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Headword: *)asta/qmhton
Adler number: alpha,4218
Translated headword: uncertain
Vetting Status: high
"[They] not suspecting the obscurity and uncertainty of their fortune."[1]
Also [sc. attested is the masculine] a)sta/qmhtos, [meaning someone who is] un-level, unstable.[2]
"And with respect to other [sc. kinds of] excellence this man was, so to speak, uncertain."[3]
"They endured the sea on account of necessity, reckoning that in their current constraint the uncertainty of that element offered them more security than the land."[4]
And to speak poetically, "there will be a day when sacred Ilios will be destroyed." And taking account, in saying this, of the uncertainty of men.[5]
Also[6] [sc. attested is the superlative] a)staqmhto/taton ["most/very uncertain"], concerning which no one would be able to guess or estimate, what at some point might be known or what might happen. Demosthenes in [his speech On] the Dishonest Embassy [uses this word].[7]
Greek Original:
*)asta/qmhton: to\ a)/dhlo/n te kai\ a)sta/qmhton th=s tu/xhs ou)x u(forw/menoi. kai\ *)asta/qmhtos, a)/nisos, a)/statos. kai\ dh\ kai\ th\n a)/llhn a)reth\n a)sta/qmhtos, w(s ei)pei=n, o( a)/nqrwpos ou(=tos h)=n. oi( de\ e)peto/lmhsan th=| qala/tth| dia\ th\n a)na/gkhn, to\ te/ws a)sta/qmhton stoixei=on h(gou/menoi th=s gh=s pisto/teron e)/sesqai sfi/sin e)n th=| bi/a| th=| to/te. kai\ to\ poihtiko\n ei)pei=n, e)/ssetai h)=mar o(/tan pot' o)lw/lh| *)/ilios i(rh/. kai\ tou=to ei)pei=n to\ tw=n a)nqrw/pwn a)sta/qmhton ei)=nai logizo/menos. kai\ *)astaqmhto/taton, peri\ ou(= ou)dei\s a)\n du/naito tekmh/rasqai ou)de\ staqmh/sasqai, ti/ pote dianoei=tai, h)\ ti/ pra/cai. *dhmosqe/nhs e)n tw=| *parapresbei/as.
The unglossed headword is presumably extracted from the first quotation given.
[1] Quotation unidentifiable, but Adler (apparatus) suggested Polybius. It may be an aphorism or proverbial saying, also reflected in Leo the Deacon (History p.41.16), to\ ga\r a)sta/qmhton th=s tuxh=s kai\ a)/dhlon… u(pologizo/menos.
[2] For the second gloss here cf. the scholia to Thucydides 4.62.4, where the headword appears (web address 1).
[3] Quotation unidentifiable, but Adler (apparatus) suggested Damascius, and now Life of Isidore fr. 375 Zintzen.
[4] Quotation unidentifiable.
[5] The passage quoted is Homer, Iliad 4.164 (web address 2). The quotation as a whole has been attributed to Polybius (see Adler, apparatus), though far from securely.
[6] This final paragraph derives from Harpokration s.v.
[7] Demosthenes 19.136 (web address 3).
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: biography; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; ethics; historiography; history; proverbs; rhetoric
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 7 March 2002@12:28:30.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation; augmented and modified notes; cosmetics) on 8 March 2002@03:37:24.
Robert Dyer (Added parallel to first citation, and keyword.) on 9 March 2002@15:01:24.
Catharine Roth (expanded note 3, cosmetics, keyword) on 14 September 2010@23:10:17.
David Whitehead (added primary note and more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 15 September 2010@03:44:24.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 30 June 2011@11:07:10.
Catharine Roth (tweaked links) on 5 December 2015@00:46:36.


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