Macedonian names and makeDonski pseudo-linguistics: The case of the name Sopolis

By Miltiades Elia Bolaris

Balkan Illusion - phantasia archaica:

“…it is very interesting to note that many of the authentic ancient Macedonian words, according to their etymology and pronunciation, have a striking resemblance to the appropriate words used in the modern Macedonian language (and other so called “Slav”[sic] languages). “Sopol(is). This ancient Macedonian name is mentioned by the Greek historian Arrian as the name of a Macedonian officer in the army of Alexander the Great. It obviously contains the root “sopol” (a strong spring) from the so called “Old Slavic language”[sic]. The name Sopol is present in todays’ Macedonian onomasticon.” Quote taken from: “Similarities between ancient Macedonian and today’s’ Macedonian Culture (Linguistics and Onomastics)” by Aleksandar Donski, celebrity historian and propagandist of pseudo-Makedonism from FYROM.

Sopolis / Σώπολις

An original and very informative book was published by Blackwell Publications in 2005: “Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great”; edited by Waldemar Heckel. This book includes more than eight hundred brief biographies of persons from the age of Alexander the Great; names of Alexander´s commanders and soldiers as well as other Greek or Asian personages, found in the literary or epigraphic record. It is widely viewed as the only complete collection of its kind printed in the English language. It is in this book that we find a biography on a Macedonian commander named Sopolis.

Sopolis Hermodorou/Σώπολις Ερμοδώρου (= son of Hermodoros) appears as one of the ilarchs (Ἰλαρχος-cavalry squadron leader) of Alexander’s companion cavalry the Hetairoi/Εταίροι.

We first hear of him in the Balkan campaign of Alexander, against the Triballians, leading the ile (cavalry squadron) of Amphipolis, along with Heracleides son of Antiochos, in 335 BC.

Ἡρακλείδην δὲ καὶ Σώπολιν τοὺς ἐκ Βοττιαίας τε καὶ Ἀμφιπόλεως ἱππέας κατὰ τὸ εὐώνυμον κέρας ἐπάγειν ἔταξε. ΄Αρριανοῡ ΄Αλεξάνδρου ΄Ανάβασις, Βιβλίον A’,2

Heracleides and Sopolis, who were leading the cavalrymen from Bottiaea and Amphipolis, he ordered them to take up position at the left flank.

Arrian, Alexander Anabasis, Book I,2

We next hear him at his most glorious moment, leading once again the cavalry squadron of the city of Amphipolis against the Persians, at the decisive battle of Gaugamela, in 331 BC.

Ἀλεξάνδρῳ δὲ ἡ στρατιὰ ἐκοσμήθη ὧδε. τὸ μὲν δεξιὸν αὐτῷ εἶχον τῶν ἱππέων οἱ ἑταῖροι, ὧν προετέτακτο ἡ ἴλη ἡ βασιλική, ἧς Κλεῖτος ὁ Δρωπίδου ἰλάρχης ἦν, ἐπὶ δὲ ταύτῃ ἡ Γλαυκίου ἴλη, ἐχομένη δ’ αὐτῆς ἡ Ἀρίστωνος, ἐπὶ δὲ ἡ Σωπόλιδος τοῦ Ἑρμοδώρου, ἐπὶ δὲ ἡ Ἡρακλείδου τοῦ Ἀντιόχου, ἐπὶ ταύτῃ δὲ ἡ Δημητρίου τοῦ Ἀλθαιμένους, ταύτης δὲ ἐχομένη ἡ Μελεάγρου, τελευταία δὲ τῶν βασιλικῶν ἰλῶν ἧς Ἡγέλοχος ὁ Ἱπποστράτου ἰλάρχης ἦν. ξυμπάσης δὲ τῆς ἵππου τῶν ἑταίρων Φιλώτας ἦρχεν ὁ Παρμενίωνος.

΄Αρριανοῡ ΄Αλεξάνδρου ΄Ανάβασις Βιβλίον Γ’,11

Alexander’s army was marshaled as follows: The right wing was held by the cavalry Companions, in front of whom had been posted the royal squadron, commanded by Kleitos, son of Dropidas. Near this was the squadron of Glaucias, next to it that of Ariston, then that of Sopolis, son of Hermodoros, then that of Heraclides, son of Antiochos. Near this was that of Demetrios, son of Althaemenes, then that of Meleagros, and last one of the royal squadrons commanded by Hegelochos, son of Hippostratos. And Philotas led the whole of the companion cavalry, the son of Parmenion.

