δίστομος and τρίστομος

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
Post Reply
Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

δίστομος and τρίστομος

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 19th, 2014, 5:40 am

Revelations 1:16 wrote:καὶ ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ ῥομφαία δίστομος ὀξεῖα ἐκπορευομένη
I'm happy that I found this new word τρίστομος in LSJ today, and would like to share my happiness.

It is comforting to know that besides δίστομος there is a word τρίστομος referring either to a three-edged or three-pointed αἰχμή ("spear-point"), or to a τρίαινα / τριόδους trident as τρίστομον δόρυ ("spear").

Finding it at least sets my mind at easy that δίστομος is good idiomatic Greek - rather than bad Greek on the part of the authour of Revelations - even if talking of the mouths of swords (and now spears) is a non-English idiom.
0 x


Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: δίστομος and τρίστομος

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 19th, 2014, 3:12 pm

In addition to those two, I came across this mention of ἀμφίστομος "with the power to bite on both sides" (obviously metal arms would "bite" harder than teeth could)" in Arrian's Tactica:
Arrian, [i]Tactica[/i], 29.1 wrote:ἔτι δὲ ἀμφίστομος μὲν φάλαγξ καλεῖται ἡ τοὺς ἡμίσεας τῶν ἐν τοῖς λόχοις ἀνδρῶν ἀπεστραμμένους ἀπὸ σφῶν ἔχουσα, ὡς ἀντινώτους εἶναι:
If your are wanting to read that passage, besides ἀμφίστομος, some words you may not be familiar with are;
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
Posts: 2110
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: δίστομος and τρίστομος

Post by cwconrad » November 19th, 2014, 3:41 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:In addition to those two, I came across this mention of ἀμφίστομος "with the power to bite on both sides" (obviously metal arms would "bite" harder than teeth could)" in Arrian's Tactica:
Arrian, [i]Tactica[/i], 29.1 wrote:ἔτι δὲ ἀμφίστομος μὲν φάλαγξ καλεῖται ἡ τοὺς ἡμίσεας τῶν ἐν τοῖς λόχοις ἀνδρῶν ἀπεστραμμένους ἀπὸ σφῶν ἔχουσα, ὡς ἀντινώτους εἶναι:
If your are wanting to read that passage, besides ἀμφίστομος, some words you may not be familiar with are;
Sappho wrote:Οἱ μὲν ἰππήων στρότον οἰ δὲ πέσδων
οἰ δὲ νάων φαῖσ' ἐπ[ὶ] γᾶν μέλαι[ν]αν
ἔ]μμεναι κάλλιστον ...
Which means no more than that there are different kinds of κόσμος that people find appealing.
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: δίστομος and τρίστομος

