A critical assessment of The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek, in which this recent publication is compared to its predecessors and judged on its merits and defects.
Franco Montanari, The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek, English Edition by Madeleine Goh and Chad Schroeder; under the auspices of the Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University; advisory editors Gregory Nagy and Leonard Muellner (Leiden: Brill, 2015) lx + 2431 pp. Hardback
The publication of a new “major” lexicon of Ancient Greek is a significant event.1 The new Brill dictionary (“
The character and merits of the new lexicon are indicated in the preface to
It is of course impossible to assess the entire contents of a massive reference tool such as a lexicon: any review necessarily involves sampling. My samples and discussion will have in view three main themes or aspects: (a) the provenance of
2 Provenance of
Dependence on predecessors is a general phenomenon of lexicography. Rarely has a lexicon been created afresh, that is, on the basis of a new collection of data subjected to a new lexical analysis. Only if the compilers are prepared to spend up to a century can it be done. The Oxford English Dictionary was created in this way (70 years); so was the Oxford Latin Dictionary (50) and the recently completed Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (100).
gi(1st ed. 1995; 2nd ed. 2004); 3rd ed. 2013
- < Rocci (1st ed. 1939; 2nd ed. 1941); 3rd ed. 1943
lsj9th ed. in 10 parts, 1925-1940; + Bailly 1894
ls8th ed. 1897 …
ls1st ed. 1843
- < Passow 4th ed. 1831
- < Schneider-Passow (1st ed. 1819-23); 3rd ed. 1827
- < Schneider (1st ed. 1797-98); 3rd ed. 1819
All this is acknowledged in Montanari’s preface to
When Brill asked the three of us in 2010 to undertake the editing of an English version of the Greek-English dictionary of Franco Montanari … we had not yet fully reckoned with the fact that the original “Liddell and Scott,” later transformed into “Liddell-Scott-Jones’ or “
lsj” … cannot really be called an “original” Greek-English lexicon.
Furthermore, after summarising the history of
[I]t is to be emphasized that the lexicon is not a translation of the Italian definitions in and of themselves.
Evidence to disprove this claim can be found on every page of the lexicon when set beside its predecessor
Does any of this matter? It does, because not everything in the Liddell and Scott tradition is reliable. There is a strong possibility that at every stage older material has been simply taken on trust and never re-examined. Decisions about the lexical analysis, the definitions, and the selection of data were often made long ago and have not been questioned when they ought to have been. The revision process to which Liddell and Scott was subject guaranteed this result: for practical reasons most of the material was carried on unchanged in each edition and a thorough revision could not be undertaken. Supplementary material added piecemeal each time often did no more than create confusion. Most users of the great lexicon—and even compilers of new lexicons—are unaware of these problems, though there has been no lack of remark on them.9 A first example to illustrate the point:
ge: µεταδετέον [µετά, δέω] verb. adj. it is necessary to unbind X en. Hip. 4.4. gi: µεταδετέον [µ., δέω] vb. bisogna slegare X en. Hip. 4.4.
Rocci3 (1943): µετα-δετέον, vrb. da δέω, si deve sciogliere, ἀπὸ τῆς φάτνης, dalla mangiatoia, S
en.Eq. 4, 4. lsjRevised Suppl. (1996): µεταδετέον, for ‘one must untie’ read ‘one must change the tethering’ (from one place to another)’ lsj: µεταδετέον, one must untie, X.Eq. 4.4. ls8 (1897): µεταδετέον, verb. Adj. one must untie, Xen. Eq. 4, 4. ls1 (1843): µεταδετέον, verb. Adj., one must untie, Xen. Eq. 4, 4: from µεταδέω, δήσω, to tie differently; to untie.
Passow4 (1831): µεταδέω, δήσω, (δέω, Irr.) umbinden, d. i. anders od. anderswohin binden.
In this case a mistake has been carried on undetected all the way from the first edition of
ge: κάµινος … oven or furnace, forge … || flue for heating a room … || alcove vtNum. 25.8. gi: κάµινος … forno o fornace, forgia … || condotto per riscaldare una stanza … || alcova vt. Num. 25.8.
Rocci: κάµινος … forno; fornace; fucina … alcova, S
et.Num. 25, 8. lsj: κάµινος … oven, furnace, or kiln … alcove, Lxx Nu. 25.8.
