PURA. Purism In Antiquity: Theories Of Language in Greek Atticist Lexica and their Legacy

Lexicographic entries

αὐτόκερας, αὐτόκρατον
(Phryn. PS 1.9–11, Phryn. PS 29.13–5, Poll. 6.23–4)

A. Main sources

(1) Phryn. PS 1.9–11: αὐτόκερας· σημαίνει τὸ αὐτό<κρατον οἷον εὐ>κέραστον καὶ συμμέτρως κεκρασμένον ἤγουν πεφυκὸς κεράννυσθαι. εἴρηται δὲ καὶ ἐπιρρηματικῶς.

αὐτόκερας Kaibel (1899, 19) : αὐτοκέρας cod. | Kaibel integrated αὐτοκέρας· αὐτόκρατον, οἷον εὐκέραστον, συμμέτρως κεκραμένον from Σb α 2468 [= Σ´] | ἤγουν Bekker (1814–1821 vol. 1, 3.11) : ὁτιοῦν cod. || εἴρηται δὲ καὶ de Borries (1911, 1) : καὶ εἴρηται δὲ cod. : {καὶ} εἴρηται δὲ Bekker | εἴρηται δὲ καὶ ἐπιρρηματικῶς <αὐτοκέρας> de Borries, though <αὐτόκερας> would be a better option.

αὐτόκερας: It means αὐτόκρατον (‘self-mixed’), like εὐκέραστον (‘well-mixed’) and συμμέτρως κεκρασμένον (‘conveniently mixed’), that is, already disposed by nature for mixing. It is also used as an adverb.

(2) Phryn. PS 29.13–5: αὐτόκρατον· ἐπὶ τοῦ ἀμιγοῦς καὶ ἀκεράστου καὶ ἀκράτου οἴνου. παρὰ γὰρ τοῖς πολλοῖς καθωμίληται τὸ αὐτόκρατον ἐπὶ τοῦ συμμέτρως κεκραμένου.

αὐτόκρατον: It is used for wine that is ἀμιγής (‘unmixed’), ἀκέραστος (‘self-mixed’), and ἄκρατος (‘unmixed’). αὐτόκρατον is used among laymen for wine that is conveniently mixed.

(3) Poll. 6.23–4: καὶ ἄκρατος οἶνος, ἀμιγὴς πρὸς ὕδωρ, ἄμικτος. ἄκρατον σπάσαι. κεκραμένος, εὔκρατος εὔκρας εὐκραής, εὐκέραστος. αὐτόκρας ὁ μηδεμιᾶς προσθήκης δεόμενος, καὶ αὐτοκέρας καὶ αὐτόκρατον.

Wine ἄκρατος (‘unmixed’), ἀμιγής (‘unmixed’) with water, ἄμικτος (‘unmixed’), drink ἄκρατον (‘unmixed wine’). κεκραμένος (‘mixed’), εὔκρατος εὔκρας εὐκραής, εὐκέραστος (‘well-mixed’). αὐτόκρας (‘self-mixed’). Wine that does not require anything to be added, also αὐτοκέρας (‘self-mixed’) and αὐτόκρατον (‘self-mixed’).

(4) Σb α 2468 (~ Phot. α 3217, ex Σ´ ~ Su. α 4496) : αὐτοκέρας· αὐτόκρατον, οἷον εὐκέραστον, συμμέτρως κεκραμένον (= Σ´ ~ Su. α 4496: αὐτοκέραστον· οἷον εὐκέραστον, συμμέτρως κεκραμένον ~ Phot. α 3217: αὐτοκέρας· αὐτόκρατον. Κρατῖνος Νόμοις. καὶ αὐτοκέρης ὁ αὐτόκρατος).

αὐτοκέρας: αὐτοκέρας, like εὐκέραστον (‘well-mixed’), conveniently mixed (Suda: αὐτοκέραστον (‘self-mixed’): like εὐκέραστον (‘well-mixed’), conveniently mixed; Photius: αὐτοκέρας (‘self-mixed’): αὐτοκέρας. Cratinus [uses this form] in Laws (fr. 141). αὐτόκρατος is also called αὐτοκέρης).

B. Other erudite sources

(1) Ath. Epit. 1.32f–33a: χαριέστατος δ’ ἐστὶν ὁ Χῖος καὶ τοῦ Χίου ὁ καλούμενος Ἀριούσιος. διαφοραὶ δὲ αὐτοῦ εἰσι τρεῖς· ὃ μὲν γὰρ αὐστηρός ἐστιν, ὃ δὲ γλυκάζων, ὃ δὲ μέσος τούτων τῇ γεύσει αὐτόκρατος καλεῖται.

