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

Lexicographic entries

ἡσύχιος, ἡσυχώτερος, ἡσύχιμος
(Antiatt. η 6, Antiatt. η 7)

A. Main sources

(1) Antiatt. η 6: ἡσύχιος· ἡσυχώτερον.

ἡσύχιος· ἡσυχώτερον cod. : †ἡσύχιος† Valente, who annotates ‘ἡσύχιος· ἡσυχώτερον duas gl. contractas esse vid. Bekker (vd. ad Antiatt. η 7), sed le. ἡσύχιος corrupt. pro ἡσυχαίτερον (cf. Thom. Mag.) vel ἡσυχιώτερον (cf. Marc. Aur. 4.3) vel ἡσυχιώτατον (ap. Plat. Charm. 160a9 ‑ος) esse mihi videtur’.

ἡσύχιος: Quieter.

(2) Antiatt. η 7: ἡσύχιμον· Πίνδαρος Ὀλυμπιονίκαις.

ἡσύχιμον: Pindar, Olympian Odes. (Pi. O. 2.32 = C.2)

B. Other erudite sources

(1) Philox.Gramm. fr. 337 (= EM 31.13–20; cf. Eust. in Od. 1.92.20): αἰδοιαίτατα· ὥσπερ δὲ οὗτοι διὰ τοῦ εσ σχηματίζουσιν, οὕτως καὶ οἱ Ἀττικοὶ διὰ τοῦ ισ ποτίστατον λέγοντες καὶ λαγνίστατον καὶ ψευδίστατον. […] ὁμοίως καὶ διὰ τοῦ αι ἰσαίτατα, ἀσμεναίτατα, προὐργιαίτατα, ἡσυχαίτερον. ἀσμεναίτατα μέντοι Πλάτων ἐν πρώτῃ Πολιτείας· καὶ ἰσαίτερον καὶ ἐν Πολιτικῷ πλησιαίτερον καὶ ἡσυχαίτατα. Ξενοφῶν δὲ καὶ πλησιαίτατα καὶ φιλαίτατα.

αἰδοιαίτατα: Just as they [the Ionians] form [superlatives] in -εσ-, in the same way do users of Attic form them with -ισ-, saying for instance ποτίστατον, λαγνίστατον and ψευδίστατον. […] Similarly, they also form [comparatives and superlatives] in -αι-, such as ἰσαίτατα, ἀσμεναίτατα, προὐργιαίτατα and ἡσυχαίτερον. Plato uses ἀσμεναίτατα in the first book of the Republic; and ἰσαίτερον and πλησιαίτερον in the Politicus (275c), and ἡσυχαίτατα (Chrm. 160a = C.3). Xenophon also uses πλησιαίτατα (Vect. 4.46) and φιλαίτατα (HG 7.3.8).

(2) Schol. vet. Pi. O. 2.58c: οὐδ’ ἁσύχιμον: ἥσυχον. ἀπράγμονα. εὐτυχῆ.

οὐδ’ ἁσύχιμον: Peaceful. Quiet. Blessed.

(3) Schol. vet. Pi. O. 2.58f: [ἡσύχιμον ἁμέραν]· ἡμέρα δὲ ἡσύχιος, ἡ τοῦ θανάτου· ἐπεὶ ἐν αὐτῇ θανόντες ἡσυχάζομεν.

[ἡσύχιμον ἁμέραν]: The peaceful day, the day of (one’s) death; because in this day, by dying, we find rest.

(4) Rhet.Lex. 121: ἡσύχιον· ἥρεμον, καλόν.

ἡσύχιον: Deserted, beautiful.

(5) Thom.Mag. 173.4–6 ἡσυχαίτερον, οὐχ ἡσυχώτερον. Θουκυδίδης· ‘μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἡσυχαίτερα καὶ τοῖς εἴδεσι διηλλαγμένα’.

[Use] ἡσυχαίτερον, not ἡσυχώτερον, like Thucydides (3.82.2): ‘[which are] more and milder and different in their manifestations’.

