World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Epithets in Homer

Article Id: WHEBN0000922838
Reproduction Date:

Title: Epithets in Homer  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Slavery in ancient Greece, Epithets, Epithet, Milman Parry, Nestor (mythology)
Collection: Epithets, Homeric Style
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Epithets in Homer

A characteristic of Homer's style is the use of epithets, as in "rosy-fingered" dawn or "swift-footed" Achilles. Epithets are used because of the constraints of the dactylic hexameter (i.e., it is convenient to have a stockpile of metrically fitting phrases to add to a name) and because of the oral transmission of the poems; they are mnemonic aids to the singer and the audience alike.[1]

Epithets in epic poetry from various Indo-European traditions may be traced to a common tradition. For example, the phrase for "everlasting glory" or "undying fame" can be found in the Homeric Greek as kléos áphthiton and the Sanskrit as śrávo ákşitam. These two phrases were, in terms of historical linguistics, equivalent in phonology, accentuation, and quantity (syllable length). In other words, they descend from a fragment of poetic diction (reconstructable as Proto-Indo-European *ḱlewos n̥dʰgʷʰitom) which was handed down in parallel over many centuries, in continually diverging forms, by generations of singers whose ultimate ancestors shared an archetypal repertoire of poetic formulae and narrative themes."[2]

Epithets alter the meaning of each noun to which they are attached. They specify the existential nature of a noun; that is to say, Achilles is not called "swift-footed" only when he runs; it is a marker of a quality that does not change. Special epithets, such as patronymics, are used exclusively for particular subjects and distinguish them from others, while generic epithets are used of many subjects and speak less to their individual characters. In these examples, the epithet can be contradictory to the past state of the subject: in Odyssey VI.74, for instance, Nausicaa takes her "radiant clothing", ἐσθῆτα φαεινήν, to be washed; since it is dirty, it is unlikely to be radiant.[3]

Contents

  • List 1
    • General 1.1
      • Nations 1.1.1
    • Individuals 1.2
      • Shared 1.2.1
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • Sources 4

List

General

  • men
    • shining, divine (δῖος dîos)
    • god-like (ἀντί-θεος antí-theos, θεοειδής theoeidḗs)
    • high-hearted
  • leaders
    • lord of men
  • women
    • white-armed (λευκ-ώλενος leuk-ṓlenos)
    • lovely-haired (ἐυπλοκάμις, ἐυπλόκαμος eüplokámis, eüplókamos)
    • ox eyed
  • day
    • the day of return (νόστιμον ἦμαρ nóstimon hêmarnostalgia also comes from nóstos)
  • sea
    • loud-roaring (πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης)
    • grey
    • wine-colored (οἶνοψ)

Nations

  • Abantes
    • swift (θοοί thooí)
    • sporting long hair (ὄπιθεν κομόωντες ópithen komóōntes)
  • Achaeans
    • hairy-headed (κάρη κομόωντες kárē komóōntes)
    • bronzed-armored (χαλκο-χίτωνες chalko-chítōnes)
    • strong-greaved (ἐυ-κνήμιδeς eü-knḗmides)
    • glancing-eyed (ἑλίκ-ωπες helík-ōpes)
    • with hollow ships

