There are many versions of this well known fable. The ant is in them all, sometimes alone or in groups; It is portrayed as hard working and persistent; never tiring or diverted from its task. The suppliant is either a cricket, or more often a grasshopper (can you name them both in Greek?). Many of the Greek words in this fable have come into the English language in some form or another: music, lyric, melody, school, orchestra and more. Can you find all the words relating to music. School is not what it used to be. Do you know the meaning/root idea of σχολάζω?

Due Saturday, June 9, 2007 18:00 GMT
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Babrius 140* (Main version to read/translate)
Chambry 336 version 1**(Second version to read/translate)
Aphthonius 1
Chambry 336 version 2
Syntipas 43

The lines are numbered for collation and reference purposes. The line numbering format is comprised of three elements: Author+Version+Line Identifier: Author = B/C1/C2/S/A/H for Babrius, Chambry 1, Chambry 2, Syntipas,  Aphthonius or Herodotus; Line Identifier = T/M/#  where  T=Title, or M = Moral of the story or  # = Line number (incremental, but not counting the moral or title);

General Questions:

  1. Find all the words in the various fables that have to do with ‘music.’

Babrius 140

B1           Χειμῶνος ὥρῃ σῖτον ἐκ μυχοῦ σύρων
B2           ἔψυχε μύρμηξ, ὃν θέρους σεσωρεύκει.
B3           τέττιξ δὲ τοῦτον ἱκέτευε λιμώττων
B4           δοῦναί τι καὐτῷ τῆς τροφῆς, ὅπως ζήσῃ.
B5           "τί οὖν ἐποίεις" φησί "τῷ θέρει τούτῳ;"
B6           "οὐκ ἐσχόλαζον, ἀλλὰ διετέλουν ᾄδων."
B7           γελάσας δ' ὁ μύρμηξ τόν τε πυρὸν ἐγκλείων
B8           "χειμῶνος ὀρχοῦ" φησίν "εἰ θέρους ηὔλεις."


Babrius Questions

Q1  Why are Χειμῶνος and θέρους in the genitive?
Q2  What is the difference between σῖτον and πυρὸν?
Q3  How would you translate ἔψυχε μύρμηξ? 'was cold', 'breathed', 'sighed' or ?
Q4  The verb chain  ἱκέτευε + δοῦναί is called what type of construction?
Q5  What mood/tense is ζήσῃ, future indicative or aorist subjunctive.  How would you tell? Is ὅπως used with both the Indicative and subjunctive moods?
Q6  Who is asking "What were you doing this summer?" Does the author give the reader any hints to follow the change of discourse?
Q7  What is the word for 'ant hill' in Greek? Is it μυχός? How would you find out?
Q8  What English word do we get from σχολάζω and ὀρχέομαι? 


Chambry 336 version 1

C1-T       Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες.
C1-1       Χειμῶνος ὥρᾳ τὸν σῖτον βραχέντα οἱ μύρμηκες ἔψυχον.
C1-2       Τέττιξ δὲ λιμώττων ᾔτει αὐτοὺς τροφήν.
C1-3       Οἱ δὲ μύρμηκες εἶπον αὐτῷ· Διὰ τί τὸ θέρος οὐ συνῆγες καὶ σὺ τροφήν;
C1-4       Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Οὐκ ἐσχόλαζον, ἀλλ' ᾖδον μουσικῶς.
C1-5       Οἱ δὲ γελάσαντες εἶπον· Ἀλλ' εἰ θέρους ὥραις ηὔλεις, χειμῶνος ὀρχοῦ.
C1-M     Ὁ μῦθος δηλοῖ ὅτι οὐ δεῖ τινα ἀμελεῖν ἐν παντὶ πράγματι, ἵνα μὴ λυπηθῇ καὶ κινδυνεύσῃ.

Chambry 336 version 1 Questions

Q1 Are ὥρῃ and ὥρᾳ the same word?  Why the difference?

Q2 Parse the word βραχέντα. Can βραχέντα  be interpreted/parsed several ways?

1) from βραχύς, εῖα, ύ, meaning 'few, short, small'
2) from βρᾰχείς  the aorist participle of βρέχω to be wet/get wet
3) from βρᾰχεῖν (an epic word) meaning to clatter/shout/creak
4) from some other word – which one?

Note: Line C1-3 Διὰ τί should be translated as a phrase - For what? or more simply 'Why'

Q4 How would you translate 'καὶ' in the phrase 'οὐ συνῆγες καὶ σὺ τροφήν'

Q5 what is the difference between ᾖδον and ᾄδων? Why is the iota a subscript, if the lemma is from ἀείδω?

