BMCR 2011.01.11

A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Volume VA, Coastal Asia Minor: Pontos to Ionia

, A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Volume VA, Coastal Asia Minor: Pontos to Ionia. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2010. xxxviii, 496. ISBN9780199567430 $225.00.


Almost 23 years after the publication of the first volume of A Lexicon of Greek personal names ( LGPN), the new instalment is warmly welcomed. LGPN VA is the first to appear after the regretted loss of Peter Fraser in September 2007 (though he was able to read considerable portions of the volume); Elaine Matthews’ preface praises the scholar at whose initiative LGPN came to light. The initial project has expanded through the years and various online materials have been added to the six volumes in print: statistics and lists of most popular names by region, bibliographies, the addenda to LGPN II (known as LGPN IIA) and an indispensable database with some searching options. LGPN VA has been edited under the direction of Thomas Corsten, assisted by Richard W. V. Catling and Marijana Ricl. Nonetheless, the collaborative nature of the project is underlined by the list of scholars in the acknowledgments (pp. v-vi).

After the volumes devoted to the Aegean Islands, Cyprus and Cyrenaica (I), Attica (II), Peloponnese, Western Greece, Sicily and Magna Graecia (IIIA), Central Greece (IIIB) and Macedonia, Thrace, and the Northern Regions of the Black Sea (IV), LGPN V will record the personal names (henceforth PN) of Asia Minor. According to the plan, LGPN VB will cover Caria, Lycia, Pamphylia and Cilicia, and VC the inner regions of Anatolia (Phrygia, Galatia, Paphlagonia, inner Pontos, Cappadocia, Pisidia, Isauria and Lykaonia). This shows how the project has expanded, since the regions to be included in VC were not initially considered ( LGPN I, p. vii).

LGPN VA collects the PN of the southern coasts of the Black Sea and the northern and central coasts of Western Anatolia. The area is further split up in seven regions: Pontos, i.e. from Trapezous to Herakleia Pontica, Bithynia, Mysia, Troad and Aiolis. The term ‘Ionia’ in the title could be somehow misleading for some readers, since the editors have only included the coastal poleis from Phokaia to the river Maiandros, leaving out Miletus and its surrounding area. As much as it seems controversial, this decision finds some ground in Antiquity (p. xiii for justification; see also Xen. Hell. 3.2.14). Nevertheless, inner parts of Roman Lydia are included in this volume, following the idea expressed by P. Fraser that this area and coastal Ionia conform a geographical continuum (pp. x-xi).

In addition to data coming from ancient writers and inscriptions (some still unpublished,p. v-vi), PN found in coins play a larger role in LGPN VA than in previous volumes (7.5% of the total number of names). In fact, coins are especially important for PN in the case of some Ionian poleis, such as Ephesos, Lebedos and Klazomenai, where early inscriptions are lacking. Additionally, Alexandru Avram has provided help in the Herculean task of interpreting the PN on amphora stamps from Sinope and Herakleia. It must be stressed that readings are not simply lifted from the indices of the original sources. For instance, the Ἀριδείχης found in SNG Kayhan no. 243 is in fact Ἀριδείκης ( Ἀριδείκη[ς] in Plate 10 of the same publication) and is correctly emended by LGPN VA.1 The work of editors in this field is to be commended.

LGPN VA contains a total of 8,096 PN (attested for 51,293 different individuals), of which 6,375 are masculine and 1,752 feminine.2 More than 50% are found only once (4,386), but some could well be mere graphic variants of a single PN. The regions with larger shares of the whole are Ionia (37.5%) and Lydia (22%), followed by Mysia (18%), Bithynia (11.5%), Pontos (5%), Troad (4%) and Aiolis (2%). There are no surprises among the most popular PN. As in previous volumes, we find Ἀπολλώνιος / Ἀπολλώνις (1.354 ex.), Διονύσιος / Διονύσις (903 ex.), Δημήτριος / Δαμάτριος / Δημήτρις (745 ex.), Ἀρτεμίδωρος (674 ex.), Μητρόδωρος / Ματρόδωρος (599 ex.), Ἀσκληπιάδης (576 ex.). Nevertheless, some theophoric PN appear to have a grater diffusion in this region: Ἀπολλώνιος in this volume represents 43% of the total instances of this name recorded so far in LGPN, and Ἀσκληπιάδης, 44%. The figures are even higher in other favourite PN of this region, like Ἑρμογένης (63%), Μηνόφιλος (68%), Μηνόδωρος (55%), etc. The statistics convey the great relevance of the cults in the area.

