Reading 10: Hermes Fables

Questions and Answers

Selected Hermes Fables

Perry Index Fable Name Questions and Answers Reading Selection
Perry 88 Hermes and the Statues Chambry 108 version 1 #10 Primary (1)
Perry 88 Hermes and the Statues Chambry 108 version 2 #10 Primary (2)
Perry 99 The Man and the Statue of Hermes Chambry 2 #10 Optional
Perry 308 Hermes and the Dog Babrius 48 #10 Advanced


Texts and Questions

Reading 10 - Primary Reading (1) Chambry 108 Version 1


Ἑρμῆς καὶ ἀγαλματοποιός.

[1] Ἑρμῆς βουλόμενος γνῶναι ἐν τίνι τιμῇ παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἐστίν, ἧκεν ἀφομοιωθεὶς ἀνθρώπῳ εἰς ἀγαλματοποιοῦ ἐργαστήριον. [2] Καὶ θεασάμενος Διὸς ἄγαλμα ἐπυνθάνετο πόσου. [3] Εἰπόντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ὅτι δραχμῆς, γελάσας ἠρώτα τὸ τῆς Ἥρας πόσου. [4] Εἰπόντος δὲ ἔτι μείζονος, θεασάμενος καὶ αὑτοῦ ἄγαλμα ὑπέλαβεν ὅτι αὐτόν, ἐπειδὴ καὶ ἄγγελός ἐστι καὶ ἐπικερδής, περὶ πολλοῦ ποιοῦνται οἱ ἄνθρωποι. [5] Διόπερ ἐπυνθάνετο ὁ Ἑρμῆς πόσου, καὶ ὁ ἀγαλματογλύφος ἔφη· Ἀλλ' ἐὰν τούτους ἀγοράσῃς, τοῦτόν σοι προσθήκην δώσω. [E] Πρὸς ἄνδρα κενόδοξον ἐν οὐδεμίᾳ μοίρᾳ παρὰ τοῖς ἄλοις ὄντα ὁ λόγος ἁρμόζει. 

Note: Hera is the Greek equivalent of Juno, the wife of Zeus and queen of the gods.


Reading 10 - Primary Reading (2) Chambry 108 version 2

Chambry 108 version 2 text

Ἑρμῆς καὶ ἀγαλματοποιός.

[1] Ἑρμῆς γνῶναι βουλόμενος ἐν τίνι τιμῇ παρ' ἀνθρώποις ἐστίν, ἧκεν εἰς ἀγαλματοποιοῦ, ἑαυτὸν εἰκάσας ἀνθρώπῳ, [2] καὶ θεασάμενος ἄγαλμα τοῦ Διὸς ἠρώτα πόσου τις αὐτὸ πρίασθαι δύναται. [3] Τοῦ δὲ εἰπόντος δραχμῆς, γελάσας πόσου τὸ τῆς Ἥρας ἔφη. [4] Εἰπόντος δὲ πλείονος, ἰδὼν καὶ τὸ ἑαυτοῦ ἄγαλμα, καὶ νομίσας ὡς, ἐπειδὴ ἄγγελός ἐστι θεῶν καὶ κερδῷος, πολὺν αὐτοῦ παρὰ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις εἶναι τὸν λόγον, [5] ἤρετο περὶ αὐτοῦ. Ὁ δ' ἀγαλματοποιὸς ἔφη· Ἐὰν τούτους ὠνήσῃ, καὶ τοῦτον προσθήκην σοι δίδωμι.
[E] Ὁ μῦθος πρὸς ἄνδρα κενόδοξον οὐδεμίᾳ παρ' ἄλλοις ὄντα τιμῇ. 

Questions for Chambry 108 Versions 1 and 2 (Reading 10 Primary) (A side-by-side presentation of the two texts is given below the questions)

Q1 What is the concept of the phrase in line [1] ἐν τίνι τιμῇ? The word τῑμή means what in this context: honour, price, value, etc.? What is the most frequent word(s) for 'price' in Greek? Was the word τιμῇ chosen here because it means both 'honor' and 'value'?

