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Idioms

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Idioms

Postby psilord » Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:28 pm

Do there happen to be any idioms in Homeric Greek? If so, is there any sort of a compendium of them?

Thanks.
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Postby chad » Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:45 pm

hi, it depends on what you mean by idioms... with homer there are recurring formulae, groups of words which appear in the same position in different lines. the most comprehensive compendium of these is in "The Making of Homeric Verse", the collected papers of Milman Parry (translated from the French), Oxford: 1971. :)
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Postby psilord » Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:35 pm

Ah I see. I should be more specific, I mean an idiomatic expressions like: "Using a hammer to crack a nut.", "The early bird catches the worm.", and "Walk on thin ice.". I'm sure we could simply say english idiomatic phrases in Homeric Greek, but that seems like cheating. Were there any in the original language?
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Postby annis » Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:45 pm

psilord wrote:Ah I see. I should be more specific, I mean an idiomatic expressions like: "Using a hammer to crack a nut.", "The early bird catches the worm.", and "Walk on thin ice."


You have mixed proverbs in a bit, I think.

For idioms like "walk on thin ice" you'll want to pay close attention to your dictionary. A good dictionary like the L&S at Perseus, or the Cunliffe for Homer, will list set phrases, formulas, idioms and even proverbial expressions. Learn to linger over your dictionary, and you'll learn many subtle things.

There are some proverbs/idioms whose meaning is lost to us. One of my favorites is from Hesiod, Theogony line 35:

[face=spionic]a)lla\ ti/h moi tau=ta peri\ dru=n h)\ peri\ pe/trhn;[/face]

Literally, "but why to me these things around oak or around rock?"

I'm not sure anyone has the first clue what this means. It generates papers like you wouldn't believe.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby psilord » Tue Jan 11, 2005 1:52 am

A completely out of my butt viewpoint of that idiom is that vines grow around rocks and oaks. So, the statement is probably a lament that there seems to be things attracted to him (and clinging to him) which he probably doesn't want because it disturbs the natural state of being. Kind of like a rock star telling a friend that some of his groupies hang around him "like flies on feces". Except in this case, instead of the deprecating comparison of oneself to feces, Hesiod compares oneself to something natural, but being hidden or corrupted with a hint of that it is destiny for such thing to happen (because often rocks and oaks are covered in vines).

Um, right. I'm insane. Sorry.
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