The Word Of The Day.

Today’s word for the day is sporadic.

Sporadic (adj.)-Occasional, occurring at intervals, scattered or dispersed.

Derived from the Greek σποριξ, from the island Sporadia in the Aegean sea. The Sporad were a militant people who occasionally declared war on the Athenians. They were admired for their prowess in battle but just as often mocked for forgetting to show up.

The Sporad appear briefly in both Homeric epics. In The Iliad they are a phalanx of soldiers who switch from Agamemnon’s side to Paris’s then back again before moving out of the battle entirely. They then organize a sacrificial rite but can’t decide which god they should honor. Early on in The Odyssey they attempt to offer directions to Odysseus but can’t remember which way Ithaka is.

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5 Comments

  1. Chuck Baudelaire

    I had no idea. Also, this is funny because just last night we were discussing the origins of “Pyrrhic victory.” We should totally get together sometime and discuss dead Greek people who became words!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yes! And “Pyrrhic victory” is such a great expression but I hope to never be in one. Then there was the time in my Latin class that the teacher talked about the defeated soldiers of Troy being attacked by bird women, and a guy in the class said, “They weren’t wearing their Trojans so they got harpies?”
      Class was over at that point.

      Reply
  2. Ann Koplow

    I am descended from the ancient Consistikus — natural enemies of the Sporad — so it’s no surprise that I’m consistently pleased with your posts.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The Consistikus were fascinating people, and I’m debating whether to write about them or the Anathemos, who hated everything, next.

      Reply
      1. Ann Koplow

        I’m sure I’ll be pleased, either way.

        Reply

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