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Some questions about the Hymn to Demeter

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 8:08 pm
by swiftnicholas
The phrases πότνια μήτηρ and πότνια δηώ 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, εὐρύοπα (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 σοὶ δ’ ὦκα λέγω νημερτέα πάντα. Is νημερτέα πάντα "the whole truth", or "all truths"? It can't be adverbial, right? (either "completely truthfully" or "I will tell you everything truthfully")



Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 10:02 pm
by Paul
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 [size=150]νημερτέα[/size] means "the truth". He also references the construction [size=150]πάντα νημερτέα[/size] 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 [size=150]πάντα[/size] serving as a substantive, e.g., "quickly and truthfully I will tell you all".



Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:55 pm
by swiftnicholas
Thanks Paul :)