Digamma?

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chad
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Post by chad » Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:48 pm

hi bardo, there are many lines in homer which don't scan, due to homer's errors in the use of his bardic art most probably. homer sometimes repeats a formula from one line (where it works) in another line (where it doesn't). e.g. the familiar 1.26

mh/ se ge/ron koi/lh|sin e)gw\ para\ nhusi\ kixei/w

works because the next consonant makes position. but he uses the same formula in 24.569

mh/ se ge/ron ou)d' au)to\n e)ni\ klisi/h|sin e)a/sw

ou)d' didn't have digamma otherwise other lines wouldn't work, e.g. 1.93

ou)/ t' a)/r o(/ g' eu)xwlh=j e)pime/mfetai ou)d' e(kato/mbhj,

1.220

a)\y d' e)j kouleo\n w)=se me/ga ci/foj, ou)d' a)pi/qhse

i.e. digamma would prevent epic correption in 1.93 and would make position in 1.220.

Will has also mentioned in an article if I recall some scansion errors in certain lines which have a gap between the masculine and feminine caesurae. Milman Parry and other books on homeric formulae discuss other errors; I think Hainsworth covers it in his book "The Flexibility of the Homeric Formula", i can't remember. :)

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Bardo de Saldo
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Post by Bardo de Saldo » Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:27 pm

The lines of the masters always scan, Mr. chad. If a bard can’t make an hexameter out of a line of Homer, he should blame his rhythm stick.

24.569 ΜΗ’ ΣΕ, ΓΕ’ΡΟΝ, ΟΥΔ ΑΥΤΟ’Ν ΕΝΙ’ ΚΛΙΣΙ’ΗΙΣΙΝ ΕΑ’ΣΩ

In this line, saying the omicron of geron as an omega doesn’t kill anyone. Shakesperean mega-contractions are much harder on the apprentice. I can’t scan Greek on the fly like I can do with Spanish, but my guess is that a Greek bard would come out of the first foot, see all those diphtongs after the omicron, and go for the obvious. When you are at the end of book 24, almost done, the audience antsy, you don’t think of digammas, you just make whatever comes after the first foot long.

1.93 ΟY’Τ Α’Ρ ‘Ο Γ ΕΥΧΩΛΗ¨Σ ΕΠΙΜΕ’ΜΦΕΤΑΙ ΟΥ’Θ ‘ΕΚΑΤΟ’ΜΒΗΣ,

In this line, you start the 4th foot with an epsilon followed by two consonants, good sign. The accent tells you that the ai is short to complete the foot, and the 5th starts with a diphtong. If you put a digamma before outh I don’t see how that would change anything. (That may be your point.)

1.220 Α’Ψ Δ ΕΣ ΚΟΥΛΕΟΝ Ω¨ΣΕ ΜΕ’ΓΑ ΞΙ’ΘΟΣ, ΟΥΔ ΑΠΙ’ΘΗΣΕ

Here, if you put a digamma in front of oud you do mess things up. So why put it?

My point is that the study of digammas is a noble pursuit, and it is curious how digammas explain some “errors”, but one thing is philology and another thing is poetry.

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Post by chad » Sun Mar 20, 2005 12:37 am

hi bardo, this isn't the 1st time that my limited knowledge of metrics has been criticised; i've said all i can in the above post; i'm sure a more experienced person here could continue this discussion :)

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Post by Bardo de Saldo » Sun Mar 20, 2005 7:17 pm

I don't doubt about your knowledge, chad, and I know that you know how to scan the lines that "don't scan". It's just that don Bardo (that's my internet persona, you can call me henry if you prefer) jumps when someone puts his masters' abilities in question.

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Post by Bardo de Saldo » Mon Mar 21, 2005 10:04 pm

"If you put a digamma before outh I don’t see how that would change anything." (Me.)

We all know, chad, how bold ignorance can be, especially among young apprentices (I can't use youth as an excuse, I'm afraid). We also know that the hearts of the wise are forgiving, if only for the greater cause of knowledge.

If epimémthetai was followed by a word starting with a consonant, would it loose its accent?

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Post by annis » Mon Mar 21, 2005 10:40 pm

Horray for metrics! :)
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"If you put a digamma before outh I don’t see how that would change anything." (Me.)
Depends on where the digamma came from.

Certain kinds of sounds, at the beginning of a syllable, could close the preceding short vowel, even though it would normally be thought of as a single consonant. Those are [face=spionic]l, r, m, n[/face] and sometimes digamma. Why? Because an s sound before those dropped out fairly late in the history of Greek. The aoidoi preserved the old scanning, however. There are some relics of this, like the variation between [face=spionic]mikro/j[/face] and [face=spionic]smikro/j[/face]. Once the s disappeared, later poets adopted the possibility of lengthening a short vowel before all words starting with [face=spionic]l, r, m, n[/face].

The cluster sw- evaprated completely from words, but left metrical traces. There are a few instances of -nw- disolving into an upsilon with a "long" short vowel before it.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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Post by annis » Mon Mar 21, 2005 10:45 pm

Bardo de Saldo wrote:The lines of the masters always scan, Mr. chad. If a bard can’t make an hexameter out of a line of Homer, he should blame his rhythm stick.
Or the text - Homer comes to us by a very twisty route. It is not everywhere secure.

The history of the hexameter is one of steadily increasing regularity. Homer's practice (let's call them "licenses" rather than "errors") - distorting vowel lengths, lengthening syllables in the princeps[1] by surprise - was cause for comment even by other Greeks not too much later than him.

[1] princeps - the first long of the dactyl. I avoid the ictus, arsis, thesis, etc. terminology.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by chad » Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:08 pm

If epimémthetai was followed by a word starting with a consonant, would it loose its accent?
hi bardo, further to what Will said, if it's followed by a consonant, it will be short (for accenting purposes) but long (for scansion). see para 547 of pharr:
547. Final ai and oi are counted short when determining the accent, except in the optative and in oi)/koi... These diphthongs are regularly long in metrical quantity, and must be so treated when reading the verse, although considered short when determining the accent.
and so while in line 1.93 (as cited above) it's short (because no consonant follows) (this is called epic correption):

ou)/ t' a)/r o(/ g' eu)xwlh=j e)pime/mfetai ou)d' e(kato/mbhj,

in e.g. 1.284 it's long because a consonant follows:

e(/rkoj )Axaioi=sin pe/letai pole/moio kakoi=o.

see how the accent doesn't become paroxytone however. :) :)

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