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Od. 9.109: a metrical question

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Od. 9.109: a metrical question

Postby Bombichka » Sun Jan 29, 2006 9:05 am

the verse goes as follows:

alla ta g' asparta kai anErota panta fuontai (E = long e)

I see no othe possibility than to read the -a in asparta as long, so as to fit the hexametre.

but this is odd.
firstly because the word is written as proparoxytone: a/sparta, while it sould have been *aspa/rta, had the -a been long
secondly, the -a ending for neuter plural in Greek is *always* short. it doesn't seem to me appropriate that this case be an exception to the rule.

can you offer a different account on this mysterious long -a here?

thanks in advance!
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:19 pm

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Postby Bombichka » Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:13 pm

I'm going to say it's long because it is the last syllable in the word, receives the ictus and is followed by the principal caesura.

sorry but I don't understand your point at all.

-ta being the last syllable of the word explains nothing, and I see no obvious reason why it should receive the ictus.

In all the metrical commentaries I've ever read, accents and grammar have never been used to justify quantity.

accents and grammar don't justify quantity but they give us a hint what the quantity of a vowel (and hence, in some cases, of a syllable) might be if this is not obvious at first glance.

in our case, the accent on the third syllable from the end (a/sparta) clearly shows that the word should have a short last syllable, otherwise such an accentuation would not be possible.

also, knowing that all the neuter stems get a short -a in nom., acc. and voc. plural is not justifying the quantity. it's rather the other way round, actually: quantity comes with the flexion, it's a part of the flexional ending.
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Re: Od. 9.109: a metrical question

Postby annis » Sun Jan 29, 2006 9:11 pm

Bombichka wrote:can you offer a different account on this mysterious long -a here?


It's not long, it's the exercise of a license by the poet. The princeps position (that is, that initial long at the beginning of the dactyl) sometimes takes liberties, as it has here, for no readily apparent reason (no digamma or other missing consonant). As Bardo said, at the caesura such liberties are a little more likely.

A contracted biceps (the two shorts of a dactyl contracted into a long) must come by its duration more honestly.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby Bombichka » Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:11 am

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