μετανάστασις vs. ἐπιδημία - Migration vs. living abroad

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
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Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

μετανάστασις vs. ἐπιδημία - Migration vs. living abroad

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 3rd, 2014, 3:17 pm

Like most things in my world, this is part of a work-in-progress. I have a really basic question about these few words.

It seems to me, on the face of it, that the process of leaving one's country is expressed by μετανίστημι / μετανάστασις / μετανάστης / μετανάστρια - which may or may not involve the intention to settle elsewhere - but definitely means that you are not going to continue living in the same place.

The verb μετανίστημι is used with an accusative of place in;
2 Kings 15:20 wrote:εἰ ἐχθὲς παραγέγονας καὶ σήμερον κινήσω σε μεθ’ ἡμῶν καί γε μεταναστήσεις τὸν τόπον σου ἐχθὲς ἡ ἐξέλευσίς σου καὶ σήμερον μετακινήσω σε μεθ’ ἡμῶν τοῦ πορευθῆναι καὶ ἐγὼ πορεύσομαι οὗ ἂν ἐγὼ πορευθῶ ἐπιστρέφου καὶ ἐπίστρεψον τοὺς ἀδελφούς σου μετὰ σοῦ καὶ κύριος ποιήσει μετὰ σοῦ ἔλεος καὶ ἀλήθειαν
To express the life after settlement in a new place it seems we should use, ἐπιδημέω / ἐπιδήμιος / ἐπιδημία. Not in its narrower sense of a native person living in his own city, but the wider sense of someone that lives in a place after settling there.
Acts 2:10 wrote:Φρυγίαν τε καὶ Παμφυλίαν, Αἴγυπτον καὶ τὰ μέρη τῆς Λιβύης τῆς κατὰ Κυρήνην, καὶ οἱ ἐπιδημοῦντες Ῥωμαῖοι, Ἰουδαῖοί τε καὶ προσήλυτοι,
the Romans who have settled here
The question with this word is... Is this being said from the point of view of the other (local / native) residents, or from the point of view of those who have come - "those who hang about in our town and don't move on", or "now we are settlers in this new place"?

I'm yet to find the word to express the process of wandering - living from place to place before settling - being of no fixed address. It seems different from the well-known πλανῶ "wander (from the path)", "go astray", or from ἀποδημέω / ἀπόδημος / ἀποδημία, a word expressing "away from home (with the intention to return)", and different from νομάς which describes a life-style of free-range droving.
Luke 20:9 wrote:Ἤρξατο δὲ πρὸς τὸν λαὸν λέγειν τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην· Ἄνθρωπος ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ ἐξέδοτο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν χρόνους ἱκανούς·
Matthew 25:14 wrote:Ὥσπερ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἀποδημῶν ἐκάλεσεν τοὺς ἰδίους δούλους, καὶ παρέδωκεν αὐτοῖς τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ·
Mark 13:34 wrote:Ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημος ἀφεὶς τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ δοὺς τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐξουσίαν, καὶ ἑκάστῳ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ, καὶ τῷ θυρωρῷ ἐνετείλατο ἵνα γρηγορῇ.
[It is also different from the case of animals, where "migratory" is (in the Classical period at least) expressed by ἐκτοπιστικός, and "non-migratory" by ἐπιδημητικός.]

Has anyone else worked through this area of vocabulary with any degree of satisfaction? Am I anywhere on the right track with any of this?
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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