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Headword: *diatre/xontes
Adler number: delta,796
Translated headword: meteors
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] the stars darting across [the sky],[1] the spark-emitters.
Greek Original:
*diatre/xontes: oi( dia/|ttontes a)ste/res, oi( a)pospinqhri/zontes.
The headword is an actually a present participle (from the verb diatre/xw), literally meaning 'darting-across' or 'rushing-across'; i.e. 'shooting [stars]'. The glossing is from the scholia to Aristophanes, Peace 838 (web address 1), where one character asks what oi( diatre/xontes a)/steres are (and another replies that they are "rich folks on their way home from the feast with a lantern"). "Spark-emitters" (cf. Aristotle, Meteorologica 341b30) may suggest specifically "fireballs," very bright meteors with a visual magnitude brighter than -3, similar to that of the planet Venus (web address 2), as LSJ indicates that spinqhrobole/w is used of that planet in a papyrus (P.Mag.Par.I). If so, this would lend further humor to Aristophanes' characterization, as fireballs are very conspicuous, and very transitory.
[1] cf. delta 786 for this headword and gloss in reverse.
The American Meteor Society, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Fireballs and Meteorite Dropping Fireballs [web address 2]
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; imagery; science and technology
Translated by: Patrick T. Rourke on 18 May 2003@20:40:42.
Vetted by:
Patrick T. Rourke (Caught own typos) on 18 May 2003@20:45:52.
Catharine Roth on 19 May 2003@01:17:44.
David Whitehead (augmented notes; added keyword; cosmetics) on 19 May 2003@03:12:01.
William Hutton (Cosmetics in headword. Replaced missing title in note.) on 19 May 2003@08:16:59.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks to notes) on 2 July 2012@09:09:25.
David Whitehead (coding and other cosmetics) on 30 October 2015@07:43:07.


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