Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025128, Wed, 26 Feb 2014 20:33:34 -0300

"Ampelis", sampels and Gradus
This cannot be a coincidence! There is a direct link between the sampel, the waxwing and the assassin Gradus, or that’s what it appears to me at this first (too enthusiastic and hasty) glance through the Spanish/Portuguese word “ampelis”. I don't know many details that teach how to distinguish different kinds of grapes and vines (Vinograd: grape) but, following Victor Fet's information a few years ago at the VN-L, I think we'll find that vines are related to Shade Hall, because it was formely named "Parthenocyssus Hall"(?)*.
(All of this must all be investigated more thoroughly at the Nab-L archives and in PF itself. My memory isn't very precise… )

I decided to check, initially, the ethymology of "ampelis" (waxwing) in Portuguese. I discovered, from a very reliable source,** that it's an originally hebraic word for "small vine."

Next, I came to an information about Greek mythology related to the Ampelis and the Hamadryads (please note the names of the other tree-nymphs, or a tree-butterfly and a baboon, associated to their mother...)

Here's a summary obtained thru Wikipedia:
A hamadryad is a Greek mythological being that lives in trees. They are a particular type of dryad, which in turn are a particular type of nymph. Hamadryads are born bonded to a particular tree. Some believe that hamadryads are the actual tree, while normal dryads are simply the entities, or spirits, of the trees. If the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well. For that reason, dryads and the gods punished any mortals who harmed trees. The Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus lists eight Hamadryads, the daughters of Oxylus and Hamadryas:

Karya (Walnut or Hazelnut)
Balanos (Oak)
Kraneia (Dogwood)
Morea (Mulberry)
Aigeiros (Black Poplar)
Ptelea (Elm)
Ampelos (Vines, especially Vitis)
Syke (Fig)

Their mother, Hamadryas, is immortalized in the name of two genera: that of the Cracker butterfly, and that of the northernmost monkey in Asia Minor, the Hamadryas baboon. The Cracker Butterfly is more arboreal than most butterflies, as it commonly camouflages itself on trees. It feeds not on nectar but on sap, rotting fruit and dung. The Hamadryas baboon however is one of the least arboreal monkeys but it was the most common monkey in Hellenic lands.

Hamadryad is referenced as a whole in Edgar Allan Poe's poem, "Sonnet To Science." Hamadryad is referenced in Anthony Ashley Cooper's (The Third Earl of Shaftesbury)Characteristics (1714: Treatise 4 Part 3 Section 1). In Aldous Huxley's "Crome Yellow" Anne Wimbush is referred to as "the slim Hamadryad whose movements were like the swaying of a young tree in the wind." Both hamadryads and dryads exist in C.S. Lewis's Narnia.

Promising material, no?


* - "Jakob Gradus called himself variously Jack Degree or Jacques de Grey, or James de Gray, and also appears in police records as Ravus, Ravenstone, and d’Argus. Having a morbid affection for the ruddy Russia of the Soviet era, he contended that the real origin of his name should be sought in the Russian word for grape, vinograd, to which a Latin suffix had adhered, making it Vinogradus."
I couldn’t find the lines about Shade Hall and its original name in my copy of PF.

**https://archive.org/stream/AntenorNascentesDicionaroEtimologicoDaLinguaPortuguesaTomoI/DicionarioEtimolgicoDaLinguaPortuguesa_djvu.txtAMPELIDACEA — Do gr. ampelis, ampelídos, pequeña vinha, voc. de origem hebraica (Lagarde, Bpisacq), e suf. ácea; neol. de Kunth.
(Antenor Nascentes, Dicionário Etimologico da Lingua Portuguesa)

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