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Headword: Οἶστρος
Adler number: omicroniota,181
Translated headword: gadfly, frenzy
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] stimulation, heating, burning with madness.[1]
They call any impulse οἶστρος . From this also comes οἰστροδόνητος μυχός ["the whirling depth"], that which is driven by the wind. Aristophanes [writes]: "and you, Poseidon of the sea, leaving the fishy whirling depth [...]."[2]
And the Pisidian [writes]: "for there is a frenzy, especially among the barbarians, to have an unstable inclination for change."[3]
Greek Original:
Οἶστρος: ἐρεθισμός, ἔκκαυσις, πύρωσις ἐμμανής. Οἶστρον δὲ καλοῦσι πᾶσαν κίνησιν. ἔνθεν καὶ οἰστροδόνητος μυχός, ὁ ὑπὸ ἀνέμου ἐλαυνόμενος. Ἀριστοφάνης: σύ τε Πόντιε Πόσειδον, προλιπὼν μυχὸν ἰχθυόεντ' οἰστροδόνητον. καὶ Πισίδης: οἶστρος γάρ ἐστι, καὶ μάλιστα βαρβάροις, πρὸς τὰς μεταβολὰς εὐμεταπτώτως ἔχειν.
[1] The headword means a stinging insect, hence anything that drives one mad. From this is derived "estrus" and the "estrous cycle"; cf. omicroniota 178, omicroniota 179, omicroniota 180.
[2] Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 322-5 (web address 1), with scholion.
[3] George of Pisidia, Heraclias 3 fr. 35.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: comedy; definition; ethics; gender and sexuality; imagery; medicine; poetry; religion; women; zoology
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 23 June 2005@00:23:24.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (tweaked translation; augmented notes and keywords) on 23 June 2005@03:15:03.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 8 August 2013@05:28:27.
Catharine Roth (upgraded link) on 9 August 2013@01:33:58.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 19 August 2014@20:41:16.
Catharine Roth (tweaked reference) on 27 November 2014@00:22:02.


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