The meaning “alcove” for Num. 25:8 has descended to
3 Structure of Verb Entries
Let us take a straightforward common verb for a view of the general structure of an entry in
ge: κλαίω … impf. ἔκλαιον … || fut. κλαιήσω …; mid. κλαύσοµαι … 1 act. A to weep, lament Il. 1.362 … B to suffer ill-treatment, undergo a punsihment [sic]: κλάοις ἄν, εἰ ψαύσειας you will be punished, if you touch them A eschl. Suppl. 952 … C to weep for, bewail, grieve over > with acc. Il. 20.210 Od. 1.363 … || to call by crying: κλάειν µάµµας καὶ τιτθάς to cry for mummies and nurses A rr. … 2 mid. A to weep, lament Il. 18.340 … B to suffer, undergo punishment or harm, usually fut. A ristoph. Ve. 1327 etc.; … C to weep for, bewail > with acc.… 3 pass. to be bewailed A eschl. Ch. 687 … | impers. µάτην ἐµοὶ κεκλαύσεται … A ristoph. Nub. 1436.… lsj: κλαίω … i. intr., cry, wail, lament, of any loud expression of pain or sorrow, … Od. 10.201 … 2. αὐτὸν κλαίοντα ἀφήσω I shall send him home crying, howling, i.e. well beaten, Il.2.263: freq. in Att., κλαύσεται he shall howl, i.e. he shall suffer for it, Ar. V.1327 … ii. trans., weep for, lament … Od.1.363 … :—Pass., to be mourned or lamented …: impers., µάτην ἐµοὶ κεκλαύσεται … Ar.Nu.1436. 2. cry for, of infants, µάµµας καὶ τιτθάς Arr. … iii. Med., bewail oneself, weep aloud, A.Th. 920 … 2. trans. bewail to oneself.… S.Tr….
The general layout in
These are somewhat minor matters. More importantly, we see in κλαίω a feature carried through systematically in all verb entries, a division into active, middle, and passive voices (marked by numbers 1, 2, 3). This is a significant innovation, introduced by Montanari in
This innovation can also lead to trouble of a different kind in the many Greek verbs in which form and meaning do not necessarily match.17 Examples: (a) λαµβάνω is normally middle in form in the future (λήψοµαι), but has an “active” meaning; so
As for verbs that have suppletives with different voices, major difficulties are unavoidable.
All in all, as regards layout and convenience for the user, there is not much to choose between
Let us follow up τρώγω, just mentioned in relation to ἐσθίω, and see how it has fared:
ge: τρώγω … 1 act. to gnaw on, nibble at, of animals: τ. ἄγρωστιν to nibble on weeds Od. 6.90; … | of sick people … || to eat (raw), chew on, of pers., esp. vegetables and sweets … || later simpl. to eat (= ἐσθίω) … 2 pass. to be eaten: τρώγεται ἁπαλὰ ταῦτα καὶ αὖα the fresh and dry are eaten H dt. 2.92.4; … lsj: τρώγω … [i.] gnaw, nibble, munch, esp. of herbivorous animals, as mules, τ. ἄγρωστιν Od.6.90; of swine … of cattle … of human beings in disease … ii. of men, eat vegetables or fruit … of dessert, eat fruits, as figs, almonds, etc.… of small fish as hors-d’oeuvres … iii. later, simply eat, serving as pres. to ἔφαγον instead of ἐσθίω …
The basic idea of this verb is “gnaw, nibble,” as stated, an action typical of animals but readily extended to humans. But it is rather the kind of eating, not who is eating or what is being eaten, that characterises τρώγω and distinguishes it from ἐσθίω, as Chadwick pointed out.19
4 Lexical Analysis
The core of the lexicographer’s task is to state the meanings of words, that is, to analyse the available data for each word into its “lexical meanings,” with suitable definitions. This is a very challenging exercise and good results are not guaranteed; they are usually worse when an entry has passed through many hands in its history. The samples in the previous section have already illustrated problems in
Just as in the verb κλαίω, both
Before turning to
A close look at the entries for βίος in
5 Documentary Evidence
The main purpose of lexicons is to supply meanings, but we also consult them for other information, especially attestation. Innumerable discussions in the scholarly literature offer statements like “first found in …,” “common in …”. On what are they based? On a lexicon usually, and usually
ge: εὐίλατος -ον [εὖ, ἱλάοµαι] kind, favorable, merciful with dat. vtPs. 98.8 etc. gi: εὐίλατος -ον [εὖ, ἱλάοµαι] benigno, propizio, misericordioso, con dat. vt. Ps. 98.8 ecc.
