The Letter Stigma

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Secret Alias
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The Letter Stigma

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:02 pm

Clement Exhortation 2.13.2
Πάρεστι δὲ καὶ ἄλλως μυθήριά σοι νοεῖν ἀντιστοιχούντων τῶν γραμμάτων τὰ μυστήρια

You may understand mysteria in another way, as mytheria, the letters of the two words being interchanged
Does this represent the earliest reference to the letter stigma?

i.e. μυθήριά and μυϛηρια?

How else can the transposition of two letters work? It can't be standard spelling of mysteria μυστήρια. ἀντιστοιχούντων implies a one for one pairing or interchange.
Last edited by Secret Alias on Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Another Question for Ben

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:45 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:02 pm
Clement Exhortation 2.13.2
Πάρεστι δὲ καὶ ἄλλως μυθήριά σοι νοεῖν ἀντιστοιχούντων τῶν γραμμάτων τὰ μυστήρια

You may understand mysteria in another way, as mytheria, the letters of the two words being interchanged
Does this represent the earliest reference to the letter stigma?

i.e. μυθήριά and μυϛηρια?

How else can the transposition of two letters work? It can't be standard spelling of mysteria μυστήρια. ἀντιστοιχούντων implies a one for one pairing or interchange.
I think the ligature stigma is much later than Clement; I think it is medieval, based on the minuscules.

I hear what you are saying about ἀντιστοιχέω (strictly speaking, it should mean one to one), but I think Clement just made this word up (and therefore was not speaking strictly, since he was just getting his dumb pun to work):

You may understand mysteria [μυστήρια] in another way, as mytheria [μυθήρια], the letters of the two words being interchanged; for certainly fables of this sort hunt [θηρεύουσι] after the most barbarous of the Thracians, the most senseless of the Phrygians, and the superstitious among the Greeks.

I cannot find this word, μυθήριά, anywhere in ancient or medieval Greek except for this passage in Clement, a quotation of this same passage in Eusebius, and some medieval lexical entries speculating about the origin of the word μυστήρια.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Another Question for Ben

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:13 pm

Eusebius in his version of the passage has mytharia with an alpha = little myths
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Re: Another Question for Ben

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:14 pm

Sorry watching Charlie's Angels. Would have provided an exact citation
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Re: Another Question for Ben

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:20 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:13 pm
Eusebius in his version of the passage has mytharia with an alpha = little myths
Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:14 pm
Sorry watching Charlie's Angels. Would have provided an exact citation
No problem. I had found that; the manuscripts have variants, I gather.
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Re: Another Question for Ben

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:21 pm

The variants (bottom bank of footnotes; they include the manuscripts for Eusebius): https://books.google.com/books?id=_8IHd ... 22&f=false.
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Re: Another Question for Ben

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:26 pm

μυθαρια
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Another Question for Ben

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:30 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:21 pm
The variants (bottom bank of footnotes; they include the manuscripts for Eusebius): https://books.google.com/books?id=_8IHd ... 22&f=false.
Actually, it looks like μυθήρια might be a correction in Eusebius. Interesting that μυθήρια is the reading that the TLG uses.
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Re: Another Question for Ben

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:30 pm

https://morphologia_gr_en.enacademic.com/966001/%CE%BC%CF%85%CE%B8%E1%BD%B1%CF%81%CE%B9%CE%B1
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Re: Another Question for Ben

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:35 pm

It seems clear that μυθήρια is what Clement had. It is the one that works with θηρεύουσι. You have to imagine some insufferable juvenile with this one.

"Μυστήρια? More like μυθήρια, because θηρεύουσι. Amirite?"

"GameCube? More like LameCube, because lame. Amirite?"

Some scribes were probably unsure what was going on; others "got it" and made the correction.
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