Arrian, Alexander Anabasis, Book III,11

It is obvious from the text that Sopolis was a high standing member of the Macedonian aristocracy and his son Hermolaos was one of Alexander’s Royal Pages (Βασιλικοί Παίδες/Basilikoi Paides). Hermolaos later became involved in the “pages conspiracy” and was executed for it.

Sopolis, the Macedonian aristocrat and cavalry leader was not the only man with that name that left his mark in history. Several other men by this name have come down to us. One of them is mentioned by Isocrates/Ισοκράτης, the celebrated Athenian speech writer of antiquity. Isocrates is the man who wrote the Panegyric speech and the letters addressed to Philip II and to Alexander the Great of Macedonia, urging each of them to unite all other Greeks under their leadership and lead them on an expedition against the Persian empire.

In Isocrates’ Aeginiticos/Αίγινητικός, probably the best of his forensic speeches, we hear of a man born of an Athenian father and a mother from the island of Seriphos, in the Cyclades.

9] μετὰ δὲ ταῦτ’ ἔγημεν ἐκ Σερίφου παρ’ ἀνθρώπων πολὺ πλείονος ἀξίων ἢ κατὰ τὴν αὑτῶν πόλιν, ἐξ ἧς ἐγένετο Σώπολις καὶ Θρασύλοχος καὶ θυγάτηρ ἡ νῦν ἐμοὶ συνοικοῦσα.

Iσοκράτους Αιγινητικός,

9] After this, he married a woman of Seriphos, belonging to a family of greater consequence than might be expected of a native of their island. Of this marriage were born Sopolis, Thrasylochos, and a daughter, who is my wife.

Isocrates, Aeginiticus, translation by George Norlin

The name Sopolis also appears in art, namely in theater. In the second century AD, Lucian(os) of Samosata (Λουκιανός o Σαμοσατεύς) writes his comedy Lexiphanes, where one of main characters appears to be a man named Sopolis:

ΣΩΠΟΛΙΣ Τί δὲ νοσεῖ, ὦ Λυκῖνε, Λεξιφάνης;

SOPOLIS Lycinos, what is the matter with Lexiphanes?

ΛΥΚΙΝΟΣ Αὐτὰ ταῦτα, ὦ Σώπολι. οὐκ ἀκούεις οἷα φθέγγεται; καὶ ἡμᾶς τοὺς νῦν προσομιλοῦντας καταλιπὼν πρὸ χιλίων ἐτῶν ἡμῖν διαλέγεται διαστρέφων τὴν γλῶτταν καὶ ταυτὶ τὰ ἀλλόκοτα συντιθεὶς καὶ σπουδὴν ποιούμενος ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς, ὡς δή τι μέγα ὄν, εἴ τι ξενίζοι καὶ τὸ καθεστηκὸς νόμισμα τῆς φωνῆς παρακόπτοι.


Αὐτὰ ταῦτα, ὦ Σώπολι. οὐκ ἀκούεις οἷα φθέγγεται; καὶ ἡμᾶς τοὺς νῦν προσομιλοῦντας καταλιπὼν πρὸ χιλίων ἐτῶν ἡμῖν διαλέγεται διαστρέφων τὴν γλῶτταν καὶ ταυτὶ τὰ ἀλλόκοτα συντιθεὶς καὶ σπουδὴν ποιούμενος ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς, ὡς δή τι μέγα ὄν, εἴ τι ξενίζοι καὶ τὸ καθεστηκὸς νόμισμα τῆς φωνῆς παρακόπτοι.


This indeed is the matter, Sopolis, don’t you hear what he says? He leaves us his contemporaries, and goes a thousand years off to talk to us, which he does by twisting his tongue and exercising in fact extraordinary ways—taking pride on this in fact, as if it were a great thing to disguise as a stranger yourself, and mutilate the currency of conversation.

Lexiphanes by Lucianus 2nd c AD / Λουκιανού Λεξιφάνης, Β’ αιων μΧ.

