Saturday, April 18, 2015


Asyndetic, Privative Adjectives in Phrynichus

Translations and Greek text are from Ian C. Storey, ed. and tr., Fragments of Old Comedy, Vol. III: Philonicus to Xenophon. Adespota (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011).

Phrynichus, fragment 19, preserved by Photius (b, z) α 375 (Storey pp. 58-59):
My name is “Hermit,” and I am living a life of Timon, without a wife, without a slave (?), sharp-tempered, don’t come near me, I don’t laugh, I don’t talk, I know my own mind.

ὄνομα δέ μοὔστι Μονότροπος
                   ζῶ δὲ Τίμωνος βίον,
ἄγαμον, †ἄζυγον†, ὀξύθυμον, ἀπρόσοδον,
ἀγέλαστον, ἀδιάλεκτον, ἰδιογνώμονα.

3 ἄζυγον codd., ἄδουλον Hermann.
There is a discussion of the text by Kostas Apostolakis, "A crux in Phrynichus Com. fr. 19 K-A," Mnemosyne 67 (2014) 994-998, of which I've seen only the first page (the publisher Brill charges $30 plus tax for online access to all five pages, an outrageous price which I am unwilling to pay). A somewhat more literal translation might be the following (with equivalents of asyndetic, privative adjectives underlined; all of the adjectives modify the noun "life"):
My name is “Hermit,” and I am living Timon's life, without a wife, without a slave, sharp-tempered, unapproachable, not laughing, not talking, holding my own opinion.
Phrynichus, fragment 20, preserved by Pollux 3.48 (Storey pp. 58-59):
An old man of my generation, childless, wifeless.

                            τηλικουτοσὶ γέρων
ἄπαις ἀγύναικος.
Phrynichus, fragment 57, preserved by Photius (b, z) α 1609 (Storey, pp. 72-73):
Without food, without drink, with hands unwashed.

ἄσιτος, ἄποτος, ἀναπόνιπτος

Thanks to the kindness of a reader, I have now read the article by Kostas Apostolakis, who conjectures ἄμεικτον (unsociable, savage) for ἄζυγον in Phrynichus, fragment 19, line 3.


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