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Lepis grece squama Stephanus lepis xalcon pro calcon taubalum eris pro tubel.


{grece} ē {= est} add. f

squama B ef | squãma AC

calcon (-cõ A) ABC e | chalcon f

taubalum (-luʒ ms. e; -lũ A f) AC ef | tubalũ B

tubel ABC f | tebul ms. e


Lepis is Greek for Latin squama {"scale; flake"}; Stephanus writes lepis xalcon, xalcon for calcon and taubalum eris for {Arabic} tubel.


Greek λεπίς /lepís/ is glossed in LSJ "epithelial debris", but its meaning is transferred to other things like 'scales of fish' and 'metal flakes'. The word was adopted into Latin as lepis competing sometimes with squama.

Latin squama is originally the 'scale of a fish' but transferred to any object shaped like a fish-scale. See Squama

Simon goes on to quote Stephanus, who writes in his Breviarium: lapis xalcu … tubalũ eris [[1]]

N.b. The copyist(s) here confused Greek lepis with Latin lapis "stone.

Greek χαλκός /khalkós/ means "copper" or "bronze", or "things made of this metal". See Calkos.

Simon's lepis xalcon transcribes Greek λεπὶς χαλκοῦ /lepìs khalkoû/ {genitive of χαλκός /khalkós/}, and according to LSJ these are the "flakes that fly from copper in hammering". See Lepidos chalcu.

In the word xalcu Stephanus is holding on to the Greek letter χ – a common idiosyncrasy of his – a sound like in Scottish "loch", represented in our transcription /kh/, in Latin loans usually 'ch'. Simon is trying to point out this confusing use of the letter shaped 'x' by rewriting the word as it would usually be transliterated into Latin: *chalcu or *chalcou – here with the final 'u' misread as 'n' by the present witnesses.

In the Breviarium - typically of Stephanus - a Latin ending is added to the Arabic word: tubal+um which appears in Simon's entry in most witnesses as taubalum with the vocalisation "au" unexplained. Simon adds however the original Arabic form tubel.

Latin aes, written post-classically es, genitive eris, can mean "any crude metal dug out of the earth (except gold + silver)", but often "copper" or "bronze" (Lewis & Short, 1879). t(a)ubalum eris combines Latinised Arabic t(a)ubalum and Latin eris, meaning "copper or bronze flakes from hammering".

WilfGunther 11:05, 30 September 2014 (BST)

See also: Tubel

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