User comments for Herodotus

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Apparently my history teacher named his son this? I mean I guess it's fitting because his dad is a huge history nerd ( to be honest, he probably already is one even though he's like 5) and he'll probably be excited when he's a bit older and finds out that he's named after the father of history.
hizakigrace  3/20/2013
I have noticed that Greek names of which the first element is ἥρως (heros) meaning "hero, warrior", all start with Ἡρω- (Hero-). The only exception to this (in the main database right now) is Herodotos, which starts with Ἡρό- (Hero-). To phrase it a bit differently: the first 'o' in all the other names is an omega, while the first 'o' in Herodotos is an omicron.

I made a small overview below (all the names are from the main database), so that you can see it with just one glance:

- ‘Ηρω (Hero, no. 1)
- ‘Ηρωιδης (Herodes... well, the proper transcription of the spelling is actually Heroides)
- ‘Ηρωδιας (Herodias)
- ‘Ηρωδιων (Herodion)
- ‘Ηροδοτος (Herodotos)
- ‘Ηρων (Heron)

In addition to this, it is also important to know that all terms derived from ἥρως (heros) meaning "hero, warrior" also all have an omega:

- https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E1%BC%A5%CF%81%CF%89%CF%82#Derived_terms (in English)
- http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/resolveform?lookup=h&lang=greek&page=23&type=start (in English; this is page 23, but you should also look at page 24 from there)

Now, what I mean to say with all of this, is *not* that the Greek spelling listed for Herodotos is incorrect. There is nothing wrong with its spelling at all. The thing is, actually, that its spelling might indicate that the first element of Herodotos is not derived from ἥρως (heros) at all. It might be derived from something else instead - most sources say that its first element comes from the name of the Greek goddess Hera. See here:

- http://www.trismegistos.org/nam/detail.php?record=4578 (in English)
- http://web.archive.org/web/20120324121238/http://www.etymologica.com/page10.htm (in English; this is from Pavlos' old website)
- http://www.trismegistos.org/nam/list_all.php?selection=H&p=25 (in English; contains a list of names starting with Hero-, also look at page 26)

As you can see, these sources indicate that authentic Greek names starting with Ἡρό- (Hero-) all derive from the name of the Greek goddess Hera, while those starting with Ἡρω- (Hero-) all derive from ἥρως (heros) meaning "hero, warrior". Yes, it might seem odd that the former point to Hera but yet aren't spelled Ἡρα- (Hera-) like some other names derived from her name, such as Herakleitos and Herakles. Perhaps the change from -a- to -o- here is due to dialectal differences. After all, there were dialects of ancient Greek in Antiquity, such as Aeolic Greek and Doric Greek.

Either way, I think that this is something worth looking into. Perhaps you could consult your literature or even Pavlos about this (who, as a native Greek, is certainly more knowledgeable than I am). If after everything you end up feeling uncertain about the first element of the name Herodotos, you could always choose to mention both etymological possibilities for it in the name's entry, so that both will at least be covered (just in case). [noted -ed]
Lucille  12/20/2016

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