Tuesday, 6 September 2011

₪ Mr Portokalos and the Golden Apple.

Warning: This article might contain strong, coarse, and foul language among other profanities and politically incorrect remarks. 
If you are easily offended, you should drink some vinegar and bite your thumb click away on the Bright Side of the Internet.

"The Torture of Tantalus"
Gioacchino Assereto
September has always been my favorite time of the year. Autumn brings a fresh air of mental revivification after summertime and reboots our system for the new season. Among other things, I had one more reason to expect the fall, and that would be a new pair of shoes.
Aunt Stella wasn't so well off, but to me, she always seemed like a millionaire. She would send a huge parcel to her sisters back in Greece, with many goodies for all the family to share, including the Holy Grail of every 10 years old boy back in the nineties; the latest Jordans. They are the most typical Greek-American family that someone could describe: they have two kids, own a diner, live in Astoria in Queens, and my uncle's name is Gus. Sounds familiar?

"Give me a word, any word, and I'll show you that the root of that word is Greek! Kimono, kimono, kimono... Ha! Of course! Kimono is coming from the Greek word himona, it means winter. So, what do you wear in the wintertime to stay warm? A robe. You see; Robe, Kimono."

 Mister Portokalos, was wrong, but he's so cute, that I feel we could forget his effort to
Hellenise every word he finds interesting. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a huge success, and I don't think I have ever met anyone that hasn't liked the film. A romantic story about an American and a Greek falling in love, and their families that come from two completely different worlds. The brilliant screenwriter and talented actress Nia Vardalos; manages to depict with humor how a Greek family is. The most interesting character though, is the father; who sets his core beliefs aside, just to see his daughter happy. On the wedding scene close at the end of the film, Mr. Portokalos says:

"You know, the root of the word Miller is a Greek word. Miller comes from the Greek word "milo", which means "apple", so there you go. As many of you know, our name, Portokalos, comes from the Greek word "portokali" which means "orange". So, okay? Here tonight, we have, ah, apple and orange. We all different, but in the end..; we all fruits."

"Dionysus & Eros entwined in a Vine"
Mosaic in Thysdrus, Tunis
 Portokalos was once again wrong. There are thousands of Greek words in most western languages, but this doesn't mean that all words meet their etymology in the Greek language, and we have to be careful with that to avoid any mockery, and break the stereotype that wants the Greeks Hellenising everything.
Interestingly enough though he got close, but he kinda messed up the fruits. Portokáli is Greek for orange indeed, but the term is a loanword from the Romance languages, owing its name to the Kingdom of Portugal which introduced it to the rest in Europe.
Besides, Mr. Portokalos failed to explain in depth what is happening with the Apples which are of Greek etymology, and to cover other aspects of the word. The term comes from the Old English Æppel meaning fruit, through Proto-Germanic Æpal and ultimately from Proto-Hellenic Ampelos meaning grape, vineyard.

 Despite being a comical character, Gus Portokalos is a dramatic figure in my opinion. He left his homeland with nothing in his pockets and went to another country for a better life. A man that wouldn't see or hear anything again from home, a stranger amongst strangers, with nostalgia and sorrow in his heart, that denied himself of his life in Greece for a better future. Not his future; but the one of his children. Mr. Portokalos is everybody. Millions of men and women around the world, that took with them the greatest asset they were given since birth; their cultural heritage. It is our language, our customs, our traditions. It is the way we hug and smile when we see upon each other, and I wouldn't know it until I left for another country too.

 Along with that, I realized that in time, develops a line that separates the Greeks that live back home, and the diaspora that is around the world. Those who left have worked really hard, and lived a frugal and moderate life, with Spartan discipline to the laws and customs of their new country. It wouldn't be wrong to say, that almost all those expatriates have succeeded in their lives; at least from a socioeconomic point of view. At the same time, the country they love the most; has done nothing all those years for them. They are completely forgotten and nonexistent until that country remembers to claim taxes for any inheritance they might get.

"The Garden of Hesperides"
Ricciardo Meacci
 What has really hurt me the most, is that my own country has deprived me of the most sacred of rights; the right to vote. To me, this is the holy fucking grail of all oxymorons; the land that gave birth to democracy denies her expatriates from electing a government. No matter how much I would protest, despite the fact that I did my military duty for almost two years and still pay a bucketload of taxes, I'm not allowed to participate on matters of State. Of my State.

 Very well then; to hell with them all, I ostracize them in my mind, for I have poisoned my soul with hate and anger for those who savage a land of light and sea for a few wee bread crumbs. However, the heart has a mind of her own; and no matter how bitter I feel sometimes, Greece is to me the very blood that runs through my veins. I so vibrantly remember that feeling that passed through my spine when my son touched for the first time the soil in Olympia and the marbles of the Parthenon; completion, relief, and above all; pride. Perhaps it takes only a Greek to understand these sentiments. Maybe we have our own way of thinking. It was the love and nostalgia for his country that led Mr. Portokalos to obsess about Hellas' greatest gift; Her language and its contribution worldwide.

