Can θεὸς be feminine?

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Can θεὸς be feminine?

Post by strnbrg » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:34 am

I'm trying to understand this verse (Odyssey 10:136):

Κίρκη ἐϋπλόκαμος, δεινὴ θεὸς αὐδήεσσα

The translation I'm looking at says δεινὴ θεὸς αὐδήεσσα means "a clever goddess, possessing human speech". Another translation says, "dread goddess of human speech".

But how do they get that? Why is it θεὸς and not θεά?

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Re: Can θεὸς be feminine?

Post by bedwere » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:34 am

As the LSJ shows, θεός is very often feminine
II. θεός fem., goddess, “μήτε θήλεια θεός, μήτε τις ἄρσην” Il.8.7, cf. Hdt.2.35, al.; “τοῖς θεοῖς εὔχομαι πᾶσι καὶ πάσαις” D.18.1, cf. 141, Orac.ib.21.52; esp. at Athens, of Athena, Decr. ap. And.1.77, Pl.Ti.21a, etc.; ἁ Διὸς θεός, Ζηνὸς ἡ θ., S.Aj.401 (lyr.), 952 (ἡ Διὸς θεά ib.450); of other goddesses, “ποντία θεός” Pi.I. 8(7).36; ἡ νερτέρα θ.,= Περσεφόνη, S.OC1548, etc.; of Thetis, Pl. Ap.28c; of Niobe, S.El.150 (lyr.), Ant.834 (anap.): in dual, of Demeter and Persephone, “τὰ τοῖν θεοῖν ψηφίσματα” Ar.V.378 (lyr.); “οὐδ᾽ ἔδεισε τὼ θεώ” And.1.125; freq. in oaths, “νὴ τὼ θεώ” Ar.Lys.112; “μὰ τὼ θεώ” Id.Ec.155,532.

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Re: Can θεὸς be feminine?

Post by mwh » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:31 am

Any divinity, male or female, is a θεος. θεα (θεη) is exclusively feminine, but θεος is not exclusively masculine. Cf. “Hi guys” as a gender-neutral greeting. Euripides has a character exclaim Κυπρις ουκ ἄρ’ ἦν θεός …, “So Aphrodite isn’t a god but something greater than a god.” (There θεος goes wider than LSJ’s “goddess.”)

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