From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Oct 03 1997 - 08:39:26 EDT
At 6:27 AM -0500 10/3/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>At 12:44 AM 10/4/97 +1000, Rick Strelan wrote:
>>I have frequently come across characters (esp in the papyri) who identify
>>themselves (especially in official notices of birth or death) as ASHMOS or
>>as having a scar (OULH) somewhere on their body/face. This looks pretty
>>common, so I assume the classicists among us can tell me what that all
>I'm not a classicist, but LSJ says that ASHMOS means "without mark or
>token", so I assume this means that the person in question has no mark or
>scar to identify them. The entry can be found here:
>>In what sense can a city be ASHMOS (Acts 21:39)?
>ASHMOS can also mean without significance, meaningless, unperceived,
>unnoticed, without leaving traces.
In Acts 21:39 Paul says EGW ANQRWPOS MEN EIMI IOUDAIOS, TARSEUS THS
KILIKIAS, OUK ASHMOU POLEWS POLITHS. Here the adjective ASHMOS appears in a
rhetorical double-negative expression OUK ASHMOU that is termed "litotes"
in the rhetorical manuals (and I earnestly hope this won't tick off a
thread on Litotes!); I would translate the phrase, "not undistinguished" =
"distinguished." Using the double negative, however, makes the assertion
much more powerful rhetorically, as when we say, "This is no little task"
rather than "This is a big job."
The antithetical adjective EUSHMOS appears in a highly ironic sense in a
memorable passage in Aeschylus's _Agamemnon_ 818, where the king who has
just returned home from the sack of Troy says of it:
KAPNWi D' hALOUSA NUN ET' EUSHMOS POLIS
"Still now the city, though conquered, is distinguished--by smoke."
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
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