This inventory of terms and names as found in A Homer Commentary is Progress is itself a dynamic work-in-progress. This document will grow and develop as new postings related to AHCIP are published here on Classical Inquiries.
Aeolian. As a noun, this word refers to Greek-speaking people who spoke an ancient Greek dialect known as Aeolic. As an adjective, this same word refers to the social and cultural institutions of these Aeolic-speaking people. [[GN 2016.09.07; see the anchor comment at Ι.01.463.]]
Aeolian Dodecapolis. A confederation of twelve Aeolian cities located on the mainland of Asia Minor. Herodotus 1.149.1 lists them in the following order: Cyme, Lērisai, Neon Teikhos, Tēmnos, Killa, Notion, Aigiroessa, Pitanē, Aigaiai, Myrina, Gryneia, and, lastly, Smyrna. Herodotus 1.151.1 notes that the Aeolian cities on the mainland of Asia Minor in the region of Mount Ida were grouped separately from the Aeolian Dodecapolis, and he does not list those cities by name. Then there is Lesbos: Herodotus 1.151.2 says that this island was politically organized as a federation of five Aeolian cities. (Further details in HPC 138.) In one of the Lives of Homer, Vita 1.18–19, the Aeolian city of Smyrna is described as the daughter city of Cyme; also, in Vita 1.17–31, Smyrna is recognized as the city where Homer was born. The same point is made by Strabo 14.1.37 C646, who recognizes the special claim of Smyrna as the birthplace of Homer while duly noting the counterclaims of rival cities. (Further details in HPC 135.) The Aeolian Dodecapolis became destabilized when Smyrna was captured by the Ionians. The story of the capture is told by Herodotus 1.149–150, who adds at 1.150.2 this detail: the stranded Aeolians of Smyrna were then absorbed by the remaining eleven Aeolian cities of the original Dodecapolis. (Further details in HPC 138–139.) With the capture of Smyrna by the Ionians, not only was the Aeolian Dodecapolis destabilized: even the identity of Homer as an Aeolian native of Smyrna was reconfigured. We can observe the reconfiguration by tracking Homer’s shifting identity in two Lives of Homer. In one of these Lives, Vita 1.3–17 and 1.17.31, Homer is conceived in Aeolian Cyme and born in Aeolian Smyrna. In terms of this Life, the time of Homer’s conception and birth is situated in a mythical era that precedes the Ionian Migration. This version stands in sharp contrast to the version we read in another Life, Vita 2.9–12 (and in other sources as well): in this version, as in the previous version, Homer is born in Smyrna, but now his birth is synchronized with the Ionian Migration, which happens admittedly later than the Aeolian Migration. (See under Aeolian Migration and Ionian Migration.) So, the Homer who had originated from a diminished Aeolian Dodecapolis now becomes reconfigured as a Homer who originates from an augmented Ionian Dodecapolis. (Further details in HPC 134, 142, 211.) [[GN 2016.09.07; see also the anchor comment at Ι.01.463.]]
Aeolian Migration. The Greek word translated here as ‘migration’ is apoikiā; a closer translation would be ‘colonization’, with reference to myths about settlers who settled tbe Aeolian coastlands of Asia Minor and the major offshore Aeolian islands of Lesbos and Tenedos. According to Strabo 13.1.3 C 582, the Aiolikē apoikiā ‘Aeolic colonization’ started sixty years after the Trojan war and four generations before the start of the Iōnikē apoikia ‘Ionian colonization’. [[GN 2016.09.07 via Nagy 2011b:164.]]
Aeolic. A major dialectal branch of the ancient Greek language. It is the “recessive” dialect of Homeric diction, as opposed to Ionic, which is the “dominant” dialect. See also under Ionic; also under Homeric diction. [[GN 2016.09.07 via Nagy 2011b:175; see also the anchor comment at Ι.01.463.]]
Aeolic default. Homeric diction defaults to Aeolic forms in the absence of corresponding Ionic forms. (Details in Nagy 2011b:175.) See under Aeolic; also under Ionic; also under Homeric diction. [[GN 2016.09.07.]]
aetiology. A myth that explicitly motivates (1) a ritual or (2) a custom that includes ritualized behavior. It cannot be assumed that such a myth is independent of the ritual that it motivates: rather, the myth can be considered to be a part of the ritual that is ostensibly being motivated by the myth. [[GN 2017.05.25.]]
Aithiopis. See under epic Cycle.
archaic period of Greek history. By archaic I mean a historical period extending roughly from the second half of the eighth century BCE up to the second half of the fifth, which is the beginning of the classical period. See BA vii n1. In the printed version of BA 1999, I wrote “through” where I now say, more correctly, “up to” in the online version. [[GN 2016.12.26.]]
