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Headword: Ὀρτυγοκόπος
Adler number: omicron,642
Translated headword: quail-tapping, quail-tapper
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
A sort of game, in which they stand quails in a circle and hit them on the head. The one who downs a quail in the circle, takes as many in a row as he is able; but the one who misses lets the other one hit the quails, and they take turns doing this. Thus [Plato] says in Alcibiades: "you must [be] looking to Meidias the quail-tapper and others of his ilk."[1] In Phaedo [he says] that the contest is not against just anybody, but against the best; so there must be no slackening of the spirit.[2]
"[...] no quail-tapping and no flinching over such matters."[3]
Greek Original:
Ὀρτυγοκόπος: παιδιά τις, ἐν ᾗ ὄρτυγας ἱστᾶσιν ἐν γύρῳ, οὓς τύπτουσιν εἰς τὴν κεφαλήν. καὶ ὁ μὲν ἐν τῷ γύρῳ καταβαλὼν τὸν ὄρτυγα λαμβάνει ἑξῆς, οὓς ἂν δύνηται: ὁ δ' ἀποτυχὼν παρέχει θατέρῳ τοὺς ὄρτυγας τύπτειν: καὶ τοῦτ' ἀνὰ μέρος ποιοῦσι. λέγει οὖν ἐν Ἀλκιβιάδῃ: οὐκ, ἀλλὰ πρὸς Μειδίαν δεῖ σε ἀποβλέποντα τὸν ὀρτυγοκόπον καὶ τοιούτους ἄλλους. ἐν Φαίδωνι: ὅτι οὐ πρὸς τοὺς τυχόντας ὁ ἀγών ἐστι, πρὸς δὲ τοὺς ἀρίστους: διόπερ οὐ ῥαθυμητέον. μηδὲ ὀρτυγοκοπεῖν μηδὲ περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐπτοῆσθαι.
Notes:
All but the last sentence of this entry (for which see n.3 below) is taken verbatim from Photius, Lexicon omicron532 Theodoridis. A rather different explanation of the game is to be found in Pollux 9.102 + 107-109 and in the scholia to Aristophanes, Plutus [Wealth] 1036. The scholia to Aristophanes, Birds 1297 seem more in line with Photius and the Suda. See also sigma 1266.
The translation 'quail-tapping', which sounds marginally less brutal than -striking or the like, comes from Dunbar 643-4.
[1] A ungrammatical garbling of a quotation from Plato, Alcibiades 1 120A (web address 1).
[2] There is no such quotation in Plato's Phaedo. Adler's apparatus notes two suggested emendations: ἐμ Φάωνι , a play by Plato Comicus (Bernhardy); and ἐμφαίνων , 'indicating', i.e. no second quotation here (Leopardi). The latter has won considerable support: besides Adler's comments see Theodoridis ad loc.
[3] Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 1.6.1.
Reference:
Aristophanes, Birds, edited with introduction and commentary by Nan Dunbar (Oxford 1995)
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; comedy; daily life; definition; ethics; imagery; philosophy; zoology
Translated by: William Hutton on 12 June 2005@11:28:38.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes; tweaks to headword and tr) on 13 June 2005@03:06:16.
Catharine Roth (tweaked link) on 20 July 2013@19:07:04.
David Whitehead (updated primary note; more keywords; cosmetics) on 21 July 2013@04:09:21.
Catharine Roth (cross-reference) on 24 April 2014@01:23:44.

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