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Headword: *)epi/tton
Adler number: epsilon,2712
Translated headword: I was pitching-up
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] I was behaving licentiously [towards], I was kissing all over. Strictly, to pitch-up is to smear broad ships with pitch; so thence the term has been derived metaphorically. Or meaning I was stirring up, I engaged in coitus. Aristophanes in Wealth [writes]: "because I was pitching her up earlier for a decent amount of time."[1] But e)/piton ['approach'], with one t, [means] come toward, proceed toward. "Speak! approach!" Aristophanes in Frogs [writes this].[2]
Greek Original:
*)epi/tton: h)se/lgoun, katefi/loun. pittou=n de/ e)sti kuri/ws to\ ta\s platei/as nau=s pi/tth| xri/ein: e)/nqen ou)=n meth/nektai h( le/cis. h)\ a)nti\ tou= e)ki/noun, sunh=lqon. *)aristofa/nhs *plou/tw|: i(kano\n ga\r au)th\n pro/teron e)pi/tton xro/non. *)/epiton de\ di' e(no\s t, e)pe/rxesqe, e)piporeu/esqe. le/geton, e)/piton. *)aristofa/nhs *batra/xois.
(Not a new entry, Adler reports, in mss VM.)
The headword, transmitted as e)pi/tton, should probably be e)pi/ttoun, i.e. first person singular, imperfect indicative active, of pisso/w, with the -tt- of Attic dialect. (The word here is accented as if the last syllable were long.) One ms of Aristophanes (see next note) has e)pi/ttoun, and that is the form found in the derivative entry of ps.-Zonaras 847 and in the scholia, but this word and the variant offered by the Suda are unmetrical. The Aldine edition of Aristophanes printed u(pepi/ttoun ('I was pitching-up underneath') and that is the reading adopted in most modern editions.
[1] Aristophanes, Wealth [Plutus] 1093 (web address 1), with comments derived from the scholia (see general note above). It is unclear why the practice of smearing pitch should be limited here to "broad ships". The Suda's e)ki/noun ('I was stirring up') is probably a mistake for the scholia's e)bi/noun ('I was fucking'), but the verb kine/w ('move', 'stir up') occurs in at least one scholion on the passage, and can have an erotic sense (unless it is a euphemism or taboo-deformation of bine/w ('fuck'); see LSJ s.v. kine/w II.4: web address 3).
Henderson [below] 145-6 #183, on secreta muliebria, discusses this Plutus passage and related ones at Ecclesiazusae 1108f and (with the noun pi/tta) Wasps 1375.
[2] Aristophanes, Frogs 1106 (web address 2), with comment from the scholia. Dual imperative. The words used to gloss it here are regular plural imperatives. Adler reports that ms A lacks the bulk of this section, apart from the citation of Frogs.
J. Henderson, The Maculate Muse (New Haven 1975)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: botany; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; gender and sexuality; imagery; medicine; meter and music; poetry; science and technology; trade and manufacture; women
Translated by: William Hutton on 12 December 2007@06:16:15.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented n.1 and keywords; bibliography; tweaks and cosmetics) on 12 December 2007@06:35:25.
William Hutton (typo) on 27 April 2009@09:05:10.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 21 October 2012@09:21:53.
Catharine Roth (betacode cosmeticule) on 7 November 2017@22:41:12.


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