The Descent of the Greek Epic: A Reply Author(s): M. L.

West Reviewed work(s): Source: The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 112 (1992), pp. 173-175 Published by: The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/632165 . Accessed: 25/11/2012 07:39
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used t. posedin Asia Minor In this process. Bechtel. but the aspirate is partiallypreserved in Central Brown University. Chadwickthen proceeds to attackthe argumentI did not use in supportof the thesis I did not JHScx (1990) 174-77. Tyrtaeus.for instance.. text'. elimin'Cf. changedin Callinus.though he knew that K. as West's evidence seems to show.so that this proves nothing about the origin of the text'.Mimnermus. etc. belongshereas a Samian 3 I did seventh century. In the service of this poem the poet utilized a pan-Hellenic language.in hexameters (128. Actually the questionof aspirationand psilosis The descent of the Greek epic: a reply in Homer is more complex than he implies. WILLIAM F. burlesque though they be.Hipponax. To replace 9ope by Kco0prl. as he forged his poem. some generations of oral transmissioninterthat the linguistic establishmentcan throw at me. is merely a matterof spelling.The text therefore underwent'various suggestthatthe Odyssey mightbe a Euboean poem. XaTvo. and the field. 2 ation of qoppa.3but for 'Euboea as the area in which the iii (Berlin1924)87-89.168. and Homer forged that language. See now J. The usefulness of linguistic featuresas pointersto the my article 'The Rise of the Greek Epic' (JHS cviii [1988] 151-72).163.forms. Why should Kcoxand KOi be changed to ioS and tov. That a change of this sort was effected in the preAlexandrian written tradition is an unsubstantiated hypothesis. and Solon. in our assessments of the it was courteouslydemolished by Adam Parrya quarter bearing of these facts and principles on my reconstruction of the main phases of the epic tradition. Homeric epic was not a poem of local derring-door local political concern. moderisations' before reachingthe Alexandrian editors. Theognis. Though basically Ionic and hence basically his own dialect. WYATT JR. more widespreadform. a language full of (heroic) archaisms and the various forms of Greek known to him from aroundthe Aegean Sea and possibly elsewhere. Psilosis is normal in East Ionic. Homeric epic nonetheless admitted influences from outside that dialect.166). or an archaicform of his own dialect.218 on Sun. 6stou.But I am. But to replace Kloo by itoS is not a matter of spelling-X is not another way of writing K-it is a substantive change from one dialect form to another. and one that raises awkwardquestions. forms such as cKO).was allowable in trimeterand epode. in short. I dealt with In JHS cx (1990) 174-7 Dr John Chadwickexpresses it briefly.Even Hipponax. There is no doubt that moderisations of this sort must have occurred in the Homeric tradition. we could infer correctlyfrom their use of c forms that they came from the East Ionic area. and I think sufficiently for my purposes. he claims.Bechtel holdsthat-k-develops regularrelative two/o/'s. 173 Homer had used them.2 by contrast with Archilochus.I will try to explain succinctly why his representationsleave me so unabashed. S. He will not expect me to be heartened past would indeed be diminished if.NOTES and one cannot thereinscriptionsdo not (generally). by detvoS. if This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. They would appear. evidently. etc. propound:'But aspirationin Homer is quite obviously the consequence of editorial interference with the tradition. 129 West).elegiac or iambic. His first point is that the spelling conventions of our text of Homer (use of ei and ou for e and o.) cannot go as far back as the Amorgos colony.26 fore confidently affirm that the K.even though we do not know what kind of alphabetwas used in the original written text.6bo0o.82. in poems composed for local audiences. on scepticism about certain lines of argumentfollowed in my p. were a parochial phenomenon. The K. form' (my p. Given the choice-if indeed he was-between a local dialectal feature redolent of a specific time and place. A national epic required a national language. one not suited for the pan-Aegean and even pan-Hellenic epic. 25 Nov 2012 07:39:45 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . so that there is no force in my argument that the absence of the K forms aligns epic Ionic with Central or West Ionic as opposed to the Ionic of Asia Minor. butI madeit clearthatI believethe Iliadto havebeencom(172).). Chadwick fails to distinguish between orthography and phonology. and Anacreon?' If we did not know where these poets came from. as Chadwick by his remarks. there