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Headword: *babu/las
Adler number: beta,9
Translated headword: Babylas
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] clay.
[A] pedestal.
[A] rostrum.
Greek Original:
*babu/las: phlo/s. ba/qron. bh=ma.
Babylas is a proper name, copied mistakenly from the headword of beta 10. Probably the original word written here was babu/as, the reading of the headword in Hesychius beta16 (babu/as: bo/rboros, phlo/s (babyas: mire, clay). A similar entry, post-Suda, in Etymologicum Magnum 186.1 probably identifies this as a dialect word: baki/as [babu/kas: ms M]: bo/rboros, phlo/s, u(po\ *taranti/nwn (bakias [or babykas]: mire, clay, in Tarantine dialect). To this can perhaps be related an entry in Hesychius beta126: bakxo/an: bo/qron. *ai)olei=s (bakchoan: pit [perhaps a clay pit or cess pit?]. Aiolians [sc. dialect]), and two other entries which Latte, in his edition of Hesychius, brackets as corrupt, in that they seem to be garbled doublets for beta126: beta99: ba/koa: ba/qron (bakoa: a pedestal), and beta113: bakoi/as: phlo/s (bakoias: clay).
A plausible theory is that a word like babu(k)as was glossed as a cess-pit or clay-pit. The word itself was garbled in transmission in various directions, and in the glosses there was confusion between bo/qron ('pit') and the sound-alike ba/qron ('pedestal') and eventually bh=ma ('rostrum') crept into it as a synonym for 'pedestal'. Apart from babu/ka, all the other putative headwords discussed here, (baki/as, babu/a, ba/koa, bakxo/a, bakoi/as) are unattested elsewhere. Given that Tarentum (Taras, cf. tau 112) originated as a Spartan colony, and that streams in the Eurotas valley (cf. epsilon 3710) near Sparta tend to be marshy and mirey in their lower courses, it may be worth noting that Plutarch, Lycurgus 6.2 (cf. Pelopidas 13.3), records Babyka as the name of a stream near central Sparta (cf. Hesychius beta18, where Babyka is glossed as 'bridge' (perhaps over the Babyka stream) and beta17 where Babya is glossed as 'Cheimarros', an alternative name for the Babyka stream for which Plutarch (Lycurgus 6) cites Aristotle).
Adler reports that the lemma is present in Lexicon Ambrosianum 38. For bh=ma ('rostrum') see also beta 257, beta 258.
Keywords: daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Anne Mahoney on 6 September 1998@18:47:53.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added note) on 4 July 2002@22:03:31.
David Whitehead (augmented note; cosmetics) on 5 July 2002@03:16:07.
William Hutton (modified note, added keywords, set status) on 15 February 2008@09:25:02.
William Hutton (typo) on 15 February 2008@09:36:29.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 12 September 2015@09:15:10.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticules) on 13 January 2016@01:28:10.
Ronald Allen (cosmeticules (punctuation) in note, added cross-references) on 7 July 2018@12:56:11.


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