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Headword: *eu)ermi/a
Adler number: epsilon,3442
Translated headword: good fortune, a stroke of luck from Hermes
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] lucky finding, success.[1] Like dusermi/a, [meaning] failure.[2] Hence they used to call chance discoveries "Hermes shared by all."[3]
Aelian [writes]: "Mithridates described the departure of Lucullus as a stroke of luck for him."[4] And elsewhere: "welcoming the good fortune of the opportunity and, with necessity summoning, not yielding to cowardice."[5]
Greek Original:
*eu)ermi/a: e)pituxi/a, eu)tuxi/a. w(s dusermi/a, h( a)tuxi/a. e)nteu=qen kai\ ta\ a)po\ th=s tu/xhs eu(rh/mata koino\n *(ermh=n e)/legon. *ai)liano/s: *miqrida/ths de\ th\n a)podhmi/an *leukou/llou e(autw=| kate/grayen eu)ermi/an ei)=nai. kai\ au)=qis: a)spazo/menos eu)ermi/an kairou= kai\ a)na/gkhs kalou/shs mh\ ei)/kwn ka/kh|.
cf. Photius, Lexicon epsilon2153 (without the quotations), and, more briefly under eu)ermh/s, Hesychius epsilon6804. Photius records a related verb eu)ernw= (epsilon2156), unattested and probably in error for eu)erme/w, for which see Pollux 5.135. [Theodoridis now prints eu)ermw=.]
This abstract noun is derived from the name of Hermes (epsilon 3037, epsilon 3038, epsilon 3034) in his capacity as the god who brings prosperity (OCD(4) s.v., 2nd. para.; LIMC 5.285-387, esp. 287-88 "le dieu d'abondance"); it is related to the phallic talisman called the herm (epsilon 3029) and to the noun e(rmai=on for a lucky find (epsilon 3030, epsilon 3031, with ancient explanations of this use).
[1] For these compounds, with their mixture of chance and success, see epsilon 2673, epsilon 3781, epsilon 2674, epsilon 2738, epsilon 3682, epsilon 3784, and for other synonyms see eta 647, epsilon 3541, epsilon 3586, epsilon 3587, epsilon 3660, kappa 2756, kappa 2772.
[2] See delta 1621, and Photius, Lexicon delta812.
[3] This proverb (kappa 2560 with a different explanation, Hesychius kappa3263; cf. Simplicius, Comm. in Epictetum 132.40; Proclus, On Plato's Alcibiades 105.2), sometimes translated "share the luck!" and parallel to koino\n tu/xh, is common in Greek: see LSJ under koino/s I (web address 1). See Aristotle, Rhetoric 1401a20-22; Menander, Epitrepontes 284, 317; Diodorus Siculus 5.51.1; Lucian, Navigium 11.22; cf. Plutarch, Moralia 777D.
[4] Aelian fr. 12e D-F (12 Hercher). It is uncertain whether this refers to Mithridates' contempt for L. Licinius Lucullus when he secured the command against him in 74 BC or to his joy at the recall of Lucullus after his victory over Tigranes. See lambda 688 (with the usual form *lou/koullos rather than the error here, *leu/koullos) and OCD(4) 834, with refs. The word a)podhmi/a probably refers to Lucullus' departure from Rome rather than from Armenia.
[5] Aelian fr. 264 D-F (266 Hercher), cf. kappa 146. For the phrase "yielding to cowardice" cf. Plato, Menexenus 246B. Aelian also uses the headword for a lion's success at hunting (On the Nature of Animals 5.39).
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: aetiology; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; history; mythology; philosophy; proverbs; zoology
Translated by: Robert Dyer on 17 June 2003@04:22:26.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added keyword; cosmetics) on 17 June 2003@11:28:25.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 6 November 2012@04:32:13.
David Whitehead (updated some refs) on 1 August 2014@09:29:41.
Catharine Roth (coding, upgraded link) on 22 February 2015@00:43:11.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticules) on 25 January 2018@20:05:09.
Catharine Roth (expanded title) on 25 January 2018@20:07:29.


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