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Headword: Ψύλλα
Adler number: psi,152
Translated headword: flea
Vetting Status: high
['flea'] and 'fleas': feminine.[1] But in Herodotus [sc. there is mention of masculine] Psylloi, a Libyan people.[2] Also the proper name [Psyllos] in Menander's Messenia.[3] [Note] that Epicharmus amongst others used the masculine for the tiny creature.[4]
Aristophanes [writes]: "just recently Socrates asked Chairephon how many of its own feet a flea could leap." [Note] that the story goes that the flea has six feet.[5]
Greek Original:
Ψύλλα καὶ Ψύλλαι: θηλυκῶς. παρὰ δὲ Ἡροδότῳ Ψύλλοι, ἔθνος Λιβύης. καὶ τὸ ἐν τῇ Μεσσηνίᾳ Μενάνδρου κύριον ὄνομα. ὅτι δὲ τὸ ζῷον τὸ μικρὸν ἀρρενικῶς Ἐπίχαρμος εἶπε καὶ ἕτεροι. Ἀριστοφάνης: ἀνήρετ' ἄρτι Χαιρεφῶντα Σωκράτης, ψύλλαν ὁπόσους ἅλοιτο τοὺς αὑτῆς πόδας. ὅτι ἱστόρηται, ὡς ἡ ψύλλα ἓξ πόδας ἔχει.
The first paragraph of this entry is also in Photius, and has parallels elsewhere.
[1] Respectively, nominative singular and nominative plural. See LSJ on this noun (which in context can also mean other insects).
[2] Herodotus 4.173; see also Stephanus of Byzantium s.v.
[3] Menander fr. 272 K.-Th., 232 K.-A.
[4] Epicharmus fr. 199 Kaibel, now 197 K.-A.
[5] Aristophanes, Clouds 144-5 (web address 1), with scholion to 150. For Socrates see sigma 829; for Chairephon see chi 158, chi 159, chi 160.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; historiography; zoology
Translated by: David Whitehead on 2 January 2006@07:50:27.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added link, set status) on 2 January 2006@12:49:52.
David Whitehead (another x-ref) on 3 January 2006@02:51:57.
David Whitehead (augmented notes; tweaks and cosmetics) on 5 August 2011@06:58:45.
David Whitehead on 6 November 2013@09:31:05.
David Whitehead on 21 December 2014@11:48:07.
David Whitehead on 24 December 2014@04:27:05.


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