Now and then, the numbers are conditioned by the nature of the attested evidence. As known, Lallnamen appear in a disproportionately large number in Asia Minor: Ἀφφία, Ἀφφιάς, Ἀπφία, Ἀπφιάς, Βάβα, Βαβᾶς, Βάβεις, Τάτα, Τατάς, etc. (all found in LGPN VA). As it happens, the most popular feminine PN in this volume belong to this class: Ἄμμιον (131 ex.), Ἀμμιάς (99 ex.), Ἀμμία (84 ex.), etc. But this is mainly due to the considerable amount of preserved Lydian epitaphs, which characteristically record in detail the members of the dead’s family (p. xvii). Among the feminine names, Μελιτίνη (42 ex.) is well attested and even more its apocopated version Μελτίνη (75 ex.), which is found almost nowhere else. In the light of the geographic concentration of the latter, the tentative attribution of Μελτίνη and her family in AP IX.510 to Athens by W. Peek ad GVI 1072 (followed by LGPN I) may be still correct, but her name has an undoubtedly eastern origin.

As expected, the volume is rich in PN associated with the different indigenous languages spoken in Asia Minor. An Ephesian citizen is called Σαδυάττης, the name of one of the Lydian kings. The different epigraphic variants Καδαύας, Καδοας, Κάδως, found in Lydia, are perhaps to be related to Καδύς from our literary sources and with Lycian Katovas-. Seemingly, Ἰάζημις shows the Lycian -mi- ending of participles and the name should be interpreted as ‘loved by Iya’.3 Ἑκατόμνως and Ἄδα have cognates in Carian (cf. ktmno and ada)4 and the Iranian names are also well represented ( Μιθραδάτης, Μίθρης, Μιθριδάτης, Μανδάνη, etc.). Finally, PN from local place names, particularly rivers, abound: Κάϊκος, Καϊκόδωρος, Καΰστριος, Καιΰστριος, Σαγαρεύς, Σαγ(γ)άριος, Μαιάνδριος, Σκαμανδροδίκη, Σκαμανδρόδικος, Ῥύνδακος, etc.

I find particularly striking the paucity of PN derived from ξεῖνος (the local variant of ξένος) in Ionia or Ionian colonies: Ξείνας (1 ex.), Ξεινῆς (3 ex.), Ξεινιάδης (2 ex.), Θευξεινίδης (1 ex.). Of course, this image may vary when data from the remaining Ionian coastal poleis of Anatolia (Miletus, Myous, or the Samian colonies Kelenderis and Nagidos) will be available in LGPN VB.

Some forms in -ιανός, which can be considered patronymics with some certainty, have been included under the PN from which they come: e.g. Ἀρισταινετιανός under Ἀρισταίνετος. The editors have decided to leave unaccented some bizarre PN only attested in the nominative: e.g. Δουτδους, Ζουλος, Σονδαις, Κακολεις, Ηλεις, Πληρι. With respect to Latin PN, the editors have adopted a radical change of policy and individuals with genuinely Latin tria nomina have been largely included. Latin names with different orthography, such as Σεουῆρος / Σεβῆρος, Φλαουϊανός / Φλαβιανός, are included under the same heading. On the contrary, following the rule established in previous volumes, we find some variants of the same PN under different headings: e.g. Ionian Εὀκλίδης vs. Εὐκλίδης, Αὀτόνομος vs. Αὐτόνομος, Πιτθεός vs. Πιτθεύς, and late Διονύσις vs. Διονύσιος, Δημήτρις vs. Δημήτριος, Ἀθήναις vs. Ἀθήναιος.

As previous volumes have, LGPN VA will become a fundamental tool for establishing more easily the origin and geographic diffusion of certain PN, its strengths only increasing as the project advances towards its completion. Ἑκατώνυμος is well attested in this volume (51 ex.), particularly in Ionia and there are some instances also in Ionian Abdera, Olbia and Apollonia (see LGPN IV). PN in -ερμος are frequent, e.g. Πύθερμος, Φίλερμος, Δίερμος, Μεγίστερμος, Εὔερμος, Πολύερμος : their Ionian origin has been already highlighted.5 Μεταγείτνιος is only attested in Ephesos, Smyrna and Samos (see LGPN I). Compounds in Μανδρ- and -μανδρ- are overrepresented in this volume, and some of them are only found in the area: Μανδρόδωρος, ῾Εκατόμανδρος, Ἡγησίμανδρος, Πυθόμανδρος, etc. In fact, compounds in Μανδρ- are also well attested in other Ionian locations or with strong Ionian influence.6

