Friday, October 03, 2014

A Newly Published Byzantine Greek Lexicon

There is a helpful review at BMCR of a newly published Byzantine Greek lexicon:

Eva Villani, Il lessico Ambrosiano inedito ΑΝΤΙΧΕΙΡ (C 222 inf., ff. 207r-208v).   Milano:  EDUCatt, 2014.  Pp. 248.  ISBN 9788867800865.  €15.00 (pb).

The review (by Eleanor Dickey), includes translations of some entries which offer unparalleled new definitions, and this includes a couple of biblical words (here I am selecting from and quoting the review):

 Φ 5: φαρὲς τὸ καθαρὸν ἑβραϊκὴ λέξις, ἤγουν τὸ ἀφωρισμένον τῷ θεῷ, ἐξ οὗ καὶ φαρισαῖος ἓν σίγμα·
Φαρές (means) ‘pure’ (and is) a Hebrew word, or rather (it means) something set apart for God, whence (comes) φαρισαῖος (‘Pharisee’) with one sigma.’ [The point about Hebrew is correct, for the root of ‘Pharisee’ is פרש ‘set apart’.]
 Σ 22: σμίλαξ εἶδος δένδρου καὶ κλί(νεται) τῆς σμίλακος·
Σμίλαξ (is) a kind of tree, and it is declined in the genitive σμίλακος, feminine.’ [The scribe originally wrote εἶδος βοτάνης ‘a kind of plant’ and then corrected it to ‘tree’. The correction is interesting because LSJ gives four meanings for σμῖλαξ (accented thus in LSJ; Villani’s accent probably goes back to the manuscript, which has accents), of which two are trees and two other kinds of plant: holm-oak, yew tree, kidney bean, and bindweed.]
Τ 7: τύχην τινὲς ἐπὶ τῶν εὐτελῶν πραγμάτων λέγουσιν, ἐξ οὗ εὐτυχῆ καὶ δυστυχῆ σκυτοτόμον καλοῦσι, καὶ οἰκοδόμον, τινὲς δὲ ἐπὶ τῶν μεγάλων ἀξιωμάτων τάσσουσι ταύτην· πανευτυχεστάτους καλοῦντες καίσαρας καὶ σεβαστοκράτορας, δοξάζουσι δὲ πάλιν ἄλλως ἕτεροι τὴν τύχην, τύχην καλοῦντες καὶ αὐτόματον περὶ τὰ ἀνθρώπινα πράγματα, εἰσὶ δὲ οὗτοι τῶν παλαιῶν φιλοσόφων·
‘Some people use τύχη (‘fortune’) for cheap things, whence they call a cobbler or a builder ‘fortunate’ or ‘unfortunate’, but others apply this word to great honours, calling emperors ‘most all-fortunate’. And others again think differently about ‘fortune’, calling ‘fortune’ (something that happens by) chance in human affairs, and these people are among the old philosophers.’ 
Σ 51: στέλεχος φλοιός, κυρίως δὲ ῥίζα τοῦ δένδρου·
Στέλεχος (is) the bark, but properly the root of a tree.’ [LSJ defines στέλεχος as ‘crown of the root, whence the stem or trunk springs’.]
Σ 39: σπεκουλάτωρ στρατιώτης βαστάζων ξίφος καὶ ἀποκεφαλίζων·
Σπεκουλάτωρ (is) the soldier who bears a sword and beheads.’ [LSJ gives among other meanings of σπεκουλάτωρ ‘one of the principales or head-quarters’ staff of a legionary commander or provincial governor (whose duties included the carrying out of executions).’] 

NB Dickey's closing comment: "In short, this work is good and useful and provides scholars with the rare opportunity to explore a previously unknown text containing a significant amount of ancient material; it would be lovely if there were more dissertations of this type."


  1. It is a shame there is no way to purchase this book in the US (that I can find, anyway).

  2. Tried to find it also but could not.