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Headword: *kestrei=s
Adler number: kappa,1432
Translated headword: mullets
Vetting Status: high
They used to call them "fasting"[1] and gaping and hungry; for these fish [are] gluttonous.[2] Of all the fish that eat each other, it is the only one that abstains [sc. from eating flesh]. Instead it eats mud, according to Aristotle in On Animals.[3] And [it is] clear that it undergoes hardship, diving into the mud, and ends up worse off.[4]
The [mullet is] now called a kephalos.[5]
Greek Original:
*kestrei=s: nh/stis e)ka/loun kai\ kexhno/tas kai\ peinw=ntas: lai/margoi ga\r ou(=toi oi( i)xqu/es. ou(=tos ga\r pa/ntwn tw=n i)xqu/wn a)llhlofagou/ntwn mo/nos a)pe/xetai. ne/metai de\ i)lu/n, w(s *)aristote/lhs e)n toi=s *peri\ zw/|wn. kai\ dh=lon o(/ti talaipwrei= kataduo/menos ei)s th\n i)lu/n, kai\ h(=tto/n ti fe/retai. o( nu=n lego/menos ke/falos.
[1] The "fasting mullet" (nh=stis kestreu/s) was so called because its stomach was always found empty (LSJ s.v. nh=stis II.2). The phrase is commonplace in comedy as a metaphor for starvelings: Alexis fr. 256 Kock (now 258 Kassel-Austin, Amipsias fr. 1 Kock (and K.-A.), Antiphanes fr. 138 Kock (136 K.-A.), Archippus fr. 12 Kock (and K.-A.), Aristophanes fr. 156 Kock (159 K.-A.), Diphilus fr. 54 Kock (53 K.-A.), Eubulus fr. 68 Kock (and K.-A.), Euphron fr. 2 Kock (and K.-A.), Philemon fr. 80 Kock (83 K.-A.), Theopompus fr. 13 Kock (14 K.-A.).
[2] See Aristotle below.
[3] Aristotle, History of Animals 591a: "All fishes devour their own species, with the single exception of the kestreus or mullet; and the conger is especially ravenous in this respect. The kephalos and the mullet in general are the only fish that eat no flesh; this may be inferred from the facts that when caught they are never found with flesh in their intestines ... Every fish of the mullet-kind lives on sea-weed and sand. ... The kephalos lives in mud, and is in consequence heavy and slimy; it never feeds on any other fish. ... Of all fishes the mullet is the most voracious and insatiable, and in consequence its belly is kept at full stretch; whenever it is not starving, it may be considered as out of condition."
[4] From discussion of the proverb "the mullet fasts" (see under kappa 1429); the wording is verbatim from Pausanias *)attikw=n o)noma/twn sunagwgh/ kappa29.
[5] So already kappa 1431.
Keywords: comedy; daily life; definition; food; imagery; proverbs; zoology
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 10 November 2008@03:25:58.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 10 November 2008@03:35:18.
David Whitehead on 19 February 2013@07:40:15.
David Whitehead (updated some refs) on 29 December 2014@10:37:29.
David Whitehead (more of same) on 30 December 2014@07:08:53.
David Whitehead (more of same) on 3 January 2015@09:30:49.
David Whitehead on 3 January 2015@09:50:12.


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