The Greek epigraphic record is full of mentions of men with this name. We chose a few from very different places. The first is from Athens and it is a list of names of athletes and their respective sport that they won first place:

Regions : Attica (IG I-III) : Attica

IG II² 2313

Att. — Athens: Akr. — 194/3

lines 26-31, only, where Sopolis appears]

Ἀλ]κ[α]ῖος Λευκίππου Ἀλικαρνασ[σεύς]


— — —ς Ἡγησιάνακτος Κολοφώνιος


Ἀρισ]ταῖος Σωπόλιδος Ζμυρναῖος


Alcaeos son of Leukipos an Alicarnaseus


— — —s son of Hegesianax a Colophontian


Aristaios son of Sopolis a Smyrnaian.

Pangration wrestling

From the city of Eretria, on the island of Euboea, is the following inscription:

IG XII,9 249

Euboia (IG XII,9) : Eretria

Λάκ[εθ]ε[ν]· Σώπολις Φιλίππου.

Φίλιππος Σωπόλιδος. . . .

ἐκ Κωμαιῶν·

Σώπολις Σωκρίτο(υ).


from Lakei

Sopolis son of Philippos

Philippos son of Sopolis

from Komai

Sopolis son of Socritos

From the Tamyne

From Thessaly:

SEG 16:375

Thessaly (IG IX,2) : Malis

Σώπολις Εὐκ-


Sopolis son of Euk-


From the city of Didyma, with its celebrated temple of Apollon, close to Ephesos, in what is now Turkey, comes a dedicative plaque to a man, named Sopolis that helped built the temple:

Didyma 179


Σώπολις Ἀντιγόνου τοῦ Εὐκράτου

προνοήσας τῆς οἰκοδομίας τοῦ ναοῦ

Sopolis son of Antigonos from the town of Eucratis

who oversaw the building of the temple

South of Ephesos and Didina, but still in ionia, in the city of Miletos we encounter a long list of Greek names, of the eponymous crown-carriers (stephanephoroi) at the temple of Apollo during the second part of the first cBC:

Regions : Asia Minor : Ionia, Miletos 108

List of eponymous stephanephoroi from 53/2 to 18/7 BC; cut

annually: *Milet I 3, 126 (PH). Ion. — Ephesos(?) — Kat.23 — Milet I 3, 126

Πραξίας Πραξίου

Ἀριστέας Λυσιμάχου

Σώπολις Λυσιμάχου,

Διονύσιος Ἑκαταίου

Λυσίμαχος Λυσιμάχου

Σώπολις Ἀντιγόνου

Ἡγήμανδρος Ἡγημάνδρου

Praxias son of Praxias

Aristeas son of Lysimachos

Sopolis son of Lysimachos ,

Dionysios son o Hecataios

Lysimachos son of Lysimachos

Sopolis son of Antogonos

Hegemandros son of Hegemandros

Further north, by the Crimean peninsula (Chersonesos), close to Kherson of modern Ukraine, a man named Sopolis appears on an inscription as the husband of a woman named Arkeso:

Regions : North Shore of the Black Sea

NEPKh II 125

N. Black Sea — Chersonesos — 3rd c. BC

Ἀρκ̣ε̣σ̣ὼ̣ Ιπ․․․․λ̣[ι]ος

Σω̣π̣[ό]λιος̣ γυ̣ν̣ὰ

ἱ̣ε̣ρ̣ᾶ̣[ι] Σ̣ω̣τ̣[ε]ί̣[ρ]α̣ι̣.

Arkeso daughter of Hip….lis

wife of Sopolis

to the holy Savior

Ιn the Sicilian city of Segesta/Σεγέστα, close to Palermo, the ancient Panormos/Πάνορμος, we locate a funerary plaque dedicated by a son to his mother:

Sicily, Sardinia, and neighboring Islands

Regions : Sicily, Italy, and the West (IG XIV) : Sicily, IGLPalermo 47

Sikelia — Segesta — 2nd c. BC — IG XIV 288ii

Σώπολις Φαλάκ[ρου τ]ὰν αὐτοῦτα ματέρα

— — — —]αν Φαλ[ακρ]ίαν εὐνοίας ἕνεκα.

Sopolis son of Phalacros to his own mother

— — — —]an Phalacrian for the sake of benevolence/good will.

