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in Brill's New Pauly Online
in Der Neue Pauly Online
In: Mental Disorders in the Classical World
In: The Impact of Classical Greece on European and National Identities
In: Plurilingualism in Traditional Eurasian Scholarship
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Abstract

The handbook of the Stoic philosopher and rhetorician Lucius Annaeus Cornutus (1st century CE) provides a good example of the ways in which Stoics applied etymology to the names, epithets, and other words connected with the Greek gods. It goes through a number of the most important Greek gods, starting with the heavens and moving downwards to end with the Underworld. For each god, it explains the meaning of the personal name, epithets, other associated terms, attributes, and often myths, usually by means of etymological analysis and in terms of the tenets of Stoic philosophy. However, Cornutus does not limit himself to this etymological approach to the words associated with divinities: instead, he combines etymological accounts of single words with allegorical interpretations of mythic narratives, events, and objects.

Open Access
In: Plurilingualism in Traditional Eurasian Scholarship
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Abstract

The Suda is a tenth-century CE Byzantine encyclopedia and lexicon, which compresses into the compass of a single work all the most important knowledge available of the past and renders it accessible for the readers of a sprawling empire. Its author and date are unknown and even the meaning of its title is controversial. What makes the Suda unique among Byzantine works of compilatory scholarship is that it uses the structure of a dictionary that explains difficult lexical terms in order to include as well a large number of entries that provide historical, geographical, or biographical information, thus disguising an encyclopedia as a lexicon or, perhaps more fairly, creating a hybrid that combines within a single work both genres that had hitherto been separated. This explains the considerable success of the Suda, which notwithstanding its huge size was copied relatively often by medieval scribes and printed a number of times since the Renaissance.

Open Access
In: Plurilingualism in Traditional Eurasian Scholarship
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Abstract

In the dialogue Cratylus written by Plato, this fourth-century BCE Greek philosopher provides an extensive analysis of etymology and considers its value as a potential tool for philosophical investigation. Etymologies are introduced as evidence into a debate on whether names are correct by convention or by nature. Understanding etymologies means understanding the messages that the primeval name-givers used them for in order to communicate their philosophical doctrines. The etymological procedure unpacks and expands the word’s sounds into a brief definition of that same word; if the name-giver has chosen the name wisely, that definition or description will be correct. Socrates ends up concluding that etymology on its own, without a solid philosophical foundation, is not very useful.

Open Access
In: Plurilingualism in Traditional Eurasian Scholarship
Author:

Abstract

In the dialogue Phaedrus, written by Plato, this fifth-century BCE Greek philosopher presents an intense philosophical analysis of the nature of the human soul, in terms of desires for the beautiful, and explores the real and possible relations between philosophy and rhetoric. Near the end of the dialogue, Socrates tells a philosophical myth, doubtless invented by Plato himself, about the Egyptian origins of writing: once upon a time, the Egyptian god Theuth (otherwise known as Thoth) presented a series of his cultural inventions to King Thamus (better known as Ammon) for his approval; and Thamus accepted or rejected them one by one on the basis of their utility or harmfulness. When they came to writing, Theuth praised its merits enthusiastically—and Thamus rejected it out of hand, saying it would not be a remedy for human memory, as Theuth had claimed, but instead a poison for it.

Open Access
In: Plurilingualism in Traditional Eurasian Scholarship
In: For the Sake of Learning