Q6  How does an alpha lengthen if augmented? Is ηὔλεις from αὐλέω? Does an alpha, when augmented, always become an eta?

Q7  Is the hina clause in C1-M consessive (result) or purpose? i.e. 'so that' or 'in order to'?

Q8  What is the subject of  ἀμελεῖν, in the phrase ὅτι οὐ δεῖ τινα ἀμελεῖν? Would English use a positive....It is necessary.  Does the Greek say 'it is not necessary to neglect' or is the negative οὐ to be taken with the infinitive ἀμελεῖν and means ‘it is necessary not to neglect’?

Q9  τινα can be either m/f accusative singular or neuter plural nominative/accusative in form.  What form is it here in line C1-M?


Aphthonius 1

AM         Μῦθος ὁ τῶν τεττίγων καὶ τῶν μυρμήκων προτρεπόμενος τοὺς νέους εἰς πόνους.
A1           Θέρους ἦν ἀκμὴ καὶ οἱ μὲν τέττιγες μουσικὴν ἀνεβάλλοντο σύντονον:
A2           τοῖς μύρμηξι δὲ πονεῖν ἐπῄει καὶ συλλέγειν καρπούς, ἐξ ὧν ἔμελλον τοῦ χειμῶνος τραφήσεσθαι.
A3           χειμῶνος δὲ ἐπιγεγονότος οἱ μύρμηκες μέν, οἷς ἐπόνουν, ἐτρέφοντο,
A4           τοῖς δὲ ἡ τέρψις ἐτελεύτα πρὸς ἔνδειαν.
A5           Οὕτω νεότης πονεῖν οὐκ ἐθέλουσα παρὰ τὸ γῆρας κακοπραγεῖ.

Aphthonius 1 Questions

AQ1 How would one translate προτρεπόμενος τοὺς νέους εἰς πόνους.  (The same thought exists in A5 Οὕτω νεότης πονεῖν.)

AQ2 In line A2 the word ἐπῄει is hard to understand.  What are the options?

a.  It is used as an impersonal verb 'happens' > epi + ei=mi
b.  Is is a dative from an ionic form of ἔπος , older ϝέπος SIG9 (v. infr.), etc., εος, τό meaning 'in speech'
c.  Is it from another word?

AQ3 The word κακοπραγεῖ in various forms has the meaning 'to fail' ( the verb kakoprage/w is not in LSJ).  How would one translate line A5? Perhaps 'Thus youth, not wishing to work, fail in comparison to their elders' . What's your twist on this sentence?


The Fables of Aesop, by Joseph Jacobs with illustrations by Richard Heighway (1894). The page images come from Google Books. The digitized text comes from Project Gutenberg. You can purchase this inexpensive Dover edition, The Fables of Aesop by Joseph Jacobs from


Chambry 336 version 2

C2-T       Τέττιξ καὶ μύρμηκες.
C2-1       Ὥρας δέ ποτε χειμῶνος τυγχανούσης,
C2-2       μύρμηκες σῖτον ἡλίαζον βραχέντα.
C2-3       Τέττιξ δὲ τούτους οὕτως ἰδὼν ποιοῦντας,
C2-4       αὐτὸς λιμώττων καὶ μέλλων τεθνηκέναι,
C2-5       δραμὼν παρ' αὐτοὺς ἐδωδὴν ἐπεζήτει.
C2-6       Τῶν δὲ φησάντων· Τῷ θέρει πῶς οὐκ ἔσχες,
C2-7       ἀλλ' ἐρρᾳθύμεις, καὶ προσαιτεῖς ἀρτίως;
C2-8       τέττιξ ἀντεῖπεν· Ἀλλ' ἐτερπόμην τότε,
C2-9       αὐλῶν καὶ τέρπων ὅλους τοὺς ὁδοιπόρους.
C2-10     Οἱ δὲ αὐτίκα ταῦτα ἀκηκοότες
C2-11     ἐμειδίασαν καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐβόων·
C2-12     Χειμῶνος ὀρχοῦ, εἴπερ ηὔλεις ἐν θέρει·
C2-13     ἀλλ' ἐν θέρει σὺ τὸν σῖτον ἀποτίθει
C2-14     καὶ μὴ λυρίζων ἡδύνῃς ὁδοιπόρους.
C2-M     Ὁ μῦθος δηλοῖ ὅτι οὐ δεῖ τινα ἀμελεῖν ἢ ὀκνεῖν ἐπί τινος πράγματος,
                ἀλλὰ τὰ δέοντα ποιεῖν, μή πως ὀκνήσας κινδύνῳ περιπέσῃ.

