Pherecrates Fr. 60: Spiny fish-heads, but no scraps

S. Douglas Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


The scholia to Wasps gloss variously as ('cheap trimmings of meat'), ('discarded scraps of prepared dishes'), ('a tiny bit of bone'), and ('a cheap side-dish prepared in small pans'). These might all be guesses, but the absence of the definite article in the original text shows that Bdelycleon's reference is to something more generic than 'the backbones' in the next verse. The ancient commentators were thus probably right not to interpret the word 'bits of neck', vel sim., as if this were a diminutive of ('neck' or 'head and neck'). Instead, these must be 'tail-ends' of food, scraps and leftovers of a sort that might be fed to a dog; compare Hippocrates, Epidemiae 7.62 (v.428.7 Littré), where ('beef tit-bits', vel sim.) are mentioned along with ham as part of the diet of a man recovering from illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-403
Number of pages2
JournalClassical Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2014


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