Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The noun αυλη (aule) describes any enclosed space, usually without a roof, like a sheep pen or a court around the main house. It is thought to stem from a Proto-Indo-European root "hwes-", meaning to dwell or to pass the night in, from which also stems the noun αυλις (aulis), meaning tent or night-dwelling, the verbs ιαυω (iauo), to sleep or pass the night, and αω (ao), to sleep (but not the English word hall, curiously enough). The Hebrew equivalent of the noun αυλη (aule) would be שך (sok), booth, hence the name Succoth and the Feast of Booths.
Save for our noun αυλη (aule), none of these related words made it into the New Testament (the word for sleep that is used is υπνος, hupnos), and by the time of the New Testament, our noun no longer described a quiet place to sleep but rather a place to gather, to conduct business or to spend one's noisy evenings with festive friends. To the general Koine user, this would have made our noun much more akin the noun αυλος (aulos), pipe or flute (see below), than words having to do with sleep.
Something rather similar has happened with the verb κλειω (kleio), to shut or close, and its look-alike verb κλεω (kleo), to celebrate. Likewise, the verb κοιμαω (koimao) means to repose, go to bed or fall asleep, whereas the noun κωμος (komos) describes a feast or loud, drunken merriment. Likewise the verb χαιρω (chairo), means to be glad or rejoice, whereas the noun χωρος (choros), describes a bordered off plot of agricultural land. Note that the familiar Latin word circus stems from the Greek κιρκος (kirkos), ring, which in turn relates to κυκλος (kuklos), circle.
Our noun αυλη (aule) is used 12 times, see full concordance, and from it comes:
- The verb αυλιζομαι (aulizomai), meaning to lodge, to huddle up in an enclosure in order to spend the night, which would generally also result in the making of entertaining merriment (Matthew 21:17 and Luke 21:37 only). The literary tradition we so cherish today, originated of course in the oral tradition that arose like an emergent property of folks spending the night together. From this verb in turn comes:
- Together with the preposition προ (pro), meaning before: the noun προαυλιον (proaulion), which describes a hallway or vestibule before the actual lodge (Mark 14:68 only). This is obviously a late word, which was invented when the shaggy shelters of old had evolved into the entertainment halls and hotels of the urban era. The other evangelists use the word πυλων (pulon), which emphasizes doors and is obviously an entirely different word.
The noun αυλος (aulos) means pipe or flute (1 Corinthians 14:7 only). It stems from a widely attested Proto-Indo-European root "hewlos-", hole or tube (that is: anything from a hollow reed to a blowhole in roof), with very few traces in English.
As we observe in our discussion above, our noun αυλος (aulos), flute, looks conveniently akin the noun αυλη (aule), lodging place, where much of the fluting took place, which would explain the flute as attribute of the god Pan, the god of shepherds and herds (and thus of pens and thus of lodgings). It may even be that the name Pan (παν, pan, from παων, from PIE root "peh", to guard), relates to verb σπαω (spao), to draw or pull close — and note the Slavic verb spavati means to sleep; see our article on σειρα, seira, for more examples of a leading sigmas gone missing — and the verb σπαω (spao), in turn, appears to be the root of the verb ασπαζομαι (aspazomia), to greet or salute warmly, which fits right into our word group.
From the same PIE root "hewlos-" comes the Latin noun alvus, a hole, hollow or hold (of a ship), from which in turn derives the fairly common Dutch noun aula, which describes a communal room or a room where mixed communities pursue common activities. From the Slavic branch comes the word ulica, meaning street.
From our noun αυλος (aulos), flute, come:
- The verb αυλεω (auleo), meaning to flute, to play the flute, or perhaps more precise: to use something like a flute to entertain and bring people together in a common celebration. This verb is a social verb, not a musical one. It's used in Matthew 11:17, Luke 7:32 and 1 Corinthians 14:7 only, and from it in turn comes: