The Ephemeron

What has wings, four legs and lasts a day?

While I was compiling a table of contents for the Greek reader I mentioned yesterday, I came across the following in the natural history section.

περὶ τὸν Ὕπανιν ποταμὸν τὸν περὶ Βόσπορον τὸν Κιμμέριαν, γίγνεται ζῶον πτερωτὸν, τετράπουν. ζῇ δὲ τοῦτο καὶ πέτεται ἐξ ἑωθινοῦ μέχρι δείλης· καταφερομένου δὲ τοῦ ἡλίου, ἀπομαραίνεται, καὶ ἅμα δυομένῳ ἀποθνήσκει, βιοῦν ἡμέραν μίαν· διὸ καὶ καλεῖται Ἐφήμερον.

Around the River Hypanis in the area of Bosporus in Cimmeria, there is a winged, four-footed animal. It lives and it flies from early morning until the afternoon; and when the sun sets, it wastes away, and together with the setting of the sun, it dies, living one day; and for this reason, it’s called an Ephemeron.

And who’s the source of this information? Aristotle. (Yeah, that Aristotle, the one who blighted Western thought for so long.)

I find that these days an ephemeron is something from computer science.


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