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σκυ^τάλη [α^], ,
A.staff, cudgel, club, D.S.3.8; ς. ἀγριέλαιος, of Heracles' club, AP9.237 (Eryc.); cf. σκύταλον:—Special usages:
1. at Sparta, staff or baton, used as a cypher for writing dispatches, a strip of leather being rolled slantwise round it, on which the dispatches were written lengthwise, so that when unrolled they were unintelligible: commanders abroad had a staff of like thickness, round which they rolled these strips, and so were able to read the dispatches:—hence σκυτάλη came to mean a Spartan dispatch, Th.1.131, X.HG3.3.8, Ar.Lys.991, Plu.Lys.19, Gell.17.9.15; and, generally, dispatch, message, as Pi. calls the bearer of his ode “σκυτάλα ΜοισᾶνO.6.91, where the Sch. quotes ἀχνυμένη σκυτάλη (dub. sens.) from Archil. (Fr.89.2); σκυτάλης περιτροπή, of labour in vain (cf. ὕπερος), Pl.Tht.209d.
2. pole or staff, like those of a sedan-chair, LXX Ex.30.4.
3. strickle for levelling grain piled up in a measure, “ς. δικαίαPTeb.823.15, PAmh.2.43.10 (both ii B.C.), cf. Poll.4.170.
4. wooden tally or ticket on a money-bag, etc., Diosc.Hist.4, D.S.13.106.
5. strip or rod of metal or ivory, “κασσιτέρουInscr.Délos 442 B170 (ii B.C.); ἐλέφαντος ibid.; cf. Hld.9.15.
6. scourge whip, Moer.p.346P.
7. handle or lever in a machine, Orib.49.3.3; handspike for turning a wheel, Ph.Bel.68.6, 85.2, Hero Bel.86.12 (pl.).
II. sucker from a stem, Gp.9.11.4, al.
III. cylinder or roller wherewith weights are moved, Arist.Mech.852a16, cf. CPHerm. 95.16 (iii A.D.).
IV. a serpent, of uniform roundness and thickness, Nic.Th.384, Sor. ap. Philum.Ven.27.3 (for Plu.Crass.32 v. Σκύλλα).
2. a fish of like shape, Opp.H.1.184.
V. finger-bone, phalanx, Paul.Aeg.6.43, Tz.H.9.126.
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hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries from this page (9):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 13.106
    • Old Testament, Exodus, 30.4
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 209d
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.131
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.3.8
    • Aristophanes, Lysistrata, 991
    • Plutarch, Crassus, 32
    • Plutarch, Lysander, 19
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 3.8
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