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Taos et taon grece pavo similiter et arabice taos et cetera.


Taos & taon ABC f | Thaon et thion e

pauo AB ef | pualo C

taos et cetera om. f

et cetera om. B e


Taos and taon are Greek words for Latin pavo {"peacock"}, and the Arabic word is also similar: taos, etc.


Cf. Greek ταώς /taṓs/, ταὧς /tahôs/ {internal aspiration} and ταών, /taṓn/ "peacock, Pavo cristatus". Frisk (1960-72: II.862) mentions a number of further variants. Together with Latin pavo the word is generally assumed to be loaned from some Asian language, cf. Tamil toghai. The name is onomatopoeic.

Arabic ﻄﺎﺆﻭﺱ /ṭāʔūs/ and ﻄﺎﻭﻭﺱ /ṭāwūs/ "peacock" (Wehr) shares the same source as Greek ταώς /taṓs/.

Zoological observations:

The peacock, Pavo cristatus [[1]], according to Benecke (1994: 400ff). is a native of the open bush and tree regions of India and Sri Lanka. Its adoption history by humans is only patchily recorded, but in the 2nd millennium BC it had arrived in Mesopotamia. Through Persian transmission the bird arrived in Greece, where it came to be considered a sacred animal, e.g. by 600 B.C. peacocks were roaming the parks around the temple of Hera on the island of Samos. The Romans did not see the bird as a decorative bird only but developed a culinary taste for its flesh. The peacock’s distribution increased with the growth of the Roman Empire only to retreat again and disappear from Central Europe with the fall of the Empire. It was only in the Middle Ages that it was reintroduced to most of Europe, primarily as a show-bird at court and in the castles, although it was occasionally consumed as fowl until the arrival of the more tasty turkey saved it from that fate.

Wilf Gunther 22/06/2014

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