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I question the standard etymology of á¼€νδράποδα as ‘human-footed’, for its arguments are weak or outmoded. Then I linguistically reinterpret this compound noun in light of recent scholarship on warfare and enslavement in Greek historiography.

As consensus has held since Lehrs (1876), Brugmann (1885:70, 1889:48, 1906:378), and Wackernagel (1890: 298, 2009: 420), Greek-speaking warriors called their war-captives á¼€νδράποδα, etymologically “human-footed (menschenfüssige),” by analogy with τετράποδα for their quadruped plunder. This etymology and its dehumanizing symbolism (‘human-footed’ livestock, Finley 1998:167, Garlan 1988:20, Bradley 2000:110, DuBois 2003:223, Davis 2006:334) prove untenable on the following grounds:

The alpha link in á¼€νδρ-ά-ποδα is an Attic sub-dialect variant on á¼€νδρ-ο- and no longer needs the τετράποδα analogy to explain it (e.g., Solon’s á¼€νδρα­φÏŒνων, Solmsen 1907:318-20 and Attic καλάποδες, Plato Symp. 191a2, Julius Pollux 7.84). Plus, it is not even analogous to move from numerical τετρ to nominal á¼€νδρ.

The hypothetical plunder provenance offers no evidence to support the analogy. In historiography’s vast plunder discourse, á¼€νδράποδα never appears with τετράποδα, only with species-specific terms for stolen animals (e.g., Xen. Anab. 4.7.14).

Τετράποδα and á¼€νδράποδα are conjoined only four times total in Greek, none pertaining to live plunder, and all to slaves and τετράποδα owned by landholders (third-century BCE FD 1:486 1, B 7-8; and late antique P.Oxy. 33.2673, P.Rain.Cent. 85, Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. 16, PG 35.961a). This landholding provenance cannot save the analogy. The word á¼€νδράποδα, used since Homer and Herodotus for persons subjugated and abducted as plunder, carried over from the plunderers and traffickers to the landholders, who long called their cattle τετράποδα (Linear B, PY Ae 134).

Despite Lehrs’ generic ‘human’, menschenfüssige, á¼€νδρ is adult-male specific, mannfüssige (Meyer 1901: 211). Yet women and children were the great majority of persons subjugated and abducted as á¼€νδράποδα once their adult defenders were killed or routed (Gaca 2010: 127-56). It is unintelligible for the many war-captive women and children to be named ‘adult-male footed.’

The noun á¼€νδράποδα is strictly second declension, never third-declension *á¼€νδράπους/podoς (pace Egli 1954: 16). Its unique seemingly third-declension use—which is the sole basis for interpreting ποδ as self-evidently füssig—is the Aeolic-sounding á¼€νδραπÏŒδεσσι in Iliad 7.475. But á¼€νδραπÏŒδεσσι is an anomalous hybrid, as Wackernagel 1916:154 came to suspect. In light of Parry 1971:68, 339, á¼€νδραπÏŒδεσσι demonstrably (and creatively) adapts the second-declension á¼€νδράποδα into the ‘-u + πÏŒδεσσιν’ Homeric formula.

Starting afresh, ‘foot’ and ‘hand’ are nouns with a strong verbal affinity given the centrality of feet and hands to human bodily agency. Both are widespread in Indo-European verbs, even though ‘hand’ has no single Proto I-E lineage (χείρ, manus, hand). But the venerable I-E root noun pod was actively used in many Greek compound verbs ending ποδεá¿–ν/ποδεá¿–σθαι and ποδίζειn/ποδίζεσθαι. In á¼€νδράποδα, ποδ functions verbally,as Meyer 1901: 211 first suggested, albeit on too narrow a hypothesis. The compound-noun sense of á¼€νδράποδα is best explicated from the broad semantic field of Greek verbs utilizing ποδ, and it means ‘forceful foot-related action’ with á¼€νδρ as agent. Given its proparoxytone semantics (Vendryes 1945:249, Smyth 894c), it is a passive ‘dependent-compound’ descriptor. Structured just like English ‘manhandled’, it describes the persons so treated, and etymologically means war-captives who are ‘man-mauled’ militarily and compelled “to lie obeisant before their violators (προσκυνεá¿–ν τοὺς ὑβρίζοντας)” ( Liban. Decl. 5.1.36), women and children foremost.

This interpretation is reinforced by military directives for armed forces to plunder τá½° ἐν ποσίν in a targeted populace (Procop. Pers. 2.19.15-16, Goth. 6.7.29-30, cf Thuc. 3.97.1), especially children and women (Procop. Goth. 6.7.29); and by descriptions of this τá½° ἐν ποσίν aggression being carried out (e.g., App. Iber. 303, Mithr. 343; Paus. 3.9.7; Cass. Dio 54.5.4;Zos. 1.71.3, 4.48.2, 5.25.1; Procop. Vand. 4.10.5, Goth. 6.10.1, 7.29.1-2; Agath. 2.1.3, 5.15.7). Thus, á¼€νδράποδαremains derogatory (Pritchett 1991:171-72), but that is because it signifies the á¼€νδράποδαas militarily downtrodden and associates this abject condition with warfare’s so-called ‘weaklings’.


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