I think τῑμή means price. I do not know the most common word in Greek for price I would recognise τῑμή. Yes I think τῑμή has a double meaning and that is why word is used.

Hermes wanted to know how famous he was, how high men valued/ranked him. As far as I know the normal Greek word for "price" IS ἡ τιμή.

ἐν τίνι τιμῇ παρ' ἀνθρώποις It's all about the money. Price and honor go together. There are four words listed in Woodhouse for price: τιμή ἡ, ὠνή ἡ, ἀξία ὁ and τῖμος ὁ. ὠνή is from ὠνέομαι, meaning a purchase/purchase price. ἀξία means price/amount, but of persons 'dignity, reputation, moral value, worth, opinion. ἀξία is closer to the meaning of τιμή . τιμή = τίμος means dignity, office, honour, value, price, valuation. The author seems to pick the most appropriate word, which to me seems to have more of the idea of value/honour than price.

The concept of the phrase in line [1] ἐν τίνι τιμῇ is "in what esteem or respect?"
The word τῑμή in this context means value or esteem. I do not know the most frequent word(s) for 'price' in Greek. Yes, the word τιμῇ chosen here because it means both 'honor' and 'value'.


Q2There are a number of genitive stand-alone words in these fables: ἠρώτα πόσου, ἐπυνθάνετο πόσου, ὅτι δραχμῆς, εἰπόντος δραχμῆς, πόσου τὸ τῆς Ἥρας ἔφη, Εἰπόντος δὲ πλείονος, ἐπυνθάνετο ὁ Ἑρμῆς πόσου, One would expect a prepsition like in the phrase ἤρετο περὶ αὐτοῦ, yes? Why then are the genitive usages above good Greek?

I thought these forms might be a special construction like a ‘genitive absolute’. I did not think they must be good Greek as I found them very difficult to translate

Like Latin, Greek uses the genitive to tell "how much" things cost/are worth. As for "good" Greek, of course it is good Greek, just as "He asked how much?" is better English than "He asked about how much" various objects cost.

The genitive is used with verbs signifying to buy, to sell, to cost. Cf. Smyth 1372 ff. Also see Funk 888.7 “The genitive is used to indicate the price, value, or measure of something - (23) διακοσίων δηναρίων ἄρτοι οὐκ ἀρκοῦσιν αὐτοῖς Jn 6:7 two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for them.” So here one would translate it 'he asked of its price'. I'm not sure if this usage was increasing in later Hellenistic usage.

Regarding the number of genitive stand-alone words in these fables, I think they are genitive absolute. Their use also shows a consistent style.


Q3 Chambry 108 version 1 line 1 has the phrase εἰς ἀγαλματοποιοῦ .(implying the accusative ἐργαστήριον). Would this type of syntax and use of εἰς (without the accusative object) be allowed in Attic? What is the term and abbreviation lexicons use when a word is implied?

CH1 3 JPF We do the same in English: We buy meat at the butcher's, bread at the baker's.... In Attic Greek kids study at the teacher's rather than at school because they didn't have schools the way we do. And the dead went to the Underworld, i.e. Hades' [place, realm, domain]. English "whose?"
corresponds to Greek genitive, no problem. And no need for the word "place or house or ..." as long as it is unambiguously understood.

CH1 3 LLS The phrase in version 2 εἰς ἀγαλματοποιοῦ lines up with the phrase εἰς ἀγαλματοποιοῦ ἐργαστήριον. I do not think εἰς ἀγαλματοποιοῦ is at all acceptable. The NT which is a good example of Koine never has εἰς + the genitive. We do talk in English like this all the time, e.g. 'at the doctor's (office).'

The abbreviation used in lexicons when a word is to be implied is 'sc.' which stand for Latin scilicet. BADG lists it as 'you may understand; supply'. Another example is ἐπὶ τῇ δεξιᾷ 'at the right (hand)'

CH1 3 MMB In Chambry 108 version 1 line 1 where the phrase εἰς ἀγαλματοποιοῦ (implying the accusative ἐργαστήριον) occurs, I do not know whether this type of syntax and use of εἰς (without the accusative object) is allowed in Attic. I do not know the term and abbreviation lexicons use when a word is implied.


