More on the scholia on Aristophanes

I’m still looking for a scholion on Aristophanes which gives real extra information on the festival of Adonis, the Adonia.

The Koster volumes mentioned by Eleanor Dickey in the previous post turn out to be Scholia in Aristophanem, Groningen 1960.  I doubt I can access this.

But I find a bibliography (with horrible pop-ups etc) of Aristophanes material here.  In the section on the scholia I find this:


  • W.Dindorf  Aristophanis comoediae IV/1-3: Scholia Graeca ex codicibus aucta et emendata, Oxford, 1838
  • F.Dübner Scholia Graeca in Aristophanem, cum prolegomenis grammaticorum Parigi, 1842 (1877²) -si rifa per buona parte a Dind.-
  • solo Ravennate: W.G.Rutherford  Scholia Aristophanica I-II London 1896 (il III: A Chapter in the History of Annotation, being Scholia Aristophanica, vol III, 1905) 
  • cfr. anche lo studio di G.Zuntz Die Aristophanes-Scholien der Papyri, Berlin, 1975²

W.J.W Koster – D.Holwerda (dal 1974 o 5? a c.di) Scholia in Aristophanem, Groningen 1960-

W.J.W. Koster  1A Prolegomena de Comoedia, Groningen, 1975
N.G.Wilson 1B Scholia in Aristophanis Acharnenses, Groningen, 1975
D.Mervyn Jones 2 Scholia vetera in Aristophanis Equites et N.G.Wilson Scholia Tricliniana in Aristophanis.Equites, Groningen, 1969
D.Holwerda 3,1 Scholia vetera in Nubes et W.J.W.Koster Scholia scholiorumque partes editionis Aldinae propria Groningen, 1977
W.J.W.Koster 3,2 Scholia recentiora in Nubes, Groningen, 1974

PARS II (Scholia in Vespas, Pacem Aves et Lysistrata)
W.J.W.Koster 1 Scholia vetera et recentiora in Aristophanis Vespas, Groningen, 1978
D.Holwerda  2 Scholia vetera et recentiora in Aristophanis Pacem, Groningen, 1982
D.Holwerda  3 Scholia vetera et recentiora in Aristophanis Aves, Groningen, 1991
J.Hangard  4  Scholia in Aristophanis Lysistratam, Groningen, 1996

PARS III (Scholia in Thesmophoriazusas; Ranas; Ecclesiazusas et Plutum)
M.Chantry IVa  Scholia vetera in Aristophanis Plutum, Groningen, 1994
M.Chantry  IVb  Scholia recentiora in Aristophanis Plutum, Groningen, 1996 (-5?)
Mancano tuttora gli scoli a Thesm. (1), Ran. (2), Eccl. (3)

PARS IV (Ioannis Tzetzae commentarii), 1960-64, 4 voll. (l’ultimo di indici)
L.Massa Positano 1. Prolegomena et commentarium in Plutum, Groningen, 1960
D.Holwerda  2. Commentarium in Nubes, Groningen, 1960
W.J.W Koster  3. Comm. in Ranas et in Aves, Argumentum Equitum Groningen, 1964 (-2?)

That gives a lot more information (in Italian) on what and when are where. 

The first couple of these should be accessible, I would have thought.  And so it proves: the 1846 edition of Dindorf is indeed online: vol. 4 pt1 is here, pt 2 is here, pt 3 here.  But one problem with these volumes is the lack of a table of contents.  I was obliged to look through the PDF’s by reducing the magnification to “fit the page”, then skimming down with the scroll page at 100 page intervals looking at the titles.  The scholia in pacem — we’re looking for a scholion on Peace, 412, for stuff about the Adonia — is in vol.4, pt3, and 412 is on p.56 of the printed text (p.61 of the PDF). 

However the scholion did not seem to be what we are looking for.  It is very common to find that obscure references are inaccurate, precisely because few have the opportunity to verify them!  Here it is anyway:


412.  ἵνα τὰς τελετὰς αὐτοὶ λάβοιεν : Ἡμῶν ἀπολλυμένων καὶ τῶν βαρβάρων αὐτοῖς θυόντων.   παρατηρητέον δὲ ὅτι ἀντὶ τοῦ τὰς θυσίας κεῖται τὸ τελετάς.

