Greek εἰρήνη

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Flaminius, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    I have been wondering what PIE root, if any, the Greek word εἰρήνη (peace) goes back to. Starling PIE root database does not seem to have a root that means peace. So I am stuck right from the beginning.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Greek
    That's one school of thought you are referring to.
    The other one, based on the Lacedæmonian «εἴρην» 'eirēn (masc.) --> Lacedæmonian youth who had completed his twentieth year, but also, the deft & adroit man, establishes a link between «εἴρην» (therefore, «εἰρήνη») and «ἄριστος» 'ăristŏs --> best, morally best, bravest, «ἀρείων» ă'reiōn --> better, stouter, braver, «ἀραρίσκω» ără'riskō --> to join, fit together, «ἁρμονία» hărmŏ'niă --> harmony, all from PIE base *h₂er-, to fix, put together
     
  3. Starfrown

    Starfrown Senior Member

    Columbia, SC
    English - US
    I've found two Greek lexica that say εἰρήνη is probably derived from εἴρω (to join, tie, fasten) which of course is from the same PIE root you have given.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  4. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The word for “peace” appears in a large number of dialect forms (εἰρήνη, ἰράνα, ἰρείνα, εἰρήνα, εἰράνα, εἴρηνα) which cannot be derived from a common proto-Greek form. In the standard Greek etymological dictionaries, including the recent one by Beekes, it is accepted that these are different representations of a “pre-Greek” word, that is: a word belonging to the substantial pre-Indo-European substratum in Greek.

    The suggested derivation from εἴρω is unsatisfactory both from a phonetic (to begin with: where does -ήνη come from?) and a semantic point of view. In any case: if you want to explain εἰρήνη you need to explain all the other ancient dialect forms as well.
     
  5. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Thanks, fdb. I will take a look at Beekes's œuvre.
     
  6. sotos Senior Member

    Greek
    Nothing "pre-Greek", according to my old Homeric dictionary. It comes from είρω/έρω, a form of the v. "to speak, to announce" (e.g. Iliad 1, 419), referring to the "peace-talks" or "peace announcement". Also, there is the homeric "είρη" (forum, agora, vouleuterion) (Iliad, Σ, 531). The suffiχ -ήνη (similar to -ώνη) is typical Greek (σέλας > σελήνη). Compare also with the custom of ειρεσιώνη, which was a branch of olive tree wrapped with wool (έριον). Possibly the "folk etymology" combined the ειρ- (of peace) with the sacred olive tree and the έριον.
     
  7. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    A very good idea. And look up σελήνη too while you are at it.
     

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