Q4 What does the phrase in Chambry 108 version 1 line 4 περὶ πολλοῦ ποιοῦνται οἱ ἄνθρωποι mean?

CH1 4 ECW I translated περὶ πολλοῦ ποιοῦνται οἱ ἄνθρωποι how much to be made like a man

CH1 4 JPF He assumed that people held him in high esteem/considered him of great importance.

CH1 4 LLS The question here is, to what noun does περὶ πολλοῦ ποιοῦνται οἱ ἄνθρωποι modify. To the word ἐπικερδής 'profit' or to Hermes himself. "about which men make a big deal." The phrase περὶ πολλοῦ ποιεῖσθαί τι = Lat. magni facere ' = it is worth much, it is of great consequence.'

CH1 4 MMB The phrase in Chambry 108 version 1 line 4 περὶ πολλοῦ ποιοῦνται οἱ ἄνθρωποι means "people were doing a lot, making a profit/benefitting...


Q5 Translate the epimythium of Chambry 108 versions 1 and 2.

CH1 5 ECW I Translated the epimythium of Chambry 108 versions 1 and 2.
1. To the vainglorious man there is no part of the word of interest from others
2. The moral to the vainglorious man no one will give him honour

CH1 5 JPF This fable perfectly describes a self-conceited man held in no respect by others.

CH1 5 LLS The more I try to get my hands around these epimythium, the more slippery they get. πρὸς ἄνδρα: does the fable speak 'towards' or 'at' this type of man? What does παρὰ mean, 'beside', 'among'?
C1E The saying is fitting (ἁρμόζει) for vain men who are not held in esteem (ἐν οὐδεμίᾳ μοίρᾳ ὄντα) among others
C2E: The myth (says) a vain man has no honour among others

C1-E This story tells that for a conceited person there is no esteem held at all by others.
C2-E The story tells that a conceited person has no esteem at all from others.


Q6 How do you parse ἤρετο? How does the word ἔρομαι fit into the speech words (e.g λέγω, εἶπον, ἐρῶ, etc.)? Is ἔρομαι the same word as ἐρῶ?

ἔρομαι, ἐρήσομαι or εἰρήσομαι, ἠρόμην means I ask, enquire. λέγω I say, future ἐρῶ or λέξω, future middle voice ἐροῦμαι (I shall say to myself?). I wouldn't think there was much use for a middle voice of λέγω. Whereas I see no objection to using present tense ἔρομαι which has nothing to do with ἐροῦμαι future middle of λέγω. Though "ask, enquire, question" can also be ἐρέω, εἴρομαι or ἐροῦμαι (present tense middle) which last form could be confused with future middle of λέγω. Context will always tell.

The word εἴρομαι / ἔρομαι means 'to ask'. LSJ says the imperfect = the aorist. In later times, the form was being taken over by ἐρέω. Τhe future of λέγω, especially in compounds is supplied by ἐρῶ. BADG lists ἐρῶ as the future of εἶπον. I'm a little confused if this is the same word or not.

CH1 6 MMB The parsing of ἤρετο: ερωτάω, ἐρωτήσω, ἐρήσομαι, ἠρόμην, ἠρώτωησα, ἠρωτηκα, ἠρωτήθην. Τhe word ἔρομαι means I say or speak. ἐρῶ has a meaning of "speak out", or "proclaim".

Q7 There have been a number of mispellings in the various fables we have read. Are these mispellings corrected to the standard proper spelling in most 'official texts' ? (e.g. παρ' ἄλλοις versus παρὰ τοῖς ἄλοις in the Epimythium of both fables. I'm thinking the critical texts of Herodotus, Plutarch, the New Testament, etc.)

