ἀρά

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Last modification

Sat, 06/05/2021 - 18:17

Word-form

ἀρρήν

Transliteration (Word)

arēn

English translation (word)

lamb

Transliteration (Etymon)

arā

English translation (etymon)

prayer, curse

Author

Orion

Century

5 AD

Source

Idem

Ref.

Etymologicum, alpha p. 14

Ed.

F.W. Sturz, Orionis Thebani etymologicon, Leipzig, 1820

Quotation

Ἄῤῥην, τὸ πρόβατον, παρὰ τὸ ἀρῶμαι· τὸ εἰς θυσίαν καὶ εὐχὴν ἐπιτήδειον. κατὰ δὲ ἀποβολὴν ῥήν, καὶ σύνθετον πολύῤῥην. ἡ δὲ γενικὴ ἀῤῥῆνος καὶ συγκοπῇ ἀρνός. τὸ δὲ ἀρᾶσθαι ἐπὶ τοῦ εὔχεσθαι

Translation (En)

Arrēn "lamb" comes from araomai "to pray", it is the animal which is appropriate for prayer and sacrifice. Through apocope it becomes rhēn, and in compound polurrēn "possessed with many sheep". The genitive arrēnos, and through syncope arnos. And araomai is an equivalent for eukhesthai "to pray".

Comment

This is a homographic etymology: the nominative ἀρήν "lamb" is identical with the accusative ἀρήν "prayer", in the Ionic dialect (Attic ἀράν). This is not explicit in Orion's notice, which gives as the etymon the verb ἀράομαι "to pray" and not the noun, probably because ἀράομαι still means "to pray" whereas ἀρά has been specialized early in the meaning "malediction", for which lambs are not used. The lamb would thus be named after its function, which is to be the sacrificial animal par excellence. The derivation from ἀρά is explicit in later sources (see Parallels). The fact that ἀρήν "lamb" is masculine whereas ἀρά "prayer, malediction" is feminine was not a problem for Greek etymologists. Neither was the fact that from an accusative one can derive a nominative, as starting from inflected forms was a usual practice. It is noteworthy that Tzetzes reverses the etymology and derives ἀρά from ἀρήν: he may have drawn it from earlier sources lost for us. The word ἀρά would then refer specifically to the prayer involving an animal sacrifice, whereas εὐχή would not.

