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Headword: *to\ *mhliako\n ploi=on
Adler number: tau,752
Translated headword: the Melian boat
Vetting Status: high
This is said in reference to boats that leak too much. [It comes] from a historical episode: for Aristotle says[1] that when Hippotes was being sent out to [sc. found] a colony, he called down curses on those who had refused to sail with him. Because their excuses for staying behind were in some cases that their womenfolk were ill and in others that their boats were leaking, his curse on them was that they would never have watertight boats and always be ruled by their women.
Greek Original:
*to\ *mhliako\n ploi=on: e)pi\ tw=n a)/gan r(eo/ntwn ploi/wn ei)/rhtai tou=to. a)po\ i(stori/as tino/s: fhsi\ ga\r *)aristote/lhs *(ippo/thn ei)s a)poiki/an stello/menon, toi=s mh\ boulhqei=sin au)tw=| sumplei=n katara/sasqai. e)peidh\ ga\r profasizo/menoi, oi( me\n ta\s gunai=kas au)toi=s a)rrwstei=n, oi( de\ ta\ ploi=a r(ei=n, kate/menon, kathra/sato, mh/te ploi=a stegana\ au)toi=s gene/sqai pote\ kai\ u(po\ tw=n gunaikw=n kratei=sqai a)ei/.
Already at mu 923 (as "Melian boat"); but the present entry is fuller.
[1] Aristotle fr.554 Rose, from the Constitution of the Melians. The version of the proverb in Diogenianus 8.31 adds what is omitted here, that the colonizing community was Sparta. (For Melos as a Spartan colony cf. Herodotus 8.48 [web address 1], Thucydides 5.84.2 [web address 2], etc.) Conversely, Diog. does not confirm the odd-looking name "Hippotes"; perhaps Hippo[kra]tes or Hippot[el]es?
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: aetiology; biography; daily life; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; medicine; military affairs; philosophy; proverbs; religion; science and technology; women
Translated by: David Whitehead on 8 July 2001@09:50:59.
Vetted by:
William Hutton (cosmetics, added links and keywords, set status) on 8 October 2003@14:43:02.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 9 October 2003@03:08:21.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 1 May 2011@08:42:13.
David Whitehead on 14 August 2011@09:44:49.


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