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Headword: Θυμὸς ἑπταβόειος
Adler number: theta,574
Translated headword: seven-oxhide temper
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] a big one. A metaphor from the shield of Ajax.[1]
Kreon in Oedipus [says]: "for there is no other old age for the temper except in death. No pain get its grips on the dead."[2] That is, it is not possible to control one's temper when one is a human being. The rawness of the temper does not grow old, except when a human departs from life; for it is impossible, when one is a human being, not to indulge one's temper. This is also spoken as a proverb, that the temper grows old last. This is said because older people get a more robust temper the older they get.[3] Also/even Alkaios mentions this as a common saying.[4]
Greek Original:
Θυμὸς ἑπταβόειος: ὁ μέγας. ἀπὸ μεταφορᾶς τῆς ἀσπίδος τοῦ Αἴαντος. Κρέων Οἰδίποδι: θυμοῦ γὰρ οὐδέν ἐστιν ἄλλο γῆρας πλὴν θανεῖν. θανόντων δ' οὐδὲν ἄλγος ἅπτεται. οἷον οὐκ ἔστι θυμοῦ κρατῆσαι ἄνθρωπον ὄντα. οὐ καταγηράσκει τὸ ὠμὸν τοῦ θυμοῦ, εἰ μὴ ἐξέλθοι τοῦ βίου ὁ ἄνθρωπος: ἀδύνατον γάρ ἐστιν ὄντα ἄνθρωπον μὴ θυμῷ χρήσασθαι. τοῦτο καὶ παροιμιακῶς λέγεται, ὅτι ὁ θυμὸς ἔσχατον γηράσκει. λέγεται δὲ διὰ τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους: ὅσον γηράσκουσι, τὸν θυμὸν ἐρρωμενέστερον ἔχουσι. καὶ Ἀλκαῖος ὡς λεγομένου κατὰ τὸ κοινὸν αὐτοῦ μιμνήσκεται.
The headword phrase is the nominative singular version of what appears in the accusative plural at Aristophanes, Frogs 1016 (web address 1).
[1] (From the scholia to this line.) The giant shield of Ajax was constructed with seven layers of oxhide; cf. Homer, Iliad 7.220 (web address 2), and epsilon 2866.
[2] Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 954-5 (web address 3); comments from the scholia follow.
[3] So in some of the paroemiographers, e.g. Apostolius 8.93.
[4] Alcaeus fr. 117 Bergk.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: comedy; daily life; definition; economics; epic; ethics; imagery; military affairs; mythology; poetry; proverbs; religion; trade and manufacture; tragedy; zoology
Translated by: William Hutton on 18 February 2008@15:11:54.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added note, set status) on 18 February 2008@20:24:40.
David Whitehead (another note; another keyword; cosmetics) on 19 February 2008@03:49:36.
David Whitehead on 7 January 2013@06:34:56.


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