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Headword: Φραστῆρες
Adler number: phi,692
Translated headword: indicators
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] the teeth calibratory of ages.[1] Aristophanes [writes]: "[despite] being seven years old, Archedemos[2] has not cut his kinsmen."[3] Instead of saying "[cut] the teeth, the indicators," he said "kinsmen", that is to say, of the same kin. The metaphor comes from children, who when they are around seven years old have all their teeth. Thus he is saying that [Archedemos] grew up without having been able to be enrolled into the citizen-body.[4] "And now he is a demagogue among the corpses up above, and [holds] a position of primacy for the mischief there." Instead of saying citizenship or demagoguery, he said mischief: humorously [speaking] against their wicked deeds. He is not saying the Athenians are corpses on account of their misdeeds; rather, down below they plausibly call the living up above corpses.
Greek Original:
Φραστῆρες: οἱ γνώμονες τῶν ἡλικιῶν ὀδόντες. Ἀριστοφάνης: ἑπτέτης ὢν Ἀρχέδημος οὐκ ἔφυσε φράτορας. ἀντὶ τοῦ εἰπεῖν ὀδόντας: φραστῆρας, φράτορας εἶπε, τούτεστι συγγενεῖς. ἡ μεταφορὰ ἀπὸ τῶν παίδων, οἵτινες ὄντες περὶ τὰ ἑπτὰ ἔτη ἔχουσι πάντας τοὺς ὀδόντας. λέγει οὖν, ὅτι χρονίσας ἐν ταῖς Ἀθήναις οὐκ ἠδυνήθη ἀναγραφῆναι εἰς τοὺς πολίτας. καὶ νῦν δημαγωγεῖ ἐν τοῖς ἄνω νεκροῖς κἄστι τὰ πρῶτα τῆς ἐκεῖ μοχθηρίας. ἀντὶ τοῦ εἰπεῖν πολιτείας ἢ δημαγωγίας, μοχθηρίας εἶπε: χαριέντως πρὸς τὰ κακὰ αὐτῶν. οὐ λέγει δὲ διὰ τὴν κακοπραγίαν νεκροὺς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους: ἀλλὰ πιθανῶς οἱ κάτω τοὺς ζῶντας ἄνω νεκρούς φασι.
The headword is the masculine nominative plural form of φραστήρ : teller, expounder, informer, indicator (see generally LSJ s.v., and cf. already phi 691). The Suda apparently takes the headword from the scholia to Aristophanes, Frogs 418-421 (web address 1), on which see further below. See also delta 411, epsilon 2872.
[1] The φραστῆρες ὀδόντες are the adult (permanent, secondary) teeth that a child typically acquires by age seven (cf. epsilon 2872).
[2] Archedemos (Develin, person no. 300) was a popular leader in late-fifth-century Athens; he managed the two-obol fund that alleviated war-time stress, and prosecuted (406 BCE) Erasinides (Develin, no. 1057; cf. epsilon 2895), an Athenian general at the battle of Arginusae (cf. alpha 3778; alpha 3111 note; epsilon 1136 note; delta 234; epsilon 3234; epsilon 3657 note; omicroniota 101). Xenophon, Hellenica 1.7.2 recounts these events (web address 2).
[3] A close approximation of Aristophanes, Frogs 418-421 (web address 1). The passage plays upon the headword φραστῆρες (indicators) and the phonologically similar Attic Greek word φράτορας (masculine accusative plural form of φράτωρ ) for men of the same φρατρία (kin group, brotherhood, phratry). It is difficult to render the pun into English, but Henderson suggests "At seven he still hadn't cut his kinsdom teeth" (Henderson, p. 81). On Greek phratries generally see OCD(4), s.v.
[4] A father would not normally delay the introduction of his male infant to the phratry, unless there was a question of the child's legitimacy (Dover, p. 248; Lambert, p. 162).
R. Develin, Athenian Officials 684-321 BC, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989
J. Henderson, ed. and trans., Aristophanes, Frogs Assemblywomen Wealth, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002
K.J. Dover, Aristophanes Frogs, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993
S.D. Lambert, The Phratries of Attica, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1993
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; children; comedy; constitution; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; history; imagery; medicine; military affairs; politics
Translated by: Ronald Allen on 6 August 2007@23:53:49.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 7 August 2007@00:07:50.
David Whitehead (more x-refs; modified keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 7 August 2007@03:15:21.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 12 November 2010@22:37:33.
David Whitehead on 17 December 2013@10:06:36.
David Whitehead on 7 August 2014@03:55:21.


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