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Headword: *)/hlektra
Adler number: eta,199
Translated headword: elektra, lyre-pegs
Vetting Status: high
In a special sense the ivories placed upon beds used to be so called, h)/lektra. Aristophanes [says]: "with the pegs falling out and the tone no longer there". Consistently, after the bed he also mentioned the 'tone'. A bed's 'tone [comes from] its cables, and metaphorically it means the tuning of the voice. For ancient beds used to have their feet set with dark precious stones and amber, just as now [they are decorated] with silver and tin. The parts of the couches which are held together are [sc. an image for] harmony. [Thus] he adhered to his metaphor.
Greek Original:
*)/hlektra: i)di/ws ta\ tai=s kli/nais e)piballo/mena e)lefa/ntina ou(/tws e)ka/loun, h)/lektra. *)aristofa/nhs: e)kpiptousw=n tw=n h)le/ktrwn, kai\ tou= to/nou ou)k e)/t' o)/ntos. a)kolou/qws meta\ th\n kli/nhn e)mnhmo/neuse kai\ tou= to/nou. to/nos de\ th=s kli/nhs ta\ sxoini/a, tropikw=s de\ dhloi= th\n th=s fwnh=s ta/sin. ai( ga\r a)rxai=ai kli=nai tou\s po/das ei)=xon w)fqalmisme/nous a)/nqraci kai\ h)le/ktrois, w(/sper nu=n a)rgu/rw| h)\ kattite/rw|. a(rmoni/as de\ ta\ sumphsso/mena tw=n krabba/twn me/rh. e)pe/meine de\ th=| troph=|.
Aristophanes, Knights 532 (web address 1), with scholion; cf. alpha 3977, tau 768, omega 276. Cratinus (kappa 2344) is being compared to a worn-out lyre.
On the neuter noun h)/lektron, here in the plural (as in the Aristophanes passage), see generally LSJ s.v. It has two basic senses: amber, and the (naturally-occurring) alloy of gold and silver (for the latter cf. eta 200); and the specialised meaning deployed by Aristophanes here, the pegs of a lyre, belongs under the second of these heads. Why the scholiast brought in ivory, or ignored Aristophanes' musical-instrument metaphor in favour of one related to the construction of beds, is unclear.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; imagery; meter and music; poetry; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Antonella Ippolito on 15 March 2006@16:55:53.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation and link) on 15 March 2006@17:18:38.
David Whitehead (modified headword and translation; augmented notes and keywords) on 16 March 2006@03:34:00.
David Whitehead on 11 December 2012@09:13:04.
Catharine Roth (upgraded link) on 17 December 2012@22:03:14.


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