Od. 9.109: a metrical question

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Bombichka
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Od. 9.109: a metrical question

Post by 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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Bardo de Saldo
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Post by Bardo de Saldo » Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:19 pm

ἀλλὰ τα? γ' ἀ?σπα?τα καὶ ἀνη??οτα πα?ντα φυ?ονται,

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.

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

Bombichka
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Post by 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

Post by 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;

Bombichka
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Post by Bombichka » Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:11 am

poetic licence sounds reasonable enough.

I've only read 3 songs of Homer before, and this is my fourth, and I've never envountered such a phenomenon before. I'll keep that in mind and I'll watch out for anomalous first steps of the dactyls from now on. I fancy this couldn't occure very often, though.

maybe the poetic licence in Od. 9.109 has something to do with the fact that there is a parallel to this verse a little further down (v. 123):

ἀλλὰ ἥ γ’ ἄσπα?τος καὶ ἀνή?οτος ἤματα πάντα

as you can see, here the respective metric sedes is occupied by a syllable long by position.

I wonder if this could have somehow influenced the previous verse we're talking about.

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