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DML Omnipedia stuff



Jeff Poling wants an explanation of the name Crocodylia.
The English word "crocodile" goes back to the Greek word
"kroko'dilos" (long iota, sometimes spelled -ei-).  According to
the great Greek-English Lexicon of Liddell & Scott, revised by
Jones (LSJ), it's originally an Ionic Greek word for "lizard"--
citing Herodotus 2.69 (who says:  The Egyptians do not use the
name "crocodile" for the animal, but "champsa."  The Ionians
called them crocodiles because they thought their forms like th
e lizards that in their own country live in the dry-stone walls.
[tr. David Grene]).  LSJ says it's used of the desert monitor,
genus _Varanus_, of other lizards (citing the Septuagint translation
of Leviticus 11.29, where it must mean "lizard" although the
King James Version has "tortoise"); of the crocodile found in
the Nile, also in Indian rivers. (Herodotus 4.44 mentions the
crocodiles in the Indus River; Herodotus 2.68-70 was the classic
description of crocodiles, followed closely by Aristotle; possibly
Herodotus took some of this from Hecataeus of Miletus [c. 500 B.C.].
According to Herodotus 2.154 the Ionians helped Psammetichus I
take power [c. 664--Dynasty XXVI], so the Greek use of the word
for "lizard" for "crocodile" may go back to that period.)

George Pesely, Austin Peay State University <peselyg@lynx.apsu.edu>