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Headword: *basileu\s me/gas
Adler number: beta,144
Translated headword: Great King
Vetting Status: high
[Referring to] the [king] of the Persians.[1] To the other kings they added also the names of those who were ruled: as "of the Lakedaimonians," "of the Macedonians." A king differs from a tyrant. For a king is he who receives sovereignty in succession from his ancestors with specified limits, but a tyrant is he who usurps the sovereignty by force. But [some] use both nouns without distinction. For Pindar calls Hieron a king, although he was a tyrant,[2] and [others do the same with] Dionysios;[3] and Eupolis calls Peisistratos a king.[4] And kings [are also called] tyrants.
Greek Original:
*basileu\s me/gas: o( tw=n *persw=n. tou\s de\ a)/llous proseti/qesan kai\ tw=n a)rxome/nwn ta\ o)no/mata: oi(=on *lakedaimoni/wn, *makedo/nwn. diafe/rei de\ basileu\s tura/nnou. basileu\s me\n ga\r a)po\ progo/nwn kata\ diadoxh\n th\n a)rxh\n e)pi\ r(htoi=s labw\n pe/rasi, tu/rannos de\, o(\s biai/ws th\n a)rxh\n sfeteri/zetai. xrw=ntai de\ a)diafo/rws e(kate/rois o)no/masin. *(ie/rwna ga\r basile/a *pi/ndaros kalei=, tu/rannon o)/nta, kai\ *dionu/sion: kai\ *eu)/polis *peisi/straton basile/a kalei=. kai\ tou\s basilei=s tura/nnous.
[1] For this and some of what follows cf. mu 389. It draws on the scholia to Aristophanes, Acharnians 61, where the headword phrase occurs.
[2] Pindar, Olympian 1.23 (web address 1). Hieron was tyrant of Syracuse 478-466 BCE.
[3] Tyrant of Syracuse 405-367 BCE: see delta 1178.
[4] Eupolis fr. 123 Kock, now 137 K.-A. For Peisistratos see pi 1474.
E. Benveniste, Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes (Paris 1969) II 23-26.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; comedy; constitution; definition; geography; history; law; poetry; politics
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 1 November 2000@01:35:31.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes; added keyword; cosmetics) on 21 March 2001@08:03:10.
Catharine Roth (Modified link.) on 21 March 2001@23:26:33.
Catharine Roth (added bibliography) on 8 April 2001@18:46:28.
Elizabeth Vandiver (Added italics) on 25 January 2006@20:54:01.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 26 January 2006@03:09:47.
David Whitehead (expanded n.1; more keywords; cosmetics) on 22 May 2012@05:14:03.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 22 May 2012@23:58:44.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 30 December 2014@06:55:34.
David Whitehead (expanded n.2; cosmetics) on 17 September 2015@03:07:54.


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