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Headword: Λύκος ἔχανεν
Adler number: lambda,816
Translated headword: a wolf gaped
Vetting Status: high
[sc. A proverbial phrase] in reference to those hoping to have something, but failing to attain their hope.[1]
They say that the wolf, when he wishes to seize something, attacks it gaping. So when he does not take what he selected, they say that he gapes for nothing [literally, after empty (air)]. They use [the proverb] of those hoping to make money but failing. Aristophanes in Thesmophoriazousae 2.[2]
Greek Original:
Λύκος ἔχανεν: ἐπὶ τῶν ἐλπιζόντων μέν τι ἕξειν, διαμαρτόντων δὲ τῆς ἐλπίδος. λέγουσι δὲ τὸν λύκον, ἐπειδὰν ἁρπάσαι τι βούληται, κεχηνότα παραγίνεσθαι ἐπ' αὐτό. ὅταν οὖν μὴ λάβῃ ὃ προαιρεῖται, κατὰ κενοῦ αὐτὸν χανεῖν φασιν. ἐπὶ τῶν συνελπιζόντων χρηματιεῖσθαι, διαμαρτανόντων δὲ λέγουσιν. Ἀριστοφάνης Θεσμοφοριαζούσαις β#.
cf. lambda 818.
The proverb 'a wolf gaped' (Tosi [cited under alpha 378] no.1241) is from a lost play of Aristophanes called sometimes Thesmophoriazusae 2, sometimes Thesmophoriasasae ('Women after celebrating the Thesmophoria'), fr.350 (see Kassel/Austin in bibliography). It is used elsewhere in comedy: at Aristophanes, Lysistrata 628-29 and the scholia thereto (cf. delta 619, which has ἐπὶ τῶν μάτην , "he gapes after things that are in vain", rather than κατὰ κενοῦ ); at Menander, Aspis 372-73 (διὰ κενῆς for κατὰ κενοῦ ; see Austin's edition ad loc.); at Eubulus, Auge, fr.1.11; and at Euphron, Adelphi 1.30-31 (with διακενῆς ). See also Lucian, Gallus 6-7 (cf. scholia on Lucian 22.11 Rabe); Aristaenetus, Epistles 2.20.30; Michael Psellus, Theologica 3.174; Planudean scholia on Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus 83.10.
For the verb διαμαρτάνω in this sense of failing in a hope see delta 642, delta 641.
[1] Similarly in Hesychius lambda1396.
[2] Likewise in Photius lambda452 Theodoridis.
Poetae Comici Graeci, ed. R. Kassel and C. Austin, vol. 3.2 (Berlin, 1984) 182ff.
Keywords: comedy; daily life; economics; ethics; imagery; proverbs; zoology
Translated by: Robert Dyer on 10 March 2003@10:12:43.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented keywords; cosmetics) on 11 March 2003@03:36:28.
David Whitehead (added Tosi; cosmetics) on 16 August 2012@10:07:46.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 23 April 2013@09:25:45.


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