The primitive of skedaddle is a pure Greek word of great antiquity. It occurs in Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, and it was used to express in Greek the very idea that we undertake, in using it, to express in English. Homer, in the “Iliad,” uses only the aorist eskedasa or skedasa. Thus in “ Iliad ” 19: 171, we have skedason laon, for scattering, dispersing. In Prometheus, Aeschylus thus uses it (skeda) in making “ the sun disperse the hoar frost of the morn. ” And again Prometheus uses this word in predicting woes upon Jupiter, when he says that “a flame more potent than the lightning” shall be “ invented, which shall (skeda) shiver the ocean-trident, the spear of Neptune.” In the Odyssey, we find Homer using skedasis in describing the scattering of the suitors of Penelope when Ulysses should come, and in the twentieth book of the Odyssey we have the same word used for “the dispersing of the suitors to their houses,” as the result of the return of Ulysses. In Thucydides, book IV., 56, we have an account of “a garrison at Cotyria and Aphrodisia, which terrified by an attack a (eskedasmenon) scattered crowd.” At the capture of Torene, in Chalcidice, Thucydides describes the result of the rush of Brasidas and his troops toward the highest parts of the town, and among these results “the rest of the multitude (eskedannunto) scattered or dispersed in all directions alike.” In this sense skedasis is used by Xenophon in the Anabasis, by Plato in the Timaeus, by Apollonius of Rhodes, by Hesiod, and by Sophocles. It is, therefore, a classic word, and is full of expression.
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