Chambry 336 version 2 Questions

Q1 What are two genitive absolutes in the fable?

Q1  Why the perfect infinitive.....μέλλων τεθνηκέναι? (It is perfect, yes?)

Q2  Parse the word ἔσχες.  What principal parts of that verb have sigma in the stem?

Q3  LSJ gives the word ὁδοιπόρους the meaning of traveller or wayfarer.  Do you agree, or is it used differently here? (The word is used in both line C2-9 and C2-14)

Q5  What word is ἡδύνῃς from:  ἁνδάνω, ἥδομαι or δύναμαι? How would you translate it?

Q6  What is the parsing for ἀκηκοότες.  What other verbs show this type of reduplication in some principal parts?


Bewick's Select fables of Aesop and others, with illustrations by Thomas Bewick. 1871 (first edition published in 1818). Available online at Michigan State University.


Syntipas 43

ST           Μύρμηξ καὶ τέττιξ.
S1           Μύρμηξ τις ὥρᾳ χειμῶνος ὃν θέρους συνήγαγε σῖτον καθ' ἑαυτὸν ἤσθιεν.
S2           ὁ δὲ τέττιξ προσελθὼν αὐτῷ ᾐτεῖτο μεταδοθῆναι αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν αὐτοῦ σιτίων.
S3           ὁ δὲ μύρμηξ ἔφη πρὸς αὐτόν "καὶ τί ἄρα πράττων διετέλεις ἐφ' ὅλῳ τῷ τοῦ θέρους καιρῷ, ὁτι μὴ συνέλεξας σῖτον ἑαυτῷ εἰς διατροφήν;"
S4           ὁ δὲ τέττιξ ἀντέφησεν αὐτῷ ὡς "τῷ μελῳδεῖν ἀπασχολούμενος τῆς συλλογῆς ἐκωλυόμην."
S5           τῇ γοῦν τοιαύτῃ τοῦ τέττιγος ἀποκρίσει ὁ μύρμηξ ἐπιγελάσας, τὸν ἑαυτοῦ σῖτον τοῖς ἐνδοτέροις τῆς γῆς μυχοῖς ἐναπέκρυψε
S6           καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀπεφθέγξατο ὡς "ἐπεὶ τότε ματαίως ἐμελώδεις, νυνὶ λοιπὸν ὁρχήσασθαι θέλησον."
SM         Οὗτος παρίστησι τοὺς ὀκνηρούς τε καὶ ἀμελεῖς, καὶ τοὺς ἐν ματαιοπραγίαις διάγοντας κἀντεῦθεν ὑστερουμένους.


Syntipas 43 Questions

Q1  From what Greek word is σιτίων?  Is it the same as σῖτον?

Q2  In line S3, should the author have use the word σεαυτῷ instead of ἑαυτῷ (see also τὸν ἑαυτοῦ σῖτον in line S5)?

Q3  How would you translate the difficult  τῇ γοῦν τοιαύτῃ τοῦ τέττιγος in line S5?

Q4 Is the use of ὡς to introduce a quote a standard usage in Attic, or is this a later Hellenistic usage?

Q5 What is the lemma for ὀκνηρούς? (see ὄκνος or ὀκνηρία )  Is it found in LSJ?

Q6  Does Οὗτος παρίστησι mean the same as Ὁ μῦθος δηλοῖ? Does Οὗτος refer to the fab
le, the author or something else?


Aesop's Fables (French, English, Latin), with illustrations by Francis Barlow, 1687. Page images available online at Michigan State University.
(Steinhowel 1479) 79. De formica et cicada.
(Steinhowel 1501)
(Steinhowel - in Spanish, 1521)
Illustrations from the 1479 edition of Steinhowel come from the online edition at the Library of Congress. This edition is in German, not Latin, so I have reproduced only the images here. The illustrations for the 1501 edition of Steinhowel are online at the University of Mannheim. So that you can see the Latin text on these pages, each 1501 image is linked to a full page view of this edition (although the images are poor quality gif images, unlike the high-quality images at Library of Congress). Finally, I have included a 1521 edition of Steinhowel translated into Spanish, also from the Library of Congress. As you can see, the illustrations continue to follow the same basic pattern but have a decidedly different element of style.