Rocci: εὐ-ίλατος, ον [ῑ, ἱλάοµαι] propizio; pietoso, I.; S
et. lsj: εὐίλατ-ος [ῑ], ον, (ἵληµι) very merciful, of deities, PCair.Zen. 34.19 (iii bc), ig… gdi… etc.; … Lxx Ps….; also … PPetr….; later written … gdi… upz109.6 (i bc).
The documentary evidence for this word, mainly in inscriptions, is extensive and important, showing as it does that the lxx was using a current term and how it was used.27
ge: ἀποσκευή … A baggage … || household goods vtGen. 14.12, al.… | all members of the house vtExod. 10.24 | the whole people, aside from the adult males vtExod. 12.37 | in the army attendants vtIud. 7.2 || excrement, filth S trab. … B suppression, elimination Ios. a.i.18.2.4(41). lsjRevised Suppl. (1996): … add ‘2 soldier’s encumbrances, i.e. family, PBaden 48.9 (ii bc), upz110.199 (ii bc); dependants, Lxx Ge. 46.5, al.’
ge: ὀψάριον -ου, τό [ὄψον] course of a meal, a little dish, esp. of fish A ristoph.fr. 45 P lat.1 102.2 P herecr.32 etc.; ἔχει πέντε ἄρτους κριθίνους καὶ δύο ὀψάρια he has five barley loaves and two fishes ntJohn 6.9. lsj: ὀψ-άριον, τό, Dim. of ὄψον, Ar.Fr.45, Pl.Com.95, Pherecr.27, Philem.32, Test.Epict.6.11, PPetr. 3 p.327 (iii bc), PCair.Zen.440.3 (iii bc), etc.; … a jar of pickled fish, BGU1095.17 (i ad), cf. PRyl.229.21 (i ad), Ev.Jo.6.9, al., OGI484.12 (Pergam., ii ad). lsjRevised Suppl. (1996): ὀψάριον, after ‘dim. of ὄψον’ insert ‘foodstuff, esp. fish’ and add … seg26.382 (Athens)’.
Rocci: ὀψάριον, ου, τό, dim. di ὄψον, propr. piccolo companatico, ma, in Atene, spec. pesciolino; pesce, vari C
om.in A t. 385; P.; δύο ὀψάρια,V olg. duos pisces nt. Io. 6, 9.
As well as a complete lack of documentary evidence in
These three examples barely touch on the amount of under-reporting of documentary evidence in
ἀµάω, ἄµφοδον, ἀξίνη, ἀξιόχρεως, βῆµα, διαθήκη, διάπρασις, διαπράσσω, διαστέλλω, διάστηµα, διαστολή, διαστολικόν (no entry), διασῴζω, διαταγή, διάταγµα, διάταξις, διατάσσω, ἐγγύη, ἐγγυητής, ἔγγυος, ἐλαιών, ἔντευξις, ἐντυγχάνω, ἐξακολουθέω, ἐπικεφάλαιον, ζωή, ζῷον, ἡµίονος, κάµινος, κοινωνός, κόκκος, λογίζοµαι, µέρος, µεταβολή, µοναστήριον, ναύκληρος, νοµός, ὀφείληµα, παράδεισος, παραθήκη, πράκτωρ, πρόγραµµα, προσευχή, προστάσσω, πυρός, ῥόα, σιτοµέτρης, ὑποζύγιον, φερνή, χωρίον.
Of course this simply reflects the reality, that to try to graft onto a lexicon of Classical Greek adequate coverage of even a part of the vast body of later Greek is impossible without a giant effort.
nt and lxx
Coverage of the
The old word θυµός has a range of meanings rather difficult to analyse, but one, “anger,” begins to predominate in Classical Greek and continues into Modern Greek.33 In the lxx there are 300+ examples of this sense. A careful search in
This is a difficult word, found some 9,000 times in Greek literature to vi
… παραστῆσαι τὰ σώµατα ὑµῶν θυσίαν ζῶσαν ἁγίαν εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ, τὴν λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑµῶν.
