Is it known why the names of many prominent cities in Greek and Latin are plural nouns? e.g. á¼ˆÎ¸á¿†Î½Î±Î¹, Î”ÎµÎ»Ï†Î¿á½·, Î˜á¿†Î²Î±Î¹, Cannae. Under the heading for á¼ˆÎ¸á¿†Î½Î±Î¹, my Lewis & Scott says:
used in pl., because it consisted of several parts
That seems really unlikely to me. Is there a consensus on this?
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
This doesn't solve anything, but here is what Smyth (1005) says:
"Names of towns and parts of the body are sometimes plural: á¼ˆÎ¸á¿†Î½Î±Î¹, Athens, Î˜á¿†Î²Î±Î¹, Thebes, ÏƒÏ„á½µÎ¸Î· and ÏƒÏ„á½³ÏÎ½Î±, breast (chiefly poetic). The name of the inhabitants is often used for the name of a city: Î”ÎµÎ»Ï†Î¿á½· D.5.25."
Right after this he talks about the plural being used to lend dignity. The LSJ says the same thing about being composed of parts.