living -> ζῆν


  • Semi-Newbie
  • *
    • Posts: 1
Living, Live (imperative) -> Ζῆν, Ζῆ, Ζῆθι

My family visited Greece this year and my younger sister fell in love with its history and culture. I am making her a book for her birthday and I would like to write "live" in Ancient Greek on the front.

"Live" as a kind of command; if asked the question "What is the purpose of life?"- just "live." ie. to experience, to not waste life, to be, to enjoy life.

I would appreciate if you could teach me what "live" is in Ancient Greek, as well as how to write it.
I know there are different eras of Ancient Greek, so whatever you can provide me (one or all written forms of the word) would be much appreciated.
« Last Edit: 18 Aug, 2010, 13:32:02 by spiros »


  • Jr. Member
  • **
    • Posts: 132
    • Gender:Male
My suggestion is a very simple:


"Life" is ζωή ("zoe", like the name), the word from which you have zoo and zoology. "I live" is a simple "ζῶ", and "ζῆ" is the imperative form.

Let me add that one might also use the infinitive as an answer to the question "What is the purpose of life?". Living, i.e.

« Last Edit: 18 Sep, 2006, 05:42:43 by nickel »


  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 6306
    • Gender:Male
  • Words ail me.
An anecdotal aside:  Many years ago, in the courtyard of an ancient monastery in Greece (I can't remember where), I was shown a Byzantine sundial with the hours, of course, written as a succession of Greek letters.  An old monk pointed out to me that the hours from 11 AM to 2 PM were Z, H, Θ, and I, which spelled ζῆθι (ΖΗΘΙ in caps), meaning "live!" — an alternative to the ancient imperative ζῆ.  He meant that those were the hours that belonged to you, when you could relax from work, eat, and perhaps have a bit of a nap.
P.S.  Thanks, nickel, for the polytonic!  It works slick! 


Search Tools