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Headword: *klhrwth/ria
Adler number: kappa,1786
Translated headword: allotment-machines
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] allotment authorities,[1] allotment-urns. Aristophanes [writes]: "and what will you use the allotment-machines for?" -- "I'll take (an urn) down into the agora, and then standing by [sc. the statue of] Harmodius, I'll draw a lot for everybody, until each one whose lot is drawn can go away happy to know under which [lot's] letter he will dine.[2] And [the herald] will proclaim that those out of the [letter] beta will follow through to the royal stoa to dine. [Those with] the [letter] theta [will go] into the [stoa] next to it (thêtas "serfs"? thêteion "bondage"?).[3] Those [with] the [letter] kappa will make their way into the flour-market stoa." -- "To gorge themselves (kaptôsin)?"[4] -- "No, by Zeus. Just to dine there.!" -- "So if someone's letter is not drawn, for them to dine under, do they then get drawn away by everybody?" -- "But that is not our way. We will provide everyone with everything in abundance, until everyone leaves drunk, with a wreath, and holding a torch."[5]
Greek Original:
*klhrwth/ria: ai( klhrwtikai\ a)rxai/, ai( klhrw/trides. *)aristofa/nhs: ta\ de\ klhrwth/ria poi= tre/yeis; ei)s th\n a)gora\n kataqh/sw [klhrw/trida]: ka)=|ta sth/sasa par' *(armodi/w| klhrw/sw pa/ntas, e(/ws a)\n ei)dw\s o( laxw\n a)ph/|ei xai/rwn e)n poi/w| gra/mmati deipnei=. kai\ khru/cei tou\s e)k tou= bh=ta e)pi\ th\n stoa\n a)kolouqei=n th\n basi/leion deipnh/sontas. to\ de\ qh=ta ei)s th\n para\ tau/thn. [qh=tas, qh/teion.] tou\s de\ to\ ka/ppa ei)s th\n stoa\n xwrei=n th\n a)lfito/pwlin. i(/na ka/ptwsi; ma\ *di/': a)ll' i(/n' e)kei= deipnw=sin, ou(/tw de\ to\ gra/mma mh\ e)celkusqh=|, kaqo\ deipnh/sei, tou/tous e)celw=sin a(/pantes; a)ll' ou)k e)/sti tou=to par' h(mi=n: pa=si ga\r a)/fqona pa/nta pare/comen, w(/ste mequsqei\s au)tw=| stefa/nw| pa=s tis a)/peisi th\n da=|da labw/n.
Aristophanes, Ecclesiazusae 681-692 (dialogue between Blepyros and Praxagora), with explanatory comments paralleled in the scholia there.
The passage describes a system for allocating jurors to Athenian courts, operative in the early fourth century (after bribery scandals at the end of the fifth), and later superseded by the even more complicated one described in ?Aristotle, Athenaion Politeia 63-65. (For the best modern commentary on it, see D.M. MacDowell, The Law in Classical Athens (1978) 36-38.) In the play, Aristophanes parodies this in his depiction of an Athens run on communistic principles: there will be no private property, and thus no theft, so the lawcourts can be put to better use -- providing meals for everyone.
[1] The headword literally means "place of drawing lots." The scholion (which the Suda repeats) is patently guessing at its sense here, and LSJ s.v. flounders also.
[2] That is, the letter on the lot will indicate the place he will dine.
[3] The Suda is guessing at what theta stands for here, inserting words that sound like "theta". The first word is also the scholiast's guess; he then adds 'into the Theseion'. This was not a stoa, either grammatically or substantively, but Pausanias 1.3.3 does mention a stoa (unnamed) 'behind' the royal stoa, whose murals depicted Theseus.
[4] Blepyros is trying to guess where Praxagora's kappa is. If Praxagora is making a pun other than what follows, it is lost to us.
[5] cf. alpha 4539.
Keywords: architecture; art history; botany; comedy; constitution; definition; ethics; food; geography; politics
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 1 December 2008@06:41:47.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (x-ref; more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 1 December 2008@10:22:26.
David Whitehead (expanded primary note and n.3; more keywords; tweaking) on 3 March 2013@05:33:34.
David Whitehead (coding) on 1 May 2016@09:15:16.


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