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Headword: *xai/rein
Adler number: chi,162
Translated headword: cheers, hail, take joy
Vetting Status: high
This is a greeting of those who are leaving or even arriving; it is placed at the beginning of letters.[1]
"Cheers", a salutation. Some consider it to be placed late in letters; in this way to correspond with each other the way Amasis said these things to Polycrates.[2] Eubulus the comic [playwright] said that Kleon was the first to write a letter this way to the Athenians [sc. who had returned safely] from Sphakteria,[3] at which he was also quite pleased, not knowing that the ancients had used [this word] and had thus greeted one another, not only when first they met (as we do) but also on taking leave from one another, instead of "good health"[4] and "be well" they bade one another to "take joy".
Greek Original:
*xai/rein: tou=to e)sti\ prosago/reusis a)pallassome/nwn h)\ kai\ proserxome/nwn: e)ti/qeto de\ kat' a)rxa\s tw=n e)pistolw=n. *xai/rein, pro/srhma. o)ye\ tai=s e)pistolai=s prosteqh=nai/ tines nomi/zousin: a(plw=s d' ou(/tws a)llh/lois e)piste/llein, oi(=on *)/amasis *polukra/tei ta/de le/gei. prw=ton de\ *kle/wna fhsi\n *eu)/boulos o( kwmiko\s ou(/tws e)pistei=lai toi=s *)aqhnai/ois a)po\ *sfakthri/as, e)f' w(=| kai\ u(perhsqh=nai: a)gnow=n, o(/ti kai\ oi( palaioi\ e)xrw=nto kai\ proshgo/reuon ou(/tws a)llh/lous, ou) mo/non to\ prw=ton e)ntugxa/nontes, w(s h(mei=s, a)lla\ kai\ dialuo/menoi a)p' a)llh/lwn, a)nti\ tou= u(giai/nein kai\ e)rrw=sqai, xai/rein diekeleu/onto a)llh/lois.
The headword is the present active infinitive of xai/rw, a form probably quoted from contexts of indirect discourse in Aristophanes (see n. 3 below). The usual usage as described in this entry was in the imperative: xai/re in the singular and xai/rete in the plural. See also chi 164, chi 165.
[1] cf. Appendix Proverbiorum 5.20.
[2] cf. generally Herodotus 3.40.
[3] cf. Moeris 213.31, Thomas Magister 398.6, the scholia to Aristophanes, Clouds 609 (web address 1 below) and Wealth [Plutus] 322 (web address 2 below). For Kleon (and Sphakteria, 424 BCE) see generally kappa 1731.
[4] Compare the Modern Greek greeting u)gi/a sou/sas, a shortened form of sth\n u)gi/a sou/sas.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; proverbs
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 18 March 2008@13:56:13.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 19 March 2008@10:39:13.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr; expanded n.3) on 10 November 2013@05:42:56.
David Whitehead on 30 December 2014@05:47:54.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 4 March 2016@00:37:15.


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