Aristarchus of Samothrace. Director of the Library of Alexandria in the middle of the second century BCE. He was the most prestigious editor of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey in the ancient world. For his edition, he used as his base text (see under base text) the readings that he found in the koinai or ‘common’ Homeric manuscripts, but he kept track of variant readings that he found in other Homeric manuscripts that were supposedly khariesterai or ‘more graceful’. He recorded these variants in his hupomnēmata or ‘commentaries’, and he often preferred them to the variants in the koinai. But he kept the variants of the khariesterai out of his base text and left them in his commentaries. Later followers of Aristarchus, however, started transferring the variant readings that he had found and moving them into the original base text. That is why the medieval manuscript tradition of Homeric poetry is “infiltrated” with readings that originally derived from the hupomnēmata of Aristarchus, not from his base text. [[GN 2016.08.18 via HC “Prolegomena”; see also the comment on I.08.107.]]
Aristophanes of Byzantium. Editor of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, lived in the second century BCE. The immediate predecessor of Aristarchus. [[GN 2016.08.18 via HC “Prolegomena.”]]
athetesis. When ancient editors of Homer have doubts about the authenticity of a given verse, they mark that verse with a prefixed obelos ‘skewer’ to indicate their doubts. The noun athetesis refers to such marking, and the verb for making such a mark is athetizein ‘athetize’. In the case of editors like Zenodotus and Aristarchus, there is evidence to show that they did not omit such athetized verses in the base text that they used: rather, they retained them, marked with the appropriate prefixing of an obelos. [[GN 2016.11.20.]]
base text. In comparing manuscripts that feature variant readings, an editor may choose one manuscript or collation of manuscripts as the basis for comparison with other manuscripts. So, a base text is simply a basis, and it is not assumed to be a reconstruction of the original text. Rather, such a text is simply a point of departure for investigating the history and prehistory of any textual transmission. [[GN 2016.08.18 via HTL 33–36, 64–65, 71–72, 86, 95, 101, 103.]]
Classical period of Greek history. This period follows the archaic period, which ends around the middle of the fifth century BCE. [[GN 2016.12.26.]]
Crates of Mallos. Director of the Library of Pergamon in the middle of the second century BCE. [[GN 2016.08.18 via HC “Prolegomena.”]]
Cypria. See under epic Cycle.
epic. In my comments, I use this term in a restricted sense, referring to the form of poetry that is exemplified by the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, also by the poetry of the so-called epic Cycle (see under epic Cycle). [[GN 2016.12.06.]]
epic Cycle. By the time of Aristotle, in the fourth century BCE, the textual traditions of epics (see under epic) that were known as the epic Cycle or kuklos (κύκλος) were considered to be non-Homeric. In earlier times, by contrast, such epics were thought to be composed by Homer himself, and they were thus grouped together with the Iliad and Odyssey. It was as if the epic Cycle represented the sum total of Homeric composition. (See under Homer; see also the comment on I.05.722 on kuklos in the sense of ‘chariot wheel’ as a metaphor for the sum total of Homeric composition.) The epics of the epic Cycle have not survived except for fragments and plot-summaries, the original texts of which are most easily accessible in the old but still useful edition of Allen 1912. The plot-summaries of the epics in the Cycle are attributed to one Proclus, who can most probably be dated to the second century CE (Nagy 2015.12.24 §1n5). These plot-summaries cover the following epics, attributed to otherwise unknown poets as named here: Cypria, by Stasinus of Cyprus; Aithiopis, by Arctinus of Miletus; Little Iliad, by Lesches of Lesbos; Iliou Persis or ‘Destruction of Ilion’, by Arctinus of Miletus; Nostoi or ‘Songs of Homecoming’, by Agias of Troizen; Telegonia, by Eugammon of Cyrene. [[GN 2016.12.06.]]
formula. A basic unit of Homeric diction on the level of form. A connected term is theme, which is a basic unit of Homeric diction on the level of content or meaning. Some linguists and classicists who study Homeric poetry show a narrow and superficial understanding of the Homeric formula, viewing it simply as a repeated phrase that fits the meter. By contrast, the comments that I offer are based on an understanding of the formula in the context of oral composition-in-performance. Such an understanding is exemplified by the research of Milman Parry (especially Parry 1932) and Albert Lord (especially Lord 1960). Lord (1960:47) has said, with reference to any orally composed poem, “There is nothing in the poem that is not formulaic.” The commentary here aims for such a broad understanding of the Homeric formula, viewing all the phraseology of Homeric diction as formulaic. [[GN 2016.07.21 via HQ 20; also via Nagy 2011b:133–134; further, HQ 23–26; see also under theme.]]
formulaic system. The meaning of this term is shaped by the results achieved through the combined research of Milman Parry (especially Parry 1932) and his student Albert Lord (1960). Just as Antoine Meillet (1921:16) understood language as an integral system where every component has its place, “un système où tout se tient,” so also Parry and Lord understood the formulaic language of oral poetry as an integral system in its own right. [[GN 2016.07.21 via HQ 24.]]
