μερόπων ἀνθρώπων

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jeidsath
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μερόπων ἀνθρώπων

Post by jeidsath » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:02 pm

In my notes from Monro, μερόπων ἀνθρώπων is "a conventional epic word, the meaning of which is unknown" other than it refers to mankind.

The LSJ gives:
dividing the voice, i. e. articulate (cf. Hsch., Sch.11.1.250), “μ. ἄνθρωποι” Il. l.c., Hes.Op.109, etc.; “μ. βροτοί” 11.2.285; “μερόπεσσι λαοῖς” A.Supp.90 (lyr.): hence as Subst., = ἄνθρωποι, Musae.Fr.13 D., A.Ch.1018 (anap.), E.IT1263 (lyr.), A.R.4.536, Call.Fr.418, AP7.563 (Paul. Sil.); a usage satirized by Strato Com., 1.6 sq.
The LSJ revision adds some information, but nothing relevant to this usage. The scholia, referenced by the LSJ, gives this story:
μερόπων ἀνθρώπων: μεμερισμένην τὴν φωνὴν ἐχόντων, ὡς πρὸς συγκρισιν τῶν ἄλλων ζώιων, ὅ ἐστι μεριζομένην εἰς συλλαβὰς καὶ ἔναρθρον ἐχόντων τὴν ὄπα, τουτέστιν τὴν φωνήν.
μερόπων ἀνθρώπων: men having the "divided sound," expressing a division from the other animals, which is divided into syllables and having the articulate (jointed) voice, this is the sound [they have].

The above is my translation (please correct). I thought this sounded like the fanciful creation of someone trying to guess the original meaning from the parts, and it looks like Leaf agrees:
μερόπων, an epithet of which the real sense was in all probability forgotten in Homeric days, as it is used only in purely stereotyped connexion with ἄνθρωποι (exc. B 285, q.v.) We can only say with confidence that it does not mean "articulate," μερίζοντες τὴν ὄπα, as in so ancient a word the ϝ of ϝόψ would not be neglected. The other derivations which have been proposed are quite problematical.
The reference to B 285 concerns the children of Μέροψ. Is there any chance that this usage was original, and crept into other parts of the Iliad? Are there any other good suggestions?
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Re: μερόπων ἀνθρώπων

Post by mwh » Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:56 pm

μερόπων ἀνθρώπων· μεμερισμένην τὴν φωνὴν ἐχόντων, ὡς πρὸς συγκρισιν τῶν ἄλλων ζώιων, ὅ ἐστι μεριζομένην εἰς συλλαβὰς καὶ ἔναρθρον ἐχόντων τὴν ὄπα, τουτέστιν τὴν φωνήν.
The scholium says “μερόπων ἀνθρώπων: with the voice divided (μεμερισμένην) as by comparison with other animals, i.e. with the οψ i.e. the voice divided (μεριζομένην) into syllables and articulated.”
It’s one of the so-called D-scholia or exegetical scholia, which represent what children were taught in school.

Presumably there is etymological connexion between Merops and this word—in fact it's the self-same word—but it doesn't appear to be active in Homer (I don’t see that Β285 has anything to do with the children of Merops). What say Chantraine etc?

Most ancient etymologies are ill-informed guesses, some more fanciful than others, rarely correct. (We have the advantage of historical and comparative philology.) But they do show what the word was understood to mean, i.e. what it did in fact mean to ancient readers.

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Re: μερόπων ἀνθρώπων

Post by jeidsath » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:31 am

Sorry, I confused the numbers in my head when I was reading Leaf. He references B.285 for μερόπεσσι βροτοῖσιν. I assumed that he was talking about B.831. In regards to the children of Μέροψ, the LSJ revision has
add '2 spec. of the supposed original inhabitants of Cos descended from Merops (Il. 2.831, al.), Κόως .. πόλις Μερόπων ἀνθρώπον h.Ap. 42; subst., Pi.N. 4.26, I. 6.31, Suppl.Hell. 903A.1, 13. 3 μέροπες· οἱ ἄφρονες ὑπὸ Εὐβοέων, in POxy. 1802.47.'
Chantraine discusses both -- and seems to be the source for the LSJ revision -- but I won't pretend to understand exactly what he has to say.
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Re: μερόπων ἀνθρώπων

Post by mwh » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:22 am

Read ἀνθρώπων in the H.Ap. passage. It's there that the connexion's activated, not in Homer. (The Merops of the Trojan catalogue at end of Il. 2 has nothing to do with the Coans, who are on the Greek side, 676-80.)

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Re: μερόπων ἀνθρώπων

Post by jeidsath » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:57 am

Thank you. I noticed this Hesychius entry right after the last post -- it's actually quoted in full by Chantraine.
μέροπες· ἄνθρωποι διὰ τὸ μεμερισμένην ἔχειν τὴν ὄπα ἤγουν τὴν φωνήν· ἢ ἀπὸ Μέροπος, τοῦ πατρὸς Φαέθοντος, Κῷου· λέγονται δὲ καὶ Κῷοι Μέροπες· καὶ ὄρνεά τινα, ὡς Ἀριστοτέλης.
I think that I need to look up what H. Ap. is to find the πόλις Μερόπων ἀνθρώπων line. EDIT: It's the Homeric Hymns.

Also, Chantraine points to Frisk for different hypotheses about the word (which was what I was looking for).

der ein denkendes Aussehen hat (μέρμερος )
der das Aussehen eines Sterblichen hat (βροτός)
der auf den Tod blickt
mit leuchtendem Antlitz (μαρμαίρω, lat. merus)
dont les yeux scintillent
der Greifer = Räuber (μάρπτω)
γηγενής 'erdgeboren' from the Bird μέροψ that lays its eggs in holes in the ground
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Re: μερόπων ἀνθρώπων

Post by mwh » Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:03 pm

In other words, the origin of the word is unknown. But it’s good to know what it meant.

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