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Headword: *au)lhtou= bi/on zh=|s
Adler number: alpha,4438
Translated headword: you are living a piper's life
Vetting Status: high
[sc. A proverbial saying] in reference to those living from means not their own; insofar as pipers live for free by watching out for those who are sacrificing.
Greek Original:
*au)lhtou= bi/on zh=|s: e)pi\ tw=n e)c a)llotri/wn biou/ntwn: paro/son e)pithrou=ntes oi( au)lhtai\ tou\s qu/ontas e)c a)telei/as zw=sin.
Apostolius 4.33, etc.
Clearly a particular variety of piper is (disparagingly) envisaged in this proverb; certainly not (e.g.) the kind who, from 586 BCE, won the prestigious solo piping competition at the Pythian Games (see West 337). For lowlier practitioners see e.g. the paid piper who was a sort of musical hanger-on of the Athenian eponymous archon each year (Aristotle(?), Athenaion Politeia 62.2 [web address 1]); and if the gloss on the proverb is correct -- a crucial proviso -- others without such guaranteed income had to make their living opportunistically. (For the phrase "for free", e)c a)telei/as, cf. e.g. [Demosthenes] 59.39 [web address 2]). The scenario appears to be one in which the organisers of a sacrifice -- the common currency of ancient religion -- have not made advance provision for the participation of the piper but can be persuaded to hire him (or her) ad hoc.
M.L. West, Ancient Greek Music (Oxford 1992)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: athletics; daily life; economics; meter and music; proverbs; religion
Translated by: David Whitehead on 3 August 2001@03:49:28.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 27 August 2002@09:59:25.
William Hutton (cosmetics, added links and keyword, set status) on 30 June 2003@06:35:58.
David Whitehead (added opening note; cosmetics) on 30 June 2003@06:48:33.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 4 December 2005@07:43:55.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 30 April 2012@07:42:36.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 20 December 2015@20:10:30.


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