There have been a number of mispellings in the various fables we have read. In most 'official texts' are these mispellings corrected to the standard proper spelling? (e.g. παρ' ἄλλοις versus παρὰ τοῖς ἄλοις in the Epimythium of both fables. I'm thinking the critical texts of Herodotus, Plutarch, the New Testament, etc.) Yes I think the scribes corrected mistakes as they went and that has lead for example to many variant readings in the new Testament

I have no idea.

My feeling is that normally, editors of texts suppress misspellings (except in the papyri). The only places where alternate spellings exist in critical texts, is where the variant reading would make a difference in the interpretation of the text. Obviously, most critical texts have punctuation, accents, and other emendations and proposals which were not in the original manuscript. Even for diplomatic editions (editions based on just one manuscript, which list all other readings in other manuscripts as variants in the apparatus) I believe spellings are corrected. There should be a standard go-to book or resource which lets a person know to what extent corrections are made by textual editors. I don't know of one for non-biblical Greek.

CH1 7 MMB I do not know how to explain the mispellings in the various fables we have read.


Answers to the questions can be sent directly to Paul Fonck via this link

Chambry published a multivolume edition of the fables for the Belles Lettres series in 1925/6 (Paris). He later revised this into a single volume, omitting hundreds of the fable variants. In addition, the numeration between these two volumes is not consistent. The texts here are taken from the 1925/6 edition, but the numeration follows the standard single volume edition.



Reading 10 - Optional Reading Chambry 2


[1] Ξύλινόν τις Ἑρμῆν κατασκευάσας καὶ προσενεγκών εἰς ἀγορὰν ἐπώλει: μηδενὸς δὲ ὠνητοῦ προσιόντος, ἐκκαλέσασθαί τινας βουλόμενος, ἐβόα ὡς ἀγαθοποιὸν δαίμονα καὶ κέρδους δωρητικὸν πιπράσκει. [2] Τῶν δὲ παρατυχόντων τινὸς εἰπόντος πρὸς αὐτόν: "Ὦ οὗτος, καὶ τί τοῦτον τοιοῦτον ὄντα πωλεῖς, δέον τῶν παρ' αὐτοῦ ὠφελειῶν ἀπολαύειν;" [3] ἀπεκρίνατο ὅτι ἐγὼ μὲν ταχείας ὠφελείας τινὸς δέομαι, αὐτὸς δὲ βραδέως εἴωθε τὰ κέρδη περιποιεῖν.
[E] Πρὸς ἄνδρα αἰσχροκερδῆ μηδὲ θεῶν πεφροντικότα ὁ λόγος εὔκαιρος.

Optional Questions - Chambry 2

Q1 The word πιπράσκει comes from what word? How do you explain the difference between the 'real lemma' in the big LSJ and Middle LSJ? Can you give some other examples of common words where the same type disparity of occurs?

πέρνημι or πιπράσκω, -, -, πέπρᾱκα, πέπρᾱμαι, ἐπράθην: sell; export for sale. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with the rest of this question.

From the standpoint of pedagogy, I find the differing presentations of the word πιπράσκω in both the Middle Liddell and the main LSJ lexicon to be very confusing. Shouldn't the word πιπράσκω be a form of either πέρνημι OR πιπεράσκω OR περάω2, or should it just stand on its own? The Middle Liddell entry says: πιπράσκω πιπράσκω shortd. from πιπεράσκω, redupl. form of περάω2 The main LSJ entry has: πιπράσκω, v. πέρνημι. The LSJ definition of πέρνημι: ....In Att. the usual pres. in act. sense is πωλέω, fut. ἀποδώσομαι, aor. ἀπεδόμην: from πέπρᾱμαι, ἐπράθην, etc. is formed the later pres. Pass. πιπράσκομαι, first found in Lys.18.20, interpol. in Pl.Phd. 69b, Sph.224a, and from this the pres. Act. πιπράσκω first found in Luc.Asin.32: impf. ἐπίπρασκον Plu.2.178c, Per.16; Ion. πιπρήσκω !
Call.Iamb.1.93, v.l. in Hp.Ep.17:— MEANING: export for sale, to sell; pass. to be sold, to sell for a bribe, be bought and sold.....