Would someone with better Greek than me care to translate?

In the mean time I’m going to OCR the PDF using language = Greek, and see if a search will bring up anything on “Adon”!  I do believe a scholion is there somewhere.

UPDATE: Just scrolling down the page, 419 is it!  (link here)


419.  τὰ Διπόλεια : Τὰ Διπόλεια τῷ Διὶ, τὰ Ἀδώνια τῷ Ἀδώνιδι καὶ τῇ Ἀφροδίτῃ.

419.  The Dipoleia: the Dipoleia of Zeus, the Adonia of Adonis and Aphrodite.

Which doesn’t give us much.  Hmm.


11 thoughts on “More on the scholia on Aristophanes

  1. ἵνα τὰς τελετὰς αὐτοὶ λάβοιεν : Ἡμῶν ἀπολλυμένων καὶ τῶν βαρβάρων αὐτοῖς θυόντων. παρατηρητέον δὲ ὅτι ἀντὶ τοῦ τὰς θυσίας κεῖται τὸ τελετάς.

    Let’s see how much I remember my high school ancient Greek

    So that they can receive the ceremonies: Us let go and of these barbarians giving sacrifice. Notice that instead of “sacrifice” is “ceremonies”

    θυσία is sacrifice which in ancient greek is blood sacrifice and in modern greek has the Christian meaning of the word

  2. I’m dong some research myself on the Aristophanic scholia, and you may find of interest this scholium to Lysistrata 389 (The women had recently celebrated the Adonia):

    ὅ τ’ Ἀδωνιασμός: Ἑορτὴν γὰρ ἐπετέλουν τῷ
    Ἀδώνιδι αἱ γυναῖκες καὶ κήπους τινὰς εἰς τὰ δώματα
    ἀνέφερον. τινὲς δὲ ἐκ τούτου τὸ δρᾶμα Ἀδωνιαζούσας
    ἐπιγράφουσιν οὐ καλῶς. παρὰ πολλοῖς δὲ ὀργιάζονται αἱ
    γυναῖκες θεοὺς οὐ δημοτελεῖς οὐδὲ τεταγμένους.

    (I presume the Ἀδωνιασμός is the ritual mourning for Adonis at the Adonia)

    The scholia to the proximate lines may be of interest too.

    To clarify the translation to that scholium to Peace 412 (ἵνα τὰς τελετὰς αὐτοὶ λάβοιεν : Ἡμῶν ἀπολλυμένων καὶ τῶν βαρβάρων αὐτοῖς θυόντων. παρατηρητέον δὲ ὅτι ἀντὶ τοῦ τὰς θυσίας κεῖται τὸ τελετάς.)

    “In order that they might take the τελετάι” [This is the actual line in Peace that the scholium is clarifying]: Because we are in ruin and when the Barbarians are sacrificing to them. And note that τελετάι is there instead of θυσίαι.

    This isn’t a very useful scholium, obviously. The scholiast was just trying to explain that the full thought is that the barbarians gods will get the τελετάι because we (the Greeks) will be in ruin and the barbarians will be sacrificing to them.

  3. Very interesting, and thank you for this. I suspect “Adoniasmos” is indeed the ritual mourning. But what is the t’?

    Any thoughts on the translation? My Greek is near non-existant, but here’s my effort:

    The Adoniasmos: For the women were completing the festival of Adonis, and which were bringing monkeys (? κήπους) to the houses. Which out of this business, the Ἀδωνιαζούσας were inscribing not well. Which many women are celebrating the gods unofficially ….????

    (τελετάι = rites, θυσίαι = sacrifices)

  4. It’s worth noting too, by the way, that I think that scholium from the Peace was from Demetrius Triclinius, a 14th century Byzantine scholar. I deal with more with the ancient scholia, but in my experience Triclinius’ notes don’t add very much for this kind of thing, unfortunately. It’s possible that you know more about the Adonia than he did. I’m not sure either why he calls attention to the use of τελετάι instead of θυσίαι, aside from the fact that the latter is what we would probably expect.

