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Gift of wisdom?

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Gift of wisdom?

Postby awalker » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:25 pm

Hi all. This is my first post, so by way of introduction, I’m interested in ancient Greek and Roman history, with a primary focus on the late Roman republic and the early empire – roughly the time spanning the civil wars involving Julius Caesar on thru the reign of Vespasian. Although I’ve done lots of reading on these topics, I’m far from an expert.

However, despite my interest in Roman history, I have minimal knowledge of ancient Greek or Latin. I’ve read the TextKit forum rules and I don’t believe this disqualifies me from posting here in the open board forum, but if that is a problem, please accept my apologies in advance.

I discovered the TextKit forum because I was casting about for someone who might be able to help me with a translation question. Several years ago, while writing a story (never finished, much less published) based in the days of the early Roman Empire, I coined the name “Sophodoros” for one of my male Greek characters, based on combining “Sophia” with “doros” following the pattern of names from ancient literature such as Apollodoros and Theodoros. The name was intended to mean “gift of wisdom” or “gift of cleverness” and was chosen because the character was neither wise nor clever. As I’ve already mentioned, I have no actual background in Greek, but it seemed plausible and after all, it was just a story.

Fast forward to the present. I needed a unique name for my single-member LLC that wouldn’t conflict with existing company names and was available as an internet domain name. Sophodoros seemed ideal. Not only was the domain name unused, but the “gift of wisdom” thing would be a sly tongue-in-cheek reference, since like the character from my unfinished story I’m not particularly wise.

I’ve purchased the sophodoros.com domain, but before I go too far down that path I realized that I should ask someone who actually knows Greek whether “sophodoros” means what I intended it to mean. Can it be translated as “gift of wisdom” or at least something similar in either ancient or modern Greek? It would be OK if it turns out to be just a laughably mangled attempt at Greek or a nonsense word, but my fear is that has a completely different or inappropriate meaning.
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Re: Gift of wisdom?

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:16 am

Hi awalker,

Your question is a reasonable one. Answers to questions such as what you have posed, will be somewhat subjective and speculative - educated guesses at best.

If you hadn't mentioned what you wanted it to mean, I would have taken it mean, "wise-giver", someone who gives (gifts) wisely, skillfully or in a cunning way.

If you are imagining a personified Wisdom, a satient being that gives, then perhaps, "gift of Wisdom" = the god Wisdom granted a request for a child. If you mean that wisdom is a gift that some other satient being has given, then, I think, probably not. Within the 12 Olympian mindset/worldview, if you want the meaning that a satient being gave wisdom, you could try Ἀθηνόδωρος (or one of its variants) in the sense of "wise" on the understanding that the goddess of wisdom had shared her prime attribute.
The child is the father of the man.
(W.W., 1802)
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Re: Gift of wisdom?

Postby awalker » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:36 am

Hi ἑκηβόλος,

You are correct – the characters who bestowed the name Sophodoros (parents? friends being ironic?) would have been thinking in terms of personified wisdom. Even if “wise-giver” is a more accurate translation, that’s still not too far off the mark from what my original intent. You qualified your response by saying they are educated guesses, but that’s really the best I could expect for a word that was made-up by someone with very little knowledge of ancient Greek.

While your suggestion of Ἀθηνόδωρος may be closer to “gift of Wisdom”, I’ve become comfortable with Sophodoros, warts and all. You've given me a measure of confidence that it's close enough to what I was going for, so I think I will stick with it as the name for my company.

Many thanks for responding.
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