From the genitive 'Delphōrum', it seems to belong to the second declension. But is it used as a singular or a plural?

1 Answer 1


It is indeed a second declension word. It is used in the plural. You can confirm this on the Lewis and Short dictionary:

Delphi , orum, m., Δελφοί,

I.the famous city of the oracle of Apollo in Phocis, now Kastri

Understandably, the word comes from Greek, being a Greek city and all. The Greek word, Δελφοί, is also used in the plural.

Δελφοί , ῶν, οἱ,


Thus, the Romans probably used the plural because the Greeks did themselves. This is true of many Greek cities. Ἀθῆναι > Athenae > Athens. Θῆβαι > Thebae > Thebes.

  • 2
    Any insight into why the Greeks did that? Certainly seems odd to my (modern, natively-English-speaking) ear...
    – KRyan
    Mar 13, 2017 at 3:34
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    Regarding Athens, etymonline.com says that Athens is "plural because the city had several distinct parts". etymonline.com/index.php?term=Athens.
    – ktm5124
    Mar 13, 2017 at 3:55
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    I wonder if the -s in the English "Athens" and "Thebes" is a plural. Just one Athen or Thebe doesn't make a city?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Mar 13, 2017 at 6:55
  • @JoonasIlmavirta I think so! That would be my guess. But I have no sources to back me up.
    – ktm5124
    Mar 13, 2017 at 20:21
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    @KRyan Not in the known variants of Greek, but a widespread opinion is that those words had a meaning in some ancient language, possibly pre-Greek, from which the plural comes (to stay in the Pac Pal area, Los Angeles is an example of a plural taken over from another language. Los Alamos too). In any case, Athens switched between singular and plural many times in history (in current modern Greek it is singular) so it probably seemed odd to them too...
    – Dario
    Mar 14, 2017 at 17:02

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