Monday 30 June 2014

Word-initial /s/ in Greek: a minimal pair ?

The adjective Ἰνδογενής 'born in India' is found in the Sibylline Oracles 11.62, Manetho Apotelesmatica I.297 and IV.149, and Josephus Genesius (10th c. AD) II.5. It reflects a psilotic (probably Ionic) treatment of the name reflected in Sindh (cf. the aspiration in 'Hindu' and the word initial /s/ in the Vedic sapta sindhavah 'Seven Rivers', sometimes referred to as sapta sindu).

The sole fragment of Aglaias (Aglaidas) Byzantius (SH 18) line 18 (elegiacs) reads:

ἄγε στάχυος <Σ>ινδογενοῦς ὀβολόν.

The word-initial sigma has been added to restore the metre (-ος Σ- gives a heavy syllable). The sigma also reflects a non-Hellenised form of the name reflected in Sindh. LSJ gives Σινδογενής as a lemma without reservations about the initial sigma.

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