(i) The proverb, according to the paroemiographer
Macarius (ii 217 Leutsch-Schneidewin), is applied [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].(15)
The proverb is not attested in any of the ancient paroemiographers, (8) nor was Salzmann, who collected proverbs and proverbial expressions in the works of Libanius, able to find another occurrence of the same expression in Greek literature.
Reinhold Stromberg, Greek Proverbs: A Collection of Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases Which Are Not Listed by the Ancient and Byzantine Paroemiographers (Goteborg: Wettergren & Kerber, 1954), 54.
Quo exemplo vulgo dicitur 'Deficiente obsonio apponatur caseus.'" This last proverb (When there is no meat, put cheese) is not found in the published Greek or Latin paroemiographers
, unless it is a variant of the one found in Plutarch (Moralia 234e, Apophthegmata laconica) and recorded by Erasmus, 1969 and 1982, III.iv.89: "Si caseum haberem, non desiderarem opsonium" (If I had cheese, I wouldn't want meat).
It surfaces again in the Byzantine lexicographers and paroemiographers
who refer to Cilician brutality ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and use the adjective by itself as a moral marker to signify cruel or ruthless.