The wine from Chios is the most graceful, and of the Chian variety the so-called Ariusios. There are three varieties of it. For one is more austere, one is sweet, the middle type of these as far as taste is concerned is called αὐτόκρατος (‘self-mixed’).

(2) Hsch. α 8425: αὐτοκέρας· ὥρας μέτρον οὐκ ἐπιδεόμενον ἢ θερμοῦ <ἢ ψυχροῦ>, τουτέστιν τὸ τοῦ ἀέρος αὐτόκρατον, εὐκραές.

αὐτοκέρας (‘self-mixed’): The time of a season which does not require either warm or cold, that is, self-mixed in air and well-mixed.

(3) Schol. Hom. Od. 2.421c: ἀκραῆ ζέφυρον· τὸ ‘ἀκραῆ ζέφυρον κελάδοντα’, καὶ τὸ ‘ἐπλέομεν βορέῃ ἀνέμῳ ἀκραέϊ’ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄκρως πνέοντα, ἀλλ’ ἀκεράστως πνέοντα. τῆς γὰρ κράσεως τῶν ἀνέμων κατηγορεῖ τὸ δεινόν·(DEHMª) λέγει γὰρ ‘δεινὴ μισγομένων ἀνέμων ἐλθοῦσα θύελλα’. ἐπαινεῖ ὡσαύτως καὶ ἐπὶ οἴνου τὸ ἀκέραστον· ‘ἐν δὲ πίθοι οἴνοιο παλαιοῦ ἡδυπότοιο | ἕστασαν ἄκρητον θεῖον ποτὸν ἐντὸς ἔχοντες’. οὕτως ἀκούσεις καὶ τὸ ‘ὕδωρ ἐπιχεῦαι ἀκήρατον’. μή ποτ’ οὖν καὶ νέκταρ τὸ καθαρὸν πόμα καὶ ἀκέραστον, καὶ ἀκραιφνεῖς οἱ θεοί. (DEH)

ἀκραῆ ζέφυρον: The passages ‘Strong Zephyrus sounding’ (Od. 2.421) and ‘We sailed with the strong wind Boreas’ (Od. 14.253) do not mean ‘(wind) blowing strongly’, but rather ‘(wind) blowing unmixed’. For the poet refers to the danger of the mixing of winds. The poet says: ‘Terrible storm of mixing winds coming’ (Od. 5.317). Likewise, he also praises the purity of the wine: ‘And there were jars of wine, old and sweet to drink, containing inside divine pure drink’ (Od. 2.340–1). In this way you also find ‘To pour pure water’ (Il. 24.303). Perhaps, then, like the nectar is the pure and unmixed drink, so the gods are untouched.

C. Loci classici, other relevant texts

(1) Call. Hec. fr. 34 Hollis (= fr. 246 Pfeiffer):
ἐκ δ’ ἔχεεν κελέβην, μετὰ δ’ αὖ κερὰς ἠφύσατ’ ἄλλο

(She, i.e. Hecale) spilled the jug, then [she] drew another mixture of [hot and cold] water.

D. General commentary

Phrynichus (A.1) comments on the semantics of the rare word αὐτόκερας, which indicates wine that has been conveniently mixed by nature and does not need to be tempered with water (on the topic of wine-mixing, see also ζωρότερος, εὔζωρος, εὐζωρότερος). He then compares αὐτόκερας with synonyms such as αὐτόκρατον and εὐκέραστον. The first of the forms to which Phrynichus compares αὐτόκερας, αὐτόκρατον, is given a gloss of its own in the PS (A.2); the connection between A.1 and A.2 is apparent and reinforced by the fact that αὐτόκερας and αὐτόκρατον are also treated together by Pollux (A.3). Perhaps the two glosses of the PS were originally part of the same discussion, though they have later been separated for some unknown reason (comparable examples are collected by de Borries 1911, XXVIII). Finally, the gloss in Σb (A.4), together with the glosses in Photius and the Suda that derive from the first expansion of the Synagoge (Σ´), all go back to Phrynichus (see Cunningham 2003, 53 n. 108). For the sake of disambiguation, one should point out that recurring εὐκέραστος and συμμέτρως κεκρασμένονσυμμέτρως κεκρασμένον do not mean that the wine has been tempered with water, but rather that the wine is ready by itself (i.e. αὐτο‑) for mixing (for εὐκέραστος in opposition to ἄκρατος, one may compare Arist. Pr. 874a.28–9)αὐτο-.

