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Headword: Ἐγένετο καὶ Μάνδρωνι συκίνη ναῦς
Adler number: epsilon,49
Translated headword: even Mandron got a fig-wood ship
Vetting Status: high
[sc. A proverbial phrase] used in reference to those who have been fortunate beyond their hopes and deserts, and then give themselves airs at their present circumstances. For Mandron was chosen admiral amongst Athenians, despite being unworthy of the office.[1] The 'fig-wood' ship indicates a cheap one.[2]
Greek Original:
Ἐγένετο καὶ Μάνδρωνι συκίνη ναῦς: λέγεται ἐπὶ τῶν παρ' ἐλπίδα καὶ παρ' ἀξίαν εὐτυχησάντων, εἶτα θρυπτομένων ἐπὶ τοῖς παροῦσιν. ὁ γὰρ Μάνδρων παρ' Ἀθηναίοις ναύαρχος ᾑρέθη, ἀνάξιος ὢν τῆς ἀρχῆς. ἡ δὲ συκίνη ναῦς τὸ εὐτελὲς δηλοῖ.
Slightly expanded from Photius, Lexicon epsilon33 Theodoridis. See also Zenobius 3.44 (Choliambica adespota fr. 8) and other paroemiographers; cf. mu 138, sigma 1324 (end).
[1] Mandron is not regarded by Athenian prosopography as an historical person, and indeed no known Athenian bears the name. A deep-rooted error for Andron? Alternatively -- and because, also, the Athenians had no office of admiral (nauarchos) -- we should perhaps question the phrase 'amongst Athenians'. For Mandros king of the Bebrycians, near Lampsacus, see Plutarch, Moralia 255 (Mulierum Virtutes #18); Polyaenus 7.31. The Mandros of the proverb can hardly be him; nevertheless there is a tantalizing link between the geographical location of his kingdom and the fact that Zenobius (above) says not that the Mandron of the proverb was 'chosen admiral amongst Athenians' but 'elected admiral for the Hellespont region'.
[2] Conventional woods for shipbuilding were fir, pine and cedar: see Russell Meiggs, Trees and Timber in the Ancient Mediterranean World (Oxford 1982) 118-120.
Keywords: biography; botany; daily life; economics; ethics; geography; military affairs; poetry; proverbs; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: David Whitehead on 21 July 2003@08:42:23.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth on 21 July 2003@17:49:45.
David Whitehead (augmented keywords; cosmetics) on 22 July 2003@02:59:49.
David Whitehead on 24 July 2012@04:22:21.
David Whitehead on 26 August 2013@03:09:11.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 22 February 2015@00:32:27.
David Whitehead on 3 December 2015@05:51:55.


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