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Headword: Μελλονικιᾶν
Adler number: mu,534
Translated headword: to dither like Nikias
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] the [habit of ] delaying and deferring. Aristophanes [writes]: "it is not the time for us to doze, or to dither like Nikias". For[1] Nikias the son of Alkibiades[2] [was the man] who kept putting off his departure for Sicily.[3] For he was slow in the matter of his expeditions, and, according to his detractors, not a cautious man but a procrastinator. Rather, it is [sc. sometimes] necessary to do something as quickly as possible.
Greek Original:
Μελλονικιᾶν: τὸ βραδύνειν καὶ ἀναβάλλεσθαι. Ἀριστοφάνης: οὐδὲ νυστάζειν ὥρ' ἐστὶν ἡμῖν, οὐδὲ μελλονικιᾶν. Νικίας γὰρ υἱὸς Ἀλκιβιάδου, ὃς ἀνεβάλετο ἀπελθεῖν εἰς Σικελίαν. βραδὺς γὰρ ἦν περὶ τὰς ἐξόδους, καὶ ὡς οἱ διαβάλλοντες οὐ προνοητικός, ἀλλὰ μελλητής. ἀλλ' ὡς τάχιστα δεῖ τι δρᾶν.
Aristophanes, Birds 638-640 (web address 1), with scholion.
cf. generally mu 488, mu 538.
[1] The point, impossible to transfer from Greek to English translation, is that the headword verb involves a pun on 'victory' (nike) and the name Nikias.
[2] Nikeratos, rather (cf. under kappa 1731); an amusing error taken over from the scholiast.
[3] In 415 BCE. See generally Thucydides 6.1-32 (with a notable emphasis on this very point).
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; military affairs; politics
Translated by: David Whitehead on 3 June 2008@05:08:00.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added link, set status) on 4 June 2008@20:31:02.
David Whitehead (augmented notes) on 5 June 2008@03:11:18.
David Whitehead (augmented n.2) on 7 July 2009@10:35:02.
David Whitehead on 15 May 2013@06:16:02.


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