Enualios or Enyalius (Ἐνυάλιος) is, in Homer and other Greek authors, either an epithet of the war god Ares or else the name of a separate god, the son of Ares and brother or partner of Enyo (whose name seems to come from his). The name appears as early as Mycenaean, where it seems to refer to a separate god. What is the source of his name?

Chantraine says "no etymology, probably pre-Greek", but the name looks like a well-formed Greek prepositional compound: en-ualios would be "the one in the hualos". This word ὕαλος has several meanings: it later comes to mean "glass", but earlier on seems to have referred to some kind of crystalline stone, possibly alabaster, but also possibly to amber; and Hesychius gives an additional gloss equating it with βόρβορος "mire, mud, filth". None of these gives a clear meaning for the name, though: "the one in the crystal/stone/amber/mire" are not particularly obvious names for a war god.

Are there any good theories out there about the etymology of this name?


1 Answer 1


You should also consider the PIE preposition

e̯neu without

which could be contracted to e̯nu- if used as a prefix.

and then in PIE we have

a̯elios other

  • So e̯nua̯elios looks like somebody without others (loner?).

And this can be supported by the tradition:

(...) one tradition derived it from a Thracian Enyalius, who received into his house those only who conquered him in single combat, and for the same reason refused to receive Ares, but the latter slew him. (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 673.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith).


So here is the account by Eustathius (although it seems he in turn refers to Arianos):

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While exact sound changes for Thracian are unknown, the sound changes from PIE to Dacian, a closely related language, often considered a dialect of Thracian or vise versa, and spoken in Thrace as well, bring exactly this form. The known differences between Thracian and Dacian do not affect this. As such, PIE e̯nua̯elios would give enualios in both Thracian and Dacian.

  • 1
    Αre you thinking of Greek ἄνευ? How do you get from /a/ to /e/?
    – fdb
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 9:06
  • @fdb well I do not know how to get from PIE h1 to Greek ἄ. In PIE it was h1. Note that the name is probably not of Greek origin, but Thracian, which is another IE language, so Greek laws not necessarily apply. For the PIE look here for instance: phil.muni.cz/linguistica/art/blazek/bla-001.pdf
    – Anixx
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 9:08
  • 3
    "Greek laws do not apply" means you have no explanation. Do you know any Thracian sound laws?
    – fdb
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 9:11
  • 1
    Yes, but *lio becomes llo in Greek.
    – fdb
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 9:24
  • 2
    I cannot discuss a language for which there is virtually no evidence.
    – fdb
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 9:41

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