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Headword: δεῖ χελώνης κρέα φαγεῖν, μὴ φαγεῖν
Adler number: eta,85
Translated headword: either one should eat a tortoise's flesh or not eat it
Vetting Status: high
Small portions of tortoise flesh, when eaten, produce colics but purify many things; hence the origin of the proverb according to Demon.[1] But others apply it to those who have shed themselves of a concern but are on campaign.[2] It is said to be one of Terpsion's.[3]
Greek Original:
Ἢ δεῖ χελώνης κρέα φαγεῖν, ἢ μὴ φαγεῖν: τῆς χελώνης ὀλίγα κρέα βρωθέντα στρόφους ποιεῖ, πολλὰ δὲ καθαίρει: ὅθεν τὴν παροιμίαν εἰρῆσθαι Δήμων. ἕτεροι δὲ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀποδύντων μὲν τὸ πρᾶγμα, στρατευομένων δέ. φασὶ δὲ αὐτὴν Τερψίωνος εἶναι.
Also in Photius, Lexicon eta42 (see further below, n.2); cross-referenced, summarily, at kappa 2364, and see also chi 192.
Besides the paroemiographers (Zenobius 4.19, etc.) see Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 8.337B [8.17 Kaibel], with two versions playing on the κρέα /χρή ("flesh"/"should") ambiguity.
[1] Demon FGrH 327 F10.
[2] This contrast makes no sense; and the aorist participle στρατευσαμένων printed (and obelized) by Theodoridis in Photius s.v. is no better from a substantive point of view. We need a different verb altogether: στραγγευομένων (Casaubon) or στραγγευσαμένων (Porson), i.e. from στραγγεύομαι "loiter, delay" (a textual corruption attested elsewhere).
[3] tau 362.
Keywords: daily life; ethics; food; historiography; medicine; military affairs; philosophy; proverbs; zoology
Translated by: David Whitehead on 18 June 2004@09:54:51.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, status) on 21 June 2004@23:20:50.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 22 June 2004@03:15:49.
David Whitehead (another x-ref) on 27 July 2007@03:28:47.
David Whitehead (another note and keyword) on 23 January 2008@09:37:03.
David Whitehead (augmented notes) on 21 March 2011@07:23:21.
David Whitehead on 5 December 2012@07:40:10.
David Whitehead on 27 January 2014@10:09:23.
David Whitehead on 16 January 2015@06:31:00.
David Whitehead on 22 April 2016@07:47:22.
Catharine Roth (tweak) on 25 July 2018@01:36:00.


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