Individuals

  • Achilles
    • son of Peleus (Πηληϊάδης Pēlēïádēs)
    • swift-footed (πόδας ὠκύς pódas ōkús; ποδ-άρκης pod-arkēs; ποδ-ώκεος pod-ṓkeos)
    • breaking through men (ῥηξ-ήνωρ rhēx-ḗnōr)
    • lion-hearted (θῡμο-λέοντα thūmo-léonta)
    • like to the gods (θεοῖς ἐπιείκελος theoîs epieíkelos)
    • shepherd of the people
    • son of sleek-haired Leto
  • Aeneas
    • son of Anchises (γχῑσιάδης Anchīsiádēs)
    • counselor of the Trojans
    • lord of the Trojans
    • father
    • loyal/pious
  • Agamemnon
    • son of Atreus (Ἀτρείδης Atreídēs: also transliterated Atrīdēs)
    • wide-ruling
    • the lord marshal
    • powerful
    • shepherd of the people
    • brilliant
  • Aias/Ajax
    • swift
    • gigantic (πελώριος pelṓrios)
      • the mighty
  • Aphrodite
    • laughter-loving (φιλομμειδής philommeidḗs)
    • daughter of Zeus
    • goddess of love
    • fair (δῖα dîa)
  • Apollo
    • Phoebus, i.e. the Bright or Pure, (Φοῖβος Phoebus)
    • with unshorn hair; i.e., ever-young (ἀ-κερσε-κόμης a-kerse-komēs)
    • destroyer of mice (Σμινθεύς Smintheus)
    • distant deadly Archer (ἑκηβόλος ekēbólos)
    • rouser of armies
    • son of Zeus
    • god of the silver bow
  • Ares
    • curse of men
    • sacker of cities
    • of the glinting helmet
    • women raping
  • Athena
    • Pallas (Παλλάς Pallás)
    • gray-, bright-eyed (γλαυκ-ῶπις glauk-ôpis)
    • daughter of Zeus
    • third-born of the gods
    • whose shield is thunder
    • hope of soldiers
    • tireless one
  • Artemis
    • the archer-goddess
    • of the golden distaff
  • Calypso
    • beautiful nymph
    • softly-braided nymph
    • divine
    • goddess most divinely made
    • daughter of Atlas
    • cunning goddess (δεινὴ θεός deinē theos)
  • Cronus (Kronos)
    • crooked-counselling, devious-devising (ἀγκυλομήτης ankulomḗtēs)
    • all-powerful
  • Diomedes
    • son of Tydeus
    • great spearman
    • master of the war cry
    • powerful
  • Hector
    • tall
    • shepherd of the people
    • of the glinting helmet, of the shining helm (κορυθ-αίολος koruth-aiolos)
    • man-killing
    • horse-taming
  • Helen
    • long-dressed
    • daughter of a noble house
  • Hera
    • ox-eyed (βο-ῶπις bo-ôpis)
  • Hephaestus
    • the famous craftsman
    • the famous lame god
    • of the strong arms
  • Hermes
    • messenger of the gods and conductor of men (διάκτορος diáktoros)
    • son of Zeus
    • giant-killer
    • the strong one
    • keen eyes emissary
  • Menelaus
    • red-haired, fair-haired, flaming-haired
    • master of the war-cry
    • son of Atreus (Ἀτρείδης Atreídes)
    • war-like
    • spear-famed
    • cherished by Zeus (διοτρεφές diotrephés)
  • Naubolos
    • great-hearted
  • Nestor
    • Godly Nestor
    • Gerenian charioteer
    • son of Neleus (Νηληιάδης Nēlēiádēs)
    • Pylos born king
    • sweet spoken
  • Odysseus
    • resourceful, man of many resources, of many turns, man of twists and turns (πολύ-τροπος polú-tropos)
    • much-enduring (πολύ-τλᾱς polú-tlās)
    • great-hearted (μεγαλ-ήτωρ megal-ḗtōr)
    • sacker of cities (πτολι-πόρθιος ptoli-pórthios)
    • wise
    • loved of Zeus
    • great glory of the Achaeans
    • master mariner
    • mastermind of war
    • hotheaded
    • man of action
    • the great teller of tales
    • man of exploits
    • man of pain
    • that kingly man
    • the hero
    • Raider of Cities
    • the great tactician
    • cunning (πολύ-μητις polú-mētis)
  • Penelope
    • cautious, circumspect, discreet, wise, self-obsessed
  • Patroclus
    • son of Menoitius (Μενοιτιάδης Menoitiádēs)
    • horseman
  • Poseidon
    • Earth-shaker (ἐννοσίγαιος enno-sígaios or ἐνοσί-χθων enosí-chthōn)
    • earth-moving, earth-carrying (γαιή-οχος gaiḗ-ochos)
  • Zeus
    • mighty
    • son of Kronos (Κρονίδης Kronídēs)
    • wide-seeing
    • cloud-gatherer (νεφελη-γερέτᾱ nephelē-gerétā)
    • father of gods and men
    • of the dazzling bolt (ἀργι-κέραυνος argi-kéraunos)
    • loud-thundering (ἐρί-γδουπος ἐρί-δουπος erí-gdoupos, erí-doupos)
    • delighting in thunder (τερπι-κέραυνος terpi-kéraunos)
    • aegis-holding (αἰγί-οχος aigí-ochos)
    • who marshals the thunderheads

Shared

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Parry 1928: 5-10
  2. ^ John Curtis Franklin, Structural Sympathies in Ancient Greek and South-Slavic Heroic Singing.
  3. ^ Parry 1971: 121

Sources

  • Parry, Milman. "L'Épithète traditionelle dans Homère: Essai sur un problème de style homérique." Paris: Société d'Éditions "Les Belles Lettres", 1928.
  • Parry, Milman, ed. Adam Parry. "The Making of Homeric Verse: The Collected Papers of Milman Parry." Oxford: The Clarendon PRess, 1971.
  • V.J. Howe, "Epithets in Homer." Available online at http://www.angelfire.com/art/archictecture/articles/008.htm (Retrieved October 16, 2007.)
  • Fagles, Robert. "The Odyssey." Penguin Books, 1996.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.