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Headword: Χαί̈α
Adler number: chi,4
Translated headword: genuine, fine, true
Vetting Status: high
Meaning good. From the [verb] to gape. Aristophanes [writes]: "she is fine [...], and what is more, Corinthian". That is, a prostitute. Since Corinth was full of prostitutes.
Greek Original:
Χαί̈α: ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀγαθή. παρὰ τὸ κεχηνέναι. Ἀριστοφάνης: χαί̈α μέν ἐστι, Κορινθία δέ. τουτέστι πόρνη. ἐπεὶ ἡ Κόρινθος ἐπληθύνετο πόρναις.
An approximation (and abridgement) of a Laconian-dialect passage in Aristophanes, Lysistrata 90-91 (abridged), with comment from the scholia there.
The original statement does not, as here, involve a μέν /δέ contrast; rather, the link between the two parts of the statement is "simply connective" (Henderson); hence the etymology suggested is not implausible, whether it refers to external signs (the buttocks) or is suggestive of sexual habits.
The cult of Aphrodite in Corinth involved sacred prostitution, so called (OCD(4) s.v. [pp.1226-7] points out the modernity of the term); see e.g. Strabo 8.20.20. (Pindar records the dedication of a large number of them at fr. 122.) In any case, the connection between Corinth and the sex-trade is ubiquitious in the sources; cf. e.g. omicron 924, chi 601.
Aristophanes, Lysistrata, edited with introduction and commentary by Jeffrey Henderson (Oxford 1987)
Keywords: comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; gender and sexuality; geography; religion; women
Translated by: Roger Travis on 22 June 1999@14:45:29.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation; augmented notes and keywords) on 23 November 2001@03:26:23.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 22 April 2010@07:25:19.
David Whitehead (augmented notes) on 5 August 2011@08:23:53.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 1 August 2014@06:00:59.


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