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Chp XLV- line 201 scansion

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Chp XLV- line 201 scansion

Postby surferbassist » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:40 pm

When scanning Iliad 1. 201 there is an extra syllable, or so it seems. The third to last syllable, the omicron of prosheda needs to be ignored for the meter to work out. The West scanned text seems to have left it out. I guess the question I have is should it be left out? If so, why does it not count towards the meter?

_ _ _ _ _ /u u_ u u_ _ ? _ _
kai min phwnhsas epea pteroenta proshuda

Any commentary is appreciated.
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Re: Chp XLV- line 201 scansion

Postby annis » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:10 am

First, because unaccented minuscule Greek makes me cry:

καί μιν φωνήσας ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα·
- - - - - | u u - u u - u u - -

The tricky word here is προσηύδα. Even though it starts with πρ- the short alpha at the end of πτερόεντα must be scanned short. It's possible this common formula originally had a dialect form, ποταύδα, here, the scansion of which persisted even when the word changed.

There are a few other words in Homer which, though they start with a consonant cluster, don't force a previous short vowel to be scanned long. In particular, forms of βροτός "mortal."
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Re: Chp XLV- line 201 scansion

Postby surferbassist » Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:26 am

Thanks for the response. I scanned it just as you suggested, until I saw that consonant cluster. I think you are right though and looked up a few instances of the same phrase and scanned those lines. It appears in book 4.69 and 5.242 in the exact same position and, logically, is scanned the same.

Oddly, the line in question has a note (in the Pharr) that concerns two consonants, whether it is for the double consonants at the beginning of pteroenta or the vowel at the end is ambiguous. I found an obscure note in an Homeric grammar that says when the word ends in a short vowel and two consonants follow that the usage fluctuates. I feel that this must be the case because if it were an oddity it would certainly be noted somewhere.

Thanks again. More comments are still welcome.
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Re: Chp XLV- line 201 scansion

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:28 pm

The relevant section in Pharr is §524. The point is, in this situation after a short vowel (here α) and mute consonant (here π), a liquid consonant (ρ) can be kind of ignored if the metre requires. The first consonant must be a mute (π β φ τ δ θ κ γ χ) and the second must be liquid (ρ λ μ ν) for the rule to apply.

A short vowel before two mutes like the πτ in πτερόεντα is always scanned long.

Like Annis said there might well be some historical linguistic reasons for this, but for us mortals it's easiest just to learn this rule...
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Re: Chp XLV- line 201 scansion

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:49 pm

As a side note: does anyone (Annis?) know if all the cases in Homer where mute + liquid leaves the previous short syllable short can be explained by historical linguistics? Like ποταύδα -> προσηύδα.

βροτός can also be "explained away", as the original form (long time before Homer) is believed to have been something like "mrtos", where the r is syllabic, i.e. pronounced as vowel. The syllable "mr" in "mr-tos" would scan short and a preceding syllable with a short vowel would also always remain short.

But as I'm sure Annis didn't take βροτός as an example by chance, I'm left wondering if there's always an explanation of this kind...
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Re: Chp XLV- line 201 scansion

Postby annis » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:51 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:But as I'm sure Annis didn't take βροτός as an example by chance, I'm left wondering if there's always an explanation of this kind...


Quite a few instances of this are the result of historical changes of the sort you mention here, syllabic resonants in proto-Greek resolving into their modern forms. Another common situation is a name that would otherwise be unusable, such as Ἀφροδίτη (the iota is long), before Κρονίων, etc.

I'm sure some German scholar in the 1800s wrote a monograph giving every instance of this, but I don't have access to such a tool. :) Seymour goes into a little detail on this, Monro (§370) rather more.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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Re: Chp XLV- line 201 scansion

Postby Anthony Appleyard » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:42 am

It seems to scan OK to me. Restoring the digammas, and writing long vowels as double, we get

kai min / phoonee/saas wepe/a ptero/wenta pro/seeudaa

The long-diphthong "eeu" is one syllable (compare Dutch "leeuw" = "lion").

The final "aa" is contracted from "a.e".
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