Re: Fw: Concepts and Words

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Jul 02 1998 - 07:33:45 EDT

At 3:53 AM -0400 7/02/98, Peter Phillips wrote:
>Unfortunately not. I am left with the following assumptions from this thread:
>1. An IE root *KU later developing into several IE languages and meaning kiss
>2. KUNEW in Homer as "kiss"
>3. PROSKUNEW used in Attic and elsewhere as "honour, show homage or
>obeisance" and later developing into "kiss" (as in kiss a superior's ring
>as an act of homage not kiss your wife [though I realise some bright spark
>will say there is not much difference between the two]?)
>I like Carl's postulated kissing of the floor in front of the potentate.
>But there seems to be a massive leap between a Homeric kiss and an Attic

Here we go again (round and round she goes--where she stops, nobody
knows!). I haven't researched this, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to
find that the use of this verb in Attic reflects Athenian distaste for
oriental subservience to despots; certainly a theme developing in the
period after Marathon is the contrast between the behavior of free Greeks
and servile "barbarians: -- especially those subservient to the MEGAS
BASILEUS of the Persians; this was, I'd guess, enhanced because of the
recent (507) expulsion of the last tyrant from Athens and the formal
adoption of a democratic constitution.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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