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Title: Αἰών and χρόνος : their semantic development in the Greek poets and philosophers down to 400 BC
Author: Šćepanović, Sandra
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis represents an investigation into the meanings of χρονος and αιων, which still name important intellectual concepts today, through the early history of their literary application. Starting from the reconstructions of their etymologies, this study registers semantic multiplications of αιων and χρονος in archaic and early classical Greek, trying to discover the nature of the semantic changes they went through and to reconstruct their possible causes. In order to define the meanings of αιων and χρονος in early Greek literature as precisely as possible, every instance of usage of each word is submitted to the thorough contextual analysis and linguistic classification, and compared with other words or expressions with which αιων and χρονος stand in relation of synonymy, hyponymy, hyperonymy, etc. The two words themselves at times exhibit semantic kinship, and sometimes are apparently synonymous, for they share the common basic semantic nuance of 'duration': χρονος denotes duration in general and αιων duration of life, vitality. Since χρονος and αιων early came to signify the general concepts of 'time' and 'life', the thesis also offers an insight into the way these ideas were represented in early Greek literature and highlights their literary relevance. The two words repeatedly appear in the same literary contexts, as parts of lively poetic images, which reflect intensive preoccupation with the ideas of passage of time (and its various effects), transience of life, and unpredictability of the future. In addition to this, χρονος and αιων found specific applications in early philosophical and mythical cosmologies. This thesis discusses the characteristics of these uses of χρονος and αιων and compares them to those found in non-philosophical literature. It is argued that the philosophical contexts modify the meanings of χρονος and αιων and form a particular semantic tradition. Following in this tradition, Plato (Tim. 37 D-38E) came to use χρονος and αιων to name the concepts of measurable cosmic time and immovable eternity, respectively, and these meanings may still be found to resonate in the meanings that eon and -chrono- have in modern languages, including English.
Supervisor: West, Martin L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Classical Greek ; Hellenic (Classical Greek) literature