C. Loci classici, other relevant texts

(1) Pi. P. 9.22–3:
[…] ἦ πολλάν τε καὶ ἡσύχιον
βουσὶν εἰρήναν παρέχοισα πατρῴαις […].

[Cyrene, the nymph] providing much peaceful security for her father’s cattle […].

(2) Pi. O. 2.30–3:
        ἤτοι βροτῶν γε κέκριται
πεῖρας οὔ τι θανάτου,
οὐδ’ ἡσύχιμον ἁμέραν ὁπότε παῖδ’ ἀελίου
ἀτειρεῖ σὺν ἀγαθῷ τελευτάσομεν.

Truly, for mortals, nothing is predetermined of the trial of death, nor (the time) when we will complete the peaceful day, child of the sun, in unblemished goodness.

(3) Pl. Chrm. 160a.8–11: ἀλλὰ μὴν ἔν γε ταῖς ζητήσεσιν τῆς ψυχῆς καὶ τῷ βουλεύεσθαι οὐχ ὁ ἡσυχιώτατος, ὡς ἐγὼ οἶμαι, καὶ μόγις βουλευόμενός τε καὶ ἀνευρίσκων ἐπαίνου δοκεῖ ἄξιος εἶναι, ἀλλ’ ὁ ῥᾷστά τε καὶ τάχιστα τοῦτο δρῶν.

But in the investigations of the soul and in deliberations, I think that the person who appears worthy of praise is not the quietest or he who deliberates and discovers, but he who does this most easily and quickly.

(4) LXX Is. 66.2: καὶ ἐπὶ τίνα ἐπιβλέψω ἀλλ’ ἢ ἐπὶ τὸν ταπεινὸν καὶ ἡσύχιον καὶ τρέμοντα τοὺς λόγους μου;

To whom shall I look, if not the quiet and humble man who fears my word?

(5) NT 2 Ep.Ti. 2.2: παρακαλῶ οὖν πρῶτον πάντων ποιεῖσθαι δεήσεις […] ἵνα ἤρεμον καὶ ἡσύχιον βίον διάγωμεν […].

I exhort therefore that all petitions be made […] so that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life.

(6) M.Ant. οὐδαμοῦ γὰρ οὔτε ἡσυχιώτερον οὔτε ἀπραγμονέστερον ἄνθρωπος ἀναχωρεῖ ἢ εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ψυχήν […].

In no quieter and more peaceful place can a man retire than in one’s own soul […].

D. General commentary

In Antiatt. η 6 (A.1), the lemma ἡσύχιος ‘silent, quiet’ is followed by the comparative ἡσυχώτερον, from the synonymic adjective ἥσυχος, and lacks a locus classicus. The structure and focus of this lexicographic sequence are not immediately clear. In cod. Par. Coisl. 345,Par. Coisl. 345 ἡσύχιος and ἡσυχώτερον are followed by ἡσύχιμος (Antiatt. η 7: A.2), which is one of the many Greek adjectives enlarged with the suffix ‑ιμος (Chantraine 1933, 152–4), a Pindaric hapax duly exemplified with a reference to the Olympian Odes (C.2). As I shall argue, ἡσύχιος, which is attested in Pi. P. 9.22 (C.1), is likely to be another lemma that the Antiatticist derived from Pindaric exegesis. In his edition, Valente (2015) obelises ἡσύχιος because it is inconsistent with the comparative ἡσυχώτερον, seemingly its interpretamentum, and in the apparatus to Antiatt. η 6 (A.1), he cautiously suggests three alternatives for the main lemma (see F.1, F.2, F.3 below for discussion). However, a careful consideration of the textual arrangement of these words in the manuscript suggests that the headword may be correct and that it may be part of a sequence devoted to Pindaric words, as argued in Tribulato (2021a), where a more comprehensive account is provided.

