Sunday, 20 May 2018


Is AGAPE a loan Word from an West Semitic Afroasiatic language?

I've seen arguments for and against but I think yes for THREE reasons


There are no cognates to AGAPE in other IndoEuropean languages
even if you prefer the agape is aga with a verbal suffix added why no other cognates ?

TWO Hebrew Aramaic and Arabic have cognate words !

Aramaic has Chav / Hoeba etc KH-V
Hebrew has AHAV  HB
Arabic has H B B  hubb habba ahabba.

But Agape appears in Homer!
 Yes and so do Phoenician traders and stories about Greeks and Phoenicians intermarrying.

But Hebrew and Aramaic the Rkh M stem  more frequently!

So how do I explain this?

I think just as it is in modern standard colloquial Arabic likewise in ancient time it was a popular non literary term. Slang even !

It was brought to Greece maybe as early as the Mycenaean period by refugees from the collapse and defeat of the Hyksos dynasty described in myths as Egyptians and hearing it used by later Phoenician traders reinforced its usage plus there would have been Greek mercenaries who picked it up working in the Near East for the Assyrians and Persians alongside others who spoke West Semitic languages.

Frankly I expect there is a reasonable chance cognates to H B B will turn up on ancient tablets yet to be discovered.

One last point.

How did or could (a)H vowel B change to agape?

There is evidence many words or syllables starting with p or b may be been gw or kw sounds in older forms of Greek.

The sound written H in our alphabet in modern Western Semitic languages is an unvoiced version of AYN and ... we tend to hear ha but maybe greeks could only say gwa or hwa and changed the BB to a P the two Bs fusing into one P ?

We can't know for sure but this is what I speculate happened!

Your choice which you prefer!

If anyone reading this blog is far more fluent in Aramaic than me I've love to see and add some more examples that are NOT cited in the most common Google searches.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018


#ancientart #classicalgreekart #pigments #paintings


Part One of a series

Were ancient Greek temples statues and paintings BRIGHT LOUD COLORs or not ?

Lets start by looking at what pigments were actually available

YELLOW only from Sulphides

Yellow pigments from plants would not be suitable for painting on stone or would fade

YELLOW OCHRE  Available  used for Ceramics Frescos and probably painting

ORANGE Arsenic sulphide

RED Mercury Sulphide called Cinnabar

GREENS from Malachite or Azurite which had to be imported so expensive to use !

BLUE Smalt or Lapis Lazuli or Azurite

ALL EXPENSIVE TO import and process!

There could have been some use of woad from plants for blue but that would have been an import too.

Also Sulphide based pigments do not blend well with certain others ...

REDs and Yellows yes but Bright Greens and Blues

not unless whoever was paying for the painting was a wealthy city or aristocrat or merchant or a group thereof.

So here's what some of the pigments looked like

Lapis Lazuli ground up for mixing with mediums

Sulphides for reds and yellows in their raw form

Next post I will be discussing mineral ore pigments in greater detail

My perspective on this will be not just that of a classicist but also of an artist who has used a variety of paints for watercolor acrylic oils and pigments for ceramics too!

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Genuine Greek

#biblestudy #wordstudy #greek #newtestamentgreek


Here's a word that is post classical yet genuine and grammatical greek from Romans 12:9


Its variously been translated as genuine unfeigned undisguised or by a phrase like with all sincerity or without dissimulation. IN form it is a verbal adjective - tos plus kri derived from the verb hypokrinomai and its radical kri  The n inserted before u is a little odd since the initial a is probably the privative prefix  meaning un or not but it is a sensible useful and grammatical word.

"not played" "not being fake" "may it not be played or a pretence" "Not capable of being faking"

Also that whole passage from 9 to 21 is full of an interesting diversity of adjectives and other forms and a good inspiring guide to ethics !  

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

An Image of Maia

There are very few images of #Maia in Ancient Classical Greek art however it is thought this is one of them.

Its from a ceramic vessel and is part of a larger painting by the Nikoxenos painter (approx. 500 B.C.) showing a Council of the Gods.

Its thought to be Maia because she is standing next to Hermes.

Sunday, 6 May 2018


Well I have found a verse in which there actually is a significant textual variant.
#biblestudy #greeknewtestament #koinegreek #textualcriticism

Usually I tell people NOT to worry too much about Textual Variants.

This one is minor ONE ADDED Verbal Phrase but Significant for Doctrinal Reasons

Okay Mark 10:19 and in Mark ONLY to the list of commandments is added one phrase

Do NOT defraud mee apostereeseeis Aorist Subjunctive.

Apostereoo means to NOT rob bereave or defraud someone of something that is rightfully theirs.

It is not in the ten commandments but seems to derive from the Greek translation of Deuteronomy 24 : 14 -15  in which employers are told not to oppress workers local or foreign by denying or failing to give their wages.

So why would Mark or some later scribe insert this when its not in the other gospels?

Consider the context the right young man trying to prove how righteous he is and how he deserves salvation.

It may possibly have been added by a later scribe than mark but the message is valid and biblical!

Don't stress on the small differences like this though! Its one phrase!

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

MAY and MAIA and a Mosaic

This is part of  the #Sousse Calendar a #NorthAfrican #Mosaic
Below are two ways in which it shows GREEK influence !

#typography #lettering #roman abc #greekscript

ONE the lettering style and shapes

Yes this is Latin and the Roman Alphabet we use but look carefully at the letter shapes particularly the A and the final S.  Does this remind you of #GreekUncial ?

#palaeography #epigraphy

and the god shown is #Hermes / #Mercury whose mother was #MAIA

Why is May named after a goddess?

Consider the legends the Romans had about a group of Arcadians and their king migrating into Latium and their belief they and the Greeks worshipped the same gods?

Finally I also wonder if the designer of this mosaic was possibly a Greek living in or visiting North Africa. It's been counted to between the 3rd and 4th century A.D.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Rhyton of a Hounds Head

This #rhyton found in #france was probably made for the #Gaulish market since the Gaulish aristocrats loved imported greek wines and ceramics but also hunting.

Note the handle ... it would have been upside when in use