🔼The name Archippus: Summary
- First Horse, Ruler Of Horses, Chief Of The Cavalry, Chief Of The Military
- From (1) the noun αρχη (arche), chief or ruler, and (2) the noun ιππος (hippos), horse.
🔼The name Archippus in the Bible
The name Archippus occurs twice in the Bible, both in letters written by Paul. In his letter to Philemon, Paul calls Archippus his fellow-soldier (Philemon 1:2) and in his letter to the Colossians, he urges Archippus to "Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it" (Colossians 4:17), without further addressing the details of this specific ministry or how Archippus might endeavor to fulfill them.
As we explain in our article on Philemon (and also see our articles on the names Sergius and Aeneas), by the time Paul wrote, the People of the Way were sorely persecuted, and Paul — who himself, as tradition tells, was beheaded on the charge of high-treason against the Roman State — would certainly not have submitted the names and addresses of his personal friends and "fellow soldiers" in a widely distributed and publicly read letter.
All throughout his own ministry, Paul was trying to avert the then still brewing Jewish Revolt, which in time would lead to a war against the Romans, and would culminate in the destruction of the Temple, the slaughter of two millions Jews and the diaspora that lasted for 2,000 years.
Paul's deploy of the name Archippus almost certainly serves to refer to Archippus of Achaea, who in 146 BC had conveyed a Roman offer of peace to his fellow Achaeans. But his fellows rejected the Roman offer, and went to war with the Romans. The result, as might be guessed, was the total annihilation of the Achaeans during the horrendous battle of Corinth — rather to the point: the Achaean infantry stood their ground but the heavily outnumbered cavalry panicked and dispersed, which directly resulted in the defeat. The defeat of the Achaean League resulted in the sack of Corinth and the complete subjugation of Greece by Rome.
🔼Etymology of the name Archippus
Our name Archippus consists of two elements, the first one being the noun αρχη (arche), meaning chief or ruler:
Noun αρχη (arche) and prefix αρχι (archi-) both speak of beginning (hence our words archaic and arch-father). This may be a beginning in time but also in quality or political hierarchy, and so these words often express primality and hence being boss or best or highest (hence our word archangel). The word αρχων (archon) denotes a ruler or chief-in-office.
The second part of our name is the noun ιππος (hippos), meaning horse:
The familiar noun ιππος (hippos) means horse, and back when recreational riding wasn't a thing yet, transport was accomplished by using camels and donkeys, and plows were pulled by oxen. The horse was regarded as quintessential unit of the cavalry, and ultimately as a unit of military force.
The name Archippus literally means Arch-Horse or Chief Of The Horse, but since horses were used virtually exclusively in the military, the horse referred to the cavalry rather than the kind of pet horse we moderns are familiar with. Hence Archippus rather means Chief Of The Cavalry, and by extension: Chief Of The Military.