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Headword: *qalamakei=s
Adler number: theta,5
Translated headword: hold-rowers, bottom-rank-rowers
Vetting Status: high
and [sc. also attested is] qala/maki ['for the hold-man'],[1], the man rowing in the bottom part of the trireme. The hold-rowers used to receive the least pay because they used smaller oars than the other three ranks of rowers,[2] because they were closer to the water. There were three ranks of rowers: the thalamites ['hold-men'] at the bottom, the zygites ['yoke-men'] in the middle, the thranites ['bench-men'] at the top. Or the thranite [was] the one near the stern, the zygite the middle one, the thalamios at the prow.[3] A thalamia [is] the hole or opening through which the oar comes out.
Greek Original:
*qalamakei=s: kai\ *qala/maki, tw=| kwphlatou=nti e)n tw=| ka/tw me/rei th=s trih/rous. oi( de\ qalamakei=s o)li/gon e)la/mbanon misqo\n dia\ to\ kolobai=s xrh=sqai kw/pais pro\s ta\s a)/llas trei=s ta/ceis tw=n e)retw=n, o(/ti ma=llo/n ei)sin e)ggu\s tou= u(/datos. h)=san de\ trei=s ta/ceis tw=n e)retw=n, h( me\n ka/tw qalami=tai, h( de\ me/sh zugi=tai, h( de\ a)/nw qrani=tai. h)\ qrani/ths o( pro\s th\n pru/mnan, zugi/ths o( me/sos, qala/mios o( pro\s th\n prw/ran. qalami/a de\ h( o)ph/, di' h(=s e)ce/rxetai h( kw/ph.
The headword appears to be nominative or accusative plural of an unattested noun qalamakeu/s, unless this form (also unattested elsewhere) is simply a mistake for qala/makes, nominative plural of qa/lamac (see n. 1 below); cf. theta 8, theta 454, theta 455, and generally Morrison & Coates (1986): 132-151; Casson (1995): 82-4.
[1] Dative singular of qa/lamac (web address 1); the form, a variant on the more common qalamio/s or qalami/ths (web address 2), appears at Aristophanes, Frogs 1074 (web address 3), and much of this entry comes from the scholia on that line; cf. Hesychius theta19, Etymologicum Magnum 441.24.
[2] It does say the other three ranks, even though there are only three ranks in total (as described below).
[3] If this is not a misunderstanding, or a description of the manning of some ship other than a trireme, then it perhaps refers to the fact that of any vertical rank of three rowers on a trireme, the uppermost man will be situated astern of the middle man, and the middleman astern of the bottom man.
J.S. Morrison & J.F. Coates, The Athenian Trireme (Cambridge 1986)
L. Casson, Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World (Baltimore & London 1995)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; military affairs; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Anne Mahoney on 12 December 1999@14:50:42.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified headword; added note, bibliography, keywords; cosmetics) on 28 May 2001@07:37:20.
Ross Scaife ✝ (changed from emph to i tags for xml validation) on 14 October 2002@11:14:56.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 21 January 2008@09:39:22.
William Hutton (tweaked headword and translation, modified and augmented notes, raised status) on 1 March 2008@05:40:46.
Catharine Roth (upgraded link) on 20 June 2011@12:53:08.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 23 December 2012@08:19:01.


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