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Headword: Κύρβεις
Adler number: kappa,2744
Translated headword: kyrbeis, kurbeis, crested stelae, crested tablets
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] three-sided[1] planks, on which the [sc. Athenians'] laws about sacred matters were written as well as the civic ones. And those having the laws concerning private matters were called axles and were rectangular.
Axles [axones] and kyrbeis are different.[2]
Apollodoros[3] says that the kyrbeis hold the laws and that they are stones standing straight upright and from their standing position they are called stelae[4] and from their display aloft they are called kyrbeis from their rising to a crest -- just like the crest placed on the head.[5] Aristotle says in Constitution of the Athenians:[6] "they stood the laws they had written up on the kyrbeis in the royal stoa."[7]
Greek Original:
Κύρβεις: τρίγωνοι πίνακες, ἐν οἷς οἱ περὶ τῶν ἱερῶν νόμοι ἐγγεγραμμένοι ἦσαν καὶ πολιτικοί. καὶ ἄξονες δὲ ἐκαλοῦντο οἱ περὶ τῶν ἰδιωτικῶν ἔχοντες τοὺς νόμους καὶ τετράγωνοι. ἄξονες καὶ κύρβεις διαφέρουσι. τοὺς κύρβεις φησὶν Ἀπολλόδωρος ἐγγεγραμμένους ἔχειν τοὺς νόμους: εἶναι δὲ λίθους ὀρθοὺς ἑστῶτας, ὡς ἀπὸ μὲν τῆς στάσεως στήλας καλεῖσθαι, ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς εἰς ὕψος παρατάσεως διὰ τὸ κεκορυφῶσθαι κύρβεις: ὥσπερ καὶ κυρβασίαν τὴν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς τεθειμένην. Ἀριστοτέλης δέ φησιν ἐν τῇ Ἀθηναίων πολιτείᾳ: ἀναγράψαντας δὲ τοὺς νόμους εἰς τοὺς κύρβεις ἔστησαν ἐν τῇ στοᾷ τῇ βασιλίδι.
See also kappa 2745, and generally LSJ s.v.
[1] Literally "three angled", but three angles yield three sides.
[2] From alpha 2833, q.v.
[3] (From now on the entry follows Harpokration s.v., an entry deriving in the first instance from Lycurgus fr. 39 Conomis. See also Photius, Lexicon kappa1233 Theodoridis.) Apollodorus of Athens, son of Asclepiades, prolific scholar active in second-century BCE Alexandria. See generally OCD(4) 120, under 'Apollodorus(6)'; FGrH 244, where this is F107a.
[4] The noun στήλη is related to the verb 'stand', ἵστημι .
[5] In Greek a rooster’s crest or the head-dress of a Persian king was called κυρβασία (kappa 2741, kappa 2742).
[6] ?Aristotle, Athenaion Politeia 7.1.
[7] This stoa, erected in the last quarter of the 6th century BCE, stood in the northeast corner of the Athenian Agora and has been extensively excavated. See the link below, and beta 153.
Ronald S. Stroud, The Axones and Kyrbeis of Drakon and Solon. University of California Publications, Classical Studies 19. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1979 [inter alia, contesting the Suda's claims]
Keywords: architecture; clothing; constitution; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; historiography; history; imagery; law; religion; science and technology
Translated by: Oliver Phillips ✝ on 22 October 2002@20:09:26.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes; cosmetics) on 23 October 2002@03:30:51.
David Whitehead (more x-refs and keywords; cosmetics) on 11 November 2005@07:59:12.
David Whitehead (expanded n.3; more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 11 July 2011@09:37:14.
David Whitehead on 11 July 2011@09:37:51.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 22 March 2013@08:05:10.
Catharine Roth (deleted link) on 8 September 2013@23:35:11.
David Whitehead on 4 August 2014@07:56:14.
David Whitehead (coding) on 2 May 2016@13:05:48.


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