    As for the scholium to Lysistrata 389, ὅ τ’ Ἀδωνιασμός is part of the actual line in Lysistrata 389; it’s what the scholiast is trying to explain. τ’ is τε (i.e., “and”); the epsilon was elided because a vowel follows. As for a translation:

    “And the Ἀδωνιασμός”: The women used to hold the festival for Adonis and used to bring forth some κῆποι into their homes [κῆπος is typically a garden; probably this refers to some kind of potted plant women take home and tend?]. And some based on this line incorrectly entitle the drama “The Adoniazousai” [i.e., instead of “The Lysistrata”]. Women in particular hold the rites of gods that are not funded by the state [δημοτελεῖς] or appointed.

    Pretty interesting, especially that some think that this play should be called The Adoniazousai (i.e., “The Women Celebrating the Adonia”). Probably the ancient scholars who thought it should be so named were influenced by the title of another play, The Thesmophoriazusae. Anyways, I need to check again, but I believe one of the contiguous scholia also mentions an anecdote that the women were too loud in mourning Adonis at the most recent Adonia and that it disrupted a meeting of the Ekklesia (this fits with the theme of the play, namely women taking control of the state).

  5. Thank you very much for this! It seems unlikely that Demetrius Triclinus would have as much info as we do, I agree, but you never know.

    The κῆπος must then be connected with the “gardens of Adonis” idea.

    And yes, it IS very interesting. If you find anything else about Adonis in the scholia, I’d be most interested to see it.

    This is my first venture into the scholia. I have a feeling it could be compulsive!

  6. Try the Scholia to Theocritus on Id 15. They celebrate an Adonis Fest there.
    One question, I am trying to track down the legend of the 72 scholars for Peisistratus and Allen, in CQ 7 1913 says this goes back to Heliodorus, 6 cent AD. but I think it is quite earlier than this.
    Would like comments.


  7. Interesting — I had not thought to look at the scholia on Theocritus. Have you looked at these yourself?

    On the 72 scholars whom Peisistratus ordered to establish the text of Homer, I found this:

    It quotes John Tzetzes:

    The text of the Homeric poems, which previously had existed in various different forms, was established by 72 grammarians when Peisistratus was tyrant of Athens; but later the text was revised by Aristarchus and Zenodotus, who were two of the other scholars who corrected texts at the time of Ptolemaeus. Some writers ascribe the edition which was made under Peisistratus to just four scholars: Orpheus of Croton, Zopyrus of Heracleia, Onomacritus of Athens, and Epiconcylus.

    I don’t know what the witnesses are to this story, tho. Have you tried doing a TLG search on Pesistratus?

  8. For entry on recent scholia part 3 “Frogs”
    -1200a can someone translate the part following “with a little oil flask”, ‘elaiodoxou aggeiou’.
    And honestly, it’s the first I’ve worked with the scholia. I am doing a close look at lines 1198-1204, but specifically close look at lekythion, and am having a lot of trouble interpreting the scholia. Need help and been trying to find helpful resources ALL over the internet and can’t seem to understand it.
    For the note 1200a ‘elaiodoxou’ i can’t find any meaning for this word.
    Please help!

  9. E’ una vecchia bibliografia, ora comunque anche qui:

    Più aggiornata questa recensione
    “This is a momentous occasion. The publication of the final fascicule of the Groningen edition of the scholia to Aristophanes marks the completion of the scholarly endeavours of nearly half a century, made possible by the support of the NWO (Netherlands Organisation for the Advancement of Pure Research). The project began in 1960, under the supervision of W.J.W. Koster (until 1975) and then of D. Holwerda, who has seen it through to completion in the new millennium with the appearance of the scholia to the Thesmophoriazusae and Ecclesiazusae, edited by Remco Regtuit.”

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