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χρησιμώτεροι. “More lucrative.” Zeus, with a sharp eye to “the loaves and fishes,” contrives to kill two birds with one stone. The propagation of piety by making fissures in men is an idea that tickles, and the discovery of the benefits—from the Olympian point of view—which result from schisms of this sort is νόημα γελοιότατον. This passage is alluded to by Musonius ap. Stob. flor. LXVII. 20; Julian, Ep. LX. p. 448 C.

ἐὰν δ̓ ἔτι κτλ. The ingenious Deity has still “a rod in pickle”: the process of bisection may be repeated ad lib. until the wicked are left literally with not a leg to stand on.

ἀσκωλίζοντες. Schol. ἀσκωλιάζειν κυρίως μὲν τὸ ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀσκοὺς ἅλλεσθαι ἀληλιμμένους, ἐφ᾽ οὓς ἐπήδων γελοίου ἕνεκα: τινὲς δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν συμπεφυκόσι τοῖς σκέλεσιν ἁλλομένων. ἤδη δὲ τιθέασι καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ ἅλλεσθαι τὸ νεῦρον (τὸν ἕτερον cj. Bekk.) τῶν ποδῶν ἀνέχοντα, ὡς νῦν ἐπὶ σκέλους ἑνὸς βαίνοντα. ἔστι δὲ καὶ τὸ χωλαίνειν. Hesych. ἀσκωλίζοντες: ἐφ᾽ ἑνὸς ποδὸς ἐφαλλόμενοι. Cp. Schol. ad Ar. Plut. 1130: Virg. Georg. II. 383 inter pocula laeti | mollibus in pratis unctos saluere per utres. See also Smith D. A. s.v. “ascoliasmus.”

ὥσπερ οἱ τὰ ὄα κτλ. For ὄα (see crit. n.) cp. Pollux VI. 79 ἦν δὲ τρωγάλια κάρυα μυρτίδες μέσπιλα, καὶ ὄα καλεῖται: Tim. (Phot., Suid.) ὄα: ἀκροδρύων εἶδος μήλοις μικροῖς ἐμφερές. It is the “sorb-apple” or “service-berry,” Lat. sorbum; for the mode of preserving these cp. Varro de re rust. I. 59 (putant manere) sorba quidam dissecta et in sole macerata, ut pira, et sorba per se ubicumque sint posita, in arido facile manere: and for ταριχεύειν in this sense of “drying,” cp. Phot. (Suid.) ταριχεύειν:...σημαίνειν δὲ καὶ τὸ ξηραίνειν.

The clause ὥσπερ...ταῖς θριξίν is condemned by most edd. It is an objection to the phrase that, as Rettig notes, we ought naturally to supply with it not only the appropriate τέμνοντες but also the inappropriate μέλλοντες ταριχεύειν: this objection however is not insuperable, and if necessary τέμνοντες might be transposed. It is argued on the other hand by Hommel and Vögelin that a second simile is really required, the sorb-slicing describing only the mode of operation, whereas the egg-slicing adds the idea of ease and facility. That ᾤα θριξὶ διαιρεῖν was a proverbial saying is shown by Plut. amat. 24, p. 770 B οἶσθα τοὺς παιδικοὺς ἔρωτας <εἰς> ἀβεβαιότητα πολλὰ λέγουσι καὶ σκώπτουσι λέγοντες ὥσπερ ᾤον αὐτῶν τριχὶ διαιρεῖσθαι τὴν φιλίαν. Rückert supposes “ovorum per crines dissectionem ludi genus fuisse; fortasse ex ovorum dissectione per crines facta convivae futura praedicere solebant”: Zeller writes “vielleicht ein Gesellschafts- oder Liebesspiel, das darin bestanden haben könnte, dass zwei Tischgenossen sich in die zwei Hälften eines hartgesottenen Eies theilten, nachdem es mit einem dem Einen von ihnen ausgezogenen Haare zerschnitten war, also ein griechisches Vielliebchen.” It is, perhaps, possible that it had some connexion with (Orphic) magic and divination by ᾠοσκοπία. For the process of bisection, cp. Phaedrus 265 E.


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