Passivity as a transition (raising dust)

X99Lynx at X99Lynx at
Sun Aug 8 17:16:45 UTC 1999

[ moderator re-formatted ]

In a message dated 8/8/99 1:22:04 AM, jrader at wrote:

<<I think you've lumped together two unrelated etyma here. See the
articles on <diakonos>, <enkoneo:>, and <konis> in Chantraine,
_Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue grecque_ (or any other Greek
etymological dictionary, for that matter).>>

I don't have Chantraine, but I see in my notes:

koneo^, (konis) raise dust: hence, hasten, ...EM 268.29: elsewh. only in
compd. enkoneo^.

enkon-eo^, to be quick and active, service,...

akoni_ti or akon-ei (SIG36ti=SIG B (Olympia, V. B.C.), Dem. 19.77), Adv. of
akonitos , without the dust of the arena, i.e.without struggle,without
effort, usualy of the conqueror, Thuc. 4.73, Xen. Ages. 6.3...

All of the above are from Lidell-Scott and are cited in Palmer, The Greek
Language (1980) and Thomson The Greek Language (1964).

The development is actually quite clear in the texts.  In Homer, making dust
and making haste start being interchangeable adverbially.  The word is not
compounded yet in some instances.  By the time of Aeschylus, Prom. Unbound,
(su se keleuthon hen^per e^lthes enkonei palin - go hasten back to from where
you came) the compounding is clear, but the verb still doesn't stand by
itself.  (Another possible source is mentioned for the metaphor.  One of
these authorities however points out that the allusion to the ceremonial dust
(konia) used by wrestlers doesn't work because this is applied before the
match (for grip) and winning without applying the dust would be cheating -
not triumph.)

Trickier is diakoneo^.  One of the earliest appearances - perhaps the
earliest we have - of the word is in Herodotus (4.154), where the task
referrred to is not mundane service but kidnapping and murder (men hoi
die^kone^sein ho ti an dee^thei) - the kind that raises some dust and takes
some effort.  Only later is diakoneo^ specific to household type service (but
not slavery.)  Homer however uses enkoneo^ (not diakoneo^) adverbially (aipsa
d' ara storesan doio^ leche' enkoneousai - pres part.) specifically with
regard to servants doing a specific action.  Only later (about the time of
Xenophon) does diakoneo^ become a stand-alone verb and then a noun.  The
compounded form of dia/koneo^ looks pretty obvious to me, but no one else
seemed to commit to it, so you may have me there - though I'd really like to
see some textually based alternative explanation for the word.

I don't know what Chantraine's logic is (I understand he/she takes a
diachronic approach) - if multiple etyma are reconstructed from non-Greek
sources I'd love to know what those sources are.  This all seems to be pretty
much just another Greek innovation - just as L-S have it -  and we can pretty
much see it happening.

But since you seem to have access to ALL the other Greek etymological
dictionaries, perhaps you can give us a survey?

Steve Long

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