Another Sicilian man appears on an inscription found Delphi, in Central Greece:

FD III 4:127[2]


Σώπολις Νουμηνίου Συ[ρακόσιος]· …

Sopolis son of Noumenios a Syracusan;…

Southeast of Sicily, in the Greek city of Cyrenaica/Κυρηναϊκή in Libya, yet another Sopolis appears in the epigraphic record:

Regions : Egypt, Nubia and Cyrenaïca : Cyrenaïca

SEG 20:735

Cyrenaica — Cyrene — end 4th bc

Σῶσις — — — — —

Πολιάνθης — — — — —



Χάρων — — — — —

Σώσιππος — — — — —




Πράταρχος Ἰάσονος

Σώστρατος Πρατάρχω

Ἀριστοτέλης Π̣ρ̣α̣ξιτίμω

Sostratos son of Pratarchos

Σώπατρος Ἀριστοτέλε[υς

Sopatros son of Aristoteleus

Ἀσκλαπιόδοτος Ἁλιοδώρω

Σώπολις Καρταγόρα

Asclapiodotos son of Aliadoros

Sopolis son of Kartagoras

Incidentally, Cyrenaica in Libya was also the home city of one of the most illustrious poets and literary critics of Hellenistic antiquity, Callimachos of Cyrene / Καλλίμαχος ὁ Κυρηναίος (310 BC/305 BC-240 BC). He was a prominent scholar at the Great library of Alexandria, in Egypt, under the Greek Pharaohs Ptolemaios II, Philadelphos and Ptolemaios III Euergetes. Although he never became the chief Librarian (his student Apollonios of Rhodos / Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος did, to Callimachos´ great distress), he is credited with compiling the first catalogue, called the Pinakes/Πίνακες, the Tables of all the manuscript volumes in the library of Alexandria. One of Callimachos´ famous epigrammatic poems is an epitaph, a funerary poem, for a youth that drowned in the Sea. A cenotaph, an empty tomb, was erected in his memory:

Ωφελε μηδ´ ´εγένοντο θοαί νέες ού γάρ άν ημείς

παίδα Διοκλείδου Σώπολιν εστένομεν

Νύν δ´ο μέν είν αλί που φέρεται νέκυς αντί δ´εκείνου

ούνομα και κενεόν σάμα παρερχόμεθα

Σώπολις, Καλλίμαχος

Would that swift ships had never been,

for we should not have bewailed Sopolis son of Diocleides;

but now somewhere in the sea he drifts dead,

and instead of him we pass by a name on an empty tomb.

Sopolis (An empty tomb), by Callimachus

Sopolis is not a unique Greek name, it is rather typical. As a matter of fact, numerous names of similar phonetics and etymology can be found throughout the Greek world. On a recent trip to Monastiri/Bitola, in FYROM, I bought a book Eпнграфски сведоштва за жителите на Cтибера/Epigrafski svedoshtva za zhitelite na Stybera, by the local archeologist Весна Калпаковска/Vesna Kalpakovska, on ancient epigraphy from the ancient Paionian / Macedonian city of Stybera/Στύβερα.

Stybera was originally a Paeonian city, whose population, after their inclusion by Philip II into the Macedonian state, was eventually absorbed becoming completely Hellenized. Its ruins lie in the plains midway between the modern cities of Prilep/ Περλεπἐς/Прилеп and Monastiri/Μοναστήρι-Bitola/Битола, the ancient Heracleia/Ηράκλεια. Both Prilep and Bitola, as well as Stybera, lie now within the borders of former Yugoslavia and FYROM. The area in ancient times was called Pelagonia/Πελαγονία, meaning the “great prairies”, a name derived from the word pelages/πέλαγος, signifying “a wide flat area” - in land or sea (see: archipelago). The Modern Slavic inhabitants of FYROM have in fact kept the ancient Greek name for the area, slightly altered to accommodate south-Slavic phonetics: Pelagonija/Пелагонија (same case as with the Hellenic name Macedonia/Μακεδονία which in south Slavic dialects is pronounced Makedonija/Македонија).