I offer here an illustrative example of how philological analysis of PN can benefit from this volume. PN based on βίλλος (or βιλλός, see Hdn.Gr. 3.1, p. 158 Lentz) and βαλλίον (Herod. 6.69), both meaning ‘penis’, are well attested in LGPN VA: Βίλλαρος, Βιλλᾶς, Βαλλᾶς (better than Βάλλας of the editors), Βάλλις and Βαλλίων. According to L. Robert,7 these PN have an Ionian flavour, or at least Eastern Greek; see Βίλλαρος in Iasos ( IG XII.8: 171.70), Βιλλᾶς in Samos (coin, see IG XII.6, p. 562, no. 62, not in LGPN I), Βίλλος in Kelenderis, a Samian colony ( IRWKil. Kel 1.7), Βάλλις in Halikarnassos ( BCH 4 (1880), p. 298, B.15), Βαλλίων in Lipara, colony of Cnidus ( I.Lipara 20)8 and in the katoikia of Nisyros of Karaoba in Lycia ( TAM V.1 441.3). S. Sherwin-White, ZPE 47 (1982), p. 63, rightly points out that the Βάλλαρος of a Greek ostracon found in Babylon ( SEG 32: 1400.2) must be a mercenary from Western Anatolia.9 This sound distribution leads us to conclude that, pace L. Robert,10 Βιλλέας, the name of a Macedonian at Ephesus (cf. LGPN IV), bears no relation to βίλλος, but is probably the dialectal variant of Φιλλέας (cf. Macedonian Βερενίκη = Φερενίκη). Similarly, although B. Helly associated Βίλλος at Gonnoi (see LGPN IIIB) with the examples above,11 it is most certainly the local version of Φίλλος. Voicing of aspirate (through spirantization) and unvoiced stops is attested not only in Macedonia, but also in northern Thessaly.12

By way of quibbling, let me raise one minor point. Contrary to previous volumes, where the variants Εὔκλεια and Εὔκλεα, Φιλοκράτεια and Φιλοκράτεα, etc., were recorded under different lemmata (for the accentuation of – εα forms, see J. Curbera, Epigraphica 68 (2006), p. 465), in LGPN VA they appear systematically under the corresponding -εια variant: e.g. Ἀριστόκλεια / Ἀριστόκλεα, Θεογένεια / Θεογένεα, Εὐγένεια / Εὐγένεα, Ξενοκράτεια / Ξενοκράτεα, etc. But Ἡράκλειος and Ἡράκλεος contradictorily appear under different lemmata, even though they are, as -εια / -εα, mere phonetic variants of the same name.

In conclusion, this publication cannot be praised enough. As the previous volumes have, LGPN VA will become a fundamental tool for all scholars who want to sail safely through the fascinating waters of Greek onomastics. The new instalments of this important work are awaited with the keenest expectation.


1. I note in passing that SNG Kayhan is missing from the list of abbreviations.

2. Statistics were not still updated when this review was written and not all names were recorded in the online database (e.g. Ἀγεάναξ). I also note some minor typos in the database: e.g. Φαεινός is only represented by 5 instances in this volume, instead of 51; cf. Εὐτύχης in LGPN IIIA, that shows up 70 times, instead of 701].

3. See G. Neumann and J. Tischler, Glossar des Lykischen, Wiesbaden, 2007, p. 148.

4. See I.-J. Adiego Lajara, The Carian language, Leiden, 2007, pp. 349 and 375.

5. See L. Robert Choix d’écrits, Paris, 2007, pp. 137-9, particularly for Ποσείδερμος in Massalia, a Phokaian colony.

6. See O. Masson, Onomastica Graeca Selecta. II, Nanterre, p. 479.

7. Noms indigènes dans l’Asie-Mineure gréco-romaine. I, Paris, 1963, pp. 18-9.

8. See L. Dubois, RÉG 118 (2005), pp. 219-20.

9. Despite claims to the contrary, there is no reason to consider Βαλλίων as a Macedonian name (see A. B. Tataki, Macedonians abroad: a contribution to the prosopography of ancient Macedonia, Athènes-Paris, 1998, p. 517). Βαλλίων, nick-name of Πυθόδηλος in a fragment of Axionicus (fr. 1.2 PCG Kassel-Austin), and Ballio, the pimp in Plauto’s Pseudolus, are obvious creations of the lewd language of Comedy.

10. Noms indigènes…, p. 21.

11. Gonnoi, Amsterdam, 1973, vol. 2, p. 146.

12. See M. B. Hatzopoulos, «La position dialectale du macédonien à la lumière des découvertes épigraphiques récentes», in I. Hajnal, Die altgriechischen Dialekte. Wesen und Werden. Akten des Kolloquiums Freie Universität Berlin 19. – 22. September 2001, Innsbruck, 2007, p. 170-2.