Thursday, May 27, 2010

Something FLG Has Never Understood

Why is Paris, of Troy not France, also known as Alexander?

9 comments:

Andrew Stevens said...

You linked to an answer. Second paragraph under "Paris's Childhood."

FLG said...

Well, fuck me. I didn't even read the thing.

Andrew Stevens said...

Chances are, though, that Paris Alexander is a conflation of a couple of different, but similar, figures of mythology and the explanation in that article was made up afterwards. I wouldn't take that explanation as gospel. Mythology seldom lends itself to clean explanations.

FLG said...

Andrew:

Do I really seem stupid enough to take a single source, and Wikipedia at that, about a person who figures prominently in an epic poem from three thousand years ago as gospel?

What was stupid, however, was to have raised the question while providing a link that contained an answer.

arethusa said...

Homer (usually, not always) calls him Alexandros. Autenrieth's Homeric Dictionary claims it means "fighter" in Greek, so it could be ironic. It's clearly a Greek nickname; the Trojans weren't Greek but probably Hittite or Phyrgian. So I've always assumed "Alexandros" is a Greek version of Paris's original name, and Paris the Greek nickname, with stories such as this article mentions about the backpack representing later Greek attempts to make sense of the nickname.

This assumes an historical or legendary Alexandros of Troy, of course.

arethusa said...

That's Phrygian, not Phyrgian.

FLG said...

Arethusa:

Do translators commonly change Alexandros to Paris?

arethusa said...

Yes - according to the Index Nominorum in the Iliad Oxford Classical Text, Alexandros occurs about three times as often as Paris does in the Iliad.

Andrew Stevens said...

See this link.

 
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