In which we plumb the depths of my academic geekery

So, the word demon (or more precisely, “daimon“) in Greek originally meant “knowledge,” “divine power,” or something along those lines. Now, I was doing my Latin homework last week, and when translating a brief Cicero passage about the battle of Thermopylae, I noticed that the Latin word for Sparta was LacedaemonLakedaimon in the Greek. With the word “daimon” in there, I have to wonder what the rest of the town’s name translates to. I haven’t been able to find anywhere online where people discuss what the prefix “Lake-” means in ancient Greek. Something about the Spartans or Sparta itself gained it an appellation with the word “knowledge” or “divine power” in it, and I’m curious to know what the rest of the name means.

Apparently the mythological Lakedaimon was one of Zeus’s many sons, but I’m not sure whether he was devised to explain the origins of Sparta, or that the Spartans named their town after his legend. In either case, does anyone know what “Lake-” means?

First person to say “a body of water surrounded by land on all sides” gets smacked. As we all know, “knowledge of lakes” is the meaning of the word “Minnesotan,” not “Lakedaimonian.”

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