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Headword: *galea/gra
Adler number: gamma,25
Translated headword: weasel-trap, iron-maiden
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning a] device for punishment.
"As a finale they threw [him?] into a weasel-trap all shut up with iron bolts and rolled it on rough ground."[1]
And elsewhere: "but he threw [him] into an iron weasel-trap and killed [him]."[2]
Greek Original:
*galea/gra: o)/rganon timwrhtiko/n. kai\ teleutw=ntes ei)s galea/gran e)mbalo/ntes pero/nais sidhrai=s dieirgme/nhn pa=san e)n dusxwri/ais e)ku/lion. kai\ au)=qis: o( de\ e)n galea/gra| sidhra=| balw\n a)pe/kteinen.
This word was frequently used in reference to cages for catching and/or holding various animals (though curiously, never weasels): e.g. Job 27:1 LXX; the Alexander Romance 3.18; Strabo 6.2.6; Plutarch, Moralia 974D (and cf. Lexica Segueriana, Glossae rhetoricae 227.33, Photius gamma10, Etymologicum Magnum 220.27). More frequently the animal trapped and/or held was human, as here. See note 1 below for reference to examples. Hermogenes, On forms 2.11, in discussing the vocabulary of Hypereides, classifies it as a recherché word.
[1] Quotation unidentifiable, though it may be a dim reflection of what we find in Appian, Libyca 15, and Polyaenus 8.12 (both in reference to the death of Regulus at the hands of the Carthaginians), or Cassius Dio 59.10 (on the abuses of Caligula). The use of the word dieirgme/nhn is puzzling here since it should normally mean 'fenced apart'. It is translated here as if it could mean 'fenced around' or 'shut up'. It is possible that instead we should understand the phrase as 'kept apart by iron bolts', i.e. the device had iron bolts on the inside both to support the structure while it is rolled and to give the occupant something uncomfortable to bump up against. 'Bolts' (pero/nai) could also be translated as 'pins' or 'spikes' (as is suggested by the passages referred to above from Appian and Polyaenus, in which the weasel-trap used on Regulus has ke/ntra ('skewers') on the inside).
[2] This seems to be a paraphrase of a longer quotation found in kappa 240 (in reference to Alexander the Great's use of the device on Kallisthenes).
Keywords: biography; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; historiography; history; imagery; law; science and technology; trade and manufacture; zoology
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 16 June 2002@21:33:03.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented and modified notes; added keyword; cosmetics) on 17 June 2002@05:57:40.
William Hutton (added alternative headword, augmented notes, added keyword, raised status) on 12 April 2008@09:46:23.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 4 June 2012@08:45:05.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 21 August 2012@01:18:53.
David Whitehead on 27 September 2015@04:18:08.


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