Since We’re About to be Plundered: Pirate Etymology!

Scholion to Sophocles’ Ajax, line 2:

“In Attic usage, peira means a trick or contrivance; for this reason, criminals on the sea are called peiratai (pirates).”

πεῖρα γὰρ ᾿Αττικῶς δόλος καὶ τέχνη, ὅθεν καὶ πειραταὶ

οἱ κατὰ θάλατταν κακοῦργοι.

Note: The earlier sense of peira was closer to “an attempt” or “experiment.”

And, one etymology for tyrant is a type of pirate.

One response

  1. Pingback: Odysseus Doesn’t Want to Be Mistaken for A Pirate | SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

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