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Headword: *ko/ssas
Adler number: kappa,2134
Translated headword: Kossas, Cossas
Vetting Status: high
[sc. He was] a just man. And [there is] a proverb: "the words of Kossas". For Kossas was a just man, a native of Pellene. These Pelleneans were at war with the Salaminians and called on their neighbours as allies, having promised to give them the [Salaminian] territory. Once they had won, however, they did not hand it over, even though Kossas was advising them in this to abide by their agreements. The result was that when the Pelleneans fell victim to plague they took to praising "the words of Kossas".
Greek Original:
*ko/ssas: di/kaios a)nh/r. kai\ paroimi/a: tou\s *ko/ssa lo/gous. *ko/ssas ga\r e)ge/neto di/kaios a)nh/r, *pellhneu\s to\ ge/nos. oi( de\ *pellhnei=s ou(=toi po/lemon e)/sxon pro\s tou\s *salamini/ous kai\ e)pekale/santo summa/xous tou\s gei/tonas, o(mologh/santes au)toi=s metadw/sein th=s xw/ras. nikh/santes de\ ou) mete/dwkan, kai\ tau=ta sumbouleu/ontos tou= *ko/ssou tai=s o(mologi/ais e)mme/nein. a)nq' w(=n loimw=| peripeso/ntes tou\s *ko/ssou lo/gous e)ph/|noun.
Again at tau 834, where the name is Kosas (but the double sigma seems to be correct: cf. Appendix Proverbiorum 4.97).
I [DW] know of no other evidence for a war -- presumably in very early Greek history -- between Pellene (in Achaea; pi 943) and the islanders of Salamis (in the Saronic Gulf), and a glance at a map will anyway show it to be improbable. Emendation to "Pallene", i.e. the one in Attica (pi 78, pi 80), could improve geographical proximity, but would otherwise be utterly speculative.
A further potential complication (brought to my attention by Javier Sanz) arises with the only other attestion of the name Kosas (sic): that of the S. Italian river (a.k.a. Casuentus, present-day Basento) which is said to have loudly addressed Pythagoras as he forded it (Aristotle fr. 191 Rose; Aelian, Varia Historia 2.26 and 4.17; etc.) Could "the words of Kos[s]as" refer to this? If they do, an explanation along these lines has somehow been usurped by the story of K. the Pellenean.
Keywords: aetiology; biography; daily life; ethics; geography; history; medicine; military affairs; proverbs
Translated by: David Whitehead on 5 September 2001@03:16:32.
Vetted by:
Elizabeth Vandiver (Added alternative transliteration of headword; set status) on 23 October 2003@12:14:15.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 24 October 2003@03:48:10.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks) on 1 December 2011@05:24:17.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticules) on 1 December 2011@10:18:39.
David Whitehead on 1 December 2011@10:25:36.
David Whitehead on 13 March 2013@07:45:24.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 31 October 2014@23:23:54.
David Whitehead on 2 May 2016@05:33:26.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 19 September 2022@00:22:24.


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