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Headword: *di/paltos
Adler number: delta,1256
Translated headword: doubly-brandished, twice-brandished
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning carried] with both hands.[1] That is dexterously, with the utmost force. Sophocles [writes]: "all the army would kill me doubly-brandished in the hand".[2] Alternatively [it can be explained] as follows: the army would take the doubly-brandished spears and kill me.
Greek Original:
*di/paltos: a)mfote/rais tai=s xersi/n. oi(=on perideci/ws, panti\ sqe/nei. *sofoklh=s: pa=s de\ strato\s di/paltos a)/n me xeiri\ foneu/oi. h)\ ou(/tws: o( strato/s me foneu/oi labw\n ta\ di/palta dora/tia.
[1] The original sense of the adjective di/paltos (from di- and pa/llw) would be "fully armed", in reference to the double spears an Homeric warrior ordinarily carried, according to the literary and archaeological evidence collected by Lorimer (below). But uncertainty as to the meaning is evident in antiquity itself, as the Suda confirms. It is possible that this kind of compound had changed its sense from a literal into a metaphorical one. *di/paltos is said of a thunderbolt in Euripides, Trojan Women 1103; the similar tri/paltos is referred to sufferings in Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 990 tripa/ltwn phma/twn "manifold pains" (but the passage is dubious). The usage of di/paltos by Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 323 di/palta polemi/wn ci/fh "the two swords brandished by enemies", according to Kamerbeek, is a catachresis for "wielded by two men".
[2] Sophocles, Ajax 408-9 (web address 1). The scholia there attribute the gloss panti\ sqe/nei to Didymus, the alternative one to the lesser-known grammarian Pius. Didymus' interpretation is preferred by Kamerbeek, who suggests a sense of the passage close to Latin ictibus ingeminans.
E. Hiller, Der Grammatiker Pius und die a)pologi/ai pro\s ta\s a)qeth/seis *)arista/rxou, Philologus 28, 1869, 86-115
H.L. Lorimer, Annual of the British School at Athens 38 (1940) 172 ff.
J.C. Kamerbeek, The plays of Sophocles-Commentaries, Part I: Ajax, Leiden, 1963 [second edition]
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; imagery; military affairs; poetry; tragedy
Translated by: Antonella Ippolito on 7 March 2005@18:53:53.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (tweaked translation; other cosmetics) on 8 March 2005@05:01:40.
David Whitehead (tweaked hw and tr; another keyword) on 13 July 2012@10:19:10.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 24 August 2013@21:15:41.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 24 August 2013@21:18:04.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 12 November 2015@03:24:40.


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