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Headword: *nh=i+s
Adler number: nu,306
Translated headword: unknowing; Naiad
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] not knowing, inexperienced.[1] But some [sc. see in this word] the Neis [= Naiad] nymph, [a name] deriving from namata ["pools"], and the Nile.[2] And [sc. they say that] in Samos wild animals existed, and when they gave voice the earth was broken;[3] and they were called neia, according to Eutaion.[4]
Greek Original:
*nh=i+s: ou)k ei)dw/s, a)/peiros. th\n de\ *nhi/+da nu/mfhn, para\ ta\ na/mata e)/nioi, kai\ to\n *nei=lon. kai\ e)n *sa/mw| de\ qhri/a gene/sqai, w(=n fqeggome/nwn r(h/gnusqai th\n gh=n: e)kalou=nto de\ nh/i+a, w(s *eu)tai/wn.
From Photius, Lexicon nu181 Theodoridis; cf. already Apollonius' Homeric Lexicon (and Hesychius nu460).
[1] See already nu 305 for the accusative case of this epic/poetic adjective (here it is nominative), and also for the connection with nymphs/Naiads (nu 14).
[2] Nile: nu 289.
[3] This is possibly connected with the modern discovery of Pliocene quadruped fossils near Mytilinioi, a few miles from the ancient town of Samos. Shipley, Samos appendix 3, nos. 24 and 29, connects this with the places in Samos called Panaima and Phloion by Plutarch, Moralia 303D-E, who says elephants' bones are displayed at Phloion, 'while some say the Phloion was broken open by them when they gave voice hugely and piercingly'.
[4] Euagon [sic] of Samos, FGrH 535 F1. Jacoby's T1 (Dionysius of Halicarnassus, On Thucydides 5) appears to establish both his date -- 'before the Peloponnesian War', i.e. mid fifth century BC -- and this form of his name, confirmed (in Jacoby's view) by the Prienian inscription which is F3. Nobody has supported 'Eutaion', as given by the present Suda entry and already at epsilon 3764, though Jacoby's T2 for Euagon is Suda epsilon 3388, 'Eugaion' (sic). Kuster advocated an emendation to Euphorion (see epsilon 3801), who is cited by Aelian, On the nature of animals 17.28, for material on early Samos very similar indeed (in both language and content) to what is given here.
Philippson, A. (1959), with E. Kirsten, Die griechischen Landschaften: eine Landeskunde, iv: Das ägäische Meer und seine Inseln (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1959), 264
Shipley, G., A History of Samos, 800-188 BC (Oxford, 1987)
Keywords: aetiology; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; geography; historiography; mythology; poetry; zoology
Translated by: D. Graham J. Shipley on 19 June 2008@01:51:38.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 19 June 2008@04:10:02.
David Whitehead (tweak) on 19 June 2008@07:43:19.
David Whitehead on 7 June 2013@08:20:29.
David Whitehead (added primary note) on 27 June 2014@07:01:35.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 28 June 2014@01:15:04.


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