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Headword: Μεμυστιλημένοι
Adler number: mu,582
Translated headword: having scooped bread to eat soup
Vetting Status: high
Having feasted, having drawn up soup with bread-pieces which are hollow and resemble spoons. Hence also the name [sc. given] to spoons (mustrion), which is something like a piece of bread for scooping soup (mustilion). In this festival everyone used to eat for free, both gruel and other things. And a bread-scoop (mustilê) is the name for a hollowed piece of bread, namely gruel; for in the Theseus-festivals they would eat gruel. And the meaning [sc. of the passage is]: o you who have been much troubled and have not been feasted in any connection, but are now fortunate. He says[1] "with most meager" breads, namely barley-groats: for drawing up the broths with hollow bread they were filled up quickly, through lack of bread. And the word, I mean mustilê "bread scoop", comes from masêsis "chewing". Or because of the quantity of relishes they would only eat a little bread. Or by taking their time with the soup they were filled up by it.
Greek Original:
Μεμυστιλημένοι: εὐωχημένοι, ζωμὸν ἀρυσάμενοι ἄρτοις κοίλοις καὶ μυστρία μιμουμένοις. ὅθεν καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τοῖς μυστρίοις, οἷον μυστίλιόν τι ὄν. ἐν ταύτῃ δὲ τῇ ἑορτῇ πάντες προῖκα ἤσθιον καὶ τὴν ἀθάραν καὶ ἄλλα τινά. μυστίλη δὲ καλεῖται κοῖλος ἄρτος, ἤγουν ἀθάρα: ἐν γὰρ τοῖς Θησείοις ἀθάραν ἤσθιον. ὁ δὲ νοῦς: ὦ πολλὰ ταλαιπωρήσαντες καὶ εἰς οὐδὲν ἑστιαθέντες, νῦν δὲ εὐτυχήσαντες. ὀλιγίστοις δὲ ἄρτοις ἤγουν ἀλφίτοις λέγει: τοῖς κοίλοις γὰρ ἄρτοις τοὺς ζωμοὺς ἀρυόμενοι ταχέως ἐκορέννυντο δι' ἔνδειαν ἄρτου. πεποίηται δὲ ἡ λέξις, λέγω δὴ ἡ μυστίλη, παρὰ τὴν μάσησιν. ἢ διὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν ὄψων ὀλίγον ἄρτον ἤσθιον. ἢ τῷ ζωμῷ σχολάζοντες ὑπὸ τούτου ἐκορέννυντο.
The headword -- perfect participle, masculine nominative plural, of μυστιλάομαι , "sop bread in soup or gravy and eat it" (LSJ) -- occurs in Aristophanes, Plutus [Wealth] 627-8: "o you old men who very often at Theseus-festivals have supped soup with the most meager barley-groats", i.e. have known penury (but are now prosperous). The commentary -- which conflates the bread scoops with the soup or gruel scooped -- derives from the scholia there.
[1] This part of the discussion is trying to work out why the bread-scoops should be small. It hesitates between the paupers being too full of broth or other food to want larger pieces of bread; the paupers having enough time to eat all their gruel (and not to need more bread—which amounts to the same thing); or possibly, if that is what "lack of bread" is meant to mean, there was not enough bread to go around.
Keywords: comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; food; religion
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 25 May 2009@12:41:35.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (introductory note; streamlined other notes; more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 26 May 2009@04:17:30.
David Whitehead on 16 May 2013@04:19:53.


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