The word πιπράσκει comes from περάω. I do not know how to explain the difference between the 'real lemma' in the big LSJ and Middle LSJ.


Q2 Explain the phrase Τῶν δὲ παρατυχόντων τινὸς εἰπόντος πρὸς αὐτόν. How are the genitives used here?

τῶν δε παρόντων is genitive, exactly like in English: one (τις) 'of' those present. τινὸς εἰπόντος is a genitive absolute participle construction replacing a clause whose subject [some bystander] is different from the subject of the main clause [ὁ ἀγαλματοπώλης] ἀπεκρίνατο.

The phrase Τῶν δὲ παρατυχόντων τινὸς εἰπόντος πρὸς αὐτόν is alomost like a double genitive ablsolute (Τῶν παρατυχόντων is a substantival participle). Translate it as 'One of those who happened to be around said to him.'

The phrase Τῶν δὲ παρατυχόντων τινὸς εἰπόντος πρὸς αὐτόν means "of those happening to be near then asking him" - is it a genitive absolute?

Q3How do you translate/interpret the end of line 2: δέον τῶν παρ' αὐτοῦ ὠφελειῶν ἀπολαύειν;

Rather than sell him (the Hermes), it would be better to make good use of all the help coming from him.
ἀπολαύειν + genitive means enjoy or profit from someone or something. παρά τινος means "coming from someone"

The phrase δέον τῶν παρ' αὐτοῦ ὠφελειῶν ἀπολαύειν; Laura Gibbs translated it as 'instead of enjoying its benefits yourself?' ἀπολαύω means 'to enjoy, have the advantage of, have the benefit of'. δέον means 'it is needful, it is right', and is often used with the infinitive. ὠφέλεια means 'help, aid, succour, assistance' I translate the phrase as 'it is fitting (for you) to enjoy the assistance of it (=of him=of the statue).

The end of line 2: δέον τῶν παρ' αὐτοῦ ὠφελειῶν ἀπολαύειν;can be translated as "to profit from a god whose benefits for yourself"...

Q4 List all the words dealing with the marketplace, money, purchases, etc. that occur in the Hermes fables for the primary and optional readings.

ἡ ἀγορά
[ἐπυνθάνετο] πόσου - δραχμῆς / πλείονος
ἐπικερδής (lucrative)
ἐὰν τούτους ἀγοράσῃς / Ἐὰν τούτους ὠνήσῃ - προσθήκην δώσω
ὁ ὠνητής
ἡ τιμή
πρίασθαι - ἐπώλει - πιπράσκει

Market-place words in these parables: τιμή ἡ 'price', πόσου 'how much', δραχμῆς 'of a drachma', ἐπικερδής 'profit', ἀγοράσῃς > ἀγοράζω 'you will purchase', προσθήκην 'a freebie', πρίασθαι > πρίᾰμαι 'to buy', κερδῷος 'profit', ὠνήσῃ > ὠνέομαι 'to purchase', ἀγορά 'market', πωλέω 'I sell', ὠνητοῦ 'of a buyer', πιπράσκω 'tp sell', τὰ κέρδη 'the profits', αἰσχροκερδῆ 'sordidly greedy of gain',

Words dealing with the marketplace, money, purchases, etc. that occur in the Hermes fables for the primary and optional readings· πόσου, δραχμῆς, μείζονος, ἀγοράσης, πρίασθαι, πλείνος, ὤνησῃ/ὠνητοῦ, ἐπώλει, εἰς ἀγορὰν, πιπράσκει, πολεῖς

Q5 The word κέρδος is very similar to a word used for what animal? (Hint: See reading 1). What are the nom., gen. and gender of each word?

