ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies
ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies 

Two little animals (Ancient Greek ἀρνίον and ὕδιον)

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Zelchenko V. V. Dva malenkikh zhivotnykh (dr.-gr. ἀρνίον i ὕδιον). Acta Linguistica Petropolitana. 2022. 18(1): 503–511.

The first part of this paper aims to demonstrate that ἀρνίον does not mean 'sheepskin, fleece' (pace LSJ, GE, DGE, etc.). The only instance of this unusual meaning that is cited by all dictionaries, Luc. Salt. 43, manifestly deals not with the Golden Fleece, but with the golden lamb (τὸ χρυσοῦν ἀρνίον) of Atreus: this is evident both from the context and from the lexical usage of Euripides, Ps.-Apollodorus, Eustathius, Tzetzes, and Lucian himself. The sources of this lexicographical phantom date back to the edition of Lucian by I. Th. Lehmann (1825), who rightly expunged from the text the gloss τὸ χρυσοῦν δέρας of some recentiores in favour of τὸ χρυσοῦν ἀρνίον, but left uncorrected the old Latin translation by I. M. Gesner (aureum vellus) at the bottom of the page. Thus, ἀρνίον 'fleece' penetrates first Rost's and Palm's edition of Passow's Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache (1841) and then LS (1843), surviving through all its revisions. This seems to indicate that Liddell and Scott had made some use of Rost's and Palm's work already in the first edition of LS, despite explicitly denying it in their Preface.

The second part contests the recent hypothesis by S. A. Takhtajan, according to which the hapax legomenon ὕδιον (X. Mem. 1, 2, 30) would be a pig-breeding terminus technicus ('shoat'). It should be noted, however, that Aristophanes of Byzantium does not mention ὕδιον in the 'pig-section' of his lexicographical treatise Περὶ ὀνομασίας ἡλικιῶν, dedicated to the specific names of different stages of life of men and animals (fr. 163–171 Slater). Already in 1910 Walter Petersen had identified ὕδιον not as a true diminutive, but as a pejorative: the ὕδια of Xenophon's Socrates are neither 'piglets' (pace GE and CGL) nor 'shoats', but the 'filthy swine' of unspecified age.

ἀρνίον, ὕδιον, diminutives, Lucian, Xenophon, Greek lexicography
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Takhtajan 2019
S. A. Takhtajan. Porosyata ili podsvinki (Xen. Mem. I, 2, 30)? [Piglets or Shoats (Xen. Mem. I, 2, 30)?]. Indoevropeyskoe yazykoznanie i klassicheskaya filologiya. 2019. Vol. 23. Iss. 2. P. 989–995.
ἀρνίον, ὕδιον, diminutives, Lucian, Xenophon, Greek lexicography
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