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Headword: *plhmmelei=n
Adler number: pi,1754
Translated headword: to commit an error, to offend
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] to be disorderly, and to be impudent, and to be negligent.[1] Also [sc. attested is the related adjective] plhmmele/s ["erroneous"], [meaning something] dissonant [e)kmele/s], and negligent, and uneducated/boorish.[1] [sc. Plato writes in the] Lysis: "to grant that what is useless is friendly is erroneous."[2] "[No one...] would be thought to speak erroneously."[3]
"But because of his own error [plhmme/lhma] he will be stopped by me from ruling."[4] That is, [his own] mis-step.
"And they called upon the owner of the baggage-animal to turn around and to rectify the disorder [plhmmelh/matos]."[5]
Greek Original:
*plhmmelei=n: to\ a)taktei=n, kai\ u(bri/zein, kai\ r(a|qumei=n. kai\ plhmmele/s, to\ e)kmele/s, kai\ r(a/|qumon, kai\ a)pai/deuton. *lu/sis: to\ de\ a)/xrhston fi/lon o(mologei=n plhmmele/s. plhmmelw=s a)\n do/ceie le/gein. o( de\ dia\ to\ oi)kei=on plhmme/lhma u(p' e)mou= pauqh/setai th=s a)rxh=s. toute/sti ptai=sma. to\n de\ kekthme/non to\ nwtofo/ron zw=|on o)pi/sw trape/sqai e)ke/leuon kai\ e)panorqou=sqai tou= plhmmelh/matos.
The headword is the present active infinitive of the contract verb plhmmele/w, I make a false musical note, but, as LSJ s.v. notes, in usage it has the metaphorical sense of offending, erring, or being disorderly. The entry is perhaps generated from cognates of the headword attested in the quotations given; if not that, its origin is unclear.
[1] The glosses are present active infinitives of the verbs a)takte/w (I am undisciplined, indecent), u(bri/zw (I outrage, insult), and r(a|qume/w (I neglect, am remiss); see generally LSJ s.vv. The headword is identically glossed in Timaeus' Platonic Lexicon and Photius' Lexicon (pi945 Theodoridis).
[2] Plato, Lysis 222B (web address 1): Socrates stipulates that any friend is useful in some way.
[3] Plato, Laws 9.859E (web address 2, with an a)/n imported from part of the sentence not quoted): the Athenian contends, against some push-back from Clinias the Cretan, that it is not wrong to say that physically ugly men might be morally beautiful.
[4] Quotation unidentifiable.
[5] Theophylact Simocatta, Histories 2.15.7. It describes an incident in 587 CE where a military column marching under the command of the Byzantine general Komentiolos (Comentiolus, of Thracian origin, d. 602, kappa 1990, alpha 3649; PLRE, pp. 321-5 and Whitby, p. 15-6) was disrupted by a draft animal having lost its load; see Whitby and Whitby, pp. 64-5.
J.R. Martindale, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. IIIa, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992
Michael Whitby, The Emperor Maurice and His Historian: Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan Warfare, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988
Michael Whitby and Mary Whitby, The History of Theophylact Simocatta, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; geography; historiography; history; imagery; law; military affairs; meter and music; philosophy; science and technology; zoology
Translated by: Ronald Allen on 25 January 2013@02:03:35.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified one section of tr; tweaks and cosmetics) on 25 January 2013@03:33:09.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links, tweak) on 25 January 2013@13:23:18.
David Whitehead on 6 October 2013@08:12:28.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 23 December 2014@22:11:40.
William Hutton (tweaked translation) on 27 January 2018@12:05:15.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 19 September 2021@19:00:55.


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