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Headword: Νάφθα
Adler number: nu,90
Translated headword: naphtha
Vetting Status: high
This word has three genders: for it is commonly [feminine] ἡ νάφθα , but the neuter τὸ νάφθα is also found, while in Plutarch [the masculine] ὁ νάφθος [is found] as well.[1]
[Note] that the Greeks call this 'Medea's oil',[2] but the Medes [call it] naphtha.[3]
Greek Original:
Νάφθα: τριγενὲς τοῦτο: κοινῶς μὲν γὰρ ἡ νάφθα, εὕρηται δὲ καὶ οὐδετέρως τὸ νάφθα, παρὰ Πλουτάρχῳ δὲ καὶ ὁ νάφθος. ὅτι οἱ μὲν Ἕλληνες Μηδείας ἔλαιον ταύτην καλοῦσιν, οἱ δὲ Μῆδοι νάφθαν.
[1] Naphtha appears as a masculine noun in Quaestiones Convivales 681C. Plutarch also provides a long digression on naphtha in Alexander 35, where he employs the substance as a metaphor for Alexander's character. The word is a borrowing from Persian: see the LSJ entry at web address 1.
[2] Plutarch considers this version of the Medea story briefly in Alexander 35.10-12.
[3] From phi 103.
Sansone, D. (1980), "Plutarch, Alexander, and the Discovery of Naphtha." Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 21: 63-74
Whitmarsh, T. (2002), 'Alexander's Hellenism and Plutarch's Textualism'. Classical Quarterly 52.1: 174-192
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; historiography; history; imagery; mythology; science and technology; women
Translated by: Bradley Buszard on 18 June 2003@09:12:55.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (modified translation, added keyword, cosmetics) on 18 June 2003@10:46:29.
David Whitehead (added x-ref; cosmetics) on 19 June 2003@02:59:37.
Aikaterini Oikonomopoulou (tweaked translation; added biblio and keywords.) on 8 June 2012@10:58:51.
David Whitehead on 5 June 2013@05:00:49.
Catharine Roth (expanded note, tweaked link) on 18 September 2013@00:08:17.


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