Searching for names similar to Sopolis, names that start with So- (Greek: Σω-), in the epigraphic record of Stybera, we soon discover some exciting finds. A funerary dedication on a marble plaque of a certain Ailianos Pantauchos who lived and died in the 3rd c AD we find the female name Sosipatra/Σωσιπάτρα (in masculine form: Sosipatros/Σωσίπατρος):

Αιλιανόν Πάνταυχον

Αιλιανή Σωσιπάτρα

η αδελφή καί οι αδελφίδεις

Μενεκράτης καί Μαξι


To Ailianos son of Pantauchos

Ailiane Sosipatra

by (his) sister and nephews

Menekrates and Maxi


Again in Stybera on a marble stele of 41-48 AD we read a long list of names of the city’s ephebe (teenage boys) who were exercising in the Gymnasion under the Ephebarch (“leader of the teenagers”, an official trainer, appointed by the city council) Epigenos son of Aperos, at the time when Treasurer (Tamias) was Paramonos son of Philippos and member of the council were Apollodoros son of Diocles, etc etc:


αλειφουσης της πολεως



κυαθω ηλιψεν δρακτω απο

ωρας τεταρτης αχρι ωρας

δεκατης πωλουμενου

τριων ανεγραψε τους εφεβους

εφεβαρχουντος Επιγενου του Απερος

ταμιευοντος Παραμονου του Φιλιπου

πρωτοσταται Απολλοδω

ρος Διοκλεως Ρουφος Απολ

λλοδωρου Παραμονος Με


and we go down the list of the names until we find the name:

Σωσιστρατος Φιλωνος

Sosistratos Philonos (Sosistratos son of Philon).

On a list of a few years later, from 74-75 AD we find a possible descendant of Sosistratos, most probably his son, named Φιλων Σωσιστρατου / Philon Sosistratou / Philon son of Sosistratos among other names such as Νεικαρχος Φιλωτα / Neikarchos son of Philotas, Απολλωνιος Ευβουλιδου / Apollonios son of Euboulides, Επιγενης Παρμενιωνος / Epigenes son of Parmenion and Ευτυχος Κλεαρχου / Eutychos son of Klearchos, etc etc.

Then on a similar list of the city’s ephebe from 74-75 AD, among such poetic Greek names as Αντιγονος Ολυμπιαδου (Antigonos son of Olympiades) and Υμνος Ερωτος / Hymnos son of Eros (a very poetic name, incidentally, whose name in Greek can also be read as: “Hymn to Eros”) we find also a certain Παραμονος Σωσιστρατου / Paramonos Sosistratou (Paramonos son of Sosistratos).

In Stybera, among the more than 300 or so names that the epigraphists have been able to discover, we encounter several other Greek names that start with So- / Σω-. Besides the ones mentioned above, we also find: Aιλιανή Σωσιπάτρα / Ailiane Sosipatra (daughter of Sosipatras) and Διονύσιος Σωπάτρου / Dionysios Sopatrou (son of Sosipatros).

Let us isolate for a moment these two names, along with Sosistratos which we encountered above and look at them closer. The similarities between Sopolis, Sopatras, Sosipatros and Sosistratos are obvious and striking: So-polis, So-patras Sosi-patros, Sosi-stratos.

Polis/Πόλις in Greek means city and patros/πατρός means father in the genitive form. Nominative:pater/πατήρ – genitive:patros/πατρός, as it appears in Anti-patros/Ἄντίπατρος (better known in English as: Antipater). Antipatros/ Ἄντίπατρος, a famous Macedonian name, was the name of of Alexander the Great´s viceroy). Stratos/Στρατός means army. The word Strategos/Στρατηγός means the leader of the army, and hence the word strategy, the art of leading an army to victory.