The aim of Phrynichus’ glosses for αὐτόκερας and αὐτόκρατον is not immediately clear. These two words are virtually never attested in literary texts, save for the occurrence of αὐτόκρατος in Athenaeus (B.1). However, one concrete option is that while αὐτόκερας was a form that fell out of use, αὐτόκρατον may have been a commonly used term in Phrynichus’ time. In such a case, one might envisage the possibility that αὐτόκερας and αὐτόκρατον were discussed together by Phrynichus, who presented the former as an Atticism and the latter as a more recent equivalent. Although we lack any direct evidence as to how widespread αὐτόκρατον was, the inference above becomes plausible if one takes on board Phrynichus’ comment that αὐτόκρατον was common παρὰ τοῖς πολλοῖς ‘among the laymen’ (A.2)οἱ πολλοί; Athenaeus’ comment that αὐτόκρατος was a variety of Chian wine (B.1) may well provide further support.

The derivation of αὐτόκερας and αὐτόκρατον from κεράννυμικεράννυμι is apparent. The difference in the root depends on the variation between full and zero apophonic grades and the outcome of the laryngeal suffix (see DELG s.v.). On the one hand, αὐτόκερας derives from *ker-h2- > κέρα-, on which many other nominal formations depend (κέρασις, κέρασμα, etc.) – note that all verbal derivations from this basis (κεράω, κεράννυμι, etc.) are actually neoformations analogous to the ancient aorist κεράσαι (see GEW s.v.). On the other hand, αὐτόκρατον goes back to *kr̥-eh2- > κρᾱ-, a comparable derivation that is particularly relevant for αὐτόκρατον being ἄκρᾱτος (with the initial prefix *-). In both αὐτόκερας and αὐτόκρατον, the first element of the compound (‘self’) indicates that the wine has not been diluted with waterαὐτο-. Phrynichus devotes a number of other glosses in the PS to compound words with a first element αὐτο- ‘self-’ (αὐτοβοάω, αὐτογνώμων, αὐθέντης, αὐτοκῆρυξ, αὐτοκέλευστος, αὐτομήνυτος, αὐτοχειρία), but in none of these cases does the semantics of the compound appear to be a matter of debate.

The closest comparandum in morphological terms is μετάκεραςμετάκερας, which is also formed with the suffix -ας-ας (though μετάκερας indicates warm or tepid water, see Arnott 1996, 416 and Hollis 2009, 171). That the suffix -ας has a short [a], and therefore that the correct accentuation is αὐτόκερας and μετάκερας, is demonstrated by the metrically guaranteed occurrence of μετὰ […] κεράς in Callimachus (see F.3). The category of neuter nouns with the suffix -ας/-αος is fairly restricted (see Buck, Petersen 1945, 692 and Schwyzer, Debrunner 1950 vol. 1, 514–6), and αὐτόκερας and μετάκερας are rather peculiar cases. Derivates from κεράννυμικεράννυμι usually present the stem κερα- and are later formations, which regularly display more common suffixes (-σις, -σμα/-σμός, -στος/-στικός, etc.; see DELG s.v. κεράννυμι). Thus, αὐτόκερας and μετάκεραςμετάκερας are singled out by Chantraine (DELG s.v. κεράννυμι) as ‘composés artificiels et inattendus’. The suffix -ας/-αος does appear in a number of words of deverbal origin, but these are usually old (mostly Homeric) forms, and none of them is a compound. On top of that, μετάκερας has a perfect equivalent in μετακέρασμαμετακέρασμα, which is first attested in the Hippocratic treatise Acut. 18 (dated at the latest to around 350 BCE, see Bartoš 2015, 4): not only is this first occurrence as old as those of μετάκερας in 4th-century comedy, but μετακέρασμα is a far less problematic derivation from κερα- than are αὐτόκερας and μετάκερας. To conclude, although it is unclear what Chantraine meant by describing αὐτόκερας and μετάκερας as ‘artificial’ creations, they are by all accounts unexpected.

