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Headword: Πταίειν
Adler number: pi,3005
Translated headword: to stumble
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
[Used] with a dative.[1] [Meaning] to bump into.
And [there is] a proverb:[2] "not to stumble against the same rock many times, if one has an agreed-upon occasion."[3]
Greek Original:
Πταίειν: δοτικῇ. προσκρούειν. καὶ παροιμία: μὴ πολλάκις πρὸς τὸν αὐτὸν λίθον πταίειν, ἔχοντα καιρὸν ὁμολογούμενον.
Notes:
[1] (Adler cites comparable material ('cf.') in the Syntacticum Gudianum.) In fact this verb can be construed with the dative alone, but occurs more frequently with a preposition governing the dative or (as in the proverb cited) accusative.
[2] cf. Gregorius 2.15 (the metrical δὶς πρὸς τὸν αὐτὸν αἰσχρὸν προσκρούειν λίθον ), and further in next note.
[3] Numbered by Meineke (380) and Kock (391-392) among the anonymous fragments of Attic comedy (Comica adespota), but not included in the more recent collection of Kassel & Austin. The second part of the quotation, from πταίειν to ὁμολογούμενον , makes a good comic iambic trimeter, but the first part, though vaguely iambic, does not. Various emendations have been proposed to make the first part scan (see Kock ad loc.), but it may be that the actual source of this is not comedy but Polybius. In 31.11.5 (web address 1), repeated 31.12.2, Polybius records the advice he gave to Demetrius Soter of Syria "not to stumble twice against the same rock" by attempting to address the Roman senate a second time. The statement is identical to the present passage with the exception of the alternation between "twice" and "many times". The rest of the entry, "if one has an agreed-upon occasion," may be continuing the paraphrase of Polybius in more summary fashion: he goes on to advise Demetrius of the many occasions (καιρούς ) he can take advantage of if he remains patient. If this is correct then the iambic meter of the last half is purely fortuitous. The whole phrase is repeated without a gloss at mu 972, where the headword of this entry πταίειν is replaced by παίειν ('strike').
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; historiography; history; imagery; law; meter and music; poetry; proverbs
Translated by: William Hutton on 10 January 2007@12:06:33.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (betacode cosmetics, status) on 10 January 2007@18:37:54.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 11 January 2007@03:25:36.
David Whitehead (typo in n.3) on 17 May 2011@07:19:06.
David Whitehead (additions to notes; tweaks and cosmetics) on 29 November 2011@10:08:56.
Catharine Roth (typo, upgraded link) on 29 November 2011@22:19:02.
David Whitehead on 22 October 2013@07:13:59.
David Whitehead (coding etc.) on 25 May 2016@03:58:30.

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