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Headword: Ὀφλήσειν
Adler number: omicron,1016
Translated headword: to be about to incur a fine [at law]
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
[Meaning] to have been condemned.[1] Aristophanes in Clouds [writes]: "[sc. consider how you might dispute a judgment when] being about to incur a fine, with no witnesses present."[2] A monetary fine used to be imposed on those who, having initiated a public prosecution, do not produce [sc. witnesses]. And if it was not paid in full according to what had been specified, a day past due having arrived, he would pay it off four-fold. Those not having the means to pay it off were confined in the prison. Many suffered this, including the father of the politician Aristogeiton.[3]
Greek Original:
Ὀφλήσειν: καταδικασθῆναι. Ἀριστοφάνης Νεφέλαις. μέλλων ὀφλήσειν, μὴ παρόντων μαρτύρων. τοῖς γραψαμένοις καὶ μὴ ἀποδεικνύουσιν ἐπεβάλλετο χρηματικὴ ζημία. καὶ εἰ μὴ κατὰ τὸ ὡρισμένον ἐξέτισεν ὑπερήμερος γενόμενος, ἐξετίννυε τετραπλοῦν. οἱ δὲ μὴ ἔχοντες ἐκτίσαι καθείργνυντο ἐν τῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ. πολλοὶ δὲ τοῦτο πεπόνθασι, καὶ ὁ τοῦ ῥήτορος Ἀριστογείτονος πατήρ.
Notes:
The headword, extracted from the quotation given, is the future active infinitive of the verb ὀφλισκάνω (I owe, am liable to pay, incur a fine); see generally LSJ s.v. Other forms of this verb are found at omicron 1013, omicron 1015, omicron 1018, omicron 1019, omega 279, and pi 977, with cognate substantives at omicron 1014 and omicron 1017.
[1] The gloss is the aorist passive infinitive of the verb καταδικάζω , I give judgment against; see generally LSJ s.v.
[2] Aristophanes, Clouds 777, where Socrates poses this legal conundrum for Strepsiades to solve (web address 1); followed here by comment from the scholia there. On the importance of live witness testimony in Athenian court proceedings of this era (and the corresponding unimportance of written documentation) see Dover, p. 195.
[3] The father of Aristogeiton (Develin person no. 397) was Kydimachos, who died as a debtor in prison; cf. alpha 3912, alpha 3913, and Demosthenes 25.53-6 (web address 2).
References:
K.J. Dover, ed., Aristophanes Clouds, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968
R. Develin, Athenian Officials 684-321 BC, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; law; politics; rhetoric
Translated by: Ronald Allen on 2 June 2010@01:07:23.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modifications to tr; another keyword; tweaks and cosmetics) on 2 June 2010@03:25:24.
David Whitehead on 2 August 2013@08:28:05.

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