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Headword: Δεισιδαιμονία
Adler number: delta,368
Translated headword: fear of the gods, piety, superstition
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] discretion in regard to the divine, timidity, doubt concerning the faith.[1]
Also [sc. attested is the related adjective] δεισιδαίμων ["god-fearing"], as if afraid. The Apostle [says]: "men of Athens, I see that you are rather god-fearing." Meaning pious.[2]
And Crito in the Getica says: "the kings of the Getae, inducing in them fear of the gods and concord by means of deceit and magic are already aiming at great things."[3]
And Polybius of Megalopolis says concerning Timaeus: "he demonstrated great cleverness and audacity in accusing his neighbors, but in his own denials he is full of dreams and marvels and unreliable stories and in short of ignoble superstition and old wives' tales."[4]
"Asclepiodotus was holy and pious and at first he had become so scrupulous and cautious that he did not dare even to offer sacrifice or to hear any secret word; for [he thought] that these were not appropriate for fleshly beings but only for Olympus and those who are believed to live on Olympus."[5]
Piety happens to be the mean between impiety and superstition.[6]
Untimely free speech is superstition.[7]
"For as Pyrrhus was stealing the money of Persephone he said jokingly, 'Untimely piety is superstition, and gathering up wealth without effort is good counsel'."[8]
Greek Original:
Δεισιδαιμονία: εὐλάβεια περὶ τὸ θεῖον, δειλία, ἀμφιβολία περὶ τὴν πίστιν. καὶ Δεισιδαίμων, οἱονεὶ δεδοικώς. ὁ Ἀπόστολος: ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, ὡς δεισιδαιμονεστέρους ὑμᾶς θεωρῶ. ἀντὶ τοῦ θεοσεβεῖς. καὶ Κρίτων ἐν τοῖς Γετικοῖς φησιν: οἱ δὲ βασιλεῖς τῶν Γετῶν ἀπάτῃ καὶ γοητείᾳ δεισιδαιμονίαν καὶ ὁμόνοιαν αὐτοῖς ἐνεργασάμενοι μεγάλων ἤδη ἐφίενται. καὶ Πολύβιος ὁ Μεγαλοπολίτης περὶ Τιμαίου φησίν: οὗτος γὰρ ἐν μὲν ταῖς τῶν πέλας κατηγορίαις πολλὴν ἐπιφαίνει δεινότητα καὶ τόλμαν, ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἰδίαις ἀποφάσεσιν ἐνυπνίων καὶ τεράτων καὶ μύθων ἀπιθάνων καὶ συλλήβδην δεισιδαιμονίας ἀγεννοῦς καὶ τερατείας γυναικώδους ἐστὶ πλήρης. ὅτι Ἀσκληπιόδοτος ὅσιος ἦν καὶ εὐσεβὴς καὶ τὰ μὲν πρῶτα δεισιδαίμων ἐγεγόνει καὶ εὐλαβὴς οὕτως σφόδρα ὥστε μήτε θύειν ἀνέχεσθαι μήτε τινὸς ἀπορρήτου μηδενὸς ἀκούειν: οὐ γὰρ εἶναι ταῦτα τῆς γενέσεως ἄξια, ἀλλὰ τοῦ Ὀλύμπου καὶ τῶν ἐν Ὀλύμπῳ διαζῆν ἡγουμένων. ὅτι ἡ εὐσέβεια μέση τυγχάνει ἀσεβείας καὶ δεισιδαιμονίας. ὅτι δεισιδαιμονία ἡ ἄκαιρος παρρησία. ὁ Πύρρος γὰρ συλῶν τὰ χρήματα τῆς Φερσεφόνης ἐπισκώψας ἔφη: ἡ ἄκαιρος θεοσέβεια δεισιδαιμονία ἐστί, καὶ τὸ συλλέξαι πλοῦτον ἄπονον εὐβουλία.
[1] cf. delta 369.
[2] Acts of the Apostles 17.22.
[3] FGrH 200 F7.
[4] Polybius 12.24.
[5] Damascius, Life of Isidore fr.202 Zintzen (119 Asmus).
[6] Quotation not identified by Adler but identifiable via the TLG as Didymus Caecus, On Genesis 27.
[7] Quotation unidentifiable.
[8] Appian, Samnitica 12.4; cf. pi 3232.
Keywords: biography; Christianity; definition; economics; ethics; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; philosophy; religion
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 18 May 2005@15:56:47.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes; cosmetics) on 19 May 2005@03:30:05.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 4 October 2005@09:00:36.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 4 December 2005@08:53:43.
David Whitehead (source identification) on 8 March 2011@09:23:21.
David Whitehead on 8 March 2011@11:41:02.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 21 June 2012@08:36:54.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 21 June 2012@23:42:21.
Catharine Roth (translated a title) on 22 January 2015@00:00:02.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 13 October 2015@08:48:51.


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