6

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

9

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,

A.Delphi

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 '17 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 '17 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 '17 at 6:55
  • @JoonasIlmavirta I think so! That would be my guess. But I have no sources to back me up. – ktm5124 Mar 13 '17 at 20:21
  • @KRyan >Certainly seems odd to my (modern, natively-English-speaking) ear... Remember that when you happen to be in Pacific Palisades, Cal. – Dario Mar 14 '17 at 16:31

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