In cod. Par. Coisl. 345Par. Coisl. 345 f. 161r line 7, ἡσύχιος and ἡσυχώτερον (erroneously written ἡσυχότερον) are separated by two vertical points (dicolon). The scribe of Coisl. 345 normally employs the dicolon to separate a lemma from its interpretamentum, to introduce quotations or references to ancient authors, and finally to mark the end of a lemma and to separate it from the one that follows. Here, too, ἡσυχώτερον is followed by another dicolon, and on the next line of text by ἡσύχιμον and its locus classicus (Πίνδαρος Ὀλυμπιονίκαις): this is edited as a separate lemma by both Valente (Antiatt. η 7) and Bekker (1814–1821 vol. 1, 98.20). There may be a different way to explain the distribution of these three words in Coisl. 345, however: to take the entire line as a synonymic-onomasticSynonymic-onomastic lemma (according to the terminology of Bossi, Tosi 1979–1980; see Tribulato 2021a for parallels of synonymic-onomastic entries in the lexicon and a similar use of the dicolon). According to this hypothesis, the original lemma was devoted to various forms in ἡσυχ‑, but later epitomisation led to the loss of all interpretamenta and loci classici except for the last one, specific to ἡσύχιμον.

The reference to PindarPindar provides a hint for the interpretation of the whole original entry, which might have been concerned with Pindaric words in particular, as happens in the Pindaric scholia (B.2, B.3), where ἡσύχιμος and ἡσύχιος are discussed together. Just as in the scholia, it might seem more logical to have the rarer adjective, ἡσύχιμος, as the lemma and the more common form, ἡσύχιος, as the interpretamentum. However, the authenticity of the preserved order can be defended on two grounds. First, in a parallel entry of the Rhetorikai lexeis (B.4), the lemma is ἡσύχιον, not ἡσύχιμον: a sign that ἡσύχιος too could raise the interest of exegetes. This can be explained by looking at a second fact, namely that ἡσύχιος itself is a Pindaric word, attested in the Pythian Odes (C.1). Such attention to Pindaric vocabulary is consistent with the other six lemmas (α 50, α 74, α 75, δ 54, η 21 and κ 21) that the Antiatticist devotes to Pindar – the highest number of quotations from lyric poetry – in some cases with the aim of illustrating non-Attic or peregrine developments (see e.g. Antiatt. α 74 on ἀφθονέστερον). While it is very likely that in η 6 (A.1) and η 7 (A.2) the Antiatticist recycles information coming from Pindaric exegesis concerning ἡσύχιος and ἡσύχιμος, it is impossible to say whether ἡσυχώτερον also featured in a lost Pindaric work. This comparative could have been included to complete the onomastic entry; is also possible that it was interpolated into the entry at a later stage, perhaps during the medieval transmission of the Antiatticist (see E. below for this hypothesis).

The original entry on ἡσύχιος and related forms is unlikely to have concerned the mere registration of lyric vocabulary. ἡσύχιος and its synonym ἥσυχος are not poetic words, and their number of attestations in the whole of Classical Greek, starting with Homer and Hesiod, is high. If the entry did not concern literary language or register, what was its purpose? A possibility is that the interest in the use ἡσύχιος by classical authors was influenced by the special frequency of this adjective (as well as ἥσυχος) in Biblical and New Testament Greek, where they (and related forms ἡσυχία and ἡσυχάζω) are employed with a vast semantic extension. While these words are originally associated with the signification of rest and peacefulness, they gradually evolve into specific terms for religious virtue (Spicq 1978, 358 and 363). This is also mirrored by the increasing popularity of the personal name Ἡσύχιος, the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Noah, in Christian contexts. Under the influence of Biblical passages that attained the status of Christian loci classici, such as LXX Is. 66.2 (C.4) and ΝΤ 2 Ep.Ti. 2.2 (C.5), the Biblical use of ἡσύχιος became a model for Christian Greek vocabulary down to the late Byzantine age (see Spicq 1978, 362 n. 1). It may be, therefore, that the Antiatticist intended to pay attention to the classical roots of an adjective which was especially common in the lower koine of Christian Greek. Such a compromise between classical models and contemporary linguistic practice may also throw light on the reception context of these lemmas in the Greek Middle Ages.

