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Headword: Νηφάλιος θυσία
Adler number: nu,356
Translated headword: sober sacrifice
Vetting Status: high
[A sober sacrifice] was offered among [the] Athenians to Mnemosyne, Dawn, Sun, Moon, Nymphs, Aphrodite Ourania, as Polemon says.[1] And χύλα νηφάλια ["sober timbers"] [is what they call timbers] which are not from grapevines or fig trees,[2] but those which are from thyme.[3] And this is the first [kind of] wood for sacrifices with fire, from which also thyme takes its name, as the sound [of the word] is made from θυμίασις ["fumigation"] and θύη ["sacrifice"]. But there are some sacrifices altogether without libations, which became customary by chance. Sophocles [writes]: "for I would never have met first with you[4] in my travels, sober as I am with you abstainers from wine." [He is] addressing the Eumenides.[5]
[The one] which are called ἄοινοι ["wineless"] because they are always sober and do not allow drunkenness.[6] But this is because of the sleeplessness of divine justice.[7]
Greek Original:
Νηφάλιος θυσία παρὰ Ἀθηναίοις ἐτελεῖτο Μνημοσύνῃ, Ἠοῖ, Ἡλίῳ, Σελήνῃ, Νύμφαις, Ἀφροδίτῃ Οὐρανίᾳ: ὥς φησι Πολέμων. καὶ ξύλα δὲ νηφάλια, τὰ μὴ ἀμπέλινα μήτε σύκινα, ἀλλὰ τὰ ἀπὸ τῶν θύμων. καὶ πρώτη ἐστιν αὕτη ὕλη πρὸς τὰς ἐμπύρους θυσίας, παρ' ὃ καὶ τοὔνομα λαβεῖν τὸν θύμον, ὡς παρὰ τὴν θυμίασιν καὶ τὴν θυὴν πεποιημένης τῆς φωνῆς. εἰσὶ δέ τινες τοπαράπαν ἄσπονδοι θυσίαι, κατὰ τύχην εἰς ἔθος παρελθοῦσαι. Σοφοκλῆς: οὐ γὰρ ἄν ποτε πρώταισιν ὑμῶν ἀντέκυρσ' ὁδοιπορῶν, νήφων ἀοίνοις. πρὸς τὰς Εὐμενίδας λέγων. αἳ ἄοινοι λέγονται, ὡς ἀεὶ νήφουσαι καὶ μὴ μέθην παρέχουσαι. τοῦτο δὲ διὰ τὸ τῆς θείας δίκης ἄϋπνον.
See also nu 357 (and cf. nu 356).
[1] Polemon fr. 42 FHG.
[2] cf. nu 355.
[3] Mss MA have a note added: θύμος, βοτάνη "thyme, a plant"; cf. theta 572.
[4] Mss GM agree with Sophocles' text [below] in reading the dative ὑμῖν rather than the genitive here.
[5] Thus far, the entry comes from Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 98-100 (web address 1), with scholion.
[6] The construction is difficult here. Aemilius Portus in his edition of 1630 read μέθης μετέχουσαι "[not] having a share in drunkenness"; Gaisford conjectured μέθῃ προσέχουσαι "[not] attending to drunkenness".
[7] This comment on the Eumenides is lacking in mss AV; in the margin of ms M.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: botany; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; food; historiography; history; imagery; mythology; religion; tragedy
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 4 October 2009@01:24:56.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 4 October 2009@04:25:08.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 9 June 2013@06:50:35.
Catharine Roth (tweaked link) on 9 June 2013@18:31:34.


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