The name of the Iliad

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The name of the Iliad

Post by Parthenophilus » Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:05 am

A question for the Hellenists, I think.

I'm curious to know what is the significance of the -ad suffix in the titles of works such as

The Lusiad
The Alexiad,
The Iliad,
The Dunciad.

And why does the Aeneid have -id?

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Post by bellum paxque » Sat Mar 25, 2006 5:25 pm

I'm no Hellenist. As an English major, though, I can address The Dunciad. By attaching the -iad suffix (reminiscent of heroic epics) to the word "Dunce," Pope set the tone for one of his most vitriolic and satirical mock epics. . . which, of course, does not answer the original question. Why the -iad in the first place?


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Post by Adelheid » Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:08 pm

I was wondering: is this not a translation matter? Isn't the original title 'Ilias', and 'Aeneis'? In Dutch we call the 'Ilias' just that, not 'Iliade'.

The suffix – ad (also –id or –iad) indicates a patronumex of the original word, suggests this document but I have not been able to find another reference to the word 'patronumex' with an explanation, on the net at least.

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Post by Skylax » Sun Mar 26, 2006 3:26 pm

Ilias (Ἰλιάς Ἰλιάδος) is the féminine adjective derived from the name Ilion, i.e. Troy. In the title of the Iliad, this adjective modifies the implied feminine noun poiêsis (ποίησις), meaning simply "poem", thus the "Iliad" is the "Trojan poem", the poem about Troy.

Lusiad etc. were formed after Iliad. It is the same also for Aeneid ("Poem about Aeneas"), but there the alternative suffix -is, -idos (-ίς -ίδος) was used.

Both suffixes -άς -άδος and -ίς -ίδος had the same force, but I think their use depended on the other vowels of the noun involved : Iliis (Ἰλιίς) would maybe not have sounded so well... and Aeneis avoids mixing up with the hero's name Aeneas...

By the way, the name Atlantis was also formed with the suffix -ίς -ίδος from the mountain's name Atlas ( Ἄτλας, gen. Ἄτλαντος) modifying an implied feminine noun nêsos (νῆσος), meaning "island", thus the name Atlantis means simply "island in the direction of Mount Atlas", i.e. from the Greek point of view "island situated in the far West".

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