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United Kingdom
5 Posts

Posted - 15 Aug 2005 :  01:08:12  

I would be very grateful for advice on how to pronounce the name of the Roman Stoic teacher Epictetus.

Would Latin speakers have pronounced Epictetus differently from the way Greek speakers would have pronounced Epiktêtos? I am presuming they would have.

Am I right with epic-TEE-tus for Epictetus from a Latin speaker?

And epik-TAY-tos for Epiktêtos from a Greek speaker? Or should that be e-PIK-tay-tos? The latter, I understand is correct for modern Greek. But would that be right for Koine Greek?





615 Posts

Posted - 15 Aug 2005 :  01:49:41  


Hi Keith,
The word comes from the preposition epi and the adjective ktetos (aquired)

It is pronounced (by Greeks) Epictetos with a soft accent on i, because e is makron.

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United Kingdom
5 Posts

Posted - 17 Aug 2005 :  23:29:36  


Ah, now I’m puzzled…

I understand that êta is always long (makron?).

And I see at MacLennan's that, “If a name has three or more syllables, then: accent the second-to-last syllable, if it's long; accent the third-to-last, otherwise.”

Epictetus has 4 syllables, so if êta is long, “επικτητος” is pronounced ep-ik-TAY-tos.

So how would the Latin speaker who spelled this “Epictetus” in Rome have pronounced this? ep-ik-TEE-tus ? Is McLennan's site wrong, then?

(Wish I had a time machine...)

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615 Posts

Posted - 18 Aug 2005 :  06:27:04  


Hi Keith. You don't need a time machine, you need concentration!

McLennan, as he writes, offers suggestions to pronounce ancient words "in their usual Anglicized way", not Greek, nor Roman.

The rule that you mention is obviously wrong. Think about other words, the pronunciation of which you happen to know already, like Paracletοs (the Holy Spirit - Παράκλητος). If you pronounce it Paracletοs, that is wrong; it is (in Greek) Paracletοs : Παράκλητος.

The accent descents at the genitive case: "tou Paracletou" (τοῦ Παρακλήτου). This change of accent happens also in the dative case (to Paracleto - τῷ Παρακλήτῳ).

(Don't forget inflections)

Very Best wishes

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