… to present your bodies as a sacrifice living, holy, pleasing to God, your λογική service /(act of) worship.
“Endurance, patience” in the face of adversity, ὑποµονή, is an important Christian concept, with parallels in Jewish and “secular” thought.
In contrast with the above examples,
To conclude this section, I have taken a sample of 50
7 A Particle
Should we expect lexicons to help with particles? Whether we should or not, we certainly do. We hope to get a quick indication to help us out. Few of us are ready to face the ordeal of reading Denniston’s famous book or some other specialist study (inaccessible to us anyway). The lexicons do try to cover particles, usually in some depth. In
ge: καίτοι or καί τοι adv. certainly, truly, indeed: κ. ἐµοί yes, for me also Il. 13.267 cf. E ur. Med. 344; καίτοι σοφοῦ παρὰ φωτὸς εἰρηµένον indeed said by a wise man S im. 37.12 || advers. however, yet, nonetheless: κ. τί φηµι and yet what am I saying A eschl.Pr. 101; καίτοι γε nevertheless X en. Mem. 3.12.7 | concess. although, even if: καίτοι περ although H dt.8.53.
Rocci: καίτοι, certo; a dire il vero; veramente, κ. ἐµοί, certo, anche a me, Il.13, 267; v. 1, 426; E
u. Med. 344.—b) tuttavia; pure; per altro; nondimeno, A tt.; κ. τί φηµι; ma che dico? E schl.Pr. 101; καίτοι γε, S en. Mem. 3, 12, 7.—c) quantunque; sebbene, A tt.: κ. περ, quantunque, E r. 8, 53.
Bailly: καίτοι, adv. 1 et certes, et en vérite [sic], Il. 13,267; I
socr. Pan. 67, etc. || 2 quoi qu’il en soit, cependant, toutefois, A tt.; … κ. τί φηµι; E schl.Pr. 101; … || 3 quoique, devant un part.… renforcé par περ. καίτοι περ, H dt. 8,53. lsj: καί τοι, and indeed, and further, freq. in Hom. with one or more words between, Il. 1.426, al.; καὶ σύ τοι E.Med.344; καὶ τἆλλά τοι X.Cyr.7.3.10: once in Hom. as one word, Il.13.267. ii. after Hom. usu., and yet, to mark an objection introduced by the speaker himself, freq. in Rhetorical questions, καίτοι τί φηµι; A.Pr.101 …: without a question …: strengthd., καίτοι γ᾽ … etc.: mostly separated, καίτοι … γε … X.Mem.3.12.17, etc….; so καίτοι περ v.l. in Hdt. 8.53. iii. with a participle, much like καίπερ, Simon. 5.9 …
It will give us some perspective to start from outside the lexicons. Denniston’s analysis finds four main uses of καίτοι (adversative; continuative; logical; combined with other particles), with subgroups in some, a total of 14 sections. Each is illustrated, in Denniston’s usual fashion, by a wealth of examples, all from the Classical period except one. At a rough count he gives 250 examples.39 Blomqvist covers the same ground for his selection of Hellenistic authors (330-30
It is obvious that our lexicons offer an exceedingly limited selection of evidence for καίτοι.
This look into καίτοι has enabled us to see not just what is wrong with the current entries but how their history has controlled the outcomes. The major underlying problem is reliance on an existing lexicon entry as the basis for the next, however much “revised.” Unless the old entry is completely laid bare and all its data are reassessed, its problems will be passed on or made worse. Hence our conclusion that (a)
The foregoing samples may be a small selection but they are representative of widespread phenomena in the new lexicon. They justify an assessment as follows. (a) Is
Montanari rightly describes the situation in his preface to
The Liddell-Scott-Jones dictionary is used by scholars of antiquity as the reference dictionary for Greek, although the need for a profound revision of
lsjitself or for a completely new dictionary of Ancient Greek has been put forward many times and is indeed increasingly felt, in order to take into account more organically the advances of knowledge achieved over the years.43
I read these words as a true statement of where we are, not a claim that
What, then, is to be done? Lexicons like
This review is a much-expanded version of my presentation in a panel on the new lexicon at the
F.R. Adrados, et al., eds., Diccionario Griego-Español (7 vols. to date; Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1980-2009).
