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Headword: Μυσάχνη
Adler number: mu,1470
Translated headword: defiled woman, polluted woman
Vetting Status: high
[The term[1] for] a prostitute in Archilochus;[2] and [sc. other words he uses are] 'workwoman'[3] and 'people'[4] and 'thick'.[5] And Hipponax calls her 'filthy-holed'[6] and 'unclean',[7] [sc. the first of these] from 'filth'.[8] Also [he calls her] 'skirt-lifting'[9] from the [verb meaning] to pull up one's clothes.[10] And Anacreon [calls her] 'one who gives herself to everybody'[11] and 'thoroughfare'[12] and 'garden-crazy';[13] for the pubis [is sometimes called] garden.[14] Eupolis [calls them] 'leg-rolling', from the crossing of the legs during coitus.[15]
Greek Original:
Μυσάχνη: ἡ πόρνη παρὰ Ἀρχιλόχῳ: καὶ ἐργάτις καὶ δῆμος καὶ παχεῖα. Ἱππῶναξ δὲ βορβορόπιν καὶ ἀκάθαρτον ταύτην φησίν, ἀπὸ τοῦ βορβόρου. καὶ ἀνασυρτόπολιν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνασύρεσθαι: Ἀνακρέων δὲ πανδοσίαν καὶ λεωφόρον καὶ μανιόκηπον: κῆπος γὰρ τὸ μόριον: Εὔπολις εἱλίποδας ἀπὸ τῆς εἱλήσεως τῶν ποδῶν τῆς κατὰ μίξιν.
[1] This Suda entry on μυσάχνη (Adler considers the word a paroxytone, but cf. note 2 below] comes from Pausanias the Grammarian (= Paus.Gr. mu27). In his edition of that author, H. Erbse refers it to a previous source in Pamphilus of Alexandria. Pausanias' entry mentions several insults specifically addressed to prostitutes by several poets. In the following notes I will mention some conjectures I consider more plausible than Adler's text.
[2] Archilochus fr. 209 West (who accentuates μυσαχνή ) = 88 Adrados = 184 Bergk; cf. Suetonius, On Blasphemies 2, Hesychius s.v. ἐργάτις , Eustathius 1088.37, and see Adrados pp.34-5. Henderson p.22 relates the word to the verb μυζάω "suck", which gives μυσαχνή the meaning "fellatrix" (cf. ore adlaborandum est tibi: Horace, Epodes 8.20, a poem composed as an imitation of Archilochus). It is, however, more probable that the word is etymologically related to μυσάττομαι "loathe" (mu 1469); cf. Suetonius, On Blasphemies 2, and see Masson p.315. The masculine form μυσαχνός is used by Hipponax fr. 108.10 Degani (= POxy.2175); cf. Hesychius s.v.
[3] ἐργάτις : Archilochus fr. 208 West = 88 Adrados = 184 Bergk; cf. Hesychius s.v. On this term and the one mentioned in the following note see Henderson p.21.
[4] δῆμος : Archilochus fr. 207 West = 88 Adrados = 184 Bergk. Suetonius, On Blasphemies 2, explains it as follows: "as if she is the people's property".
[5] παχεῖα : Archilochus fr. 206 West = 88 Adrados = 184 Bergk. Cf. Eustathius 1651.2 παρὰ σφυρὸν παχεῖα μισήτη γυνή "of thick ankles, hateful woman" (mu 1112, and cf. pi 829). Suetonius explains the term "because of gluttony" (διὰ τὸ πολύτροφον ) and cf. uenterque mollis in Horace Epodes 9.
[6] βορβορόπις : Hipponax fr. 158 Degani (βορβορόπη preoptandum)= 135b West (βορβορόπη ) = 146 Medeiros (βορβορῶπις ) = 153b Masson (βορβορόπη ); cf. Eustathius 1329.32 (βορβορόπη ). The word form transmitted in the manuscripts and accepted by Adler, βορβορόπις , corresponds to a compound of βόρβορος and ὀπή "hole", but the sequence of short vowels violates Wackernagel's Second Law. Medeiros, following the manuscripts of Suetonius, accepts as good the form βορβορῶπις "of disgusting look". If the reconstruction is to be accepted, it is a parody of Homeric compounds like βοῶπις, γλαυκῶπις, κυνῶπις .