Etymological Analysis

❖   Portugal

☛ The Greek term Portokali took its meaning from the Portuguese merchants that were the first ones to bring the orange in Europe. On the other hand, the etymology of Portugal is Greek, therefore; the term Portokali is twice loaned of Greek etymology. 

"Ulysse et Calypso"
Jan Brueghel

  • a.5 ∴ Portugal ‣ English ∴
  • a.4 ∵ Portyngale ‣ Medieval English ∵
  • a.3 ∵ Portus Cale ‣ Medieval Latin ∵
  • a.2 ∵ Porthmus Callos ‣ Euboean Hellenic ∵
  • a.1 ≝ Πορθμός + Κάλλος  ΠΟΡΘΜΟΣ + ΚΑΛΛΟΣ /porthmós + kállos/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵ 

☛ Porthmos is Greek and means port (which also takes its name from the same term) and Kálos means Beauty. Literally speaking; Portugal means Beautiful Harbour

❖   Apples

☛  It is noteworthy that the modern word for apple in the greek language is Μήλο (pron. mēēlo) which is also the root for many other names of fruits in the western languages. For example; melon, watermelon, cucumber, and marmalade, all owe their names to the greek language.  

"The Judgement of  Paris"
Peter Paul Rubens

  • b.7 ∴ Apple ‣ English ∴
  • b.6 ∵ Æppel ‣ Old English ∵ ☛ Fruit in general, any kind of.
  • b.5 ∵ Appel ‣ Norse / Old Frisian ∵
  • b.4 ∵ Ap(a)laz ‣ Proto-Germanic ∵
  • b.3 ∵ Abel ‣ Latin ∵
  • b.2 ∵ Abelos ‣ Euboean Hellenic ∵
  • b.1 ≝ Άμπελος  ΑΜΠΕΛΟΣ /ámpelos/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵ ☛ GrapeVineyard 

❖   Melon 

☛  In the contrary; the English "melon" takes its name from the homophonus Greek term that means "apple"

"Atalanta e Ippomene"
Guido Reni

  • c.6 ∴ Melon ‣ English ∴
  • c.5 ∵ Melon ‣ Old Frisian ∵
  • c.4 ∵ Melonem ‣ Medieval Latin  ∵
  • c.3 ∵ Melopeponem ‣ Latin ∵
  • c.2 ∵ Milopepon ‣ Euboean Hellenic 
  • c.1 ≝ Μηλοπέπον  ΜΗΛΟΠΕΠΟΝ /mēlopépon/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵ ☛ Gourd

Tip: The fruits cucumber and watermelon see their etymology from earth and water respectively. Interestingly enough, both earth and water, have greek etymology as well.

❖   Pumpkin 

☛  The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon which is Greek for "large melon", something round and large.

  • d.6 ∴ Pumpkin ‣ US English ∴
  • d.5 ∵ Pumpion ‣ Late English ∵
  • d.4 ∵ Pompon ‣ Middle French ∵
  • d.3 ∵ Peponem ‣ Latin ∵
  • d.2 ∵ Pepon ‣ Euboean Hellenic 
  • d.1 ≝ Πέπον  ΠΕΠΟΝ /pépon/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵ 

❖   Watermelon

☛ From Water + Melon (analysis of the first here. For the latter see above.)

"The Battle of Salamis"
Wilhelm von Kaulbach

  • e.7 ∴ Water ‣ English ∴
  • e.6 ∵ Wæter ‣ Old English ∵
  • e.5 ∵ Watar ‣ Proto-Germanic ∵ Old Frisian ‣ Wetir
  • e.4 ∵ Wazzar ‣ Old High German ∵ Gothic  Wato
  • e.3 ∵ Wodor / Wedor ‣ Late Dacian ∵
  • e.2 ∵ Uder ‣ Early Dacian ∵ 
  • e.1 ≝ Ὑδωρ  ὙΔΩΡ /ýðor/ ‣ Hellenic Koine  ∵  ☛ Gives prefix Hydro in English

❖   Eeorþæppla & Earth

☛ Replaced by Cucumber: From Eeorþ (earth) + Æppel (fruit) "Fruits that lay on the Ground"

Herse, Pandrosus and Aglaurus find the serpent child of Gaea
"The Discovery of the Child Erichthonius"
Herse, Pandrosus and Aglaurus find the serpent child of Gaea
Peter Paul Rubens

  • f.7 ∴ Earth ‣ English ∴
  • f.6 ∵ Erthe ‣ Middle English ∵
  • f.5 ∵ Eorþe ‣ Old English ∵
  • f.4 ∵ Iorþ ‣ Old High Saxon ∵ Old Norse ‣ Jǫrð
  • f.3 ∵ Erþō ‣ Proto-Germanic ∵ 
  • f.2 ∵ Erpo ‣ Euboean Hellenic ∵
  • f.1 ≝ Έρπω  ΕΡΠΩ /érpo/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵ ☛  Earth, Soil, on the Ground

