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Headword: Σκύθης
Adler number: sigma,704
Translated headword: Scythian, Skythian
Vetting Status: high
The inhabitant of Rus'.[1]
And [there is] a proverb: "a Scythian [toying with] the donkey;"[2] in reference to those being prudish at the mention [of something] but in fact desiring [it]; for someone saw a dead donkey and said, "Look Scythian, dinner!" The other at first felt disgust, but in turn, having been curious about it, prepared[3] it for eating.[4]
Look also in [the entry] 'the Scythian [toying with] the horse.'[5] Anacharsis was a Scythian, but of a Greek mother; for this reason, he was also bilingual; [it was he] who gave laws to the Scythians.[6]
Greek Original:
Σκύθης: ὁ Ῥῶς. καὶ παροιμία: Σκύθης τὸν ὄνον: ἐπὶ τῶν ἀκκιζομένων τῷ λόγῳ, ἔργῳ δὲ ἐφιεμένων: ἰδὼν γάρ τις νεκρὸν ὄνον, ἔφη: δεῖπνόν τοι, ὦ Σκύθα. ὁ δὲ ἐμυσάξατο μὲν πρῶτα, αὖθις δὲ πολυπραγμονήσας περὶ αὐτὸν ἐπονεῖτο. καὶ ζήτει ἐν τῷ τὸν ἵππον ὁ Σκύθης. ὅτι Ἀνάχαρσις Σκύθης ἦν, μητρὸς δὲ Ἑλληνίδος: διὸ καὶ δίγλωσσος ἦν: ὃς ἔθηκε νόμους Σκύθαις.
[1] The entry locates Scythia in the land of the Rus'. See W. Treadgold "Three Byzantine Provinces and the First Byzantine Contacts with the Rus'," Harvard Ukrainian Studies 12/13 (1988/89): 132-44. On ancient Scythia, see D. Braund (ed.) (2005), Scythians and Greeks: Cultural Interactions in Scythia, Athens and the Early Roman Empire (sixth century BC - first century AD) . Exeter University Press.
[2] The verb is omitted here and in the entry's source (see n. 3 below). Hesychius sigma1152 has the reading Σκ. ὄνειον δαῖτα ("a dinner of donkey"). Alternatively, alpha 878 presents the proverb as ἀκκιζόμενος Σκύθης τὸν ὄνον "the Scythian flirted with/pretended to be disgusted at the donkey."
[3] The verb here could either be from πονέω (used in passive for meats, "to be dressed or cooked," LSJ πονέω B.II.2.b, but here in the middle voice in an active sense), or from ὀνέω = ὀνίνημι ("to enjoy," LSJ ὀνίνημι II.).
[4] Leutsch-Schneidewin, Corpus Paroemiographorum Graecorum (Hildesheim: G. Olms), 1961, appendix, p.452 no.74 (Σκυθῆς τὸν ὄνον ). There is a slightly different version in Suda alpha 878 (n. 1 above), and see also next note.
[5] tau 764; see also omicron 695.
[6] From delta 854. See also alpha 2130.
Keywords: biography; daily life; definition; ethics; food; geography; law; proverbs; women; zoology
Translated by: Timothy Pepper on 25 April 2001@07:04:21.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added keywords; cosmetics) on 25 September 2002@07:10:05.
David Whitehead (tweaks; more keywords) on 21 May 2010@04:21:32.
Aikaterini Oikonomopoulou (Slightly improved the beginning of the translation. Added a bibliographical note.) on 24 May 2012@10:54:59.
Catharine Roth (tweaked betacode, deleted links) on 25 May 2012@12:44:45.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 30 December 2013@04:21:44.
David Whitehead (coding) on 26 May 2016@05:04:20.


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