View Full Version : Those who speak Greek? Help needed!

06-15-2012, 01:03 AM
Hi there,

I’m looking to tie some ancient Greek mythology into my novel, and I was wondering if anyone could help me out with some words needed.

1) Okay, so we all know (those of us who read werewolf fiction/watch moves etc), that werewolves are also called Lycans. This comes from the Greek word, Lycanthropy or Lycanthrope. Lycan meaning wolf.

Now, I was looking at the kitty side of things, and apparently Warecats (lions, tigers, jaguars, panthers, whatever) are called Ailuranthropes. BUT the Greek word for “cat” is “Gata” (according to various translate sites). So therefore, would they not be called Gatanthropes? Yes? Well, google has no references to “Gatanthrope” at all...

I didn’t really see how the term Ailuranthropes could work, until I found this:

Ailuranthropy comes from the Greek words "ailouros" meaning "cat", and "anthropinos", meaning "human" and refers to human/feline transformations, or to other beings that combine feline and human characteristics. Its root word is also used in ailurophobia, the most common term for a phobia of cats. Ailuros is also a Greek name for Bast (Bast; A cat-goddess, worshiped in the Delta city of Bubastis. A protectress of cats and those who cared for cats. She was viewed as the beneficient side of the lioness-goddess Sekhmet.)

Ailuranthrope is a lesser-known phrase that refers to a feline therianthrope.

So, on the one hand we have “Gata” as Greek for Cat, and on the other we have “Ailouros” as Greek for Cat.

Now, I looking into this a little more, I have come to understand that Ailouros is ‘old (ancient/classical) Greek’, and Gata is new Greek.

For story purposes, does anyone have any opinions on what I should do? Go with the old or the new? Personally, I think old, but then I have a new problem, see below.

2) I also need a couple of words that I would like to include in the story, but I really don’t know what to do. I’ve google’d them on Google Translate, and have found:

Pure: “katharí̱”
Monster: “téras”

Does anyone know if these words are (root) Ancient Greek, or are they just modern Greek? (I’m pretty sure that’s what Google Translate is).

Working Ancient Greek mythology into my story, it seems ‘wrong’ to go with Modern Greek words… I’m afraid too many people might pick up on it?


Siri Kirpal
06-15-2012, 02:18 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Katharine and its variants are all extremely old, one of the oldest names for women. They are related to kathari. I understand the word refered to people who experienced c(k)atharsis. So kathari is definitely old.

I'd go with the old name for cat.

Have no knowledge of the age of the word for monster.


Siri Kirpal

06-15-2012, 02:18 AM
Ailuro- is the component for classical compounds. I don't think Gata is used as Gata is a borrowed word, just like the word Cat. Ailuro, in a way, is like the word "pussy" when forming vernacular compounds in English. Cat/Gata is possibly from an Afro-Asiatic language.

Cats were not a familiar domestic animal to the ancient Greeks and Romans, but were a revered domesticated animal for the Ancient Egyptians.

06-15-2012, 02:27 AM
What is "pure" being used to denote? That something is unmixed? Genuine? Holy? Perfected?

Those two words are modern Greek. The closest ancient Greek to kathari is kaqai, which means "pure" more as in "cleansed" (please note that I suck at transposing from Greek to Roman alphabet). There are other words for pure to choose from depending on the nuance you're going for.

Monster in ancient Greek is tricky. As far as I know (which is pretty limited) there isn't really a generic word for monsters. There area lot of words for specific kinds of monsters, like sea monsters, monsters that eat people, etc.

For linguistic consistency I'd go with ailuranthropes. If there is a specific species of cat they turn into you could possibly customize it.

EDIT: I just checked the Woodhouse English-Greek Dictionary and they do list katharos as meaning pure (undefiled) if that is what you are going for.

06-18-2012, 10:25 PM
Thanks guys! :0)