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Some questions about the Hymn to Demeter

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Some questions about the Hymn to Demeter

Postby swiftnicholas » Sat Nov 05, 2005 8:08 pm

The phrases [face=spionic]po/tnia mh/thr[/face] and [face=spionic]po/tnia Dhw/[/face] are very frequent. When used like this, is [face=spionic]po/tnia[\face] an adjective, meaning "revered, august", or a substantive, like "Lady Mother" or "Lady Demeter"? I'm leaning toward the adjective. Is there a good way to tell?

In line 3, [face=spionic]eu)ru/opa[/face] (which I would like to think of as "far-seeing") is noted by Richardson to mean "with far-reaching voice". He cites Chantraine GH v1 200. I would very much appreciate if someone with vol. one could pass on any interesting information.

In line 58 appears the phrase [face=spionic]soi\ d' w)=ka le/gw nhmerte/a pa/nta[/face]. Is [face=spionic]nhmerte/a pa/nta[/face] masc.sg. "the whole truth", or neut.pl. "all truths"? It can't be adverbial, right? (either "completely truthfully" or "I will tell you everything truthfully")


Thanks

~Nicholas
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Postby Paul » Sat Nov 05, 2005 10:02 pm

Hi Nicholas,

The evidence from Mycenaean Linear B suggests that "Potnia" was the name of a goddess (po-ti-ni-ja). In the tablets from Knossos and Pylos her name is often preceded by the name of a place, in the genitive. Its literal meaning is "the Mistress", "Lady".

In re 58: some translators take it as a substantive, others as adverbial. Cunliffe notes that neuter plural [face=SPIonic]nhmerte/a[/face] means "the truth". He also references the construction [face=SPIonic]pa/nta nhmerte/a[/face] in Odyssey 5 meaning "entirely true". So I would vote for "the whole truth". At the very least it's less awkward than construing two adverbials with [face=SPIonic]pa/nta[/face] serving as a substantive, e.g., "quickly and truthfully I will tell you all".

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby swiftnicholas » Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:55 pm

Thanks Paul :)
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