F. Montanari, Vocabolario della Lingua Greca (Torino: Loescher Editore, 2013). For the figures mentioned, see
G. Nagy, L. Muellner, M. Goh; see
L. Rocci, Vocabolario Greco Italiano (3rd ed.; Rome: Società Editrice Dante Alighieri, 1943). As I understand it, Rocci’s work was primarily intended as a manual for Italian students rather than a major lexicon to rival
A. Bailly, Dictionnaire Grec-Français (Paris: [Hachette?], 1894; rev. eds. 1950, 1963). See Rocci’s preface (1943) for acknowledgement of
For details of editions see J.A.L. Lee, A History of New Testament Lexicography (New York: Peter Lang, 2003) 347-348; 355-356. Cf.
See, e.g., J. Chadwick, “The Case for Replacing Liddell and Scott,”
H.G. Liddell, and R. Scott, Greek-English Lexicon: Revised Supplement, ed. P.G.W. Glare and A.A. Thompson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996).
I owe this example to P. Glare, “Starting from the Wrong End,” in G. Cigman and D. Howlett, eds., Birthday Celebration for Naky Doniach (Yarnton, Oxford: Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, 1991), 35-41, at 38-39.
The Holy Bible: Revised Version (1885), Num 25:8: text pavilion, margin alcove (
Presumably it came via A.H. McNeile or A. Llewellyn Davies, named in Stuart Jones’s 1925 preface to
See G. Dorival, La Bible d’Alexandrie: Les Nombres (Paris: Cerf, 1994) 463-464; J.W. Wevers, Notes on the Greek Text of Numbers (
Another example of the trap of relying on translations:
There are further subdivisions using a solid arrow, dot, and diamond (not exemplified above): see the endpapers of
The extent of these variations (just for Classical Greek) can be appreciated from the lists in H.W. Smyth, Greek Grammar, rev. G.M. Messing (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1956) §§805-818.
In πίπτω, πεσοῦµαι is noted as the fut. form, but the mid. category does not appear. In ὁράω we find “1 act. and mid.” combined, then 2 pass. In ἐρωτάω we have only 1 act., and 2 pass. but no middle; the usual (Attic) aor. to ἐρωτάω, the middle ἠρόµην, is not mentioned (it is found under εἴροµαι). Similarly in πωλέω: no mention of the standard aor. ἀπεδόµην.
Chadwick, Lexicographica Graeca, 288; discussion of τρώγω, 287-290. Chadwick says the human/animal distinction was made in antiquity.
Ammonius 101 (Nickau): βίος µὲν ἐπὶ τῶν λογικῶν τάσσεται ζῴων, τουτέστιν ἀνθρώπων µόνων, ζωὴ δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀλόγων ζῴων.
P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque: Histoire des mots (Paris: Klincksieck, 1968-80) s.v. βίος: “Sens, non le fait de vivre, mais la manière de vivre … d’où « moyens de vivre, ressources »”; s.v. ζωή: “« propriété d’être vivant, vie » par opposition à « mort ».” There is a fair bit of overlap in actual usage.
A hare that was in
In verbs, some morphological material is moved from the end of
For further samples of
See J.K. Aitken, No Stone Unturned: Greek Inscriptions and Septuagint Vocabulary (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2014) 98-102.
See further Lee, “Ἀποσκευή in the Septuagint,”
In Exod 10:24 “all members of the house” is inexact: “family, dependants” is more like it. In Exod 12:37 what
W. Bauer, F.W. Danker, W.F. Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (“
Chadwick, Lexicographica Graeca, 143, 149; full analysis of θυµός 143-150.
= 4 Rgns/Kgds 5:12. This happens to be in the “Kaige recension,” not exactly a good representative of lxx Greek.
Rocci did not include any
I owe this example to Claude Cox. For his discussion of
J.D. Denniston, The Greek Particles (2nd ed.; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954) 555-564. At 561 he includes some totals for Isocrates (125) and Lysias (106).
J. Blomqvist, Greek Particles in Hellenistic Prose (Lund:
The second preface by Nagy, Muellner, and Goh (p. vii) apparently sees