τὸ κέρδος, κέρδεος (contracting to κέρδους) - gain, profit, advantage; wages, pay; greediness for gain; (plural) cunning arts, tricks. ἡ κερδώ,κερδόος (contracts to κερδοῦς) - the wily one, the thief

The neuter word κέρδος , εος, τό means 'gain' or 'profit' The plural means 'cunning arts, wiles, mischief' The feminine noun κερδώ , όος,contr. οῦς, ἡ means 'the wily one, the thief' ; i.e. fox.

The word κέρδος is very similar to a word used for the fox. The nom., gen. and gender of each word is: ἡ κερδώ, τῆς κερδόος, meaning fox. τὸ κέρδος, τοῦ κέρδεος, meaning profit or advantage.



Reading 10 - Advanced Reading Babrius 48

Ἐν ὁδῷ τις ἑρμῆς τετράγωνος εἱστήκει,
λίθων δ' ὑπ' αὐτῷ σωρὸς ἦν. κύων τούτῳ
εἶπεν προσελθών "χαῖρε πρῶτον, Ἑρμεία·
ἔπειτ' ἀλεῖψαι βούλομαί σε, μηδ' οὕτω
θεὸν παρελθεῖν, καὶ θεὸν παλαιστρίτην."
ὁ δ' εἶπεν "ἤν μου τοῦτο μὴ 'πιλιχμήσῃς
τοὔλαιον ἐλθών, μηδέ μοι προσουρήσῃς,
χάριν εἴσομαί σοι· καὶ πλέον με μὴ τίμα."

Text from Ben Perry's Aesopica (Urbana IL: 1952).

Note: The 'four-cornered statue' was a herm, a rectangular or square pillar decorated with the head of Hermes on top and with male genitalia below which was supposed to bring fertility and good luck. Herms could be found at crossroads and also in the gymnasia, where the athletes trained.

Babrius 48 Questions

Q1 How do you parse εἱστήκει. Is it used transitively, causally or intransitively here? What is the difference in meaning between the intransitive and transitive usages? Would one translate this word as 'stood' or 'had been placed'?

εἱστήκει : Verb, pluperfect, indic, act, 3rd sing of ἵστημι: intransitive [had stood up =] was standing
or transitive 'had placed'. It is obviously not used transitively because there is no mention of an object that the subject, the 4-cornered Hermes, had placed there. Strictly speaking, because the verb is active voice εἰστήκει, we have to say "was standing" despite the fact that the statue 'had been placed' there.

I say strictly speaking because I have not found a "had been stood up" pluperfect passive form in any of my books. In one, "Teach Yourself Ancient Greek" the author calmly states: "pluperfect passive is rare". Not much of a help! I take it therefore he doesn't know himself, because giving the form would have been quicker than making that remark. It irked me, because, while it's easy to replace ἵστημι with τίθημι, the same does not hold true for compounds. And I also know it's easy to change passive voice to active, but if there is a passive form I want to be told and not made to waste my time trying to find it.

The word εἱστήκει is 3rd sg pluperfect active indicative from ἵστημι. There was just a lengthy post on the b-greek email list regarding the verb ἵστημι. Part of that discussion can be found at The verb is used intransitively here (hence no object). Look at the breakdown in the Middle Liddell entry on Perseus, it is much easier to understand the range of meanings for ἵστημι (
la=greek#lexicon). I don't really think there is that much difference bewteen 'stood' and 'had been placed'/'was set'. It's like trying to get to what the meaning of 'is' is. One more trumpet for read and don't translate.

εἱστήκει is parsed: εἰστημι, εἴσισταμαι, εἴστησα, εἰσσήσω, εἰσστήσομαι, ἔστηκα.
I do not know if it is used transitively, causally or intransitively here. My sense is that it is intransitive.
The difference in meaning between the intransitive and transitive usages is that intransitive use of the verb does not have a direct object or accusative, whereas transitive use does. In this case one would translate this word as 'stood' which is intransitive. 'had been placed' is passive and intransitive.

Q2 How do you translate the phrase in B4-B5: μηδ' οὕτω θεὸν παρελθεῖν, καὶ θεὸν παλαιστρίτην.

We need to add the βούλομαί: I don't want to pass by a god, and especially a god of the palaestra just like that (i.e. without anointing him).