To be more precise, we open a dictionary of the Greek language and we find the nown Sos / Σώς (which in various ancient Greek dialects also appears as Soos / Σώος and Saos / Σάος) which means: safe, sound, someone that keeps far and away from danger. Polis/πόλις, as we said earlier means city. I hardly need to explain this word. It has entered many other languages. The American cities Indianapolis and Minneapolis, the Brazilian cities Florianopolis and Petrópolis, Istambul (paraphrase of Constantinoupolis/Κωνσταντινούπολις) and Gelibolu (paraphrase of KallipolisΚαλλίπολις) in Turkey, Lazaropolis/ЛАЗАРОПОЛЕ/Λαζαρόπολη in FYROM, Plovdiv/Пловдив (a paraphrase of Philipoupolis/Φιλιππούπολις), Actopol/Акторол (Actopolis/Ακτόπολις) in Bulgaria, Tarabulus/Tripolis/Τρίπολις in Lebanon, Libya and also in Greece, Napoli of Italy (Neapolis/Νεάπολις) and also again in Greece, Simferopol/Сімферополь/Симферополь (Symferoupolis/Συμφερούπολις) in Ucraine and also Alexandroupolis/Αλεξανδρούπολις in Greece, all have one thing in common: they are all cities containing this word in the end: Polis, meaning city. On top of that, we also keep in mind how Greeks name the fort on the upper part of a city of any city, but most famously the one in Athens: Acropolis/Ακρόπολις (acron + polis) meaning “the citadel”.

Sopolis/Σώπολις now makes perfect sense: it is “He who saves (protects) the city”: Sopolis=Savior-of-the-city!

Likewise, Sopatros, Sopatras and the variant Sosipatros all mean savior/protector of his father. Sosistratos / Σωσίστρατος (Sos + stratos = army) means savior of the army.

In Stybera we encounter yet more similar sounding Greek names :

We find a certain Lysis Sosistratou / Λύσις Σωσιτράτου / Lysis son of Sosistratos : Lysis is the first name and and it appears in nominative form while the patronym Sosistratos appears in genitive: Sosistratou (the patronym in Greek always appears in the genitive form : i.e. Alexandros Philippou (son of Philippos). In Greek onomastics the patronym played the role of today’s last name.

Still in Stybera, in Vesna Kalpakovska´s informative book we find still more marble inscriptions with names such as: Παράμoνος Σωσιστράτου / Paramonos Sosistratou / paramonos son of Sosistratos, Σωσιας Ευβουλίδου / Sosias Euboulidou, Sosias son of Euboulides, Σωσιας Λυσία / Sosias Lysia, Σωσίας Διοσκουρίδου / Sosias Dioskouridou / Φίλων Σωσιτράτου / Philon Sosistratou.

We open Ioannes Stamatakos’ monumental Lexicon of the Ancient Greek Language (Lexicon tes Archaeas Hellenikes Glosses, Athens, 1971) and a river of names runs out of it that comes to join Sopolis / Σώπολις:

Sozon / Σώζων=the one who saves.

Sosias / Σωσίας=the one who has been saved.

Sosas / Σώσας=he who has saved someone.

Sobios / Σώβιος=the savior of life (Sos=savior + bios=life).

This name also appears as: Sosibios / Σωσίβιος.

(Sosibio / Σωσίβιο (sos+bios=life) is incidentally the word used in modern Greek for “life jacket”, the life-saving floating devise found on boats).

Sogenes / Σωγένης=the savior of the family-tribe (Sos+genos=tribe/family).

This name also appears as Sosigenes / Σωσιγένης

Sodemos / Σώδημος=the savior of the people (Sos+demos=people).

This name also appears as Sosidamos / Σωσίδαμος and Sosidemos / Σωσἰδημος.

Sophilos / Σώφιλος = the one who saves his friends

Sophron / Σώφρων=the one who has safe mind (prudent) (Sos+Phren=mind).

This name also appears as: Σωφρώνιος.

Sotimos / Σώτιμος=savior/protector of the honor (Sos+time´/τιμή=honor).

Sotheos / Σώθεος=savior/protector of the Gods (Sos+Theos/Θεός=God) or, more loosely, of the religion.

Sosandros / Σώσανδρος=savior or men (Sos+aner/ανήρ [genitive: Andros/ανδρός]=man).

Soterios / Σωτήριος=of the Savior.

Socrates / Σωκράτης = the one who saves (holds, controls) his strength (Sos+kratos=strength).

This of course is also the name of the Athenian philosopher, Socrates, the teacher of Plato, who put the foundations of Western Philosophy.

Somachos / Σώμαχος=the one who saves/protects in battle (Sos+mache/μάχη=battle).

Sooikos / Σώοικος=savior/protector of the home (Sos+oikos=home).

This name appears also as Sooekides / Σωοικίδης.

Sopatros / Σώπατρος=savior of his father (Sos+patros/πατρός=father).

Sostratos / Σώστρατος=savior of the army (Sos+stratus/στρατός=army).

