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Headword: *pri/wn
Adler number: pi,2298
Translated headword: saw
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] the carpenter's tool [of that name].[1]
In the Epigrams: "a straight-running saw, following the red line."[2] And again: "a stiff saw with curved handle."[3]
And Babrius: "and he said, sawing his teeth"[4]. Meaning gnashing.
"The saw was absent, and I didn't know 'buy'". [So says] Aristophanes. Meaning I didn't know the verb 'buy.' For he did not need to purchase, since he had [it] at home. So he is saying, since the farm produces everything, I had no need to buy.[5]
Greek Original:
*pri/wn: to\ tektoniko\n e)rgalei=on. e)n *)epigra/mmasin: i)qu/dromo/n te pri/ona, milti/w| ba/mmati peiqo/menon. kai\ au)=qis: kai\ tetano\n nw/tw| kampto/menon pri/ona. kai\ *ba/brios: ka)kei=nos ei)=pe ta\s siago/nas pri/wn. a)nti\ tou= bru/kwn. o( pri/wn a)ph=n, ou)d' h)/|dein pri/w. *)aristofa/nhs. a)nti\ tou= ou)de\ e)gi/nwskon to\ pri/w r(h=ma. ou)de\ ga\r e)dei=to a)gora/sai, oi)/koi e)/xwn. pa/nta ou)=n fhsi: tou= a)grou= fe/rontos, ou)de\n e)/dei moi tou= pri/asqai.
[1] LSJ entry at web address 1 for pri/wn(A).
[2] Greek Anthology 6.103.3-4 (Philippos); for its continuation see mu 1071. Manuscript reading is sta/gmati instead of ba/mmati. The red dye evidently served as a guide-line for sawing, cf. Greek Anthology 6.205.4.
[3] Greek Anthology 6.204.2 (Leonidas of Tarentum). Both of these quotations come from dedicatory epigrams for carpenters retiring from their work. See Gow and Page (vol. I, 109), (vol. II, 316), and further excerpts from this epigram at delta 108 and rho 289. Gow and Page suggest (ibid.) that the epigram describes an ancient bow saw: a tool having a curved handle that holds the blade taut and, by arching over the blade, furnishes the carpenter with a working grip.
[4] Babrius 96.3. This pri/wn is the present participle of the verb pri/ein "to saw"; see LSJ entry for pri/w(2) at web address 2.
[5] Aristophanes Acharnians 35-36 (web address 3) and scholia. There is a play on pri/wn "saw" and pri/w imperative of pria/sqai "buy" (cf. mu 2272, mu 2283, mu 2297): see LSJ entry for pri/wn(B) at web address 1.
A.S.F. Gow and D.L. Page, eds., The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams, vol. I, (Cambridge, 1965)
A.S.F. Gow and D.L. Page, eds., The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams, vol. II, (Cambridge 1965)
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: agriculture; comedy; daily life; definition; economics; imagery; poetry; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 3 March 2001@22:57:11.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes; cosmetics) on 23 May 2001@07:21:37.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 21 November 2005@06:48:25.
Catharine Roth (punctuation, keyword) on 21 November 2005@11:02:09.
Catharine Roth (tweak) on 29 April 2010@19:58:06.
David Whitehead on 14 October 2013@05:59:53.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 25 June 2014@12:26:46.
Ronald Allen (expanded n.3, added bibliography, added cross-references) on 16 February 2021@14:56:23.


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