The dog wants to 'anoint Hermes' and then says 'not to go by a god, especially (καὶ) a palaistra god'. One has to read into the answer δύνα^μαι / δύνωμαι. The dog is not 'able to pass up' the opportunity. I love Ben Perry's translation "Hermes, I salute you, but first I must anoint you...."

The phrase in B4-B5: μηδ' οὕτω θεὸν παρελθεῖν, καὶ θεὸν παλαιστρίτην may be translated as follows· "... least of all to pass by a god in this way, and he the god of athletes..."

Q3 Give the full expanded form, lemma and defnition for the following words:B6 ἤν , 'πιλιχμήσῃς, B7 τοὔλαιον, προσουρήσῃς

ἤν - ἐάν, if
'πιλιχμήσῃς - ἐπιλιχμήσῃς, aorist, subj, act, 2nd sing of ἐπι-λιχμάω: lick, vibrate the tongue
τοὔλαιον - τὸ ἔλαιον: oil (for anointing)
προσουρήσῃς - aorist, subj, act, 2nd sing of προσουρέω: (τινί) make water upon; trifle with

ἤν = contr. fr. εἰ ἄν and ἐάν (q.v.)., meaning 'if' + subj.
'πιλιχμήσῃς = ἐπιλιχμήσῃς = to lick > ἐπιλιχμάω
τοὔλαιον = τὸ ἔλαιον 'olive oil'
προσουρήσῃς > προσουρέω 'to pee on'

The full expanded form, lemma and defnition for the following words are :
B6 ἤν , is contracted from ἐάν, and ἤν μή means unless, if, whether.
'πιλιχμήσῃς,is from λιχμάω,meaning to lick with the tongue. This is perfect participle.
τοὔλαιον, is crasis for τὸ ἔλασσον meaning to make this smaller, to diminish it.
προσουρήσῃς is from προσ-ουρέω meaning to make water on.

Q4 Parse εἴσομαί in line B8. From what word is it? Does this word formation 'break the rule(s)'? Should it be written ἔσομαί? (We reviewed the 'to be' vs 'to go' verbs in a previous reading.)

εἴσομαι: future, indic, mid, 1st sing (deponent) of οἶδα (I have seen = I know). χάριν οἶδά τινι - I thank someone (give thanks to him, feel grateful) was a common expression in ancient Greek and has nothing to do with the verb "to be - εἴναι" but with "εἰδέναι - to know (no present tense form but perfect form with present tense meaning)".

I take the phrase χάριν εἴσομαί σοι· to mean 'I will thank you'. It seems to me that εἴσομαί is misspelled. The future of φέρω is οἰσω, middle οἴσομαι. The future of εἰμί is ἔσομαι. All forms of the present indicative of εἰμί are enclitic, but the future has normal accenting(?). The prhase χάριν φέρειν τινί means 'confer a favour on one, do a thing to oblige him'. I believe the sound of the diphthong 'oi' was changing from oi>e (short), perhaps εἴσομαί is a phonetic representation of that change in pronunciation.

εἴσομαί in line B8 is Doric use for ἔσσομαι, which is the future of εἰμι, I am. I do not know if the word formation 'break the rule(s). I assume Doric use is acceptable.

Q5 The phrase μὴ τίμα means what? Note the accent. Why doesn't the accent appear on the last syllable, as it is a contract verb? Is there a hard and fast rule about what negatives to use with the imperative and/or the difference in usage between the two?

What negatives to use with the imperative? Always μή or one of its compounds μηδέ, μηδείς, μήποτε, μήποποτε, μηκέτι .... Why? Because οὐ (οὐκ, οὐχ) can only be used when we state a fact : "definitely" is not, was not, does not, will not ... Orders don't state facts, but commands or wishes, warnings or prohibition.
As we all know, warning people, or forbidding them to do things does not automatically mean that they actually heed our advice. They may or may not, depending on the docility of the person or the severity of the threatened punishment. So we can't use οὐ (and compounds) for facts but μή (and compounds).