Homer. In the Classical period and toward the end of the earlier archaic period, he was thought to be the Master Narrator of the Iliad and Odyssey. (See under Classical period, archaic period, and Master Narrator.) During the post-Classical period as represented by the works of figures like Plutarch and Pausanias in the second century CE, Homer was thought to be the author of the Iliad and Odyssey, and his authorship was viewed as a matter of ‘writing’, graphein. (HPC 31.) During the Classical period as represented by the works of figures like Plato and Aristotle in the fourth century BCE, Homer was likewise thought to be the author of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, but his authorship was viewed as a matter of ‘making’, poieîn, analogous to the crafting of an artifact by an artisan or craftsman: Plato and Aristotle avoided any references to the making of Homeric poetry as a matter of ‘writing’, graphein. (HPC 31.) During the earlier Classical period as represented by the work of Thucydides in the fifth century BCE, Homer was thought to be the author of not only the Iliad and Odyssey but also of at least some Homeric Hymns, like the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. (HPC 18.) During this same period, as we see from the reportage of Herodotus in the fifth century BCE, Homer was thought by some to be the author of a wider range of epics, such as the Cypria. (HPC 75–78.) In the archaic era, such epics were thought to be parts of a body of epic poetry known as the epic Cycle. (See under archaic period and epic Cycle.) In the varied narrative traditions known as the Lives of Homer, we can trace the reception of the poetry that had been attributed to Homer during all the periods mentioned here. (HPC 29–58.) [[GN 2016.07.21 -> 2016.12.30 via the references to HPC as interspersed above.]]
Homeric diction. This term was used by Milman Parry (1932) in analyzing the formulaic system of Homeric poetry. See under formula, formulaic system. [[GN 2016.07.21 via Nagy 2011b:133.]]
Iliad and Odyssey. In this commentary, the article “the” will be avoided in wording that refers to the Iliad and Odyssey together, as here. That is because the Iliad and Odyssey are treated as complementary epics in this commentary. In other words, the Iliad and Odyssey are treated together as a structural unity. Such a unity can be traced back to the late eighth and early seventh centuries BCE: see Nagy 2015.12.24 following Frame 2009 ch. 11. [[GN 2016.07.21.]]
Iliou Persis. See under epic Cycle.
Ionian. As a noun, this word refers to Greek-speaking people who speak an ancient Greek dialect known as Ionic. As an adjective, this same word refers to the social and cultural institutions of these Ionic-speaking people. [[GN 2016.09.07; see the anchor comment at Ι.01.463.]]
Ionian Dodecapolis. A confederation of twelve Ionian cities, ten of which were locataed on the mainland of Asia Minor while the other two were island-states located offshore from the mainland. Herodotus 1.142.3 lists them in the following order: Miletus, Myous, Priene, Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedos, Teos, Klazomenai, Phocaea, the island-states of Samos and of Chios, and, lastly, Erythrai. [[GN 2016.09.07; see the anchor comment at Ι.01.463.]]
Ionian Migration. The Greek word translated here as ‘migration’ is apoikiā; a closer translation would be ‘colonization’, with reference to myths about settlers who settled the Ionian coastlands of Asia Minor and the major offshore Ionian islands of Chios and Samos. According to Strabo 13.1.3 C 582, the Iōnikē apoikiā ‘Ionic colonization’ started four generations after the start of the Aiolikē apoikiā ‘Aeolian colonization’. [[GN 2016.09.07 via Nagy 2011b:164.]]
Ionic. A major dialectal branch of the ancient Greek language. It is the “dominant” dialect of Homeric diction, as opposed to Aeolic, which is the “recessive” dialect. See also under Aeolic; also under Homeric diction. [[GN 2016.09.07 via Nagy 2011b:175; see also the anchor comment at Ι.01.463.]]
Koine. This term, derived from the word koinai ‘common’ as used by Aristarchus (see under Aristarchus) in referring to the Homeric manuscripts that he chose for establishing the base text (see under base text) for his edition of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, is a short-hand way of referring to the version of Homeric poetry as transmitted by the Athenian State in the fifth century BCE extending into the fourth. [[GN 2016.08.18 via HC “Prolegomena”; see also the comment on I.08.107.]]
ktisis poetry. A form of poetic narrative that presents the mythological foundations of a community. The meaning of ktisis is ‘foundation’. [[GN 2017.05.25.]]