Soter / Σωτήρ=Savior (a prosonym of Ptolemaios I – Soter Πτολεμαίος Α’ – Σωτήρ (The savior), given to him by the Rodians for saving them through his assistance during the siege by Demetrios Poliorketes. The same prosonym was also given to the King of Seleucid Syria Antiochos I, Soter (The savior) /Αντίοχος Α΄ Σωτήρ (324 -261 BC) for his defeat of the Gauls in 275, by the appreciative Ionians.

Soter / Σωτήρ=Savior is now as a prosonym for Christ – The Savior, in Italian: Salvatore, in Spanish: Salvador). The early Christians used the fish as a symbol of their faith, along with the cross. This is because in Greek fish is called Ichthys and it is spelled as: ΙΧΘΥΣ. It was used as an acronym for Ιησούς Χριστός Θεού Υιός Σωτήρ -Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, meaning: Jesus Christ God´s Son Savior: Soter / Σωτήρ=Savior.

Sopolis/Σώπολις as the literary and epigraphic record indicates is not a name found exclusively in Macedonia. It is a typical Greek name used throughout the Hellenic speaking word, from Athens to Macedonia to the southern Aegean and from Asia Minor and Syria to Southern Italy. The Greek name Sopolis has obviously no connection whatsoever with the Slavic root “sopol” (a strong spring), as professor Donski claims. If he insists, we will have to ask him to find a Slavonic meaning for all the other “So-“/Σω and “-polis”/πολις derived Greek names, starting with Socrates/Σωκράτης, and Amphipolis/Αμφίπολις and continuing with all the names we found at Stybera.

If he had looked into it a bit further, he would have found that the Bulgarian (and Slavomacedonski) word “sopol/сопол” he is thinking about, is derived from the Old Church Slavonic vъ-slěpljǫ, which is also related to Slavonic*solpъ and Slovenian slâp meaning “waterfall, surge”; Also to Slavic *selpjǫ, *sьlpati `spring’ in ds., Infin. and to Church Slavonic slьpati. The original root/lemma, according to Julius Pokorny´s Indo-European Dictionary is: sel-4, which means “to spring”. The Slavonic vъ-slěpljǫ is distantly related to the Latin word saltus “sprung”, and curiously also to salax “horny, lustful”, to the Lithuanian word sálti “flow” and to the Greek ἅλλομαι “spring” from (*seli̯ō), ep. Aor. ἆλτο, Verbaln. and ἅλμα “Sprung”, the jump.

It is obvious that professor Donski has the wrong “sopol/сопол” in mind.

The Greek name Sopolis/Σώπολις on the other hand is derived from a completely different root. We look at Pokorny again as our source. The original meaning is derived from the Indo-European root / lemma: tēu-, tǝu-, teu̯ǝ-, tu̯ō-, tū̆- ,, meaning “to swell” but later acquiring the connotation of “being strong”. Material, according to Julius Pokorny´s Indogermanisches Etymologisches Woerterbuch is as follows:

Greek σάος (kypr. ΣαFοκλέFης), Kompar. σαώτερος, contracted ion. att. σῶς, σῶος `heil, unversehrt; certainly’ (from *tu̯ǝ-u̯o-s); compare M. Leumann Gedenkschrift Kretschmer II 8 f.; in addition hom. σα(F)όω, hom. att. σώζω (*σωΐζω), Fut. σώσω `retten, receive’, σωτήρ `Retter’ etc; (`voll an Körper = fit, healthy’); σῶμα n. `body’ (*tu̯ō-mṇ `Gedrungenes’), σωματόω `fest make, verdichten’; σώ-φρων (*σαό-φρων) `fit, healthy an Geist, vernünftig’; This, as we find in Pokorny, is in turn related to Old Indian tavīti “strong, in battle”, and tavás- `strong, stalwart ‘, tavásā meaning “power, strength”; taviṣá- “strong”, Avestani Persian tavah- n. “power, force”.