[7] ἀκάθαρτος : "unclean". In every manuscript we read καί , but it does not conveys a satisfactory meaning. I would prefer Bergk's conjecture ὡς (or ἤτοι' . Translate "he calls her βορβορόπις , which is the same as 'unclean'", etc.
[8] βόρβορος . Compounds of this word often acquire an obscene or scatological meaning; cf. Henderson p.192.
[9] ἀνασυρτόπολις : ἀνασυρτό{πο}λιν Hipponax fr. 152 Degani = 135a West = 145 Medeiros = 135a Masson. The compound as it appears in the text is clearly a corruption, and because of that all the editors reconstruct ἀνασυρτόλιν . Medeiros explains the corrupted form transmitted in the manuscripts as a contamination of Ἀνασυρτις and Ἀνασυρολις . Cf. οἰφόλης, οἰφόλις .
[10] ἀνασύρομαι ; cf. Anacreon 18.
[11] πανδοσία . Anacreon fr. 163 Gentili = 156 Bergk = 466 PMG. A compound built in imitation of the name "Pandora".
[12] λεωφόρος . Anacreon fr. 60.13 Gentili = POxy. 2321 = 346.1.13 PMG; A term parodical of Homer: cf. Iliad 15.682; see Gentili p.191.
[13] μανιόκηπος : Anacreon fr. 164 Gentili = 158 Bergk; cf. Gentili p.183.
[14] κῆπος . See the many testimonia for this meaning collected in Henderson p.135; and cf. beta 391.
[15] εἱλίπους : Eupolis fr. 161 Kock = 174.3 KA (PCG). An invented term parodying Homeric diction (cf. Iliad 6.424, Odyssey 1.92, etc.), where the word appears as a formulaic epithet referring to herds of cows or bullocks (always with smooth breathing). The ancient scholiasts and commentators explain it with reference to the verb εἵλω (cf. Sch.Er. Iliad 15.547b, Apollonius, Lexicon s.v.; but see Sch.Er. Iliad 9.466, where the term is linked with εἵλησις "stroke of the sunlight".) Such a relation with εἵλω is nevertheless doubtful, due to the absence of any trace of digamma; cf. LFrGE s.v., Chantraine, Grammaire Homérique p.132.
Henderson, Jeffrey. 1975. The Maculate Muse. New Haven and London: Yale University Press
Tedeschi, G. 1978. "Lingue e culture in contatto: il problema della lingua in Ipponatte." ILing 4 (2):225-235
Adrados, Francisco R. 1956. "Noveaux fragments et interpretations d'Archiloque". RPh 30: 28-36
Masson, Olivier. 1952. Review of M.F. Lasserre: Les epodes d'Archiloque. In Gnomon, p. 310
Keywords: clothing; comedy; daily life; definition; epic; gender and sexuality; imagery; poetry; women
Translated by: Daniel Riaño on 21 February 2000@12:44:18.
Vetted by:
William Hutton (Altered punctuation, raised vetting status to "low") on 21 February 2000@12:49:19.
Ross Scaife ✝ (removed angle brackets around text) on 24 June 2000@12:00:10.
David Whitehead (another headword; adjustments to translation; extensive cosmetics) on 6 January 2005@09:32:13.
David Whitehead (typo (mine) and further cosmetics) on 7 January 2005@04:40:17.
David Whitehead (x-ref) on 7 January 2005@04:41:50.
David Whitehead (more x-refs) on 7 January 2005@04:46:02.
David Whitehead (another) on 7 January 2005@04:48:06.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 30 May 2013@04:19:42.
Catharine Roth (deleted link) on 15 September 2013@00:47:14.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 15 April 2015@00:23:09.
Catharine Roth on 15 April 2015@00:29:03.
David Whitehead (typo and other cosmetics) on 16 June 2016@11:10:21.


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