Saturday, April 09, 2016


Asyndetic, Privative Adjectives in a Bulgarian Inscription

Georgi Mihailov, ed., Inscriptiones Graecae in Bulgaria Repertae, Vol. I: Inscriptiones Orae Ponti Euxini, 2nd ed. (Sofia: Academia Litterarum Bulgarica, 1970), number 220 (an epitaph from Varna; non vidi), 3rd line below the relief:
ὀκτωκαιδεκέτης θαλάμων ἀμύητος, ἄτεκνος
eighteen years old, uninitiated in the bedroom, childless.
ἀμύητος, ἄτεκνος is an example of a series of privative adjectives in asyndeton. For ἀμύητος with genitive plural θαλάμων (essentially = unmarried) cf. ἀμύητον Ἀφροδίτης in Aristaenetus, Erotic Letters 1.14 (tr. Peter Bing and Regina Höschele; emphasis added):
Or do you actually know that without cash absolutely nothing at all can persuade a hetaira, yet still you think you can easily fool me as though I were a child inexperienced in erotic things and totally uninitiated in the mysteries of Aphrodite, an easier prey than a tender lamb in its sleep for a wolf?

ἢ ταῦτα μὲν ἴστε που πάντως ὡς ἀνάργυρον οὐδὲν ταῖς ἑταίραις ἐστὶ πιθανόν, ᾠήθητε δέ με ῥᾳδίως ἐξαπατᾶν ὡς ἐρωτικῶν ἀγύμναστον παῖδα καὶ παντελῶς ἀμύητον Ἀφροδίτης, καὶ προχειρότερον ἑλεῖν ἢ λύκος λιπαρὰν ἄρνα καθεύδουσαν;
Here is a photograph of the grave relief, from Ernst Kalinka, Antike Denkmäler in Bulgarien (Vienna: Alfred Hölder, 1906), p. 264:


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