Aias or Ajax (5)

wisanr@catskill.net (Dick Wisan) wrote:

>In article <8k05n4$ovg@r02n01.cac.psu.edu>, wcw@math.psu.edu says...
>>In article <eP785.1914$_R5.168749@newsall.dti.ne.jp>, 
>>"Tones" <saitone@onyx.dti.ne.jp> writes:
>>> Another question I have been worried for a long time is the name of 
>>> Greek hero, Aias . Why do you call him "Ajax" [eidzaeks] ?
>>
>>First, though the usual Greek form was "Aias", the only form
>>found in Latin is "Aiax".  Modern European languages took
>>a number of familiar Greek names from their forms in Latin.
>>
>>   (The two words really are different, the first having
>>   root  "Aiant..."  and the second having root "Aiac..."
>>   If I read LSJ correctly, there was some Greek author
>>   who also used the form "Aiax".)
>
>How was that terminal "x" pronounced --by Greek authors or Latin?

This is a very well-known name and presumably came into Latin early,
at a time when they were fairly rough and ready in carrying over
Greek words. They needed something they could decline normally as a
Latin noun. In later, more sensitive ages they might have followed
the forms of the Greek declension, or perhaps made it indeclinable.

There are not many choices ending in -as in the Latin nominative
singular masculine. The abstract nouns derived from adjectives, like
dignitas, are (I think all) feminine.

Apart from that there is mas, maris, undoubtedly masculine, but they
seem to have preferred to make Aias like the (commoner) adjectives
derived from verbs, rapax, edax etc., which automatically produce
rapacis, edacis in the genitive.

That would mean -ax was pronounced as -acs, the c-stem coming
immediately before the third declension nominative -s.

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