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Headword: Κιβδηλία
Adler number: kappa,1573
Translated headword: adulteration, dishonesty
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
[Meaning] paring(s) from money/silver. That is, wickedness and envy. But at the same time because coins are debased[1] -- from what is handed over by [the] Kians.[2] Aristophanes in Birds [writes]: "you have taken away much of the dishonesty of life."[3]
Greek Original:
Κιβδηλία: ὁ ἐκ τοῦ ἀργύρου ῥύπος. τουτέστι μοχθηρία καὶ ζηλοτυπία. ἅμα δὲ ὅτι τὰ νομίσματα κιβδηλεύεται, παρὰ τὸ ὑπὸ Κίοις δεδομένον. Ἀριστοφάνης Ὄρνισι: πολλὴν ἀφεῖλες τοῦ βίου κιβδηλίαν.
Notes:
The gloss is taken from the scholia to Aristophanes, Birds 158; see further below.
cf. generally kappa 1574, kappa 1575.
[1] The senses are all connected: debasing coinage can involve shaving off some of its silver content; debasing coinage is in turn the action of someone wicked (though not obviously envious) --- hence the metaphorical use of the term in Aristophanes, noted below.
[2] A distortion of the folk etymology given in the scholia to Birds: "but also [note] that coins are called adulterated (κίβδηλα ), because they are manifested by [the] Chians (Χίων δεδηλῆσθαι )". (sic, i.e. the Suda gets the geography as well as the verb wrong.) The scholia and several other sources, claiming a folk etymology for κίβδηλα as χίβδηλα , allude to an incident of either Chians disfiguring Athenian coins to invalidate them, or vice versa (Tzetzes' scholia on Aristophanes, Frogs 721; scholia on Gregory of Nazianzus, Against Julian PG 36.1212d; Etymologicum Magnum s.v. κίβδηλον ). See discussion in Figueira (1998:161-163). Chios was allied with Athens, and the anecdote is hard to situate, but Figuera finds it of interest as it suggests that currency from Chios was accepted as valid in Athens (and could only be invalidated if it was already valid). Also alluded to in kappa 1575.
[3] Aristophanes, Birds 158 --- by mentioning the fact that Cloudcuckooland has no money.
Reference:
Figueira, Thomas J. 1998. The Power of Money: Coinage and Politics in the Athenian Empire. U. Pennsylvania Press.
Keywords: Christianity; comedy; definition; economics; ethics; geography; imagery; religion; rhetoric; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 19 November 2008@04:21:04.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 19 November 2008@04:47:00.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 19 November 2008@19:07:09.
Catharine Roth (more typos, found by NN) on 19 November 2008@20:06:24.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 22 February 2013@09:45:01.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 1 May 2016@05:11:55.

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