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Headword: *qettalh\ gunh/
Adler number: theta,289
Translated headword: Thessalian woman
Vetting Status: high
In reference to witches. For the Thessalians are accused of being enchanters; even up to the present time the Thessalian women are called witches. They say it is because Medea when she fled threw her box of magic drugs there and they sprouted. But Attic [speakers] pronounce [*Qettalh/] with barytone accent [i.e. as *Qetta/lh].[1] Aristophanes [writes]: "I buy a Thessalian woman and drag down the moon by night and then hide it away like a mirror." For the circle of the moon is round like a mirror. And they say that those who are clever at such things draw down the moon with it. There is also a trick of Pythagoras with a mirror as follows: When the moon is full, if someone writes whatever he wishes on a mirror with blood and, denouncing the other person, stands behind him and shows the words to the moon, if he looks closely at the circle of the moon he may read all that is written on the mirror as though it is written on the moon.[2]
Greek Original:
*qettalh\ gunh/: e)pi\ tw=n farmaki/dwn. diaba/llontai ga\r oi( *qettaloi\ w(s go/htes: kai\ me/xri kai\ nu=n farmaki/des ai( *qettalai\ kalou=ntai. fasi\ de\ o(/ti h( *mh/deia feu/gousa ki/sthn e)ce/bale farma/kwn e)kei=, kai\ a)ne/fusan. baruto/nws de\ oi( *)attikoi\ a)naginw/skousin. *)aristofa/nhs: gunai=ka pria/menos *qettalh\n kaqe/lkoimi nu/ktwr th\n selh/nhn: ei)=ta kaqei/rcaim' w(/sper ka/toptron. o( ga\r th=s selh/nhs ku/klos strogguloeidh\s w(s e)/soptron. kai/ fasi tou\s peri\ ta\ toiau=ta deinou\s tou/tw| kata/gein th\n selh/nhn. e)/sti de\ kai\ *puqago/rou pai/gnion dia\ kato/ptrou toiou=ton. plhroselh/nou th=s selh/nhs ou)/shs, ei)/ tis e)/soptron e)pigra/yeien ai(/mati, o(/sa bou/letai, kai\ proeipw\n e(te/rw| stai/h kato/pin au)tou=, dei/knusi pro\s th\n selh/nhn ta\ gra/mmata, ka)kei=non a)teni/sai plhsi/on ei)s to\n th=s selh/nhs ku/klon, a)nagnoi/h pa/nta ta\ e)n tw=| kato/ptrw| gegramme/na, w(s th=| selh/nh| gegramme/na.
Aristophanes, Clouds 749-751 (web address 1), with comment from the scholia there. This is Strepsiades' plan for stopping the procession of the months in order to put an end to paying interest.
[1] The scholiast's fuller version of this phrase clarifies what the Suda means. The substantive point is also made by Herodian, repeated in Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. 'Thessalia'.
[2] What is described here is the magical practice called traducement, by which one informs on a rival to the moon.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: aetiology; biography; chronology; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; imagery; mythology; religion; women
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 14 March 2001@01:09:30.
Vetted by:
William Hutton (Modified translation, set status) on 14 March 2001@23:10:37.
David Whitehead (augmented note and keywords) on 22 July 2004@03:45:44.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 2 January 2013@05:02:47.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr; another note) on 17 January 2016@04:35:33.


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