Aias or Ajax (6)

Robert Stonehouse <> wrote in message news:3964ce64.
> 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.

Since Aiant- is the Greek stem, the Romans might have taken it
without changes, it would have declined like participles (laudans,
laudantis), so the nominative would have been "Aians". Thus, the
replacement of -nt- by -c- in the stem seems to remain obscure.