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Headword: *diago/ras o( *mh/lios
Adler number: delta,524
Translated headword: Diagoras the Melian
Vetting Status: high
[A phrase used] in reference to atheists and unbelievers and impious people. For after the capture of Melos[1] this man was living in Athens, and he disparaged the mysteries[2] in such a way as to turn many people away from initiation. So the Athenians made the following proclamation against him, and inscribed it on a bronze monument: anyone who killed him would receive a talent, and anyone who brought him [alive] would receive two. This proclamation was made because of his impiety, when he described the mysteries to everyone, making them common knowledge, trivialising them, and turning away those people who wanted to be initiated. So Aristophanes says in Birds: "on this day in particular the proclamation is made: if one of you kills Diagoras the Melian, he will receive a talent, and if anyone kills one of the tyrants, the dead ones, he will receive a talent." 'Dead': that is, those who are fleeing under penalty of death. He has said with exaggeration, 'to kill the dead'.[3]
Greek Original:
*diago/ras o( *mh/lios: e)pi\ tw=n a)qe/wn kai\ a)pi/stwn kai\ a)sebw=n. ou(=tos ga\r meta\ th\n a(/lwsin *mh/lou w)/|kei e)n *)aqh/nais: ta\ de\ musth/ria ou(/tws hu)te/lizen w(s pollou\s e)ktre/pein th=s teleth=s. tou=to ou)=n e)kh/rucan kat' au)tou= *)aqhnai=oi kai\ e)n xalkh=| sth/lh| e)/grayan, tw=| me\n a)poktei/nanti ta/lanton lamba/nein, tw=| de\ a)/gonti du/o. e)khru/xqh de\ tou=to dia\ to\ a)sebe\s au)tou=, e)pei\ ta\ musth/ria pa=si dihgei=to, koinopoiw=n au)ta\ kai\ mikra\ poiw=n kai\ tou\s boulome/nous muei=sqai a)potre/pwn. fhsi\n ou)=n *)aristofa/nhs e)n *)/ornisi: th=|de me/ntoi qh)me/ra| ma/list' e)panagoreu/etai: h)\n a)poktei/nh| tis u(mw=n *diago/ran to\n *mh/lion, lamba/nein ta/lanton: h)/n te tw=n tura/nnwn tis tw=n teqnhko/twn a)poktei/nh|, ta/lanton lamba/nein. teqnhko/ti, toute/sti tw=n e)pi\ qana/tw| feugo/ntwn. e)n u(perbolh=| de\ ei)/rhtai, tou\s teqnhko/tas a)poktei/nein.
For Diagoras see already delta 523. The present entry stems from Aristophanes, Birds 1072-1075 (web address 1; reading ti/s tina in 1074), with comments from the scholia there.
[1] By Athenian forces, in 416/15 BCE. For Melos see generally mu 935.
[2] sc. of Eleusis. See generally mu 1485.
[3] The scholiast does his best here, but misses the central point that the allusion is to the Peisistratid tyrants of the previous century (pi 1474).
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; comedy; economics; ethics; geography; history; law; military affairs; religion
Translated by: Nicholas Wilshere on 16 October 2004@11:58:44.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (modified translation slightly, added link, set status) on 16 October 2004@22:03:50.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 17 October 2004@04:15:47.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 27 June 2012@08:32:12.


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