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Headword: *spa/nis
Adler number: sigma,903
Translated headword: scarcity, poverty
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] need.[1]
"Scarce gift of the wintry season."[2] The statement [is] about a quince.
Also [sc. attested is] spaniw/taton, [meaning] very little [in number].[3]
Also [sc. attested is] spanistoi=s ['with scanty'], [meaning with] the inexpensive [ones].[4] Sophocles [writes]: "[who] will receive [him] with scanty gifts" -- [meaning] those given in line with the poverty of the one asking -- "when he asks a small thing but takes something smaller than small, and even this [is] sufficient for me[?]"[5] Taking away something less substantial than what had been asked for. For one does not get as much as one asks.
Greek Original:
*spa/nis: e)/ndeia. w(/rhs xeimeri/hs spa/nion ge/ras. peri\ mh/lou o( lo/gos. kai\ *spaniw/taton, o)li/gon. kai\ *spanistoi=s, toi=s eu)tele/si. *sofoklh=s: spanistoi=s de/cetai dwrh/masi; toi=s kata\ spa/nin tou= ai)tou=ntos didome/nois. smikro\n me\n e)caitou=nta, tou= mikrou= de/ ti mei=on fe/ronta, kai\ to/d' e)carkou=n e)moi/. braxu/teron a)pofero/menon tou= ai)thqe/ntos. ou) ga\r o(/son ai)tei= tis, lamba/nei.
[1] = Synagoge sigma168; Photius, Lexicon sigma436 Theodoridis. The nominative singular headword may be a generic lexical reference, but might also be extracted from a literary source such as Euripides, who uses this form several times, e.g. Hecuba 12 (nominated by Theodoridis), Orestes 942; cf. scholia ad locc. See also sigma 898.
[2] Greek Anthology 6.252.5 (Antiphilus), using not the headword but a related adjective. The epigram recounts the gift of a quince, preserved in winter, to a noblewoman of high rank; cf. Gow and Page (vol. I, 92-93); (vol. II, 117); and further excerpts from this epigram at alpha 904, alpha 976, alpha 4212, kappa 2502, mu 934, nu 439, and pi 3074.
[3] This secondary lemma is a superlative form (masculine singular accusative or neuter singular nominative/accusative) of the adjective that has appeared in the preceding quotation (n. 2). It is evidently extracted from a literary source; the possibilities are numerous. Adler compares Anecdota Graeca (Cramer) 2.409.10 (hence Etymologicum Magnum 722.40, which similarly glosses the positive form of the adjective) and Lexicon Ambrosianum 674.
[4] This third lemma, yet another adjective related to the headword, is in the dative plural, extracted from the quotation that follows, in which context the word is neuter.
[5] Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 4-6, with comments from the scholia thereto.
A.S.F. Gow and D.L. Page, eds., The Greek Anthology: The Garland of Philip and Some Contemporary Epigrams, vol. I, (Cambridge, 1968)
A.S.F. Gow and D.L. Page, eds., The Greek Anthology: The Garland of Philip and Some Contemporary Epigrams, vol. II, (Cambridge, 1968)
Keywords: agriculture; botany; chronology; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; ethics; food; imagery; mythology; poetry; tragedy; women
Translated by: William Hutton on 17 March 2014@12:09:07.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (tweak, typo, status) on 17 March 2014@13:01:14.
David Whitehead (tweaking; raised status) on 18 March 2014@04:18:50.
David Whitehead (my typo; coding) on 26 May 2016@06:23:00.
Ronald Allen (expanded n.2, added bibliography, added cross-references, added keyword) on 25 April 2019@23:49:34.
Ronald Allen (tweaked translation after consultation with Catharine Roth) on 26 April 2019@18:02:01.


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