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[239] εἰρόμεναι παῖδας, sc. ‘asking about their sons,’ the so-called schema Homericum; so 10.416, 24.390. What the exact meaning of ἔται is we cannot say. The word occasionally occurs in later Greek in the sense townsman; e.g. in the treaty between Argos and Sparta, Thuk.v. 79τοῖς δὲ ἔταις καττὰ πάτρια δικάζεσθαι”, and in the well-known Elean inscr., Collitz 1149. 9 “αἴτε ϝέτας αἴτε τελέστα <ς> αἴτε δᾶμος”, in this case opposed to official as in Aisch. Supp. 247.This well enough suits all cases in H., where, however, the connotation is rather fellow-townsman: 7.295ἔτας καὶ ἑταίρους,9.464ἔται καὶ ἀνεψιοί,16.456 (= 674) “κασίγνητοί τε ἔται τε” (and so Od. 15.273), Od. 4.16γείτονες ἠδὲ ἔται”, and see Od. 4.3 with M. and R.'s note. Etymologically the word is evidently akin to “ἑταῖρος”.

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