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Headword: Λιμὸς Μηλιαῖος
Adler number: lambda,557
Translated headword: Melian famine, Melian hunger, Melian starvation
Vetting Status: high
[A phrase used] in reference to hardships. For during the Peloponnesian War the Athenians dispatched Nikias[1] against everyone[2] and laid siege to them so strenuously as to make them perish by starvation. And in the first year Nikias brought Melos to terms not only by bringing up siege engines but also by starvation, because of their revolt; this had previously been a tribute-paying subject-community.[3] Or standing for "enormous."[4] Melos [is] a city of Thessaly.[5] The Melians, besieged by the Athenians to the point of starvation, were persuaded[6] and surrendered themselves.
Also [sc. attested is] "with Melian starvation",[7] a proverb. Since the Athenians afflicted the Melians by besieging them to the point of starvation. So Thucydides in the fifth [book].[8]
Greek Original:
Λιμὸς Μηλιαῖος: ἐπὶ τῶν χαλεπῶν. ἐν γὰρ τοῖς Πελοποννησιακοῖς κατὰ πάντων Νικίαν πέμψαντες Ἀθηναῖοι ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον ἐπολιόρκησαν αὐτοὺς ὥστε λιμῷ διαφθεῖραι. τῷ δὲ πρώτῳ ἔτει Νικίας Μῆλον παρεστήσατο οὐ μόνον μηχανῶν προσαγωγῇ, ἀλλὰ καὶ λιμῷ, διὰ τὸ ἀποστῆναι αὐτῶν, πρῴην ὑποτελῆ οὖσαν. ἢ ἀντὶ τοῦ μεγίστῳ. Μῆλος δὲ πόλις Θεσσαλίας. οἱ δὲ Μήλιοι πολιορκούμενοι λιμῷ ὑπὸ Ἀθηναίων ἐπείσθησαν καὶ προδεδώκασιν ἑαυτούς. καὶ Λιμῷ Μηλίῳ, παροιμία. ἐπεὶ Ἀθηναῖοι ἐκάκωσαν Μηλίους πολιορκοῦντες λιμῷ. ὡς Θουκυδίδης ἐν τῇ πέμπτῃ.
The entry combines three parallel explanations of a phrase ("you will destroy the gods with Melian starvation") found at Aristophanes, Birds 186, the first two closely related to notes in scholia thereto, the third drawn from a paroemiographic source.
[1] Thucydides 5.84.3 lists the Athenian generals as Kleomedes and Teisias; Nikias was among the commanders in an earlier raid on the island (Thuc. 3.91.1f.), whence perhaps the confusion.
[2] Translating the transmitted κατὰ πάντων . The Aristophanes scholia have the more intelligible κατ' αὐτῶν , "against them" (i.e. the Melians). Without the preceding context the referent of αὐτῶν was unclear; πάντων will be a mistaken attempt at correction.
[3] The actual status of Melos in relation to the Athenian empire is controversial; cf. Gomme, Andrewes & Dover on Thucydides 5.84.2.
[4] i.e. a "Melian starvation" means an enormous one.
[5] Melos is, rather, an island in the Cyclades. The Suda has confused it with the region of central Greece, just south of Thessaly, named Malis or Melis. Note that the adjective Μηλιαῖος which opens the headword phrase is unparalleled, but a form with alpha in place of eta (Μαλιαῖος ), also unparalleled, occurs in the manuscript of ps.-Skylax, Periplous, section 62, dealing with that region of Greece.
[6] The Aristophanes scholia have ἐπιέσθησαν , "were hard pressed."
[7] The phrase is here quoted in the dative, as it appears in Aristophanes; likewise in Zenobius 4.94 and other paroemiographers.
[8] Thucydides 5.116.2-4.
A.W. Gomme, A. Andrewes and K.J. Dover, A Historical Commentary on Thucydides, vol. 4 (Oxford, 1970), 190
Nan Dunbar (ed.), Aristophanes. Birds (Oxford, 1995), 195f
Keywords: biography; chronology; comedy; daily life; definition; food; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; proverbs; science and technology
Translated by: Gregory Hays on 19 November 2000@16:45:09.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note; cosmetics; raised status) on 19 January 2001@08:24:31.
D. Graham J. Shipley (Expanded n. 5.) on 30 June 2008@06:55:44.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 30 June 2008@07:59:57.
Catharine Roth (added betacode) on 30 June 2008@22:45:26.
David Whitehead (expanded n.7; tweaking) on 19 April 2013@05:41:12.
David Whitehead (tweaked betacode) on 17 May 2016@03:24:25.


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