Just as the title says. Or should it really be "Asclepiadae", since it comes from "Asclepius"?

  • 2
    Where did you find it? It certainly looks like a typo to me.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 21, 2019 at 23:11
  • Seen in an unpublished work. There's 7,000 google hits for "aeclepiadae" (versus 38,000 hits for "asclepiadae") so it's not common but also not unheard of. It may be a typo but it has sure taken on a life of its own! Feb 22, 2019 at 1:05

1 Answer 1


The word that you are asking about was derived by adding (the plural form of) a patronymic suffix to a Greek name with unknown ultimate etymology. The a in the second-to-last syllable of patronymics ending in "adae" (including those ending in "iadae") is short as a rule.* The e before the "p" here is long, since the Greek source word is spelled with η. I don't know whether there is any certain way of determining the length of the first "a", or of the "i", but I would guess that both are short, based on my intuitions about the distribution of long and short "a" and "i" in Greek.

The Wikipedia entry on Asclepius contains a quotation from Beekes that makes the following comments on variant forms of the name:

The name is typical for Pre-Greek words; apart from minor variations (β for π, αλ(α) for λα) we find α/αι (a well known variation; Fur. 335–339) followed by -γλαπ- or -σκλαπ-/-σχλαπ/β-, i.e. a voiced velar (without -σ-) or a voiceless velar (or an aspirated one: we know that there was no distinction between the three in the substr. language) with a -σ-.

That article also gives "Aesculapius" as a Latin version of the name. Based on this information, I am pretty puzzled by the absence of "s" in the form that you give, but I don't know enough to say anything definite about whether it is a mistake.

The LSJ Greek dictionary has an entry for Ἀσκληπιάδαι, defined as "a name for physicians". "Asclepiadae", which is simply the regular latinization of "Ἀσκληπιάδαι", certainly seems to be a valid and used form in Latin. If you Google it, you will see a bunch of examples. It would be expected to be pronounced the way it is spelled: i.e., reconstructed Classical Latin pronunciation would be something like [askleːˈpiadae̯], "Ecclesiastical" pronunciation would be something like [asklɛˈpiadɛ], "Traditional English pronunciation" would be /ˌæsklɪˈpaɪədiː/, English anglicized "restored pronunciation" would be something like /ˌɑːskleɪˈpiːədaɪ/.

*Grammar of the Latin Language, 64th Ed., Andrews and Stoddard, 1858; §100, p. 49

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