E. Byzantine and Modern Greek commentary

It is possible that, in its current structure, the Antiatticist’s entry on ἡσύχιος is the result of medieval manipulation. A lemma providing a classical pedigree for a common term of Christian vocabulary was obviously useful for Byzantine readers. More importantly, ἡσύχιος might have been a marked term in Byzantine Greek, typical of Christian language but not necessarily common in everyday communication. Texts in Medieval Greek employ ἥσυχος instead (cf. Kriaras, LME s.v.), and this is the only form that has survived in Modern Greek, where ἡσύχιος remains only as a personal name. The information contained in the Antiatticist lemma may therefore have been treasured because it placed a marked term, familiar from Christian Greek, in continuity with classical usage and at the same time preserved the memory of its rare synonym, ἡσύχιμος, endowed with a suffix that was common in Post-classical Greek.

From this perspective, the possibility cannot be excluded that the stray form ἡσυχώτερος – if not taken from a lost classical text – may have entered the Antiatticist entry at the medieval stage of its transmission. This form of the comparative is employed by Arethas of CaesareaArethas of Caesarea in a scholium to Dio Chrysostom (20.8), in which he paraphrases the passage of Marcus Aurelius’ Ad se ipsum that contains the comparative ἡσυχιώτερον (C.6) by providing the annotationD.Chr. 20.8 οὐδαμοῦ γὰρ οὔτε ἡσυχώτερον κατὰ τὸν αὐτοκράτoρα Μάρκον οὔτε ἀπραγμονέστερόν τις ἀναχωρεῖ ἢ εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ψυχήν (‘according to emperor Marcus there is no quieter and more peaceful place into which one can retire than one’s own soul’). The scholium can be read in cod. Vat. Urb. Gr. 124Vat. Urb. gr. 124 (10th century), f. 137r (https://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Urb.gr.124; on the manuscript, see Wilson 1996, 126, Menchelli 2008, 58–9; 297; Menchelli 2015; Bianconi 2016, 506–7). This is one of the oldest testimonies to Dio’s speeches, copied from a codex owned by Arethas, and serving as the archetype of Dio’s medieval tradition (Sonny 1895; Sonny 1896, 87). The replacement of ἡσυχιώτερον with its synonym ἡσυχώτερον is clearly the result of Arethas quoting Marcus Aurelius from memory, as shown also by the paraphrase of Marcus’ ἄνθρωπος ἀναχωρεῖ with τις ἀναχωρεῖ.

Dio ChrysostomDio Chrysostom was a very popular author in Byzantium and the object of renewed exegetical interest in the 9th century (cf. Phot. Bibl. cod. 209Phot. Bibl. cod. 209; Brancacci 1985, 201–44; Menchelli 2008, 57–8). It is not improbable, therefore, that Arethas’ scholia on Dio circulated in the erudite circles of this period (on Arethas and Dio, see Brancacci 1985, 229–44; Wilson 1996, 127–8). We know for sure that some of Arethas’ exegetical material ended up in the slightly later (mid-10th century) Par. Coisl. 345, as shown by the selection of Lucian’s λέξεις transmitted in its foll. 178v–186r (ed. Bachmann 1828, 317–48; cf. Russo 2012, 3–4). Arethas’ direct involvement in the production of Coisl. 345Par. Coisl. 345, posited by Kougeas (1913), is now discarded as unlikely, but his influence on this manuscript has been detected by several scholars (Alpers 1971, 82–4; Alpers 1981, 71 n. 17; Ucciardello 2006, 63 n. 119; and Valente 2012, 29–30). In conclusion, the presence of ἡσυχώτερον in the medieval copy of the Antiatticist may perhaps go back to Arethas’ scholium, where ἡσυχώτερον is used in place of ἡσυχιώτερον, the comparative of the original lemma of the Antiatticist, ἡσύχιος.

