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On the IE Etymology of Greek (w)anax

Lothar Willms
Glotta
Bd. 86 (2010), pp. 232-271
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41219890
Page Count: 40
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On the IE Etymology of Greek (w)anax
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Abstract

This paper will re-examine the origin of Greek (w) anax, (w) anaktos ' lord', nowadays still a subject of doubt and discussion. Notwithstanding earlier derivations from the stem (w) anak-, the search must depart from the oldest form (w) anakt-, which Szemerényi first segmented correctly as *wen-ag-t- or *wn̥-ag-t-, i.e. IE *wen-'kin' 'tribe' + *ag- 'to lead' + agent-suffix -t. Later objections against this sound analysis help to clarify the meaning of the first component as 'battle', 'victory'. In view of this, the following proposes as the original meaning of wanax 'leader in battle' or 'somebody who leads to victory'. Whether inherited from IE times or borrowed from Greek, Phrygian vanaktei fits into this etymology, whereas Old Indian vaníj-'merchant' and Tokharian ñäkte A ñkät 'God' or nātäk 'lord' and nāśi 'lady' must be excluded from consideration.

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