Notes on Stesichorus’ Proverbial τρία

in Mnemosyne
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This article aims at re-assessing the proverb which hints at Stesichorus’ τρία (ἔπη/μέρη) and takes ignorance of them as a symbol of indisputable ἀμουσία. Phrasing and meaning of the proverb are discussed; based on the different explanations given in the manuscript testimonia and on the elements implied by the proverb itself, I then argue that the proverb had multiple meanings from the beginning. The survival of the proverb also provides clues to the diachronic fortune of the poetic persona under Stesichorus’ name and to the awareness of the triadic responsion over time.

Notes on Stesichorus’ Proverbial τρία

in Mnemosyne


BraswellB.K. BillerbeckM.SchampJ. Die Anfänge der Pindarstudien in der Renaissance KAINOTOMIA 2000a Fribourg 69 80 Die Erneuerung der griechischen Tradition. Colloquium Pavlos Tzermias

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BühlerW. HellerJ.L.NewmanJ.K. On Some MSS of the Athous Recension of the Greek Paroemiographers Serta Turyniana 1974 Urbana/Chicago/London 410 435 Studies in Greek Literature and Paleography in Honor of Alexander Turyn

CrusiusO. Stesichoros und die epodische Composition in der griechischen Lyrik Commentationes Philologae quibus Ottoni Ribbeckio praeceptori inlustri sexagesimum aetatis magisterii Lipsiensis decimum annum exactum congratulantur discipuli Lipsienses 1888 Lipsiae 3 22

DaviesM. The Paroemiographers on τὰ τρία τῶν Στησιχόρου JHS 1982 102 206 210

ErcolesM. Stesicoro: testimonianze 2008 PhD dissertation available online at

GentiliB. Molossus + Bacchius in the new Stesichorus Fragment (P. Lille 76 abc) GRBS 1979 20 127 131

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HaslamM. The Versification of the New Stesichorus (P. Lille abc) GRBS 1978 19 29 57

HoneckR.P. A Proverb in Mind. The Cognitive Science of Proverbial Wit and Wisdom 1997 Mahwah/London

LelliE. I proverbi greci: Le raccolte di Zenobio e Diogeniano 2006 Roma

PitottoE. Note sulla giunzione intertriadica QUCC 2012 100 146 162

PowerT. The Culture of Kitharoidia 2010 Cambridge/London

TessierA. Filologi bizantini di età comnena Incontri triestini di filologia classica 2003-2004 3 1 14


Printed in Davies 1982208-209are the following sources: Zenobius Athous 1.23 Miller (= Mél. de litt. gr. 351) Athen. 1083 (= Kugeas cpg Suppl. v 9) Laurent. 59.30 (= Cohn cpg Suppl. iv 225) and Bodleianus 732.88 Gaisford; Pausanias Atticus Ἀττικῶν ὀνομάτων συναγωγή τ 45.1; Laurent. 80.13 (= Jungblut cpg Suppl. vi 406); Apostolius Cent. 13.17 (= ii 578 L.-S.); pseudo-Diogenian Cent. 7.14 (= i 288 L.-S.) and Bodl. Barocc. 219 (= Cohn cpg Suppl. iv 228); pseudo-Herodian Φιλέταιρος 82.103 Dain (= ad ps.-Diogenian. Cent. 7.14 [= i 228 L.-S.]); Laurent. 58.24 (= Cohn cpg Suppl. i 27); Suda s.v. οὐδὲ τὰ τρία Στησιχόρου γινώσκεις; Photius s.v. τρία Στησιχόρου; and Hesychius s.v. τρία Στησιχόρου. To this list Suda s.v. τρία Στησιχόρου and Lexica Segueriana 392.22 Bachmann must be added.


See Davies 1982207; contra Crusius 1888 who assumed instead a reference to the τρία μέρη of the triadic structure.


See Davies 1982207.


See Bühler 1974.


See Honeck 1997chapter 4 in particular.


Cf. Lelli 2006515. Other paroemiographic instances although none explicitly connected with (τὰ) τρία (τῶν) Στησιχόρου occur in Zenobius 3.1 Miller (= Mél. de litt. gr. 369) pseudo-Diogenian Cent. 1.37 (= ii 6 L.-S.) and 2.26 (= ii 199 L.-S.) pseudo-Zonaras 1294.16 and 18 Tittmann and Michael Apostolius 2.67.1 von Leutsch (10.50.1 with the variant ἀνοητότεροι); also the saying is referred to in a passage by Aristaenetus (Epist. 1.27.22).


On which see Pitotto 2012.


In this respect see at least Braswell 2000a2000b and Tessier 2003-2004.

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