-Austin).
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: aetiology; comedy; daily life; geography; history; military affairs; mythology; philosophy; proverbs; rhetoric; science and technology; zoology
Translated by: David Whitehead on 22 December 2000@08:21:26.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note and keywords; cosmetics) on 6 September 2002@04:18:55.
William Hutton (modified headword and translation, added notes, link and keywords, set status) on 14 July 2003@04:50:27.
David Whitehead (added some x-refs) on 14 July 2003@05:06:49.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 13 July 2011@08:28:32.
David Whitehead on 14 November 2013@05:10:25.


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