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Headword: *kerasbo/la
Adler number: kappa,1374
Translated headword: horn-struck, hard-shelled
Vetting Status: high
Tough [seeds], growing together both amongst tough [plants] and amongst pulses;[1] black in colour, round, and of the same size as millet grains; they do not soften when boiled together with pulses. They are so called because sowing and the plough[2] strike and hit against ox horns. So when [sc. Plato] says "horn-struck",[3] he means the uneducated and tough[-minded] and law-breakers.
Greek Original:
*kerasbo/la: ta\ sklhra\ kai\ e)n toi=s sklhroi=s kai\ e)n toi=s o)spri/ois sumfuo/mena, th=| me\n xroia=| me/lana, stroggu/la de\ kai\ i)somege/qh ke/gxrois: a(\ suneyo/mena toi=s o)spri/ois ou) th/ketai. ei)/rhtai de\ a)po\ tou= th\n kataspora\n kai\ to\ a)/rotron toi=s ke/rasi tw=n bow=n beblh=sqai kai\ a)ntitu/ptein. o(/tan ou)=n le/gh| kerasbo/lous, tou\s a)paideu/tous kai\ sklhrou\s kai\ mh\ peiqome/nous toi=s no/mois fhsi/.
The headword is an adjective in the neuter plural. Very similar entry in other lexica (see the references in Photius kappa589 Theodoridis), but with particular differences noted below.
[1] (The Suda is wrong to repeat 'tough' in this definition; the other lexica have "growing together both amongst wheat and amongst pulses".) Besides Plato (below), kerasbo/la are also mentioned by Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection (PG 46.157 -- cited from the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers translation: see web address 1), and by Gregory of Nazianzus (Carmina Moralia 626). The latter writes: "there is a dry unsoakable seed, which never sinks into the ground, or fattens with the rain; it is harder than horn; its horn has struck the horn of the ox, what time the ploughman's hand is scattering the grain over his land."
[2] Odd accusative for "sowing and the plough" (presumably meaning "during sowing with the plough"). W.C. Greene's edition of the scholia vetera to Plato, where the same phrase occurs, considers this passage corrupt; so does Theodoridis loc.cit., who quotes Kuster's conjecture kata\ th\n spora\n kai\ to\n a)/roton.
[3] Plato, Laws 853D (web address 2). The word's metaphorical use in Plato is also commented on in Plutarch, Moralia [Quaestiones conviviales] 700C.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: botany; Christianity; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; food; imagery; law; philosophy; poetry; religion
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 7 November 2008@02:58:31.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 7 November 2008@03:41:24.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation, added link) on 8 November 2008@01:57:39.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note and link) on 9 November 2008@01:05:41.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 18 February 2013@07:56:45.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 26 February 2015@01:30:24.
David Whitehead (rearranged n.1; another keyword) on 26 February 2015@02:49:10.


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