[b-greek] Re: Philadelphia = "brotherly love"?

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Tue Feb 05 2002 - 19:17:23 EST

At 4:44 PM -0500 2/5/02, Keith Saare wrote:
>Can somebody please explain to me why "Philadelphia" (in the feminine
>gender) somehow came to mean "brotherly love." Did this mistake originate
>simply from folks not knowing Greek grammar?

It's possible that the coiner of this name of many Hellenistic cities knew
Greek grammar better than you: I believe it was Alexander the Great, whose
tutor was Aristotle and who esteemed the idea of "brotherhood" very highly
and named several of the cities in the vast eastern realm that he had
conquered by that name. That the word FILADELFIA is feminine has to do with
its construction (abstract noun from compounded elements) from roots FIL-
"affection" and ADELF- "brother/sister." The feminine gender has nothing
whatsoever to do with either "brother" OR "sister."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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