[B-Greek] Homerisms (was Something Else ... )

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Thu Jun 11 08:24:33 EDT 2009


On Jun 10, 2009, at 11:53 PM, Mark Lightman wrote:

> 9. Γεωργε, ποιον σε επος φυγεν ερκος  
> οδοντων!
>  (GEWRGE, POION SE    EPOS FUGEN hERKOS ODONTWN!) Od. 5:23

Yes, this was one of my favorite Homeric locutions too, although I  
don't recall it ever being addressed to a farmer; farmers don't play  
that big a role in the Homeric canon;, although they're there.  I  
think I might have used the common line-opener, W POPOI, or even the  
extended Aeschylean phrase OTOTOTOI POPOI DA ... That's got sound  
effects almost as fascinating as POLUFLOISBOIO QALASSHS. I can recall  
those heady sophomoric days when we usesd to address such Homeric  
curses to each other as, OINOBARES, KUNOS OMMAT' ECWN, KRADIHN D'E  
ELAFOIO or address a girl friend good-naturedly as DAIMONIH.

Then there was the first-year Greek composition class in first-year  
grad school at the same time I was plowing through 12 books each of  
Iliad and Odyssey; we were supposed to be writing Attic Greek, but I  
found myself repeatedly using genitives in -OIO and dative plurals in - 
ESSI. Not very Platonic, to be sure, although one could get away with  
duals like ANQRWPW or accusative pronouns like hE.

While there's enlightenment to be had from every era of ancient Greek  
literature, those who have resolved to abide strictly within "the  
friendly confines" (as Chicago northsiders might put it) of NT Koine  
deprive themselves of a wealth of different kinds of gratification to  
be had from browsing through the Homeric corpus: linguistic  
archeology, lots of gripping story-telling, wondrous epithets for  
features of nature (OINOPA PONTON, hRODODAKTULOS HWS, PARA QIN' hALOS  
ATRUGETOIO, ... ), and phrases like "escape the hedge of (your) teeth."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)






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