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Headword: *)wsti/as
Adler number: omega,247
Translated headword: ostias
Vetting Status: high
The Romans call doors "ostias".[1] From the fact that a person coming to them pushes them out[2] (ex-oth-ein). Hence also "ostiarius", a man in charge of a door who pushes away those wishing to enter. Aristophanes in Wealth:[3] "It is appalling, if we jostle with each other all the time in the Assembly for the sake of three obols."[4] And in Acharnians:[5] "These people[6] will jostle one another, you can't think how, for front boards." Meaning they will jostle for front seats, as if the seats were wooden; but that they were actually of stone must be clear to everyone.[7] From the present tense "ostizo"[8]. The sentence is spoken as if to an addressee.[9] And Homer: "you would say they were tireless and indestructible." Also, "then you would not have seen him asleep."[10]
Greek Original:
*)wsti/as: oi( *(rwmai=oi w)sti/as ta\s qu/ras fasi/n. para\ to\ e)cwqei=n to\n e)perxo/menon. e)/nqen kai\ w)stia/rios, o( kratw=n ta\s qu/ras kai\ w)qi/zwn tou\s ei)sie/nai boulome/nous. *)aristofa/nhs *plou/tw|: deino\n ga/r, ei) triwbo/lou me\n e(/neka w)stizo/meq' e(ka/stot' e)n th=| e)kklhsi/a|. kai\ e)n *)axarneu=sin: oi(/d' w)stiou=ntai, pw=s dokei=s, peri\ tou= prw/tou cu/lou. a)nti\ tou= diwqh/sontai peri\ th=s proedrei/as, w(s culi/nwn ou)sw=n tw=n kaqedrw=n: o(/ti de\ kai\ e)k li/qwn, panti/ pou dh=lon. a)po\ e)nestw=tos tou= w)sti/zw. o( de\ lo/gos w(s pro/s tina/ e)sti lego/menos. kai\ *(/omhros: fai/hs ka)kmh=tas kai\ a)teire/as. kai/, e)/nq' ou)k a)\n bri/zonta i)/dois.
This entry reads like a conflation of two separate entries, one on a Latin word and one on a Greek one. In fact it is based on a single Aristophanic scholion (on Wealth [Plutus] 330), supplemented by another on a parallel passage (Acharnians 24-5); somewhere between excerption and compilation the lemma and first few words of the Wealth scholion were lost, and a lemma was concocted (too hastily) from the first sentence of the truncated entry. The lemma should have been w)stizo/mesqa "we jostle"; the Latin words are cited (with a fantastic Greek etymology) as parallels to illustrate the (correct) claim that w)sti/zomai is derived from the root of w)qe/w "push".
[1] So most mss. of the Wealth scholion; a few give the correct accusative plural form ostia (in Greek w)sti/a).
[2] That is, out of the closed position; this is not a statement about the direction in which Roman doors opened. The etymology is absurd; ostium is derived from os "mouth".
[3] Wealth 329-30; cf. tau 998. Only the relevant part of the sentence is quoted; the speaker (the chorus-leader) is actually saying that it would be appalling if men who frequently jostle for a mere three obols were to "let go of [the god of] Wealth himself for someone else to take".
[4] The payment for attending the Assembly at the time when Wealth was produced (388 BC); see ?Aristotle, Athenaion Politeia 41.3. It was probably paid only to a limited number of persons, perhaps 6000 (the quorum for certain types of Assembly business), so there was keen competition to get to the meeting before the pay-tickets ran out; cf. Aristophanes, Ekklesiazousai 282-4, 288-92, 296 (for the pay-ticket or su/mbolon), 377-91.
[5] Acharnians 24-5. The context is that the speaker, Dikaiopolis, has arrived at the Pnyx for an Assembly meeting and found no one else there - not even the presiding officers, the fifty prytaneis - though it is long after the scheduled starting time (this is in 425 BC, before the introduction of Assembly pay).
[6] viz. the prytaneis - though oi(/d' "these people" is actually a corruption (the Aristophanic mss. read ei)=ta d' "and then").
[7] In a clause omitted in the Suda's version, the scholiast cites, in support of this claim, Aristophanes, Knights 754, where the Athenian people in assembly are said be sitting "on this rock". He has mistakenly supposed that this refers to stone seats (in fact it refers to sitting on the natural rock of the Pnyx, which in Knights 783-5 is making the Demos' bottom sore), and has then confused this supposed seating for the public with the wooden benches where the prytaneis sat to preside over the meeting - which must of course have been separate from, and facing, the public area.
[8] Purely a theoretical lexicon form; only the mediopassive w)sti/zomai is in actual use.
[9] An explanation of the idiom pw=s dokei=s "you can't think how"; the explanation is necessary because the speech in which the sentence occurs is in fact a soliloquy.
[10] Homer, Iliad 15.697 and 4.223 respectively (both narratorial remarks).
Gauthier, Philippe. "Sur l'institution du misthos de l'assemblée a Athenes." Aristote et Athenes. Ed. M. Piérart. Fribourg: Séminaire d'Histoire ancienne de l'Université de Fribourg / Paris: de Boccard, 1993. 231-50.
Hansen, Mogens Herman. "How many Athenians attended the Ecclesia?" GRBS 17 (1976) 115-34 [reprinted with addenda in Mogens Herman Hansen, The Athenian Ecclesia: a collection of articles 1976-1983. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1983. 1-23].
Hansen, Mogens Herman. "Reflections on the number of citizens accommodated in the assembly place on the Pnyx." The Pnyx in the History of Athens. Ed. B. Forsén and G.R. Stanton. Helsinki: Finnish Institute at Athens, 1996. 23-33.
Olson, S. Douglas. Aristophanes: Acharnians. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. 75.
Sommerstein, Alan H. Aristophanes: Ecclesiazusae. Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1998. 154, 164, 166, 167, 174.
Keywords: architecture; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; history
Translated by: Alan Sommerstein on 9 October 2003@09:28:50.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added x-ref and keyword; augmented bibliography; cosmetics) on 9 October 2003@10:12:10.
David Whitehead (coding) on 20 May 2016@09:21:13.


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