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Headword: *purfo/ros
Adler number: pi,3251
Translated headword: fire-bearer
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning someone] carrying fire. They used to call 'fire-bearers' the priests kindling the fire on an altar. So during wars those who won were in the habit of sparing the priests. When defeat and destruction in war had been total, however, the custom was to employ exaggeration and say that the losses were such that not even a fire-bearer -- the same as saying a priest -- remained from the army.[1]
Greek Original:
*purfo/ros: pu=r fe/rwn. purfo/rous de\ e)/legon tou\s i(ere/as tou\s e)pibw/mion pu=r a)na/ptontas. e)n toi=s ou)=n pole/mois ei)w/qasi tw=n i(ere/wn oi( nenikhko/tes fei/desqai. e)pi\ de\ tw=n pantelw=s h(tthqe/ntwn kai\ sumpathqe/ntwn e)n tw=| pole/mw|, ei)w/qasin u(perbolh=| xrw/menoi ou(/tws le/gein, o(/ti ou(/tws a)pw/lonto, w(/ste ou)de\ purfo/ros [tau)to\n de\ ei)pei=n i(ereu/s] u(pelei/fqh tw=| stratw=|.
Likewise or similarly in other lexica (and elsewhere): references at Photius pi1579 Theodoridis.
For a different, impersonal sense of the headword see pi 3252.
[1] cf. omicron 813, omicron 814.
Keywords: daily life; definition; military affairs; proverbs; religion
Translated by: David Whitehead on 30 September 2002@07:00:20.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 6 October 2002@00:50:52.
David Whitehead on 30 June 2004@07:07:05.
David Whitehead on 24 October 2013@07:27:46.
David Whitehead on 25 May 2016@05:42:37.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 31 December 2021@20:01:44.


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