ἀνορθόω + ὄψ

Validation

Yes

Word-form

ἀνθρώπου

Transliteration (Word)

anthrōpos

English translation (word)

man, human

Transliteration (Etymon)

anorthoō + ops

English translation (etymon)

to set right + sight, eye

Author

Philo Judaeus

Century

1 AD

Source

Idem

Ref.

De plantatione 16-17

Ed.

P. Wendland, Philonis Alexandrini opera quae supersunt, vol. 2, Berlin: Reimer, 1897 (repr. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1962): 133-169

Quotation

καὶ μὴν τὰ μὲν φυτὰ κατωκάρα ἀπειργάζετο τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν ἐν τοῖς βαθυγειοτάτοις γῆς μέρεσι πήξας, ζῴων δὲ τῶν ἀλόγων τὰς κεφαλὰς ἀνελκύσας ἀπὸ γῆς ἐπὶ προμήκους αὐχένος ἄκρας ἡρμόζετο τῷ αὐχένι ὥσπερ ἐπίβασιν τοὺς ἐμπροσθίους πόδας θείς. ἐξαιρέτου δὲ τῆς κατασκευῆς ἔλαχεν ἄνθρωπος· τῶν μὲν γὰρ ἄλλων τὰς ὄψεις περιήγαγε κάτω κάμψας, διὸ νένευκε πρὸς χέρσον, ἀνθρώπου δὲ ἔμπαλιν ἀνώρθωσεν, ἵνα τὸν οὐρανὸν καταθεᾶται

Translation (En)

And he designed the plants head down, planting their heads in the most profound parts of the earth. As far as animate beings are concerned, for animals, lifting their heads from the ground on a long neck, he fitted them to the neck, having put the forelimbs as a support. But man was allotted a special constitution: as a matter of fact, he made the "eyes" (opseis) of the other animals look around, having bent them down, that is why they are inclined toward the ground; but man's (anthrōpou) (eyes), on the contrary, he set them upright (anōrthōsen), so that he could contemplate the sky

Comment

This text is about the creation of living beings, and stresses the opposition between man and other animals according to one criterion, the position of the head and thereby of the eyes. It may look like a mere pun but if we compare it with Orion's etymology for ἄνθρωπος (see Parallels), it is likely that this is an implicit etymology and that ἀνθρώπου (ὄψεις)… ἀνώρθωσεν forms a figura etymologica. From the semantic point of view, several etymologies of ἄνθρωπος derive the word from "upwards" (ἄνω) and "see" (θρέω, ὄψ), and that is indeed seen as the main distinctive feature of mankind that as a biped, man has an upright position. From the formal point of view, the etymology implies two usual phonetic manipulations : from ἀνορθῶ one obtains, through metathesis, *ἀνοθρω, and then a syncope can account for the dropping of the [o] and yield the required sequence ἀνθρω-, the -πος being probably related to ὄψ, mentioned in the text under the form of the derivative ὄψις

Parallels

Orion, Etymologicum (excepta e cod. regio 2610), alpha, p. 176 (Ἄνθρωπος λέγεται διὰ τὰ ἄνω θρεῖν, ἤγουν ὁρᾶν. ἢ πάλιν τὸ †ἀνορθροῖ περιπατεῖν): the text is corrupt and a form of ἀνορθόω should be restored (not *ὀρθός with Sturz), probably a participle

Modern etymology

Mycenaean a-to-ro-qo shows that the word has as its second element ops "sight, aspect" and not ops "voice". The identification of the first element of the compound remains debated. Beekes (EDG) thinks it is Pre-Greek

Persistence in Modern Greek

The word is still used in MG with the meaning ‘man’, primarily denoting the superior rank of mammals, having as attributes the standing position, reason and articulated language, by distinguishing mankind from other animals (Triandafyllidis, Dict. of MG)

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