Parallels

Etym. Genuinum, alpha 1164 (Ἀρήν Α 66· τὸ πρόβατον. ἔστιν οὖν ἀρά ἡ εὐχή· ἐκ τούτου γίνεται ἀρήν, τὸ ἐπιτήδειον εἰς εὐχὴν πρόβατον· καὶ κλίνεται ἀρήν ἀρῆνος· ἐξ οὗ τὸ ἀρνός κατὰ συγκοπήν· καὶ κατὰ ἀποβολὴν τοῦ α ῥήν, οἷον Ι 154, 296· †πολλύρηνες πολυβοῦται. σημαίνει καὶ τὴν βλάβην Μ 334· ὅς τίς οἱ ἀρὴν ἑτάροισιν ἀμύναι); ibid., alpha 1209 ( Ἀρνός· ἔστιν ἀρά, ἡ εὐχή· ἐκ τούτου γίνεται ἀρήν, τὸ εἰς εὐχὴν ἐπιτήδειον πρόβατον, καὶ κλίνεται ἀρήν ἀρῆνος, καὶ κατὰ συγκοπὴν ἀρνός, καὶ μετάγεται εἰς εὐθεῖαν. ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ ἀρνός γίνεται κατὰ πλεονασμὸν τῆς ει διφθόγγου ἀρνειός, ὥσπερ ἀδελφός ἀδελφειός); Choeroboscus, De orthographia (epitome) p. 168 (ἔστιν ἀρὰ ἡ εὐχὴ, ἐκ τούτου γίνεται ἀρὴν ἀρῆνος, τουτέστιν τὸ ἐπὶ εὐχῆς παραβαλλόμενον· κατὰ συγκοπὴν ἀρνός· καὶ μετάγεται αὔτη ἡ γενικὴ εἰς εὐθεῖαν· οἷον, ἀρνός· κατὰ πλεονασμὸν τῆς ει γίνεται ἀρνειὸς, ὥσπερ ἀδελφὸς, ἀδελφειός); Epimerismi homerici ordine alphabetico traditi, alpha 195 (ἀρνῶν (Γ 273)· ἡ εὐθεῖα ἄρνες· ἡ εὐθεῖα τῶν ἑνικῶν ῥήν, ὃ σημαίνει τὸ πρόβατον, ἐκ τοῦ ἀρά, ὃ σημαίνει τὴν εὐχήν· τὸ ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς διδόμενον πρόβατον· καὶ ὁ ποιητής· ἐν δ’ ἄνδρες ναίουσι πολύρρηνες (Ι 154 et 296)· ἐκ τοῦ ἀρῶ, τὸ εὔχομαι, <ἀρά> ἀρήν καὶ ἀφαιρέσει τοῦ α ῥήν· οἱ γὰρ παλαιοὶ δι’ ἀρνῶν τὰς θυσίας ἐποίουν· ἡ γενικὴ ῥηνός καὶ συστολῇ τοῦ η εἰς α ῥανός καὶ ὑπερβιβασμῷ ἀρνός, καὶ μετάγεται ἀπὸ γενικῆς εἰς εὐθεῖαν); Etym. Gudianum, alpha, p. 202-203 (idem); Etym. Gudianum, alpha, p. 192 (Ἀρήν· παρὰ τὸ εἰς ἀρὰν ἐπιτήδειον εἶναι. ἔστι δὲ ἀρήν ἀρῆνος καὶ ἐν συγκοπῇ ἀρνός); ibid., alpha, p. 202 (Ἀρνός· παρὰ τὴν ἀράν, ὃ δηλοῖ τὴν εὐχήν, γίνεται ἀρήν ἀρῆνος καὶ ἐν συγκοπῇ ἀρνός); ibid., alpha, p. 202-203 (Ἀρνῶν· ἡ εὐθεῖα ἄρνες. ἡ εὐθεῖα τῶν ἑνικῶν ῥήν, ὃ σημαίνει τὸ πρόβατον, ἐκ τοῦ ἀρά, ὃ σημαίνει τὴν εὐχήν· τὸ ὑπὲρ εὐχῆς διδόμενον πρόβατον. καὶ ὁ ποιητής <Ι 154> „ἐν δ’ ἄνδρες ναίουσι πολύρρηνες“. ἐκ τοῦ ἀρῶ, τὸ εὔχομαι, <ἀρά> ἀρήν καὶ ἀφαιρέσει τοῦ α ῥήν· οἱ γὰρ παλαιοὶ δι’ ἀρνῶν τὰς θυσίας ἐποίουν· ἡ γενικὴ ῥηνός, καὶ συστολῇ τοῦ η εἰς α ῥανός, καὶ ὑπερβιβασμῷ ἀρνός, καὶ μετάγεται ἀπὸ γενικῆς εἰς εὐθεῖαν); Etym. Magnum, Kallierges, p. 140 (Ἀρήν: Ἔστιν ἀρὰ ἡ εὐχή· ἐκ τούτου γίνεται ἀρὴν, τὸ ἐπιτήδειον εἰς εὐχὴν πρόβατον· καὶ κλίνεται ἀρὴν ἀρῆνος· ἐξ οὗ τὸ ἀρνὸς κατὰ συγκοπήν· καὶ ἀποβολῇ τοῦ α, ῥήν)

Reverse derivation by Tzetzes, Exegesis in Homeri Iliadem 1, 11 (Τὸ δὲ ἀρῶ καὶ ἀρὰ ἡ εὐχὴ παρὰ τὸ ἀρνός, ἀρνά, καὶ ἀρά· δι’ ἀρνῶν γὰρ οἱ παλαιοὶ τὰς εὐχὰς ἐπετέλουν), see ἀρά / ἀρήν

Modern etymology

Old name inherited from PIE *wr̥h1-en-, found also in Arm. gaṙn "lamb" (Beekes, EDG). Within Greek, it is isolated and found only in derivatives (ἄρνιος, ἀρνίον) and compounds (πολύρρην)

Persistence in Modern Greek

Modern Greek still has the derivative αρνί "lamb" (from the mediaeval αρνί(ν), from diminutive ἀρνίον), also in the senses of 2. meat of lamp and 3. a harmless and quiet person (Triandafyllidis Dictionary of Modern Greek).

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