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Headword: Σεμνόν
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:
Σεμνόν: ἐπὶ τοῦ ἀξιωματικοῦ λέγουσιν: ἔσθ' ὅτε δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ ὑπερηφάνου τιθέασιν. Εὐριπίδης Μηδείᾳ: οἶδα γὰρ πολλοὺς βροτῶν σεμνοὺς γεγονότας. καὶ ἐν Ἱππολύτῳ: μισεῖν τὸ σεμνὸν καὶ τὸ μὴ πᾶσι φίλον. καὶ ἔνδοξον. Εὐριπίδης Ἱππολύτῳ: πῶς οὖν σὺ σεμνὴν δαίμον' οὐ προσεννέπεις. καὶ τὸ μέγα. καὶ τοὺς τιμίους. τοῖς δ' αὖ σεμνοῖσι τῶν ὀρνίθων. Ἀριστοφάνης: ἀντὶ τοῦ τιμίοις. ὁ αὐτὸς σεμνότατος ὢν καὶ σπουδαστικώτατος, ὅμως ἐπίχαρις ἦν ἐν ταῖς ὁμιλίαις, οὐδενὸς ἥττων τῶν ἐπὶ χάρισι θαυμαζομένων. Δέξιππος: σεμνὸν γὰρ αὐτὸν ἀπέφαινε τά τε ἄλλα, καὶ ὅτι οἱ ὁ πατὴρ εὖ στρατηγήσειεν.
The first paragraph of this entry is also in Photius (sigma143 Theodoridis). The headword itself is neuter singular, presumably quoted from somewhere.
The adjective σεμνός , (=*σεβνός , from σέβομαι ; cf. Chantraine s.v. σέβομαι ) 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 σεμνός 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 étymologique 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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