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[539] ἀσφοδελός is used adjectivally with oxytone accent, as “τόμος, τομός”. It is described by Pliny, H. N. 21. 68, ‘Theophrastus et fere Graeci et Pythagoras caulem anthericon, radicem vero, quae ex LXXX simul acervatis bulbis constat, asphodelum nominarunt, cuius genera duo faciunt. Fuit tenuiorum cibus, quem et mortuorum in tumulis apponebant.’ See Hesiod. Opp. 41, where “ἀσφόδελος” is coupled with “μαλάχη”, as the representatives of frugal food, and cp. Aristoph. Plut.544.It is a kind of squill with a large stalk and long leaves and pale blossoms. It is still found in the Greek islands, where it is used for planting on graves: the custom serving to show its ancient connection with the scenery of the under-world. No doubt the idea of planting the asphodel was to supply the dead with some simple food.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Aristophanes, Plutus, 544
    • Hesiod, Works and Days, 41
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