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Headword: *semno/n
Adler number: sigma,227
Translated headword: august, revered; haughty, proud
Vetting Status: high
They say [semnos] of [someone] honourable; there are occasions where they also apply it to [someone] arrogant. Euripides in Medea [writes]: "for I know that many mortals are semnoi.[1] And in Hippolytus [he writes]: "to hate what is semnon and what is not dear to all".[2] Also [meaning] famous. Euripides in Hippolytus [writes]: "so how don't you address a proud goddess?"[3] Also [meaning] what is great.
Also [meaning] those who are worthy.[4] "For the proud amongst the birds". Aristophanes [sc. writes this]. Meaning for the worthy.[5]
"Though being very semnos and very industrious, he was nevertheless pleasing in his personal relations, no less than those people admired for their kindnesses."[6]
Dexippus [writes]: "he used to show him proud for other reasons and [especially] because his father had been a good general".[7]
Greek Original:
*semno/n: e)pi\ tou= a)ciwmatikou= le/gousin: e)/sq' o(/te de\ kai\ e)pi\ tou= u(perhfa/nou tiqe/asin. *eu)ripi/dhs *mhdei/a|: oi)=da ga\r pollou\s brotw=n semnou\s gegono/tas. kai\ e)n *(ippolu/tw|: misei=n to\ semno\n kai\ to\ mh\ pa=si fi/lon. kai\ e)/ndocon. *eu)ripi/dhs *(ippolu/tw|: pw=s ou)=n su\ semnh\n dai/mon' ou) prosenne/peis. kai\ to\ me/ga. kai\ tou\s timi/ous. toi=s d' au)= semnoi=si tw=n o)rni/qwn. *)aristofa/nhs: a)nti\ tou= timi/ois. o( au)to\s semno/tatos w)\n kai\ spoudastikw/tatos, o(/mws e)pi/xaris h)=n e)n tai=s o(mili/ais, ou)deno\s h(/ttwn tw=n e)pi\ xa/risi qaumazome/nwn. *de/cippos: semno\n ga\r au)to\n a)pe/faine ta/ te a)/lla, kai\ o(/ti oi( o( path\r eu)= strathgh/seien.
The first paragraph of this entry is also in Photius (sigma143 Theodoridis). The headword itself is neuter singular, presumably quoted from somewhere.
The adjective semno/s, (=*sebno/s, from se/bomai; cf. Chantraine s.v. se/bomai) usually and properly means august/proud, but, as the entry illustrates, can in context mean haughty/proud; cf. (e.g.) Barrett 1964, p. 177.
According to Mastronarde (2002, p. 206), "the use of semno/s with negative connotations ('haughty, pompous', of human beings or their attributes) seems to be a reflection of the egalitarian ethos of Athenian democracy".
[1] Euripides, Medea 215-6 (web address 1).
[2] Euripides, Hippolytus 93 (web address 2).
[3] Euripides, Hippolytus 99 (again web address 2).
[4] cf. sigma 221.
[5] Aristophanes, Birds 616-7 (web address 3), with scholion.
[6] Damascius, Life of Isidore fr. 310 Zintzen (176 Asmus); already, but slightly differently, at epsilon 2764.
[7] Dexippus [delta 237] FGrHist 100 F32.
P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire ├ętymologique de la langue grecque. Paris 1999
W.S. Barrett, Euripides. Hippolytus. Oxford 1964 (177-178)
D. Mastronarde, Euripides. Medea. Cambridge 2002
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: biography; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; historiography; history; military affairs; philosophy; religion; tragedy
Translated by: Rocco Marseglia on 16 November 2012@05:36:13.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 16 November 2012@07:36:13.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation, upgraded links) on 18 November 2012@01:10:18.
David Whitehead on 23 December 2013@04:17:36.


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