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Headword: *)apo/rrhta
Adler number: alpha,3501
Translated headword: unspeakable [things]
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] incomprehensible [ones], hidden [ones].[1]
They used to say aporrĂȘta to imply prohibited things,[2] not only forbidden ones. "And they are saying things that should not be spoken to our enemies." Aristophanes [writes this] in Thesmophoriazusae.[3]
Unspeakable [things are] the ones prohibited in the laws. Thus Demosthenes [uses this word] in the [speech] In Defence of Ctesiphon.[4]
Everything which is prohibited they also call forbidden. Aristophanes [writes]: "he does not intend to do anything unspeakable."[5] Therefore they also give this name to things which are not to be exported.
Greek Original:
*)apo/rrhta: a)kata/lhpta, a)po/krufa. a)po/rrhta e)/legon ta\ a)peirhme/na e)ca/gesqai, ou) mo/non ta\ a)phgoreume/na. a)po/rrhta/ te toi=sin e)xqroi=si toi=s h(mete/rois le/gousin. *)aristofa/nhs *qesmoforiazou/sais. *)apo/rrhta, ta\ a)peirhme/na e)n toi=s no/mois. ou(/tws *dhmosqe/nhs e)n tw=| u(pe\r *kthsifw=ntos. pa/nta ta\ a)peirhme/na kai\ a)phgoreume/na le/gousin. *)aristofa/nhs: ou)/ ti t' a)po/rrhta dra=n e)sti me/llei. dio/per kai\ ta\ mh\ e)cagw/gima o)noma/zousin ou(/tw.
[1] Same material in other lexica.
[2] From the scholia to Aristophanes, Frogs 362.
[3] Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 363 (web address 1), with scholion.
[4] Demosthenes 18.123 (web address 2). Here the Suda has used Harpokration s.v., who cites this Demosthenic passage and Lysias 10.6.
[5] Aristophanes fr. 622 Kock (now 633 K.-A.) -- here very garbled: there is no initial negative, for example; but the notion of doing something unspeakable is clear enough.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; ethics; law; rhetoric; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 19 December 2001@12:34:10.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation; augmented notes; cosmetics) on 20 December 2001@04:09:14.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 30 June 2011@06:01:40.
David Whitehead on 4 April 2012@08:00:38.
David Whitehead on 22 December 2014@09:13:13.
David Whitehead (coding) on 29 August 2015@03:31:07.
Catharine Roth (tweaked links) on 20 September 2015@00:52:06.


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