εἶδε πῦρ ἀφύη -> no sooner said than done, it'll be done in a heartbeat

spiros

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εἶδε πῦρ ἀφύη -> no sooner said than done, lit. "the little fish has seen the fire"
ἀφύα πῦρ

Ἡ δὲ ἱστορία ἀφύων παραδιδοῦσα διάφορα εἴδη τὴν κωβῖτιν, τὰς ἐγκρασιχόλους, τὴν τοῦ γόνου τῶν μαινίδων, τὴν τῆς μεμβράδος, τὴν ἐκ κεστρέων, τὴν τριγλῖτιν, κρείττω λέγει τῶν ἄλλων ἰχθυδίων τούτων τὴν ἀφρῖτιν, γινομένην ἐξ ἀφροῦ θαλάσσῃ ἐπιπολάζοντος, ὅτε πολλοὶ ὄμβροι καταρραγῶσι. δεῖται δέ, φασί, μικροῦ πυρὸς ἐν τοῖς τηγάνοις. ἅμα γὰρ ἧπται καὶ σίζει καθὰ τοὔλαιον εὐθύς. ὅθεν παροιμία, τὸ "εἶδε πῦρ ἀφύη", ἐοικυῖα τῷ πυραύστου μόρος. Γίνεται δὲ ἀφύη παρὰ τὴν φυήν, ἐξ ἧς πρόσωπον μὲν εὐφυὲς καὶ μηροὶ εὐφυεῖς ἐπὶ ἐπαίνῳ, ἀφύη δὲ οὐχ' οὕτως. αὐτὴ γὰρ φαύλως ἔχει φυῆς. καὶ ἔστι κατὰ τοὺς παλαιοὺς δυσφυής, ταὐτὸν δὲ φάναι ἰδιωτικώτερον, κακοφυής, ἀτυχὲς καὶ αὐτὴ οὖσα ἰχθύδιον, καὶ μᾶλλον ἤπερ ἡ παρὰ τῷ Ἀθηναίῳ ἀθερῖνα.] (Eustathius [12th cent.], Commentary on Iliad 18.402ff.)
http://www.poesialatina.it/_ns/Greek/testi/Eustathius/Commentarii_ad_Homeri_Iliadem04.html
« Last Edit: 13 Jan, 2021, 19:34:38 by billberg23 »


billberg23

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The point here, in this bracketed (interpolated, competely irrelevant to the Iliad) passage of Eustathius, seems to be that small fish (e.g. smelt, anchovies, herring), popularly known to us as "small fry," actually fry very quickly, and are immediately edible. Such a fish was called ἀφύη because its form (φύη) was so ugly as to appear "formless" or "shapeless" (ἀ + φύη). Apparently, however, its taste was good enough, and it was small enough to fry so quickly that it seemed to be cooked almost as soon as it saw the fire under the frying pan. So εἶδε πῦρ ἀφύη (literally, "the small fry has seen the fire") came to mean something like "It'll be done in a heartbeat." 
« Last Edit: 13 Jan, 2021, 19:37:32 by billberg23 »



spiros

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