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Headword: *mi/ltos
Adler number: mu,1071
Translated headword: miltos, ruddle, red ochre, red earth, red lead
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
A kind of red color.[1] And Homer [says]: "red-cheeked ships".[2].
And in Epigrams: "and a red-daubed rope plucked by a rod's tip".[3]
And elsewhere: "and they twisted a cord with ruddle and beat the statue [of Apollo], calling him an Alexandrist".[4]
"And of course the ruddle, which they were spreading in a circle, provided much laughter". For in the agora area they used to drive the Athenians into the Assembly with a ruddle-soaked rope, which they would cast about in a circle.[5]
Greek Original:
*mi/ltos: xrw/matos ei)=dos e)ruqrou=. kai\ *(/omhros: nh=es miltopa/rh|oi. kai\ e)n *)epigra/mmasi: miltofuh= te sxoi=non u(p' a)kronu/xw| yallome/nhn kano/ni. kai\ au)=qis: sxoini/on te e)fei/lican mi/ltw| kai\ e)/paion to\ a)/galma *)alecandri/thn kalou=ntes. kai\ dh=ta polu\n h( mi/ltos ge/lwn pare/sxen, h(\n prose/rrainon ku/klw|. kata\ ga\r th\n a)gora\n e)so/boun ei)s e)kklhsi/an tou\s *)aqhnai/ous memiltwme/nw| sxoini/w|, h(\n e)/ballon ku/klw|.
Notes:
[1] Used as such (amongst other things) but in fact, in itself, a naturally-occurring iron oxide deposit. In classical Greece, associated particularly with the island of Keos.
[2] Homer, Iliad 2.637; Odyssey 9.125.
[3] Greek Anthology 6.103.5-6 (Philip); again at psi 12, where the key adjective is correctly miltofurh=. See LSJ s.v. ya/llw: "a carpenter's red line, which is twitched and then suddenly let go, so as to leave a mark".
[4] Aelian fr. 62e Domingo-Forasté (59 Hercher); more briefly at epsilon 3791 and epsilon 3882. The context is the siege of Tyre by Alexander the Great (332 BCE), and the episode in question here occurs also in Plutarch, Alexander 24: Tyrians dream of Apollo deserting them, and of their doing this to his statue.
[5] A slightly abbreviated version of Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae 378-9, followed by comment from the scholia there. For this spectacle of classical Athens, designed to force loiterers to attend Assembly meetings, cf. mu 564, sigma 1810.
Reference:
E. Photos-Jones and others, "Kean miltos: the well-known iron oxides of antiquity", Annual of the British School at Athens 92 (1997) 359-371
Keywords: art history; comedy; daily life; definition; epic; geography; history; military affairs; meter and music; poetry; politics; religion; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Nathan Greenberg ✝ on 8 March 2002@11:02:54.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified headword; augmented and modified notes; augmented keywords; added bibliography; cosmetics) on 9 March 2002@09:30:55.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 21 November 2005@06:46:24.
Catharine Roth (updated reference in note 4, cosmetics) on 24 February 2012@01:19:05.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 23 May 2013@07:37:55.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note) on 9 September 2020@01:03:32.

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