Phrynichus (A.1) also attests to the adverbial use of αὐτόκερας. This is far from impossible. In terms of formation, one might compare πέλαςπέλας, which was perhaps originally also a form in -ας/-αος (see Schwyzer, Debrunner 1950 vol. 1, 516), while a comparandum from the same word group of αὐτόκερας is the adverbial use of neuter plural αὐτοκέραστααὐτοκέραστος in Orac.Sib. 8.135Orac.Sib. 8.135 ἄρξει δ’ αὐτοκέραστα θεοῦ βουλαῖσι μεγίστου (‘He will rule absolutely with the will of the greatest god’). An alleged cognate to adverbial αὐτόκερας is the adverb κέραςκέρας, which, according to a Suda gloss, occurs in Call. Hec. fr. 34 Hollis (= fr. 246 Pfeiffer) (C.1), but this interpretation of Callimachus’ line must be regarded as wrong (see F.3). On the basis of the interpretation in the Suda gloss, as well as reading the end of Phrynichus’ gloss as it had been edited by Bekker at that time (see F.1), Lobeck (1823, 223–4) tried to demonstrate that αὐτόκερας and μετάκεραςμετάκερας could only be adverbs and never nouns. Besides the interpretative and textual difficulties posed by Lobeck’s reading of the Suda and Phrynichus’ glosses, his efforts to treat μετάκερας adverbially in all other remaining occurrences are unconvincing.

While Phrynichus attests to the use of αὐτόκερας for wine (see also Kassel and Austin’s discussion of Phot. α 3217 ad Cratin. fr. 141: ‘Cratinus credibilius dixisse [i.e. αὐτόκερας] de vino quam de aëre’), the Hesychian gloss on αὐτοκέρας (B.2) testifies to the use of this word in relation to the air. Similarly, the Homeric scholium establishes a (faulty) connection between ἀκεράστως and ἀκραής so as to support the view that ἀκραής refers to wind blowing ‘purely’ (B.3).

Finally, as far as its formation is concerned, the adjective αὐτόκρατος does not raise any issues (see DELG s.v. κεράννυμι). This form is attested in literature only in a passage of Athenaeus as one of three varieties of the Chian wine Ariousios (B.1).

E. Byzantine and Modern Greek commentary


F. Commentary on individual texts and occurrences

(1)    Phryn. PS 1.9–11 (A.1)

(i) Since μετάκερας is predominately attested in comedyComedy, Kaibel (1899, 19) argued that the locus classicus of αὐτόκερας may be comedy as well. This is possible, though not the only option. A non-comic occurrence of μετάκερας is in fact C.1, though Callimachus may be deliberately using a comic word (see further Hollis 2009, 171–2).

(ii) Kaibel rightly restored the proparoxytone accent in the lemma. However, paroxytone αὐτοκέρας is still printed by the editors in all other glosses (see Poll. 6.24, Hsch. α 8425, Σb α 2468, Phot. α 3217), the only exception being Kassel and Austin (ad Cratin. fr. 141) who restore αὐτόκερας in Phot. α 3217. At the end of the gloss de Borries restores <αὐτοκέρας>, which does not appear to be a necessary supplement. Even if this were the case, it would still be advisable to print <αὐτόκερας>, a comparable example being the similarly formed adverb πέλᾰς (see Schwyzer, Debrunner 1950 vol. 1, 516).

(iii) In the interpretamentum, Kaibel restored αὐτό<κρατον οἷον εὐ>κέραστον in place of the transmitted αὐτοκέραστοναὐτοκέραστος. The latter form does exist, although only two occurrences are certain (see schol. Nic. Al. 163c <αὐτοκρηὲς δὲ ἀντὶ τοῦ G2X> αὐτοκέραστον, ἀμιγές, ἄκρατον G2Xf, commenting on Nic. Al. 162–3 τῷ μέν τ’ ἐξ ἑδανοῖο πόροις δέπας ἔμπλεον οἴνης, | Πράμνιον αὐτοκρηές, and adverbial αὐτοκέραστα in Orac.Sib. 8.135 ἄρξει δ’ αὐτοκέραστα θεοῦ βουλαῖσι μεγίστου). The transmitted text αὐτοκέραστον can be easily explained as a conflation of αὐτόκρατον and εὐκέραστον. Kaibel’s emendation, based on A.4, is all the more convincing in light of αὐτόκρατον in A.2. The form αὐτοκέραστος also occurs in Su. α 4496Su. α 4496 αὐτοκέραστον· οἷον εὐκέραστον, συμμέτρως κεκραμένον, but this hardly constitutes sufficient proof for retaining the paradosis in Phrynichus. The evidence provided by A.4 (which is ultimately the source of the Suda gloss) together with A.3 make it a likely conclusion that the lemma αὐτοκέραστον in the Suda gloss is a corruption from αὐτόκρατον through the influence of εὐκέραστον. One may notice that A.1 is still quoted as evidence for αὐτοκέραστος in LSJ s.v. and GE s.v., but this is to be regarded as a ghost-occurrence.

