More Byzantine Etymologies: Kas(s)andra


From the introduction to the Scholia to Lykophron’s Alexandra by John Tzetzes and his brother Isaac:

“That is a sufficient beginning. Let us talk now about the title. Why did Lykophron call this poem the Alexandra? It stands apart from the rest of his collective writings. For I said before that he wrote many plays in the tragic form. The name Kasandra is said to derive from “manly helmet” [kasis + anêr] Hektor has—and is written in the Aeolic dialect with two sigmas. Alexandra is from avoiding or fleeing the company of men [aluksô+andras] or otherwise from warding off and helping men [aleksô+andras] and human beings through oracles. But these things are rather [cold?]; still, we have to record them because there are fools who are at a loss about these trifles. Here’s another: what is the reason that he is called Lykophron? They say it is because he is riddling and cunning; wolves are also wise, you see.”

᾿Αλλὰ ταῦτα μὲν ἀρκούντως ἐρρέθη, λέξωμεν δὲ καὶ  περὶ τῆς ἐπιγραφῆς· διὰ τί Λυκόφρονος ᾿Αλεξάνδρα ἐπεγράφη τὸ παρὸν ποίημα; πρὸς ἀντιδιαστολὴν τῶν λοιπῶν τοῦ Λυκόφρονος συγγραμμάτων· εἶπον γὰρ ὅτι ξδ′ ἢ μϚ′ τραγωδιῶν ἐποίησε δράματα. Κασάνδρα δὲ λέγεται παρὰ τὸ κάσιν ἀνδρεῖον ἔχειν τὸν ῞Εκτορα αἰολικῶς δὲ γράφεται διὰ δύο ςσ ᾿Αλεξάνδρα δὲ ἢ παρὰ τὸ ἀλύξαι καὶ ἐκφυγεῖν τὴν τῶν ἀνδρῶν συνουσίαν ἢ παρὰ τὸ ἀλέξειν καὶ βοηθεῖν τοῖς ἀνδράσιν ἤτοι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις διὰ τῶν χρησμῶν. ταῦτα δὲ καὶ ψυχρά εἰσιν, ὅμως διά τινας τῶν μωρῶν τῶν τοιαῦτα λῆρα ἀπορούντων γραπτέον καὶ ταῦτα. *ὡς* καὶ τὸ διὰ τί λέγεται Λυκόφρων; διὰ τὸ αἰνιγματωδῶς καὶ πανούργως λέγειν· καὶ γὰρ οἱ λύκοι πανοῦργοι.Cassandra

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