How would someone translate Sopolis into a Slavonic Language? In one case at least they left it un-translated, as it happened with the Black Sea town of Sozopol/Созорол/Sozopolis/Σωζόπολις, the ancient Greek city of Apollonia/Απολλωνία. Apollonia during Byzantium was renamed Sozopolis/Σωζόπολις an etymological counterpart to Sopolis (Sozopolis refers to the city, “saved or protected by the Savior” while Sopolis refers to “the man who saves/protects the city”). After its incorporation into Bulgaria, following the Balkan wars, its Greek inhabitants were exchanged for Bulgarians who left Greece, during the 1920´s population exchange between Greece and Bulgaria. Sozopol/Sozopolis the Savior – city, is now a Black Sea resort, only a few kilometers south of Varna/Варна, Bulgaria´s main port city. If I were to translate Sopolis, in Slavic, Russian in particular, I would probably use the words Город /Gorod or Грaд/Grad for city and Cпас/Spas or Cпасител/Spasitel, both meaning savior. As I understand an exact monolectic expression does not exist in Russian. We can probably say: Spasitel Goroda/Сраситель Города. We actually in the same situation if we try to translate Sopolis/Σώπολις in English, since we will be forced to use at least either two or four words to convey the meaning of Sopolis: “City Savior”, or “Savior Of The City”. If I were to translate the expression Σωτήρ Νεαπόλεως/Soter Neapoleos, to use another example, meaning Savior of the New-city, in Russian, the words I would use would be Cпас/Spas or Cпасител/Spasitel for Savior and Но́вгород /Novgorod for New-City. Finally, Ιησούς Χριστός Σωτήρ/Iesous Christos Soter, Jesus Christ Savior translated into Bulgarian would give us: Иисус Xpистoс Cпасител/Iesous Christos Spasitel.

When I recently visited FYROM, I visited the main national Museum, which is built on the acropolis of Skopje, across from an old Turkish motel, next to the city´s medieval castle. There is also a church nearby, in Skopje´s kule, (kule=Turkish for “castle”) on thus hill which is overlooking Skopje. The church is named after Sveti Spas/Cвeти Спас, the Holy Savior. In the courtyard of the Sveti Spas church is the tomb of Gotche Deltchev/Гоце Делчев (1872-1903). Gotche Deltchev is revered equally by both Bulgarians and Slavomakedontsi as being the well-known Bulgarian komitatzi and revolutionary who organized against the Ottomans, and was killed in the service of Bulgaria´s irredentist interests. Someone could now easily argue that this hero/protector of Bulgarism, eternally resting on Skopje-grad/Скопје-град´s Acropolis, is FYROM´s adopted Bulgarian Sopolis, FYROM´s own Spacitel´ Goroda / Cпасител´ Городa / State-Savior.

The only problem I see in this is that Nikola Gruevski/Никола Груевски, the corrupt, chauvinistic and dictatorial Pseudo-Makedonist prime minister of FYROM is already vying for the title!


ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ: The coin at the beginning of the article is of the Greek King of Bactria (Modern Afghanistan Pakistan and Northern India) Menandros/Μένανδρος (Menander in English, Milinda in Hindu texts) (155-130 BC). The legend reads: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΜΕΝΑΝΔΡΟΥ (BASILEOS SOTEROS MENANDROU), of KING SAVIOR MENANDROS. The Bactrian kingdom, known also as Indo-Greek Kingdom, was set up after the break-up of the empire of Alexander the Great and it was for centuries a beacon of Hellenism in South Asia. It outlasted all other Hellenistic kingdoms, and was finally conquered by the Scythians about 30BC.

Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great, by Heckel, Waldemar (ed). Blackwell Publishing, 2005

΄Αρριανού ΄Αλεξάνδρου ΄Ανάβασις / Alexander Anabasis by Arrian

Aeginiticos by Isocrates / Ισοκράτους Λόγοι, Δικανικοί Λόγοι, Αίγινητικός

Λουκιανού Λεξιφάνης / Lexiphanes by Lucianus

Callimachus, Hymns and Epigrams

Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Ed.

Eпнграфски сведоштва за жителите на Cтибера, by Весна Калпаковска, Bitola, 2004

Λεξικόν τής Αρχαίας Ελληνικής Γλώσσης, Ιωάννης Σταματάκος,Athens, 1971

Indogermanisches Etymologisches Woerterbuch, by Julius Pokorny, 1959

Руско Aнлийуский Cловарь / Russian-English dictionary by V.K. Mueller and S.K. Boyanus, Moscow, 2004

Source: AmericanChronicle

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