Fanax: the Mycenaean term for "king"; pronounced "wanax". The funny initial letter, "F", is called digamma and shows up in Archaic Greek epigraphy (papyrus and tablet writings). The sound, if not the letter form, and its linguistic equivalent initially show up in the heiroglyphic writings (Linear B) of Bronze Age Greece both at Pylos, in the far west of Greece (Peloponnese), and at Knossos in north central Crete, the funny "F". Specifically, digamma shows up in the Greek of Homer's Iliad with the word "F"anax, but there it's a "rough breathing" in the form "(h)anax", where the term is linked to an important individual at Pylos. In Classical and Hellenistic Greek, the F continues in this aspirant, or "h" sound, form at the beginning of many Greek words.

Greece

November 19, 2012 ·

My beloved Hellas.

"And many a man whom law or fraud had sold
far from his god-built land, an outcast slave

 

I brought again to Athens; yea, and some
exiles from home through debt's oppressive load

Speaking no more the dear Athenian tongue
but wandering far and wide, I brought again;

And those that here in vilest slavery
crouched beneath a despot's frown, I set them free."

-- Solon, (c. BC 638 - BC 558), founder of Athenian democracy, after freeing the debt slaves

 

Tags: politics

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