Monday, December 4, 2017

Of kings and bosses

The noun βασιλευς (basileus; hence the English word basilica) means king, but note that until the rise of the republics (around the time of the second temple), every town of a few hundred people or more was its own kingdom.

Our word is of unclear origin but it was possibly imported from an Anatolian language — the Lydian word for king was battos. It might also have been formed from, or with the assistance of, the noun στοα (stoa), meaning pillar, perhaps because kings lived in palaces with pillars, but more so because in the era of the republic, our word βασιλευς (basileus) applied not only to whatever monarchs remained but rather to any chiefs, lords, masters and otherwise venerable persons or men of greatness or distinction: the "pillars" of society.

Note that our familiar English word "boss" has no clear etymology, other than that it probably came from the Dutch equivalent baas. The Dutch in turn, as everybody knows, have always been great at appropriating and truncating words from other languages, and may very well have drawn their noun baas from the Greek noun βασιλευς (basileus).

Continue reading ...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be nice.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...