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Headword: Λυκόποδες
Adler number: lambda,812
Translated headword: wolf-feet, white-feet
Vetting Status: high
This is what they used to call the bodyguards of the [Peisistratid] tyrants; for they used to thrust[1] the pick of the slaves into bodyguarding service. They were called "wolf-feet" because they always had their feet covered with wolf-skins, to prevent frostbite; alternatively because they had a wolf symbol on their shields. But Aristophanes in Lysistrata is speaking of the Alkmaionids. For these men declared war on Hippias the tyrant and the Peisistratids[2] and fortified Leipsydrion, above [Mount] Parnes; and certain people from the City faction gathered there, as Aristotle [says] in Athenian Constitution.[3]
Greek Original:
Λυκόποδες: οὕτως ἐκάλουν τοὺς τῶν τυράννων δορυφόρους: τοὺς γὰρ ἀκμάζοντας τῶν οἰκετῶν ἐπὶ τῇ τοῦ σώματος φυλακῇ ἔβαλλον. λυκόποδες δὲ ἐκαλοῦντο, ὅτι διὰ παντὸς εἶχον τοὺς πόδας λύκων δέρμασι κεκαλυμμένους, ὥστε μὴ ἐπικαίεσθαι ἐκ τοῦ περιέχοντος: ἢ διὰ τὸ ἔχειν ἐπὶ τῶν ἀσπίδων ἐπίσημον λύκον. ὁ δὲ Ἀριστοφάνης ἐν Λυσιστράτῃ τοὺς Ἀλκμαιονίδας φησίν. οὗτοι γὰρ πόλεμον ἀράμενοι πρὸς Ἱππίαν τὸν τύραννον καὶ τοὺς Πεισιστράτους ἐτείχισαν Λειψύδριον τὸ ὑπὲρ Πάρνηθος: εἰς ὃ συνῆλθόν τινες τῶν ἐκ τοῦ ἄστεος, ὥς φησιν Ἀριστοτέλης ἐν Ἀθηναίων πολιτείᾳ.
From the scholia to Aristophanes, Lysistrata 667, where the headword occurs (web address 1) -- but not as λυκόποδες (metrically impossible); rather, as λευκόποδες , "White-feet", which is probably "an honorific way of referring to foot-soldiers generally, bare-/dusty-/nimble-footed, designating the manly endurance of hardship" (Henderson ad loc.).
[1] The mss read ἔβαλλον ; ἔλαβον or ἐλάμβανον is needed ("take").
[2] The mss read (nonsensically) "Peisistratoi".
[3] ?Aristotle, Athenaion Politeia 19.2; cf. epsilon 2440.
Aristophanes, Lysistrata, edited with introduction and commentary by Jeffrey Henderson (Oxford 1987)
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; history; imagery; medicine; military affairs; politics; zoology
Translated by: David Whitehead on 15 July 2001@07:13:33.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, link, status) on 23 November 2003@19:21:40.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 24 November 2003@03:08:25.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 5 December 2005@06:04:35.
David Whitehead on 23 April 2013@07:03:17.
David Whitehead on 17 May 2016@05:11:24.


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