lemmatizing. This coined word is based on the ancient Greek noun lēmma (λῆμμα), which will be spelled throughout simply as “lemma” (and the plural will be spelled as “lemmata”). This noun refers to whatever wording is literally ‘taken’ (the corresponding verb is lambanein/labeîn) out of the overall wording of a scriptio continua that is being quoted. (In pre-Byzantine conventions of writing, words were not separated from each other by way of spacing: hence the term scriptio continua ‘continuous lettering’). For example, in the case of the scholia or ‘notes’ that are interwoven into the tenth-century manuscript of the Iliad known as the Venetus A, what happens is that the wording of any given lemma is notionally being ‘taken’ out of the overall wording of a Homeric verse and then transferred into the scholia, where the lemma serves to lead off the wording of the relevant commentary. Literally, the string of letters that is the lemma gets ‘taken’ out of the longer string of letters that is the overall verse, which had formerly been written in scriptio continua. The explanations that follow the lemmata in the scholia of the Venetus A, as in the scholia of other manuscripts containing Homeric poetry (such as the Venetus B), were meant to enhance the reader’s understanding of the Homeric verses from which the lemmata were taken. And, from time to time, the explanations were specifically meant to enhance the actual reading of those verses out loud. In AHCIP, the coined term lemmatizing is applied to words or groups of words that are ‘taken out’ from the string of letters that had constituted the wording of a whole verse. Lemmatized words will be formatted in Greek boldface, as with θήλεας ἵππους at I.05.269. [[GN 2016.08.04 via Nagy 2009b:135–136.]]
Life of Homer. See under Vita 1, Vita 2, and Vita 6.
Little Iliad. See under epic Cycle.
Lord, Albert B. (1912–1991). His most basic work: Lord 1960; 2nd ed. 2000. The 3rd edition is forthcoming in 2017. [[GN 2016.07.21.]]
Master Narrator. In the Classical period, he is the speaking ‘I’ who narrates the Iliad and Odyssey. He was generally thought to be the one person who controls the story of the Iliad and the story of the Odyssey. In that period, he was thought to be Homer. See also under Homer; also Classical period of Greek history. [[GN 2016.07.21.]]
Meillet, Antoine (1866–1936). A pioneer in the scientific methodology of Indo-European linguistics. He strongly influenced the research of Milman Parry in developing the concepts of formula and formulaic system. See de Lamberterie 1997. [[GN 2016.07.21.]]
metaphor. An expression of meaning by substituting something unfamiliar for something familiar. [[GN 2016.07.28 via MoM 0§01, 0§1 Extract 0–A.]]
metonymy or metonym. An expression of meaning by connecting something familiar with something else that is familiar. [[GN 2016.07.28 via MoM 0§01, 0§2 Extract 0–B.]]
multiform. A form that coexists with other forms within the system that is Homeric diction. [[GN 2016.10.16 via PasP 9, 27, 33, 43, 107, 134, 151–152, 205–206.]]
Muse(s) [Mousa(i)]. Goddess(es) of poetic memory, figured as possessing the power of total recall concerning anything and everything that was done and said in the heroic age. See the comments at I.02.484–487 (and at I.02.484), I.02.492. I.02.760–770 (and at I.02.761), I.11.218, Ι.14.508, I.16.112, I.16.113, Ι.24.055–063.
Nostoi. See under epic Cycle.
Parry, Milman (1902–1935). A most representative work of his: Parry 1932. A collection of his papers, with his French texts translated into English, was published by his son Adam Parry (1971). The introduction to this “English Parry,” written by Adam Parry, discounts the influence of Antoine Meillet on the research of Milman Parry. But see now de Lamberterie 1997. [[GN 2016.07.21.]]
scholia. Notes or annotations that accompany texts in manuscripts.
simile. Like a metaphor, a simile makes a comparison. Unlike a metaphor, however, a simile signals explicitly that a comparison is being made, and the signaling is achieved by way of words meaning ‘as’, ‘same as’, ‘looking like’, ‘like’, and so on. [[GN 2017.07.22.]]
synecdoche. A special kind of metonymy, where a part of the whole refers to the whole. [[GN 2018.10.08.]]
Telegonia. See under epic Cycle.
theme. A basic unit of Homeric diction on the level of content or meaning. A connected term is formula, which is a basic unit of Homeric diction on the level of form. [[GN 2016.07.21 via HQ 20.]]
Vita 1 of Homer. = “pseudo-Herodotean” Life of Homer, pp. 192–218 ed. Allen 1912.
Vita 2 of Homer. = Contest of Homer and Hesiod, pp. 225–238 ed. Allen 1912.
Vita 6 of Homer. = the “Roman Vita,” pp. 250–253 ed. Allen 1912.
Zenodotus of Ephesus. Editor of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, lived in the third century BCE. Whenever Aristarchus disagreed with a variant reading attested by Zenodotus, he would place the sign ⸖ in front of the verse that featured the variant. [[GN 2016.08.18 via HC “Prolegomena.”]]