(iv) At the end of the interpretamentum, de Borries’ εἴρηται δὲ καὶ ἐπιρρηματικῶς is a far more plausible emendation of transmitted καὶ εἴρηται δὲ than Bekker’s {καὶ} εἴρηται δὲ. Although we have no direct occurrence of αὐτόκερας, its cognate form μετάκεραςμετάκερας is frequently a substantive, and so one has reason to think that this may also have been the case with αὐτόκερας. Provided that αὐτόκερας was in fact used adverbially, this is more likely to be one of its possible uses.

(2)    Phryn. PS 29.13–5 (A.2)

Usually, the reason for Phrynichus to mention οἱ πολλοίοἱ πολλοί is to condemn incorrect use or to provide a modern, or at least a more common, equivalent of older forms (examples are collected by Matthaios 2013, 95 and n. 138). In this gloss, however, it seems that παρὰ γὰρ τοῖς πολλοῖς καθωμίληται is employed to confirm the correct use of αὐτόκρατος. A parallel case is Phryn. Ecl. 375Phryn. Ecl. 375 στρόβιλον […] τὸ δὲ ἐκκεκοκκισμένον ἔτι καὶ νῦν κόκκωνα λέγουσιν οἱ πολλοὶ ὀρθῶς· καὶ γὰρ ὁ Σόλων ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῦ ποιήμασιν οὕτω χρῆται· [… = Sol. fr. 36 Gentili–Prato2 = fr. 40 West2]. Partly comparable are PS 60.14–8Phryn. PS 60.14–8 γρυμεῖα· ἣν οἱ πολλοὶ γρύτην καλοῦσιν […] Σαπφώ δὲ γρύτην καλεῖ τὴν μύρων καὶ γυναικείων τινῶν θήκην [= Sapph. fr. 179 L–P2 = Voigt] and PS 61.1–4Phryn. PS 61.1–4 γόμφιοι· […] ἐν δὲ τῇ χρήσει τῶν πολλῶν ὀδόντες κλειδῶν καλοῦνται (cf. Ar. Th. 423).

(3)    Call. Hec. fr. 34 Hollis (= fr. 246 Pfeiffer) (C.1)

This instance of μετάκεραςμετάκερας is not recorded in modern lexica, which follow a different interpretation of the Hecale fragment (see LSJ s.v. and GE s.v.). According to a Suda gloss, Callimachus’ line provides evidence for the adverb κεράς (see Su. κ 1372Su. κ 1372 κεράς· ἐπίρρημα, ἀντὶ τοῦ κεραστικῶς. μετὰ δ’ αὖ κερὰς ἠφύσατ’ ἄλλο. ὁ δὲ νοῦς· ἀπὸ τοῦ κεράσματος ἄλλο ἤντλησεν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἄγγους, ἐν ᾧ ἦν ‘κεράς: adverb, instead of κεραστικῶς [‘in a mixed way’]: ‘Then (she) drew another [amount of water?] in a mixed way’. The sense would be that, from the vessel in which it was kept, she drew other [water] from the mixture’). However, it is far more likely that, as first suggested by Rudolf Pfeiffer, Callimachus creates a parodic tmetic noun μετὰ […] κεράς out of μετάκερας (see further Hollis 2009, 171 and Skempis 2010, 342–5). Nonetheless, it remains unclear why μετὰ […] κεράς is treated as oxytone. It is not impossible that ancient readers of Callimachus came up with the interpretation of κέραςκέρας as an adverb in analogy with the adverbial use of αὐτόκερας (see A.1 and D.).


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Federico Favi, 'αὐτόκερας, αὐτόκρατον (Phryn. PS 1.9–11, Phryn. PS 29.13–5, Poll. 6.23–4)', in Olga Tribulato (ed.), Digital Encyclopedia of Atticism. With the assistance of E. N. Merisio.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.30687/DEA/2021/01/040

This article deals with the compounded adjectives αὐτόκερας and αὐτόκρατον, and other expressions for wine-mixing, discussed in the Atticist lexica Phryn. PS 1.9–11, Phryn. PS 29.13–5, and Poll. 6.23–4.

CompoundsCompounds with a first element αὐτο-Wine-αςαὐτοκέραστοςεὐκέραστοςκεράννυμικέραςμετάκεραςμετακέρασμαπέλας