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Headword: *ka/qamma lu/eis
Adler number: kappa,31
Translated headword: you are undoing a knot
Vetting Status: high
[sc. A proverbial phrase] in reference to those attempting to undo something which is hard to undo. From the waggon of Midas. For an oracle had been issued to the Phrygians [which said] that if anyone could untie the binding of the waggon which had brought Midas, this man would rule Asia. Alexander [the Great] undid it.
Greek Original:
*ka/qamma lu/eis: e)pi\ tw=n du/sluto/n ti lu/ein e)pixeirou/ntwn. a)po\ th=s a(ma/chs *mi/dou. lo/gion ga\r toi=s *fruci\n e)kpeptw/kei, th=s komisa/shs to\n *mi/dan a(ma/chs ei)/ tis e)pilu/seie to\n desmo/n, tou=ton th=s *)asi/as a)/rcein. *)ale/candros de\ e)/luse.
cf. Zenobius 4.46, and more generally Tosi (cited under alpha 378) no.1115.
The famous Gordian knot (at Gordion in Phrygia). In 333 BCE Alexander the Great 'visited the ancient palace of the Phrygian kings and inspected the legendary waggon of Gordius, the mythical founder of the Phrygian dynasty. The yoke of this vehicle was fastened to its pole by an elaborate fastening of cornel bark, the ends of which were invisible. According to a local legend, whether authentic or fabricated for the occasion, the person who released the fastening would be lord of Asia. Alexander duly solved the problem, either cutting through the fastening to reveal the secret ends or (as Aristobulus claimed) removing the pin that secured the yoke and drawing it off, fastening and all. In both versions Alexander avoided the main problem yet could be said to have fulfilled the prophecy' (A.B. Bosworth, Conquest and Empire: the reign of Alexander the Great (Cambridge 1988) 53-4).
Keywords: aetiology; biography; botany; daily life; geography; history; mythology; proverbs; religion
Translated by: David Whitehead on 2 December 2001@06:22:43.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 23 October 2002@17:31:38.
David Whitehead (added note and keyword; cosmetics) on 19 October 2003@08:17:56.
David Whitehead on 16 August 2012@09:44:50.
David Whitehead on 18 January 2013@09:07:36.


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