F. Commentary on individual texts and occurrences

(1)    Thom.Mag. 173.4–6 (B.5)

In his apparatus to Antiatt. η 6 (A.1), Valente considers replacing the lemma ἡσύχιος with the Attic comparative ἡσυχαίτερον, which is the object of a similar entry in Thomas Magister (B.5). This would imply that the Antiatticist lemma had a prescriptive focus, recommending – just like Thomas Magister – the use of the Attic form in place of the morphologically regular but much rarer ἡσυχώτερος. However, a lemma of this kind would be unusual in the Antiatticist, which is wont to oppose Atticist normativism and promote linguistic variety instead: this also applies to the more than thirty entries concerning comparatives and superlatives, where the Antiatticist shows a marked preference for non-Attic formations.

(2)    M.Ant. (C.6)

Valente’s second substitute for the lemma ἥσυχιος is ἡσυχιώτερον. This would imply that the Antiatticist contrasted the regular comparatives of two synonymic adjectives. However, ἡσυχιώτερος is currently attested only in Marcus Aurelius’ Ad se ipsum (C.6). The reading ἡσυχιώτερον is certain and is confirmed by the best manuscripts of the Ad se ipsum: cod. Vat. gr. 1950Vat. Urb. Gr. 124 (A, 14th century) and the so-called codex Toxitanus, the lost manuscript behind the editio princeps prepared by Xylander for publisher Andreas Gesner Jr. (Zurich 1559; for the transmission of the Ad se ipsum, see Dalfen 1987, v–xx). It is very unlikely that the Antiatticist had an almost contemporary work – and one which did not enjoy a wide circulation at the time – as its locus classicus.

(3)    Pl. Chrm. 160a.8–11 (C.3)

A third hypothesis considered by Valente is that the original lemma was the superlative ἡσυχιώτατος. However, in the suggested locus classicus, Pl. Charm. 160a.9 (C.3), ἡσυχιώτατος is a modern correction, first proposed by Cobet (1878, 40) in place of the transmitted reading, ἡσυχώτατος, which is already attested in cod. Bod. Clarke 39Bod. Clarke 39 (dated to 895 AD), fol. 286r. This reading is accepted in Bekker (1816, 316). Cobet explained the motivation for his correction on two grounds: (1) the Platonic passage as a whole uses ἡσύχιος and ἡσυχιότης but not ἥσυχος, which therefore seemed to him to be out of place; (2) ἥσυχος is an older variant, typical of poetry but not of prose: the prose attestations of ἥσυχος are corruptions of ἡσύχιος. Cobet’s first argument is correct, but one may advance two objections: that only a little earlier in the same chapter (160a.5), Plato uses the superlative ἡσυχαίτατα, which derives from ἥσυχος, not ἡσύχιος; and, more generally, that Plato makes ample use of both ἥσυχος and ἡσύχιος (cf. Ast 1836, 39–40). Cobet’s second argument is faulty: ἥσυχος is not more ancient than ἡσύχιος and its post-classical attestations (which cannot all be dismissed as corruptions) show that it was a common alternative. Apart from these textual matters, it is unlikely that the original Antiatticist lemma was a superlative form since this would be even more inconsistent with the interpretamentum ἡσυχώτερος.


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Olga Tribulato, 'ἡσύχιος, ἡσυχώτερος, ἡσύχιμος (Antiatt. η 6, Antiatt. η 7)', in Olga Tribulato (ed.), Digital Encyclopedia of Atticism. With the assistance of E. N. Merisio.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.30687/DEA/2021/01/005

This article provides a philological and linguistic commentary on the words ἡσύχιος, ἡσυχώτερος, ἡσύχιμος discussed in the Atticist lexica Antiatt. η 6 and Antiatt. η 7.

Arethas of CaesareaComparativesDio ChrysostomMarcus AureliusPindarSemanticsSuperlatives