Tag Archives: Lythronax argestes

‘King of Gore’ joins T rex family tree | Science | The Guardian

‘King of Gore’ joins T rex family tree | Science | The Guardian.

The King of Gore also highlights ignorance of Classical Greek and word formation among palaeontologists. λύθρον (neuter, which can also be λύθρος [masculine]) has a stem λύθρ(ο)-, the final vowel of which is elided when the following element begins with a vowel. My first thought was that the word was an n-stem, but it is actually a neuter o-stem.

The sole recorded compound is λυθρ-ώδης “defiled with gore”, with the stem vowel duly elided.

The noun ἄναξ “lord, master; king” is an interesting case because it was Ϝάναξ [wanax] at the time The Iliad and The Odyssey were composed. It explains why word-final VC-syllables are sometimes scanned as heavy before a word which otherwise seems to begin with a vowel.

When Homer was composing his poems, the presence of digamma would have resulted in the retention of the stem vowel, and the compound would presumably have ended up as λυθροάναξ in Classical Greek because of this lost consonant. Even if later speakers of Greek were unaware of the digamma, the compound would have been λυθράναξ with the stem vowel of the first element elided, not the initial vowel of the following element.

Although I cannot speak for all languages on this particular point of morphology, the principle in Greek was obviously that the root remains intact or, OT-like terms, Root » Stem Vowel.

I can only hope that palaeontologists have some official naming body and that it’s not too late to correct this faux pas.