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Headword: *paidi/a
Adler number: pi,857
Translated headword: childhood, childishness
Vetting Status: high
Thus the Attic Greeks [say it] with a short final syllable and paroxytone accent, as applying to a plaything.[1] Aristophanes in Wealth [writes]: "[sc. Play] here, with nuts" -- "What kind of game [is that]?"[2]
Eunapius [writes]: "and they, believing it [to be] some kind of game contrived by their enemies, so outrageous that they could not tolerate it, were made to scream as much out loud against those whom they attacked."[3]
But paidei/a [meaning] education [is spelled] with a diphthong.[4]
Greek Original:
*paidi/a: ou(/tws *)attikoi\ braxukatalh/ktws kai\ parocuto/nws, e)pi\ tou= paigni/ou. *)aristofa/nhs *plou/tw|: au)tou= labou=sa ka/rua. paidia\n ti/na; *eu)na/pios: kai\ oi( me\n paidia/n tina e)k tw=n polemi/wn h(gou/menoi tosou=ton e)dusxe/rainon, o(/son h)nagka/zonto boa=n, kaq' ou(\s e)mba/loien. *paidei/a de\ h( pai/deusis dia\ difqo/ggou.
The headword is a feminine noun in the nominative singular. The Suda's source is uncertain, as the exact headword does not appear in the quotations given. These in fact pertain to paidia/, an oxytone (Smyth, 157) with long final alpha, which is already glossed at both pi 855 and pi 856 [n.1]. The headword is nevertheless well-attested. It appears, for example, in the genitive singular at Plato, Laws 808E (web address 1), meaning childhood and again in the dative singular at Plato, Laws 864D (web address 2), meaning childishness.
[1] From the scholia to Aristophanes, Plutus [Wealth] 1056 (web address 3); cf. next note. There the headword phrase is paidia\n ti/na, and the scholiast correctly observes that paidia/ means plaything or game. The existence of an Attic cognate that is brachycatalectic and paroxytone -- ending in a short syllable (Dickey, p. 230) and accented on the penultimate syllable (Smyth, 157), respectively-- is noted, but the word itself (paidi/a) is not given. (There is an Ionic form, paroxytone too, but with a long ultima: paidi/h, childhood; see LSJ s.v. paidi/a.) Moreover, the scholiast conflates the meaning of paidia/ with paidi/a; cf. Etymologicum Magnum 657.50-3 and Herodian, On orthography 3.2.563.2. Furthermore, here the Suda adds to the confusion by supplying the Attic cognate absent from the scholion and by further adducing an excerpt from Eunapius [n.3] that exemplifies oxytone paidia/, not paroxytone paidi/a. However, both Theognostus, Canones 31.6 (Anecdota Oxoniensia 2.10.22) and ps.-Herodian 106.11 correctly associate to\ pai/gnion with the oxytone paidia/. [Adler's apparatus indicates that Aemilius Portus preferred that the Attic cognate be identified as oxytone.]
[2] Aristophanes, Plutus [Wealth] 1056 (web address 3), with scholion. The quotation is part of the stichomythia between the Old Woman and the Young Man, a familiar boor from her past, who suggests they play the guessing game described already at pi 856.
[3] Eunapius fr. 102 FHG (4.54); Blockley, pp. 124-5. [Adler notes that Bernhardy believed boa=n to be corrupt.]
[4] cf. pi 853.
H.W. Smyth, Greek Grammar, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1956
E. Dickey, Ancient Greek Scholarship, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007
R.C. Blockley, The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire: Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus and Malchus, vol. II, Liverpool: Francis Cairns, 1983
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: botany; children; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; food; gender and sexuality; historiography; history; imagery; military affairs; women
Translated by: Ronald Allen on 10 June 2008@16:11:34.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 10 June 2008@23:39:11.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 11 June 2008@03:29:52.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 18 September 2013@07:31:32.


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