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Headword: Κρέας
Adler number: kappa,2362
Translated headword: carcass, flesh, meat
Vetting Status: high
Thus the Attic Greeks call the body/person. "[I carry no slave], unless he has been in a sea-battle about the carcasses".[1]
Greek Original:
Κρέας: οὕτω καλοῦσι τὸ σῶμα οἱ Ἀττικοί. εἰ μὴ περὶ τῶν κρεῶν νεναυμάχηκε.
The headword, which appears in the quotation given in the genitive plural, is a neuter noun in the nominative (and vocative, accusative, and genitive) singular; see LSJ s.v., and cf. kappa 2360, kappa 2361, kappa 2363. The headword seems to have been extracted -- and the primary gloss adapted -- from the scholia to the Aristophanic passage quoted here; see n.1 below.
[1] Aristophanes, Frogs 190-191 (web address 1): Charon [Author, Myth] (OCD(4) s.v. Charon(1)) proffers a possible exception to his refusal to ferry Xanthias, a slave, to Hades along with Dionysus; cf. omicroniota 101. Disregarding the grammatical number herein, but perhaps of late more resonant, Henderson translates this as fought for his hide (Aristophanes, pp. 48-9). As he notes elsewhere, the headword occurs in a variety of obscene comedic contexts (Henderson, Maculate Muse, p. 129, p. 144, and p. 186). The Suda omits the freestanding article τὴν in the text (Dover, p. 128); but with it μάχην is implied, so that the passage should read in the sea-battle, i.e. the notorious battle of Arginusae (406 BCE; ibid., p. 216), where slaves had helped to man the warships and had been manumitted for it as their reward; cf. alpha 3778, epsilon 3234, epsilon 1714, kappa 914, and OCD(4) s.v. Arginusae. In his commentary on the quoted passage, Dover reflects on whether it might better be read as περὶ τῶν νεκρῶν (about the dead) or simply interpreted as about the bodies. In fact, either choice points back to the failure of the generals to rescue sailors from foundered Athenian ships; cf. alpha 3111, epsilon 1136, epsilon 3657, and Xenophon, Hellenica 1.7.2 (web address 2). But Dover rejects these alternatives as offensive -- especially when delivered through a live stage comedic performance -- to public sentiment at the time (Dover, op. cit., p. 216).
J. Henderson, ed. and trans., Aristophanes: Frogs, Assemblywomen, Wealth, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002
J. Henderson, The Maculate Muse: Obscene Language in Attic Comedy, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1975
K.J. Dover, Aristophanes: Frogs, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; gender and sexuality; history; imagery; military affairs; mythology; stagecraft
Translated by: Ronald Allen on 11 December 2008@02:41:03.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more x-refs; another keyword; tweaks and cosmetics) on 11 December 2008@03:27:08.
David Whitehead on 17 March 2013@07:29:57.
David Whitehead (updated 2 refs) on 4 August 2014@07:35:02.


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