ΛΗΚγΘΙΟΝ ΑΠΩΛΕСΕΝ: Some Reservations

Classical Quarterly 35 (01):31- (1985)
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Abstract

The phrase ληκύθιον πώλεсεν, which Aeschylus in the contest of Aristophanes' Frogs mockingly introduces into six of the prologues of his rival Euripides , has recently attracted a great deal of attention. With a couple of exceptions those scholars who have discussed it during the last fifteen years agree that it contains a sexual innuendo. Where they differ is on the exact nature of its meaning. What vase shape does ληκύθιον or λήκυθοс denote and hence what part of the male genitalia is envisaged? Or is it mistaken to press for anatomical detail? May not the phrase simply suggest ‘become detumescent’? These are the questions that have been posed regarding Ar. Ran. 1200–47. In what follows I shall try to show that the context, far from demanding that we give an underlying sexual meaning as well as its surface meaning to the phrase, could almost be said positively to exclude such a meaning. In an attempt to be as brief as possible I shall not deal with all of the suggestions made by the scholars mentioned in my second footnote and rarely indicate points of agreement, disagreement or indebtedness. When I confront the arguments of these scholars they are mostly those of two of the most recent contributors to the debate, Snell and Anderson. At first sight there is some plausibility in the suggestion that lekythion might denote a penis or a pair of testicles or both things. Several vase shapes have a suggestive appearance. If the object denoted is actually the vase we are accustomed to call the aryballos, the reference would be to an object whose name possibly derived from a word which had a genital reference. It has also been suggested that this object was once manufactured from animals' testicles

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Citations of this work

Six Greek Verbs of Sexual Congress.David Bain - 1991 - Classical Quarterly 41 (01):51-.

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References found in this work

KΩIΔApion in Aristophanes' Frogs.Robert J. Penella - 1973 - Mnemosyne 26 (4):337-341.
Lekythion.Bruno Snell - 1979 - Hermes 107 (2):129-133.

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