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[582] Τάνταλον. Plato, Cratyl. 395, refers this name to “τάλας”, in the sense of ‘wretched:’ it is more likely connected with “ταλ-, τλῆναι, τολμᾶν”, meaning the ‘daring’ man. The close connection between “Τάν-ταλος” and “τάλαντον”, etc. appears in the proverb “τὰ Ταντάλου τάλαντα τανταλίζεται”. This fact may account for the forms of the story of his punishment; one, representing him as hanging balanced over the water; another, which the Tragedians and Lyrists mainly follow, describing him with a rock hanging over his head, like the sword of Damocles. Whether Tantalus is to be thought of as having revealed the secrets of the gods, to whose society he had been admitted, or as having stolen nectar and ambrosia from their table, at any rate there is a general agreement that his punishment came on him ‘ob scelera animique impotentiam et superbiloquentiam’ Cic. Tusc.4. 16Cic. Tusc., 35, “καταπέψαι μέγαν ὄλβον οὐκ ἐδυνάσθηPind. Ol.1. 55.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Pindar, Olympian, 1
    • Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 4.16
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