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Headword: *lai/las
Adler number: lambda,182
Translated headword: lailas, usurper, absolute ruler
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] a tyrant[1] not [sc. legitimized] by birth.
Greek Original:
*lai/las: o( mh\ e)k ge/nous tu/rannos.
The Lydian origin of this headword -- alleged by Hesychius lambda134, who adds (sc. a term used) 'by Lydians' -- is not attested elsewhere. The grammarian Theognostus instead adds 'but placed there' (Canones 27.6).
[1] The Greek word tu/rannos (tau 1187, cf. tau 1183, tau 1188) does become in English 'tyrant', but misleadingly to the modern reader. The Greek term suggests only that the ruler did not attain the throne by heredity; it entailed no necessary moral condemnation prior to the rise of democracies. (Sophocles’ tragedy that we generally render into English as Oedipus the King is in Greek O. Tyrannos. He was not presumed to be the son of his predecessor Laius but to have become monarch because he successfully solved the riddle posed by the Sphinx. See omicroniota 34.).
For the Lydians and their language see OCD(4) 872-3, and CAH 2.2, 438-39 For tyranny, OCD(4) 1523, where it is suggested that this may be a Lydian term.
Keywords: constitution; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; history; law; politics; tragedy
Translated by: Oliver Phillips ✝ on 4 October 2005@20:18:38.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, status) on 5 October 2005@01:14:03.
David Whitehead (added more x-refs; modified keywords; cosmetics) on 5 October 2005@03:41:01.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr) on 5 October 2005@10:11:03.
David Whitehead on 4 April 2013@04:19:29.
Catharine Roth (deleted links) on 13 September 2013@01:04:28.
David Whitehead on 4 August 2014@11:43:15.
David Whitehead on 16 May 2016@07:44:57.


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