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Headword: Ὀρέστης
Adler number: omicron,538
Translated headword: Orestes
Vetting Status: high
This man used to fake madness and strip the passers-by; for he was a cloak-thief. Or by way of a nickname, meaning raving like Orestes.[1] And [there is] a saying: 'to weave a cloak for Orestes'.[2] "For if any mortal were to meet the hero Orestes in the night, he would be naked after being struck by him all on the right side."[3] Heroes were wrathful and harsh to those who approached them; this is also why those who entered hero shrines used to do so in silence. But "on the right side": that is, the right side of the field of vision; for those who encountered Orestes were struck. Not [Orestes] the son of Agamemnon but a certain cloak-thief. Or "on the right side": eyes and head. Or because those who encounter heroes during the night used to avert their eyes.
Greek Original:
Ὀρέστης: οὗτος προσποιούμενος μανίαν τοὺς παριόντας ἀπέδυεν: ἦν γὰρ λωποδύτης. ἢ κατὰ προσωνυμίαν, ἀντὶ τοῦ μαινόμενος ὡς ὁ Ὀρέστης. καὶ παροιμία: Ὀρέστῃ χλαῖναν ὑφαίνειν. εἰ γὰρ ἐντύχοι τις ἥρῳ τῶν βροτῶν νύκτωρ Ὀρέστῃ, γυμνὸς ἦν πληγεὶς ὑπ' αὐτοῦ πάντα τἀπιδέξια. οἱ ἥρωες δυσόργητοι καὶ χαλεποὶ τοῖς ἐμπελάζουσιν ἐγίνοντο: διὸ καὶ οἱ τὰ ἡρῷα παριόντες ἐσίγων. ἐπιδέξια δέ, τουτέστι τὰ δεξιὰ τῆς ὄψεως: ἐπλήττοντο γὰρ οἱ ἐντυγχάνοντες τῷ Ὀρέστῃ: οὐχὶ δὲ τῷ Ἀγαμέμνονος, ἀλλὰ λωποδύτῃ τινί. ἢ ἐπιδέξια, ὀφθαλμοὺς καὶ κεφαλήν. ἢ ὅτι οἱ ἐντυγχάνοντες νυκτὸς ἥρωσι διέστρεφον τὰς ὄψεις.
[1] From the scholia to Aristophanes, Acharnians 1167; see already omicron 537.
[2] (As in several other instances of comedy quoted in the Suda, this 'saying' is not in the paroemiographers.) Aristophanes, Birds 712. Dunbar ad loc. has a long and careful note, disentangling O. the mythological hero from O. the clothes-robber and also arguing for the translation given here.
[3] Aristophanes, Birds 1490-2, followed here by material; from the scholia there.
Nan Dunbar (ed.), Aristophanes: Birds (O.U.P. 1995)
Keywords: clothing; comedy; daily life; definition; ethics; imagery; law; mythology; poetry; proverbs; religion; trade and manufacture
Translated by: William Hutton on 23 February 2010@22:30:12.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (tweaked tr; augmented notes; another keyword) on 24 February 2010@04:12:19.
David Whitehead (fixed note numbering; other cosmetics) on 7 July 2013@08:24:48.


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