2. μὴ τίμα (present tense imperative, negative) don't bother to honour me any further or stop doing it (on-going state, repeated action) versus μὴ τιμήσῃς (negative aorist tense imperative expressed by the 2nd person aorist subjunctive) - don't honour me full stop! (specific, single act)

3. As for the form τίμα, it is a contracted τίμαε. The accent moves as far away as possible from the end of a (conjugated) verb, and because ε is always short, the accent falls on the τί- τίμαε.
And because α+ε contract to ᾱ, τίμαε will contract to τίμᾱ.
I've made a page specifically about contract -a verbs in the present imperative (active)

Contract verbs have the accent like when they were uncontracted. If the accent then is on a syllable that contracts, that’s when the accent changes from an acute to a grave. Smyth has the verb τιμάω as an example in section 385 and shows both the uncontracted and contracted forms both with accenting.

Bad question on the use with imperative (I could call it a trick question) ):(=> the negative is always μή. The imperative and subjunctive are both negated with μή. The future indicate + οὐ or + μή can also be used as a prohibition.

What I was thinking of is the statement I've heard throughout the years that the aorist tense subjunctive prohibition means 'don't…..'/don't start….' and the present imperative prohibition means 'stop…' or simply 'don’t…'. The counterpoint I have heard made is that this distinction is not able to be insisted upon.

The aorist imperative is rather sparse. Smyth says that maxims generally take the present imperative, e.g. 'Don't be a thief' μή κλέπτε (not μὴ κλέψῃς). Smyth has a section on prohibitions §§1840-1844.

The phrase μὴ τίμα means "do not honour". Perhaps the accent does not appear on the last syllable because the metre constrains it? Scanning may require the accent to shift. This is but a guess.
The question implies there is not a hard and fast rule about what negatives to use with the imperative and that there is a difference in usage between two possibilities, but I don't know what it is. μὴ and οὐ?


Line Numbering and the Structure of Fables

The lines are numbered for collation and reference purposes. The line numbering format is comprised of three elements: Author+Version+Line Identifier: Author = B/C#.1/C#.2/S/A/H for Babrius, Chambry 1, Chambry 2, Syntipas,  Aphthonius or Herodotus; Line Identifier = T/M/#  where  T=Title, P = Promythium, E = Epimythium or  # = Line number (incremental, but not counting the moral or title); The endomythium, the moral 'inside the story, is simply listed as a line number.

Parts of a fable:
Promythium: A moral that comes before the story, so that the reader / listener can properly decode the meaning
Fable Body: the content of the fable, including the endomythium, but not the promythium or epimythiu.
Endomythium: the moral inside the story (listed as a line number)
Epimythium: The moral added at the end of the story to make sure the point of the fable is clear.


Additional Tools and Aids to Reading

The LetsReadGreek website has vocabulary and a list of helpful questions and leads on some of the more difficult words.  A little of topical vocabulary for each is included, along with a Latin version, some English versions of the fables and some engravings and carvings from older books.  The LetsReadGreek site requires one to have a unicode Greek compatible font. I've been trying to get the site properly configured, so please be patient.  A note, SPIonic is not adequate, you must have one of the Windows or Mac unicode fonts installed.  Gentium is a wonderful and easy to read font downloadable from the SIL website at

I highly recommend using the Perseus website tools for vocabulary, morphology, texts and grammar.  There is a lot there; however, Aesop is not.  Some of the vocabulary in the fables do not exist in LSJ (but maybe in the supplement).  To use Perseus adequately, one must learn Perseus’ betacode style with variations, for questions see the FAQ.  I also suggest bookmarking the base pages in your browser, or better yet, drag them if you can and put each one onto your browser’s toolbar.   The following online tools can be found on the Perseus website:

Note: If you are using the Perseus site, you must set your Perseus configuration to properly display the Greek. This may be done by clicking on the "Configure Display" on the Perseus Menu and selecting the corresponding Greek format (choose Unicode or Unicode with pre-combined accents).