❖   Marmalade

☛ From Meli (honey) + Mêlo (apple / fruit in general)
  • g.7 ∴ Marmalade ‣ English ∴
  • g.6 ∵ Marmelade ‣ Medieval French ∵
  • g.5 ∵ Marmelada ‣ Medieval Portuguese ∵
  • g.4 ∵ Marmelo ‣ Early Portuguese ∵ by dissimilation from Latin, ☛ Quince
  • g.3 ∵ Melimelum ‣ Latin ∵ ☛  Sweet Fruit
  • g.2 ∵ Melimelon ‣ Euboean Hellenic ∵
  • g.1 ≝ Μελίμηλον  ΜΕΛΙΜΗΛΟΝ /melimēlon/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵ 

Mosaic of a Pear Tree
Royal Palace of Pella 
❖   Pear   
  • h.8 ∴ Pear ‣ English ∴
  • h.7 ∵ Pere ‣ Old English ∵
  • h.6 ∵ Pere ‣ Old High German ∵
  • h.5 ∵ Pera / Pira  ‣ Vulgar Latin ∵
  • h.4 ∵ Pirum ‣ Latin ∵
  • h.3 ∵ Piron ‣ Italic Hellenic ∵
  • h.2 ∵ Apion ‣ Euboean Hellenic ∵
  • h.1 ≝ ἄπιον  ΑΠΙΟΝ /àpion/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵

❖   Nostalgia   

"Severe homesickness considered as a disease"

From Nostos (desire to come home) + Algos (pain, grief, suffering)
  • i.3 ∴ Nostalgia ‣ English ∴
  • i.2 ∵ Nostalgia ‣ Latin ∵
  • i.1 ≝ Νοσταλγία  ΝΟΣΤΑΛΓΙΑ /nostalyēēa/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵ 


❖   Apricot

"Original Sin"
Michiel Coxie
☛ From Prae (before, aforetime) + Cocus (seed) "Premature / hard fruit"
  • j.11 ∴ Apricot ‣ English ∴
  • j.10 ∵ Abrecock ‣ Medieval English ∵
  • j.9 ∵ Abercoc ‣ Catalan ∵
  • j.8 ∵ Albricoque ‣ Portuguese ∵
  • j.7 ∵ Albaricoque ‣ Spanish ∵
  • j.6 ∵ Albicocca ‣ Italian ∵
  • j.5 ∵ Al-Biequq / أَلْبَرْقُوق ‣ Arabic ∵
  • j.4 ∵ Bericoccum ‣ Late Latin ∵
  • j.3 ∵ Βερύκοκκον  ΒΕΡΥΚΟΚΚΟΝ /verýkokkon/ ‣ Byzantine Hellenic
  • j.2 ∵ Praecoquum ‣ Latin ∵ 
  • j.1 ≝ Πραίκοξον  ΠΡΑΙΚΟΞΟΝ /prêkoxon/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵ 

❖   Peach

☛  "Persian Apple"
  • k.8 ∴ Peach ‣ English ∴
  • k.7 ∵ Pesche ‣ Old French ∵
  • k.6 ∵ Pesca ‣ Medieval Latin ∵
  • k.5 ∵ Pessica ‣ Late Latin ∵
  • k.4 ∵ Persica ‣ Latin ∵
  • k.3 ∵ Persicum Malum ‣ Early Latin ∵
  • k.2 ∵ Persicon Melon ‣ Euboean Hellenic ∵
  • k.1 ≝ Περσικόν Μήλον  ΠΕΡΣΙΚΟΝ ΜΗΛΟΝ /persikón mēlon/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵

"Souvenir de Mouve"
Vincent van Gogh
❖   Pineapple

☛  From Pítys (pine tree) + Abelos (fruit) ☛  "Pine Fruit"
  • l.5 ∴ Pine ‣ English ∴
  • l.4 ∵ Pin ‣ Old English ∵
  • l.3 ∵ Pinus ‣ Latin ∵
  • l.2 ∵ Pitys ‣ Euboean Hellenic ∵
  • l.1 ≝ Πίτυς  ΠΙΤΥΣ /pítis/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵  ☛  Pine

❖   Pommes 

☛  "Potatoes" c.1400, apples or apple-shaped objects
  • m.7 ∴ Pommes ‣ French ∴
  • m.6 ∵ Pome ‣ Old French ∵
  • m.5 ∵ Poma ‣ Late Latin ∵
  • m.4 ∵ Pomus ‣ Latin ∵
  • m.3 ∵ Prumnus ‣ Proto-Italic ∵
  • m.2 ∵ Prumnos ‣ Euboean Hellenic ∵
  • m.1 ≝ Προῦμνος / Προῦμνον  ΠΡΟΥΜΝΟΝ /prûmnon/ ‣ Hellenic Koine ∵ 

Useful Trivia:

☛ After the consolidation of Christianity in Constantinople and consequently in all lengths and widths of the Roman Empire; the apples received a dark aura, due to the Original Sin of Adam and Eve that brought the Fall of Man according to the Catholic Church. 
As Latin was the de facto language in most of Europe, the term malum -which stands for apple- became a synonym of evil and ill will. This brought up the term Malus for a person and became the prefix of many negative words that we use today; malicious, malevolent, malnutrition, etc.

"Vertumne et Pomone"
Peter Paul Rubens