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Headword: *kle/pths
Adler number: kappa,1738
Translated headword: thief
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] he who takes away others' belongings, from the [verb] kle/ptw [meaning] I covet. Also [sc. attested is] kle/ptw ["I steal"], [meaning] I cheat. Homer [writes]: "do not cheat in your mind."[1] But kle/pths [comes] from the [verb] kalu/ptein ["to hide"].[2] He who has caused some harmful harm is also called kle/pths.
And elsewhere: "[he] stealing and obliterating the supposition ..."[3]
In ancient times theft was not a cause for reproach, unless the thief had been caught. Aristophanes in Wealth [Plutus] [writes]: "if he ought to escape notice, how is stealing not good behavior?"[4] "He [is] not more a thief, but perhaps [more] fortunate. It is a parody from Euripides' Alcestis: "some other woman will get you, not more virtuous, but perhaps [more] fortunate."[5]
Greek Original:
*kle/pths: o( ta\ a)llo/tria a)fairou/menos, para\ to\ kle/ptw, to\ e)piqumw=. kai\ kle/ptw, to\ paralogi/zomai. *(/omhros: mh\ kle/pte no/w|. kle/pths de\ a)po\ tou= kalu/ptein. le/getai de\ kle/pths kai\ o( e)pi\ bla/bh| tini\ bla/yas. kai\ au)=qis: kle/ptwn a)/ra kai\ a)fani/zwn th\n u(po/noian. o(/ti to\ palaio\n ou) diebe/blhto h( kloph/, ei) mh\ fwraqei\s o( kle/ptwn u(ph=rxen. *)aristofa/nhs *plou/tw|: ei)/ge laqei=n au)to\n dei=, pw=s ou) ko/smio/n e)sti to\ kle/ptein. kle/pths me\n ou)xi\ ma=llon, eu)tuxh\s d' i)/sws. parw/|dhtai para\ *)alkh/stidos *eu)ripi/dou: se\ d' a)/llh tis gunh\ kekth/setai, sw/frwn ou)xi\ ma=llon, eu)tuxh\s d' i)/sws.
For kle/pths and kle/ptw, see also kappa 1737, kappa 1739, kappa 1740 (and kappa 1248).
[1] Homer, Iliad 1.132 (web address 1); cf. n.2.
[2] Similarly elsewhere: Etymologicum Magnum 517.39, scholion on Sophocles, Electra 56, scholion on Homer, Iliad 1.132, Hesychius, Erotian 54.2.
[3] Aelian fr. 281 Domingo-Forasté (283 Hercher).
[4] cf. Aristophanes, Wealth [Plutus] 565-566 (web address 2), with scholion.
[5] Aristophanes, Knights 1251-1252 (web address 3), with scholion; cf. omicron 983. The Alcestis passage is lines 181-2 of that play.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: biography; chronology; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; ethics; imagery; tragedy; women
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 28 November 2008@17:20:05.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented n.5; more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 30 November 2008@04:29:07.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links) on 16 June 2010@01:52:34.
Catharine Roth on 16 June 2010@01:54:49.
Catharine Roth (updated reference in note 3) on 7 September 2011@01:25:02.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 1 March 2013@04:53:55.


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