Adelheid wrote:First observation/question:
Starting out in the Odyssey, I was first struck by the occurrence of the possessive pronoun, which I do not recall to show up very often in the Iliad. The first appears in line 4 (ὃν κατὰ θυμόν), and more examples can be seen in lines 5, 21, 41. Line 29 shows a κατὰ θυμόν example as I know it from the Iliad: no possessive pronoun there.
I don't know whether this could be meter-induced, or has to do with more emphasis than was needed in the Iliad, it just stood out for me.
My commentary (W.B. Stanford) doesn't mention this, so I might be imagining things.
Well, the possessive pronoun does appear in the Iliad (Book 1, lines 83, 496, 533; Book 2, line 662, etc.). Pharr, in his notes on l. 83 (§190), states that "the possessive pronoun (referring to ἑοῖσι) is emphatic..."
Apart from this comment, Pharr doesn't treat the possessive pronoun as otherwise odd or unusual. He introduces it in §187 (the vocabulary to ll. 81-85) and certainly gives its paradigm in his grammar (§764). Neither Seymour, in the introduction (§45d) to Perrin and Seymour's Eight Books of Homer's Odyssey
, nor Steadman, in his introduction (p. xi) to Homer's Odyssey 6-8
, say anything about the possessive pronouns being particularly emphatic, but seem to take them for granted.
To be sure, it's probably used for metrical padding in many instances. But if it strikes you as odd, perhaps it's because you're used to Attic, a dialect in which these forms do not appear. Either that or you're imagining things.
found to be interesting about its use in the examples you've mentioned is the lost digamma with which it began. The presence of the lost digamma is usually apparent from its effects on the meter and this helps distinguish it from the relative pronoun. Look, for example, at l. 4 of the Odyssey. Note the hiatus (lack of contraction) with ἄλγεα. Contrast this with the ἄλγε' ἔθηεκεν in l. 2 of the Iliad. This is because the following ὃν originally began with a consonant, ϝ
(see Pharr §§1173-4). Similarly, the lost ϝ
is apparent in l. 5, because it causes metrical lengthening of the final syllable of ἀρνύμενος, which precedes it (see Pharr §1167.2). Same thing with lengthening of the final syllable of πάρος in l. 21.
But look carefully at l. 41. In this line, the possessive pronoun is preceded by καὶ, which scans as a short syllable. This shouldn't have happened if the possessive were here treated as if it began with a consonant (the digamma), because καὶ would be metrically shortened only if followed by a vowel (see Pharr §1173). This--to me, at least--implies scribal alteration or editing of this particular line at a later date, after the digamma fell into disuse.
Anyway, I love looking at this sort of stuff in detail.