Pronounced: OH-lid, adj

Notes: Another new word for me

Yesterday’s word

The word anabasis is

  • a going or marching up; advance; especially a military advance
  • a difficult and dangerous military retreat
First usage

The word came into English in the early 1700s

Background / Comments

Strange definitions; practically opposites. The word comes from Greek – the prefix ana- (up) and bainein (to go). The word in Greek meant “inland march”, and this is the origin of the first definition. The second definition came from an anabasis gone wrong; in 401 BC, Greek mercenaries fighting for Cyrus the Younger marched into the Persian Empire and found themselves cut off hundreds of miles from home. As a result, they undertook an arduous and embattled retreat across unknown territories. A Greek historian, Xenophon, was with the mercenaries on the march and wrote the epic narrative Anabasis about the experience… and the word came to mean a dramatic retreat as well as an advance.

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: