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Headword: *delfi/s
Adler number: delta,207
Translated headword: dolphin
Vetting Status: high
An engine of war [sc. intended] for a sea-battle.[1] Whence also 'a dolphin-bearing ship'. Thucydides [book] 7 says : "at that point the dolphin-bearing spars suspended from the merchantmen over the entry channels hindered them".[2]
Greek Original:
*delfi/s: pro\s naumaxi/an polemisth/rion o)/rganon. o(/qen kai\ delfinofo/ron nau=n *qoukudi/dhs e)n th=| z# fhsi/n: e)/peita au)tou\s ai( kerai=ai u(pe\r tw=n eu)/plwn, ai( a)po\ tw=n o(lka/dwn delfinofo/roi, h)rme/nai e)kw/luon.
[1] See also delta 208. A dolphin-shaped iron (or lead) weight suspended from a spar. When an enemy ship came within distance, the spar was swung over the approaching ship and the dolphin dropped on its deck. The aim was to breach the hull of the enemy ship and sink or disable it.
[2] Thucydides 7.41.2: web address 1. Consult Dover's note (in A Historical Commentary on Thucydides v.4, by A.W. Gomme, A. Andrewes and K.J. Dover. Oxford: O.U.P., 1970, 418), and see also e.g. Aristophanes, Knights 762.
Lionel Casson, Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World (Baltimore & London 1995) 239 n.67
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: comedy; definition; historiography; imagery; military affairs; science and technology; trade and manufacture; zoology
Translated by: Tony Natoli on 9 April 2002@17:44:26.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (simplified link) on 9 April 2002@20:13:16.
David Whitehead (added keyword; cosmetics) on 10 April 2002@08:59:38.
Catharine Roth (added cross-reference) on 4 May 2002@17:14:14.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 8 March 2011@06:19:45.
David Whitehead (more keywords; item of bibliography) on 18 June 2012@07:25:02.


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