[B-Greek] Greek for "brother-in-law"?
cwconrad2 at mac.com
Thu Jun 30 17:40:58 EDT 2005
On Jun 30, 2005, at 5:35 PM, Carl Conrad wrote:
> On Jun 30, 2005, at 3:42 PM, Harold R. Holmyard III wrote:
>> Dear B-Greek,
>> Did ancient Greek have a special word for brother-in-law and
>> sister-in-law? There is a special word for father-in-law (PENQEROS),
>> mother-in-law (PENQERA), and daughter-in-law (NUMFH). I am looking at
>> the question of whether there are four individuals named in John
>> hEITHKEISAN DE PARA TWi STAURWi TOU IHSOU hH MHTHR AUTOU KAI hH
>> ADELFH THS MHTROS AUTOU, MARIA hH TOU KLWPA KAI MARIA hH MAGDALHNH
>> The two "KAI"s seem to suggest three people in all, but some argue
>> that there would not be two Marys who were sisters. Of course, such
>> double naming could occur, since it did in the Herodian family
>> (Michael Jackson has two sons named Michael), but it does seem
>> unlikely. So the question arose in my mind, does ADELFH only refer to
>> a blood sister, or can it refer to a sister-in-law or a step-sister?
> One perfectly good word for "relation by marriage" that does appear
> in older Greek literature is GAMBROS, attested by LSJ as having the
> sense "brother-in-law" in Homer and Herodotus. You can discern the
> association with GAMOS in the word. I don't know, however, if the
> word was still in use in Hellenistic Greek.
Two more words used for brother-in-law as late as the fourth c. BC
are KHDESTHS and SUGKHDESTHS.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at ioa.com or cwconrad2 at mac.com
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