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color in Homer and Ancient Greek

color in Homer and Ancient Greek

Postby daivid » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:23 pm

Gladstone drew attention https://archive.org/details/studiesonhomerho03glad to the poverty of colors in ancient Greek suggesting that the Greek sense of color was somewhat primitive.

Here is a description of research suggesting that it is simply the result of the number cuts in the spectrum the Greeks chose to make and its pretty much in line with what is seen in other languages:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMqZR3pqMjg
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Re: color in Homer and Ancient Greek

Postby Carolus Raeticus » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:27 pm

Thank you for the link (I know, I am somewhat late). Latin's colour words are also confounding, for example Lewis & Short's definition of caeruleus:

L&S wrote:caerŭlĕus...dark-colored, dark blue, dark green, cerulean, azure

This does not really help when trying to imagine what is being described.

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Re: color in Homer and Ancient Greek

Postby imd » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:58 pm

The Greeks didn't consciously choose how to divide up the spectrum in speech. It is thought that the color words in a language after actually linked to how people in that culture perceive color.

As for caeruleys, a similar situation occurs in Classical Chinese, where one color word, qing, could be used to describe the sky, the ocean, blue, green, or black.
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