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Headword: Ῥέθος
Adler number: rho,92
Translated headword: countenance, limb
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning a] face, blush, body-part, heart.[1]
"Here [lies] her soft and tender countenance, here lies Trugonion."[2]
Homer [writes]: "and his soul fleeting out of [his] limbs was gone to Hades".[3]
Also [sc. attested is the word] ῥεθομαλίδαι ,[4] [meaning] those who are soft in the flesh. For the whole body is called ῥέθος .
And it declines ῥέθους [in the genitive], and ῥέθη in the plural.
Greek Original:
Ῥέθος: πρόσωπον, ἐρύθημα, μέλος, σπλάγχνον. ἐνθάδε τῆς τρυφερᾶς μαλακὸν ῥέθος, ἐνθάδε κεῖται τρυγόνιον. Ὅμηρος: ψυχὴ δ' ἐκ ῥεθέων πταμένη ἄϊδόσδε βεβήκει. καὶ Ῥεθομαλίδαι, οἱ τρυφεροὶ τὴν σάρκα. λέγεται γὰρ καὶ ὅλον τὸ σῶμα ῥέθος. καὶ κλίνεται ῥέθους, πληθυντικὸν τὰ ῥέθη.
The neuter headword regularly means 'limbs' when used in the plural (esp. in Homer) but 'countenance' as a singular: see LSJ s.v.
[1] Same or similar glossing in other lexica; references at Photius rho73 Theodoridis.
[2] Greek Anthology 7.222.1-2; cf. sigma 4. (Trugonion, here a woman's name, is also the diminutive of τρυγών , turtle-dove.)
[3] Homer, Iliad 16.856 and 22.362 (web addresses 1 and 2), a formulaic verse used respectively in the key scenes of Patroclus' and Hector's death; cf. Eustathius and the scholia to the verses; also quoted in ps.-Zonaras and Etymologicum Magnum s.v. ῥέθη .
[4] Apart from this entry, the word is also attested in the scholia to Homer, Iliad 22.68 (web address 3), where it is defined as an Aeolic word meaning fair of face (εὐπροσώπους ).
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; medicine; mythology; poetry; religion; women; zoology
Translated by: Ioannis Doukas on 5 December 2007@11:45:04.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (x-ref; more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 6 December 2007@03:25:50.
David Whitehead (more notes; tweaks and cosmetics) on 24 August 2011@06:57:06.
David Whitehead on 27 October 2013@09:55:50.


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