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 20th, 2014, 12:28 am

cwconrad wrote:
Sappho fragment 16. First stanza [quoted in full now] wrote:Οἱ μὲν ἰππήων στρότον οἰ δὲ πέσδων
οἰ δὲ νάων φαῖσ' ἐπ[ὶ] γᾶν μέλαι[ν]αν
ἔ]μμεναι κάλλιστον ἔγω δὲ κῆν᾽ ὄττω τις ἔραται.
Which means no more than that there are different kinds of κόσμος that people find appealing.
Beautiful priamel. Allow me to make it a little more accessible...
  • οἰ - some (people)
  • μὲν ... δὲ ... (δὲ ...) - a clue to repeat some element of the first phrase in the subsequent phrase(s)
  • ἰππήων - an Aeolian (Lesbian) form of what we would say as ἰππέων from ἱππεύς - cavalry man or charioteer.
  • στρότον - an Aeolian (Lesbian) form of what we would say as στρατός, but we see in the New Testament as στρατιά military force, army (on land), navy (on the sea). Treat the accent in nouns as recessive in the same way we do with most verbs.
  • πέσδων - an Aeolian (Lesbian) form of what we would say as πεζῶν < πεζοί or στρατός πεζῶν foot soldiers.
  • φαῖσ' - φαῖσι according to LSJ this is a third person plural form, and according to Perseus' parsing tool, this is a paticiple (part pl pres act masc dat doric / aeolic), I'm going with LSJ on this one. It is a simple yet beautiful bread and butter verb of speaking with the accusative and infinitive construction. The form of the verb φημί that we are familiar with for this is φασίν in Romans 3:8 Καὶ μή — καθὼς βλασφημούμεθα, καὶ καθώς φασίν τινες ἡμᾶς λέγειν — ὅτι Ποιήσωμεν τὰ κακὰ ἵνα ἔλθῃ τὰ ἀγαθά; Ὧν τὸ κρίμα ἔνδικόν ἐστιν.
  • ἐπὶ γᾶν μέλαιναν - we are used to this alpha being changed to eta. γῆν. The μέλαιναν is a third declension (consonant stem) adjective, and the iota is the remnant of a sigma.
  • ἔμμεναι - what we say as εἶναι
  • ἔγω δὲ - with this δὲ the person of the verb carried on through this construction needs to change to φᾶμι, which we would say as φημί
  • ὄττω - a dialectical form of ὅστις this form is a genitive singular omicron + omicron = omega (not the diphthong that we are used to)
  • κῆν᾽ - this is the reason I said I would make this text a little more accessible. From a distant memory, I would say that it is a form of ἐκεῖνος, but instinct set in place by past mistakes tells me that is Attic only, and sensibility tells me it should be a particle of affirmation. In short, I need help on this word.
  • ἔραται - remember this is Lesbian love poetry. The verb takes a genitive of the person or thing loved.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: δίστομος and τρίστομος

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 20th, 2014, 7:59 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Allow me to make it a little more accessible...
  • κῆν᾽ - this is the reason I said I would make this text a little more accessible. From a distant memory, I would say that it is a form of ἐκεῖνος, but instinct set in place by past mistakes tells me that is Attic only, and sensibility tells me it should be a particle of affirmation. In short, I need help on this word.
Well I've had a chance to look in the dictionary now. My memory was right that it was a dialectical form of ἐκεῖνος, but a bit hazy about which form for which dialect.

Now let me say that the (understood) φᾶμι "I say" (a verb of speaking) is constructed with two accusatives κῆνο "that thing" and κάλλιστον "the best thing" and an infinitive of the verb to be.

κῆνο being neuter is another reason - besides that Sappho's poetry usually expresses the love culture between women - to conclude that ὄττω is neuter not masculine.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: δίστομος and τρίστομος

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 20th, 2014, 8:48 am

cwconrad wrote:Which means no more than that there are different kinds of κόσμος that people find appealing.
I understand that you're saying something like, "Whatever takes your fancy.", but I am glad that I pursued this word for this long.

For you quick thinking intelligent people, I'm sure you got it right quickly enough, but for me, it took this long of muddle-headed wondering for the penny to finally drop for me that -στομος type words are drawing on the image of a mouth as a biting instrument that can inflict damage. 8-) :geek:

The ones used to describe rivers with so many mouths are readily understandable because people vomit from time to time and statues have mouths that gush forth water.

Now, I can sleep better at night, I feel more comfortable about the language, being able to make some sense of the imagery behind this type of word, rather than wondering for years why it was used; ἀπρόστομος "without a sharp edge", βαθύστομος "deep cutting", πρόστομος "with a sharp point", τετράστομος "with four blades", τρίστομος "with three blades".
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
Posts: 2110
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: δίστομος and τρίστομος

Post by cwconrad » November 20th, 2014, 9:36 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
cwconrad wrote:Which means no more than that there are different kinds of κόσμος that people find appealing.
I understand that you're saying something like, "Whatever takes your fancy.", but I am glad that I pursued this word for this long. ... Now, I can sleep better at night, I feel more comfortable about the language, being able to make some sense of the imagery behind this type of word, rather than wondering for years why it was used; ἀπρόστομος "without a sharp edge", βαθύστομος "deep cutting", πρόστομος "with a sharp point", τετράστομος "with four blades", τρίστομος "with three blades".
For what it's worth, I remember my relief and satisfaction upon finally realizing that the adjective "bitter" in "bitter frost" or "a bitter night" is a cognate of the verb "bite".
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Post Reply

Return to “Word Meanings”