Iliad 7.360: ἐξ ἄρα δή τοι ἔπειτα θεοὶ φρένας ὤλεσαν αὐτοί. -- why ἐξ?

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bcrowell
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Iliad 7.360: ἐξ ἄρα δή τοι ἔπειτα θεοὶ φρένας ὤλεσαν αὐτοί. -- why ἐξ?

Post by bcrowell »

In Iliad 7.360, Paris is angry that Antenor wants to give Helen back to the Greeks. He says that if this is really a serious proposal: --

ἐξ ἄρα δή τοι ἔπειτα θεοὶ φρένας ὤλεσαν αὐτοί.

What is ἐξ doing here? Is it acting as an adverb? If it was being used as a preposition, I would expect there to be a genitive noun, but I don't see one there for it to govern. But if ἐξ is an adverb here, I don't see what it would mean, unless it's something like "wreck your wits out," or "deprive the wits out of you."

Cunliffe mentions this line as an example in his entry for ὄλλυμι: "In reference to faculties or qualities, to cause to perish, destroy, deprive one of: ἔκ τοι θεοὶ φρένας ὤλεσαν Η360 = Μ234. Cf. δ668, σ181, 252 = τ125, φ284."

Is there a general idiom like ὄλλυμι ἐκ + acc. that means "to deprive of?" As an English speaker, it seems natural to me to have this kind of verb + preposition construction, like "piss off," "knock down," etc., but in Greek I would have expected something more like a compound ἐξόλλυμι. Would it be like that but with other words interposed, roughly analogous to "piss me totally off?"
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Re: Iliad 7.360: ἐξ ἄρα δή τοι ἔπειτα θεοὶ φρένας ὤλεσαν αὐτοί. -- why ἐξ?

Post by bedwere »

Could it be tmesis of ἐξόλλυμι?

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Re: Iliad 7.360: ἐξ ἄρα δή τοι ἔπειτα θεοὶ φρένας ὤλεσαν αὐτοί. -- why ἐξ?

Post by jeidsath »

Looks like tmesis of ἐξόλλυμι to me. The sense of completion in "totally piss me off" is coming from "totally" not "off". Think "kind of piss me off." Maybe ἐκ just means "utterly" in composition with the verb, as in the complete removal of something through destruction. Like our "wipe out". I don't know. [Crossed with bedwere.]
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Re: Iliad 7.360: ἐξ ἄρα δή τοι ἔπειτα θεοὶ φρένας ὤλεσαν αὐτοί. -- why ἐξ?

Post by bcrowell »

Thanks, folks!

There's so much to absorb in Greek grammar. I'll hear about something like tmesis, but not internalize or retain it, and then by the time I encounter it, I don't recognize it.

Cunliffe does have an entry for ἐξόλλυμι, and it just seems like one of those cases where the preposition flavors the verb a little bit or clarifies that it means to deprive rather than to wreck. I don't think I would have batted an eye at ἐξόλλυμι, regardless of whether it was blessed with a dictionary entry. It just confused me because of the tmesis. I think my brain has gotten used to the idea that Homer can use prepositions as adverbs, because that's so much more common, but I'm not yet hip enough to realize when I'm seeing tmesis. Or maybe some of the examples I was thinking of as adverbial were really tmesis, or the distinction is fuzzy. This example just seems not very natural to interpret as an adverb, since there is not much semantically that makes sense in terms of "out."
Ben Crowell, Fullerton, California
an innovative, free, and open-source presentation of Homer: https://bcrowell.github.io/ransom/

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