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Headword: *mu/wy
Adler number: mu,1430
Translated headword: horse-fly; goad, spur
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
[Meaning] the gadfly.[1]
A kind of fly which irritates cattle.[2]
The word occurs in Callimachus in Hecale, "a horse-fly certain [with] cattle"; [meaning] a horse-fly scaring away and pursuing the cattle.[3]
Also called a mu/wy is the horse's spur, the iron thing which they wear on the foot and goad horses.
Polybius [writes]: "but he applied the spurs from both sides [sc. of his horse] and drove on triumphant."[4]
Also in the Epigrams: "Lysidice [sc. dedicates] to you, o Cyprian,[5] her horse-training spur, the golden goad she wore on her well-shaped leg."[6] And elsewhere: "[sc. he dedicates] his ox-guiding, sharp-ironed, threatening goad."[7] And elsewhere: "[sc. he dedicates] the bloodied points of his horse-driving goad."[8]
Greek Original:
*mu/wy: o( oi)=stros. mui=a/ tis e)reqi/zousa ta\s bou=s. le/getai para\ *kallima/xw| e)n *(eka/lh|, bou=s sw=os mu/wy: tou\s bou=s sobw=n kai\ diw/kwn mu/wy. le/getai *mu/wy kai\ h( ma/stic tou= i(/ppou, to\ sidh/rion, o(\ e)pi\ tou= podo\s forou=si kentou=ntes tou\s i(/ppous. *polu/bios: o( de\ prosqei\s tou\s mu/wpas e)c a)mfote/roin toi=n meroi=n h)/laune katakra/tos. kai\ e)n *)epigra/mmasi: *lusidi/kh soi, *ku/pri, to\n i(ppasth=ra mu/wpa, xru/seon eu)knh/mou ke/ntron e)/qhke podo/s. kai\ au)=qis: boustro/fon a)krosi/daron a)peilhth=ra mu/wpa. kai\ au)=qis: ke/ntra t' e)naimo/enta diwci/ppoio mu/wpos.
Notes:
The headword is a masculine noun in the nominative (and vocative) singular. It has three meanings according to LSJ s.v.: (1) a species of biting fly, probably from the genus Tabanus, that pesters livestock; (2) a spur; and (3) metaphorically, an incentive; cf. Chantraine s.v. (1).
[1] The first gloss is a masculine noun in the nominative singular; see LSJ s.v., which tentatively identifies it as Tabanus bovinus. Also see the scholia to Homer, Odyssey 22.299 (web address 1); Hesychius mu2017; Etymologicum Gudianum s.v.; omicroniota 180; and omicroniota 181. The mu/wy is distinguished from the oi)=stros at Aristotle, History of Animals 490a20 and 596b14. [In her critical apparatus, Adler notes that mss AGF omit this gloss and that ms M inserts it above the passage.]
[2] Same glossing of the headword in Photius' Lexicon (mu641 Theodoridis), Hesychius mu2017, and the Synagoge; cf. Lexica Segueriana 305.16, ps.-Zonaras 1380.3, and Etymologicum Magnum 596.21 (Kallierges). Adler also cites Etymologicum Genuinum.
[3] A garbling of a phrase in Callimachus, Hecale fr. 301 Pfeiffer (accusative case there), with comment from the scholia there.
[4] Polybius fr. 61 Büttner-Wobst. An example of the headword's sense as a spur also occurs at Polybius 11.18.4 (web address 2): prosqe/nta tou\s mu/wpas (having applied the spurs). [Adler notes that mss GM preferred the genitive plural a)mfote/rwn tw=n merw=n (from either of the sides) for the Suda's dual number; cf. Büttner-Wobst, p. 523.]
[5] Epithet of the goddess Aphrodite, born in the east, and traditionally linked to the island of Cyprus, where her most prominent cults were located; see OCD(4) s.v. Aphrodite, kappa 2738, and alpha 974 (end).
[6] Greek Anthology 5.203.1-2 (Asclepiades), the hetaera Lysidice dedicates a golden spur to Aphrodite; cf. Gow and Page (Hellenistic Epigrams, vol. I, 45-46), (Hellenistic Epigrams, vol. II, 120-1), and another extract from this epigram at upsilon 659. As Gow and Page note (ibid.), by way of its references to equestrian practice the epigram plays on allusions to Lysidice's professional techniques. [This and the next two excerpts from the Greek Anthology were omitted by ms. F (so Adler).]
[7] Greek Anthology 6.95.1, Antiphilus' epigram to the plowman Parmis (Gow and Page, The Garland of Philip, vol. I, pp. 100-1; vol. II, pp. 126-7).
[8] Greek Anthology 6.233.5 (Maikios/Maecius/Maccius), the horseman Stratius's dedication of equestrian equipment to Poseidon; cf. Gow and Page (Garland of Philip, vol. I, 282-283 and vol. II, 314-6), and further excerpts from this epigram at gamma 373, kappa 1520, mu 266, and psi 66.
References:
P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque, ed. 2. Paris 2009.
T. Büttner-Wobst, ed., Polybii Historiae, vol. IV, (Leipzig, 1904)
A.S.F. Gow and D.L. Page, eds., The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams, vol. I, (Cambridge, 1965)
A.S.F. Gow and D.L. Page, eds., The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams, vol. II, (Cambridge, 1965)
A.S.F. Gow and D.L. Page, eds., The Greek Anthology: The Garland of Philip and Some Contemporary Epigrams, vol. I, (Cambridge, 1968)
A.S.F. Gow and D.L. Page, eds., The Greek Anthology: The Garland of Philip and Some Contemporary Epigrams, vol. II, (Cambridge, 1968)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: agriculture; biography; clothing; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; gender and sexuality; historiography; history; imagery; military affairs; poetry; religion; trade and manufacture; women; zoology
Translated by: Ronald Allen on 11 August 2009@01:54:09.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 11 August 2009@03:53:46.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 29 May 2013@06:22:40.
David Whitehead on 9 August 2014@09:20:45.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 11 July 2015@15:11:28.
David Whitehead (coding) on 18 May 2016@11:26:35.
Ronald Allen (expanded n.8, added cross-references, cosmetics) on 8 August 2019@22:26:20.
Catharine Roth (updated bibliography) on 11 August 2019@17:53:09.
Catharine Roth (tweaked links) on 29 September 2020@23:15:50.
Ronald Allen (augmented n.6, corrected Anthology reference, added cross-reference) on 2 September 2021@12:59:04.
Ronald Allen (tweaked translation in consultation with Managing Editor Catharine Roth, further expanded n.6) on 3 September 2021@11:46:25.

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