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Headword: Κατάχει τοὔλαιον ἐν τῷ χαλκείῳ
Adler number: kappa,867
Translated headword: pour the oil in the shield
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
Aristophanes [sc. writes this].[1] Meaning into the hub of the shield, in order to make it brighter. For there are some who tell the future by looking in oil. So he is wiping the shield pouring the oil on the bronze plate; then when it has been made shiny, he looks into it like a mirror and says "I see in it an old man being prosecuted for cowardice", and as it were unable to see the shield, for its brightness. And Homer [says]:[2] "and eyes were blinded by the blaze of bronze from gleaming helmets".[3]
"You would say that seeing Bacchus in such a state, he should be deluged with whips rather than with spring flowers."[4]
Greek Original:
Κατάχει τοὔλαιον ἐν τῷ χαλκείῳ: Ἀριστοφάνης. ἀντὶ τοῦ εἰς τὸν ὀμφαλὸν τῆς ἀσπίδος, ἵνα λαμπρότερος γένηται. εἰσὶ γάρ τινες, οἳ ἐν ἐλαίῳ ὁρῶντες μαντεύονται. σμήχει οὖν τὴν ἀσπίδα καταχέων τὸ ἔλαιον ἐπὶ τῆς χαλκῆς πτυχός: εἶτα φαιδρυνθείσης αὐτῆς, ἐνοπτριζόμενος εἰς αὐτὴν λέγει, ὁρῶ ἐν αὐτῇ γέροντα ὑπὸ δειλίας φεύγοντα, καὶ οἷον μὴ δυνάμενον ὁρᾶν τὴν ἀσπίδα, διὰ τὴν ἔκλαμψιν. καὶ Ὅμηρος: ὄσσε δ' ἄμερδεν αὐγὴ χαλκείη κόρυθος ἀπολαμπομένης. εἶπες ἂν τὸν Βάκχον οὕτως ἰδεῖν διακείμενον, τοῦ μάστιξι μᾶλλον ἢ ἄνθεσιν ἐαρινοῖς καταχέεσθαι.
Notes:
[1] Aristophanes, Acharnians 1128, with comment from the scholia there (see n. 3 below). The passage continues "I see [in the shield the image of] an old man who will be prosecuted for cowardice".
[2] An approximation of Homer, Iliad 13.340-1.
[3] The entire passage is taken from the scholia ad loc. The term χαλκεῖον or χαλκίον ("bronze thing") primarily refers to cauldrons (so glossed in LSJ), but verse 1124 explicitly refers to a shield. Aristophanes' passage is a burlesque of augury through reflection, such as lecanomancy. The mention of being blinded by the shield presumably intends to explain the augury.
[4] The connection between this material and the rest of the entry is the verb καταχέεσθαι at the end. Possibly an allusion to the whipping of Dionysus/Bacchus by (?)Aeacus in Aristophanes, Frogs 605ff, but with no clear connection to the passage cited, and no known source for the wording.
Keywords: botany; comedy; daily life; definition; epic; ethics; law; military affairs; religion; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 10 March 2009@21:40:28.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 11 March 2009@04:59:54.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics; raised status) on 6 February 2013@07:05:08.

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