[B-Greek] etymology of POLIAS

Daniel Buck bucksburg at yahoo.com
Tue May 5 13:32:54 EDT 2009

I lost the Original Message, but someone commented that POLIAS could carry the meaning of 'gem', and, by extension, 'the family jewels' of a woman. I think that's rather far-fetched, FWIW.

I've been examining this word, looking for a link to POLIS with which we are all familiar, being the root word of 'politics', 'policy', 'police', and '(metro-)polis'. I think I found it. "Polio", of course, is a modern derivative (not found in Webster's original edition), applying the meaning of 'grey' to an inflammation of the grey matter in nerve tissue. This was by extension from the idea of 'grey hair'. But looking farther back, the connotation of 'white' seems to come through in the cognate Latin roots of 'pale', 'pallid', and even 'powder'. Yet, where we might expect it to be used in Revelation 1:14, we see instead AI TRICES LEUKAI hWS ERION hWS CIWN.

It appears that rather early on, POLIAS took on the specific meaning of 'hoary-headed due to advanced age', whether the hair itself was only in the beginning stages of grey, or totally devoid of pigmentation. The emphasis was on age, not color. And here we find a potential tie-in for POLIS. The leaders of the government were traditionally those up in years whose long experience in live well suited them to govern others. Thus the Roman "Senate" (from the Latin word for 'old man'). I propose that POLIS originally meant "under the rule of the hoary heads."

Therefore, I don't see POLIAS as being appropriate in Isaiah 47:2. I think it to be possibly influenced by APOKOLUYAI TO KATAKALUMMA SOU, but somehow I can't imagine a PARQENOS QUGATHR being characterized by a hoary head under that veil.

Daniel Buck


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