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Headword: Χαίρειν
Adler number: chi,162
Translated headword: cheers, hail, take joy
Vetting Status: high
This is a greeting of those who are leaving or even arriving; it is placed at the beginning of letters.[1]
"Cheers", a salutation. Some consider it to be placed late in letters; in this way to correspond with each other the way Amasis said these things to Polycrates.[2] Eubulus the comic [playwright] said that Kleon was the first to write a letter this way to the Athenians [sc. who had returned safely] from Sphakteria,[3] at which he was also quite pleased, not knowing that the ancients had used [this word] and had thus greeted one another, not only when first they met (as we do) but also on taking leave from one another, instead of "good health"[4] and "be well" they bade one another to "take joy".
Greek Original:
Χαίρειν: τοῦτο ἐστὶ προσαγόρευσις ἀπαλλασσομένων ἢ καὶ προσερχομένων: ἐτίθετο δὲ κατ' ἀρχὰς τῶν ἐπιστολῶν. Χαίρειν, πρόσρημα. ὀψὲ ταῖς ἐπιστολαῖς προστεθῆναί τινες νομίζουσιν: ἁπλῶς δ' οὕτως ἀλλήλοις ἐπιστέλλειν, οἷον Ἄμασις Πολυκράτει τάδε λέγει. πρῶτον δὲ Κλέωνα φησὶν Εὔβουλος ὁ κωμικὸς οὕτως ἐπιστεῖλαι τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις ἀπὸ Σφακτηρίας, ἐφ' ᾧ καὶ ὑπερησθῆναι: ἀγνοῶν, ὅτι καὶ οἱ παλαιοὶ ἐχρῶντο καὶ προσηγόρευον οὕτως ἀλλήλους, οὐ μόνον τὸ πρῶτον ἐντυγχάνοντες, ὡς ἡμεῖς, ἀλλὰ καὶ διαλυόμενοι ἀπ' ἀλλήλων, ἀντὶ τοῦ ὑγιαίνειν καὶ ἐρρῶσθαι, χαίρειν διεκελεύοντο ἀλλήλοις.
The headword is the present active infinitive of χαίρω , a form probably quoted from contexts of indirect discourse in Aristophanes (see n. 3 below). The usual usage as described in this entry was in the imperative: χαίρε in the singular and χαίρετε in the plural. See also chi 164, chi 165.
[1] cf. Appendix Proverbiorum 5.20.
[2] cf. generally Herodotus 3.40.
[3] cf. Moeris 213.31, Thomas Magister 398.6, the scholia to Aristophanes, Clouds 609 (web address 1 below) and Wealth [Plutus] 322 (web address 2 below). For Kleon (and Sphakteria, 424 BCE) see generally kappa 1731.
[4] Compare the Modern Greek greeting ὐγία σου /σας , a shortened form of στὴν ὐγία σου /σας .
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; proverbs
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 18 March 2008@13:56:13.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 19 March 2008@10:39:13.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr; expanded n.3) on 10 November 2013@05:42:56.
David Whitehead on 30 December 2014@05:47:54.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 4 March 2016@00:37:15.


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