Last modified on 18 January 2015, at 01:21


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Ancient GreekEdit


Attested by Herodotus (2.32). Perhaps from συρτός "swept, washed down", from the verb σύρω trahere, "draw, drag, trail along", after the effect of the wind and the waves on the quicksands in these gulfs.

The metaphorical meaning "destruction" is due to the proverbial difficulty of navigating these gulfs due to shoreward drag.

Proper nounEdit

Σύρτις, σύρτις f

  1. the Syrtis, name of two large shallow gulfs on the coast of Libya
    • Συνεχὴς δ’ἐστὶν ἡ μικρὰ σύρτις, ἣν καὶ Λωτοφαγῖτιν σύρτιν λέγουσιν. (Strabo, Geographica, 17.3)


Σύρτις, σύρτις

  1. destruction, ruin
    • ἄλλα δ’ ἄλλαν θραῦεν σύρτις (Timotheus Fragmenta, ed. D.L. Page, Poetae melici Graeci, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962, 1967, 400‑418; fragment 15, line 88)