Perseus

Topics: Greek mythology, Mycenaean Greece, Homer Pages: 2 (433 words) Published: February 27, 2013
Perseus (Greek: Περσεύς), the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans there, was the first of the heroes of Greek mythology whose exploits in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths of the Twelve Olympians. Perseus was the Greek hero who killed the Gorgon Medusa, and claimed Andromeda, having rescued her from a sea monster sent by Poseidon in retribution for Queen Cassiopeia declaring that her daughter, Andromeda, was more beautiful than the Nereids. Because of the obscurity of the name Perseus and the legendary character of its bearer, most etymologists pass it by, on the presumption that it might be pre-Greek; however, the name of Perseus’ native city was Greek and so were the names of his wife and relatives. There is some prospect that it descended into Greek from the Proto-Indo-European language. In that regard Robert Graves has espoused the only Greek derivation available. Perseus might be from the Greek verb, "πέρθειν" (perthein), “to waste, ravage, sack, destroy”, some form of which appears in Homeric epithets. According to Carl Darling Buck (Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin), the –eus suffix is typically used to form an agent noun, in this case from the aorist stem, pers-. Pers-eus therefore is a sacker of cities; that is, a soldier by occupation, a fitting name for the first Mycenaean warrior. The origin of perth- is more obscure. J. B. Hofmann lists the possible root as *bher-, from which Latin ferio, "strike".[1] This corresponds to Julius Pokorny’s *bher-(3), “scrape, cut.” Ordinarily *bh- descends to Greek as ph-. This difficulty can be overcome by presuming a dissimilation from the –th– in perthein; that is, the Greeks preferred not to say *pherthein. Graves carries the meaning still further, to the perse- in Persephone, goddess of death. John Chadwick in the second edition of Documents in Mycenaean Greek speculates as follows about the goddess pe-re-*82 of Pylos tablet Tn 316, tentatively...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay about The Acclaimed Heroism of Perseus
  • Perseus and Andromeda Greek Myth Essay
  • Essay about Perseus vs. Clash of Titans
  • Medusa and Perseus Essay
  • Greek Mythology and Perseus Essay
  • The Myth of Perseus Essay
  • Perseus: Mythology and Constellation Essay
  • Perseus Short Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free