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Headword: Λάβραξ
Adler number: lambda,8
Translated headword: bass
Vetting Status: high
A kind of fish. And [there is] a proverb: 'Milesian basses'. The appellation was applied because its mouth gapes open and it swallows the bait readily and eagerly [λάβρως ];[1] consequently it is easily caught. In Miletus of Asia the largest and most numerous bass occur. Miletus [is] a city of Asia, where many bass occur, because of the marsh debouching into the sea. The fish, liking the fresh water, hurry up from the sea and into the marsh and thus they are abundant among Milesians.
Greek Original:
Λάβραξ: εἶδος ἰχθύος. καὶ παροιμία: λάβρακας Μιλησίους. τὴν δὲ προσηγορίαν πεποίηται, διότι κέχηνεν αὐτοῦ τὸ στόμα, καὶ ἀθρόως καὶ λάβρως τὸ δέλεαρ καταπίνει: ὅθεν καὶ εὐχερῶς ἁλίσκεται. ἐν Μιλήτῳ δὲ τῆς Ἀσίας μέγιστοι γίνονται λάβρακες καὶ πλεῖστοι. Μίλητος δὲ πόλις Ἀσίας, ἔνθα πολλοὶ γίνονται λάβρακες, διὰ τὴν ἐκδιδοῦσαν λίμνην εἰς θάλασσαν. χαίροντες γὰρ οἱ ἰχθύες τῷ γλυκεῖ ὕδατι εἰς τὴν λίμνην ἀνατρέχουσιν ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ οὕτω πληθύνουσι παρὰ Μιλησίοις.
The entry derives from the scholia to Aristophanes, Knights 361, where the phrase 'eating Milesian basses' occurs (web address 1); hence the accusative plural here.
For 'Milesian basses' as a byword/proverb, applying to gluttons, see Apostolius 10.38; and for Miletus itself cf. mu 1060.
[1] Etymologically 'grabby', thus greedy, a sense present in a couple of the associated terms, lambda 7 and lambda 9. The common European bass has the Linnaean name Dicentrarchus labrax (see web address 2).
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; ethics; food; geography; proverbs; zoology
Translated by: Oliver Phillips ✝ on 3 January 2004@09:41:17.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (supplemented translation, added link, set status) on 6 January 2004@04:30:46.
David Whitehead (slight modifications to translation; augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 7 January 2004@03:33:37.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 17 June 2011@06:25:32.
Catharine Roth (modified links) on 18 June 2011@01:31:20.
David Whitehead on 27 March 2013@04:33:31.


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