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Headword: Kateglôttismenon
Adler number: kappa,912
Translated headword: tongued-down (?tongue-engaged); (sunk) under too many glosses (far-fetched).
Vetting Status: high
Aristophanes [writes]: "hairdresser[1] and tongued-down". Meaning mixed with many glosses. A gloss[2] is also a dictionary word. Properly a 'tongued-down' is the tongue-in kiss.
And Philostratus [writes]:[3] "But Apollonius cultivated a style of discourse not dithyrambic[4] and swollen with poetic words nor sunk under too many glosses and full of affected Atticisms; for he thought that an excessive degree of Atticizing was unpleasant. Neither did he indulge in subtleties[5], nor spin out his discourses; nor did anyone ever hear him ironic, nor addressing his audience with peripatetic arguments;[6] but, when he conversed, he would say, as from an (oracular) tripod, 'I know' and 'It is my opinion' and 'Where are you drifting?' or 'You must know.' And his opinions were brief and authoritative, and his words were authoritative and closely related to what they referred to, and the things he said had an echo to them, as the divine pronouncements from a king's scepter."
Greek Original:
Kateglôttismenon: Aristophanês: thêludriôdes kai kateglôttismenon. anti tou pollais glôttais memigmenon. glôtta de esti kai hê lexis. kuriôs de kateglôttismenon esti to englôtton philêma. kai Philostratos: ho de Apollônios logôn idean epêskêsen, ou tên dithurambôdê kai phlegmainousan poiêtikois onomasin, oud' au kateglôttismenên kai huperattikizousan: aêdes gar to huper tên metrian Atthida hêgeito: oude leptologiai edidou oude diêge tous logous oude eirôneuomenou tis êkousen oute peripatountos es tous akroômenous: all' hôsper ek tripodos, hote dialegoito, oida, elege, kai, dokei moi, kai, poi pheresthe; kai, chrê eidenai. kai doxai bracheiai kai adamantinai kuria te onomata kai prospephukota tois pragmasi: kai ta legomena êchô eichen, hôsper apo skêptrou themisteuomena.
The first paragraph of this entry comes from the scholia on Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 131; the second from Philostratus (see n. 3 below).
The headword was used in Patristic Greek to mean 'composed in elaborate language' (Lampe, Lexicon). The verb, however, of which it is the perfect middle/passive participle, meant at the time of Suda 'to blaspheme' (kappa 503, kappa 911). Its various meanings over time (web address 1) needed explanation because they derive from different senses of glw=tta / glw=ssa (LSJ entry at web address 2) in Greek: 'tongue' 'language' and 'rare word'. This entry confuses two or three of these possible meanings.
The context in Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 131 (web address 3) is Mnesilochus' description of a melody as causing erotic arousal. All of the three adjectives he uses for this melody (in the fuller context from which this quotation comes, given at gamma 141 and mu 134) are usually used of types of kisses (perhaps here of the tongue in oral sex; cf. the kisses given to Dicaeopolis in Aristophanes, Acharnians 1201-20). The confusion in the scholion on this word in this passage is even worse. It runs, "Artful and sweet. It is a form of kiss mingled with many tongues (sc. rare words). It is a gloss and lexis (see n.[2]). Properly a tongued-down is the tongue-in kiss." The latter suggests the English "French kiss." For a review of the names of such kisses in the Suda, Hesychius, Eustathius, Pausanias Atticista and Photius see the notes to mu 134.
The rest of the entry illustrates the literary use of the term to mean "(sunk) under too many glosses." See note 2 (LSJ IV: web address 1).
[1] This adjective is also used by Eustathius (on Homer, Iliad 2.694) of melodies sung by those celebrating victories and other festivals (kwma/zontas). On this as the 'hairdresser kiss' see mu 134 note 2.
[2] The Greek word for 'tongue' was -- and still is -- used for an obsolete or rare word that requires explanation to be understood by a contemporary readership. Similarly le/cis is used of a word that requires, and is given, a definition in a lexicon or dictionary. A "glossary" contains glosses (web address 2: LSJ II 2). It was a frequent criticism of the linguistic style of 'new dithyramb' (delta 1029, kappa 2647, and notes there) that it used absurd compound words, illustrated at Aristophanes, Birds 1373ff. (web address 4); cf. the scholia there, and epsilon 1174, sigma 1192.
[3] The rest of the entry comes (with slight alterations) from Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 1.17 (partially cited by Photius, Bibl. 241.331b.29ff.), and illustrates the literary meaning of the headword. The following translation is based on that of F.C. Conybeare in the Loeb edition.
[4] For the style of the "new dithyramb" see note [2].
[5] For possible meanings in literary criticism of the term lepto/s and its derivative here leptologi/a see LSJ (web address 5 [II 2-3] and web address 6) and the references in note [2]; cf. Aristophanes, Clouds 153 and Dover's note ad loc. The passage is quoted also at delta 519 and lambda 297.
[6] The term here for "to walk around" (peripate/w) may refer to the Peripatos, the site of the Aristotelian school of philosophy. See LSJ at web address 7 and web address 8, and OCD(4) s.v. Peripatetic school.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3,
Web address 4,
Web address 5,
Web address 6,
Web address 7,
Web address 8
Keywords: biography; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; gender and sexuality; imagery
Translated by: Robert Dyer on 3 February 2002@12:38:40.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 4 February 2002@02:49:28.
David Whitehead (added keyword; cosmetics) on 11 September 2002@09:09:24.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticules, cross-references) on 30 March 2009@19:25:06.
Catharine Roth (tweaked links) on 2 April 2009@15:27:23.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 7 February 2013@04:40:47.
Catharine Roth (upgraded two links) on 12 April 2013@00:51:18.
Catharine Roth (supplemented translation at Ron Allen's suggestion) on 4 June 2013@01:03:16.
Catharine Roth (tweaked notes, added keyword) on 2 September 2013@21:23:11.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 2 August 2014@07:02:37.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 23 October 2014@00:40:21.


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