vened between 'the monumental composer' and the establishment of a complete written text. to have been utilized by poets in their more local utterances.This is of course the theory of G. 166of my article.3. F. 17)63. It was a poem which celebrated Hellenic heroism against the Asiatic foe.forms are generally Ionic: that they were at least sporadicand genuine is of course proved by their use in elegiac and lyric poets. Why should this criterionbe deemed inapplicableto the epic dialect? Chadwick writes: 'West might have supported his thesis of a Euboean origin for the Homeric text by pointing to the aspiration which is guaranteed by consonant changes resulting from contact with initial aspirate (type ett0' otrto. We differ. If this (I reflect) is the worst supposes. His paperconsists largely of a rehearsalof elementary thinks only happened towards the end of the sixth facts and principles familiar to me and to everyone in century. who have t forms. Andit maywell epic language acquired its definitive and normative between ly in the indefinite be that this is where the development began. Chadwick. I must point out firstly that I was not arguing for 'a Euboean origin for the 26 Die griechischen Dialekte Homeric Cf. the Homeric poet chose the latter. out of resources drawn from the entire Greek world. Kirk. which he cannot be too much wrong with my approach. and which recalled mighty deeds of mighty warriors united in a Greek overseas expedition. when they were perfectly familiar as 'Ionic' forms from Herodotus and other authors? Why were they not Semonides. and a more general.Buck(n. would have been replaced by toS.Rhode Island Ionic and fully in West Ionic'.however.

so far as our evidence goes. which is equally capable of lengthening a preceding short open syllable. He says that this view 'has been somewhat damaged by the revelation that Mycenaean knew only a genitive in -oto'. leave it to our readers'discernmentto judge between ProfessorWyatt'sinterpretation of the facts and mine. for the rest. (0ItOov. 'The coincidence is striking'.the two short o's immediatelymerged into a long one.M. Zuntz. 'Homer's linguistic forebears'. even to forms earlier than those represented in the Linear B documents. Reichel (ed. uaog?VfI.4 I do not see why Chadwick finds 'furtherevidence' for it in the phenomenonof diectasis (6p6o. I do not conceive of Mycenaean culture and Mycenaean epic as being confined to the Peloponnese.. where the strong similarities of Vedic and Aeolic metres were pointed out. West.' Anyone acquaintedwith the literature p. A. and he infers that it is not justified to argueback from metrically irregularformulas to older forms that would have been regular. He emphasizes that the hexameter.. reprinted in J. not only propernames but also various nouns and adjectives). I cannot detect any damage. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. 'but we should surely demand a string of such coincidences before acceptcited on my ing. But the Homeric evidence points clearly to the existence of a phase at which poets used uncontracted -oo. and in A. Aap&tvtov.he is stating a requirementthat has long been satisfied.6 try to convince us that they are invalid. My view of the development of the epic traditionis not quite so compartmentalizedas Wyatt makes it appear.). Sitzungsber. We should welcome this evidence for the age of the epic tradition.). Drei Kapitel zur griechischen Metrik (Osterr. He mentions only the 'hoary example' of cKkt. dass sich fir jede denkbare Form eine Parallele finden diirfte'. nn.CalvertWatkins. They have characteristicrhythms which make a verse easily recognizable as such. I plead not guilty. The remainingcase is Iliad ii 731 'AoKXrnmob 60o txai&. or at least similar metricalphrases in at least two traditions'. which is consistent with the findings of Homeric archaeology. Tradition und Neuerung (Darmstadt1979) 428-66. Chadwick thinksit reasonableto assume thatall previouseras were equally tolerant of 'loose metrical practices'. Chadwick regards 'IXioi and Ai6Xou as ---.calling it 'almost unique'. Chadwick's concluding remarks on dialectal developments in Greek are somewhat elliptical. representthe actual pronunciationof rhapsodes. I agree with him that these 'spellings'.). I think. Zuntz asserts that the Indian metres adduced are 'so variabel.ccccxliii [1984]) 12 n.. like G.L. appearsto be a Greek invention. Der Ubergang von der Mundlichkeitzur Literaturbei den Griechen (Tubingen 1990) 33-50. I cannot agree. see P. Parry. Zuntz.82. where Risch's supplement (favoured by Chad- wick)is refuted. M. 'To prove that poetry existed among the undividedIndo-European peoples we should need to demonstratethe existence of similar metres.. A second paper written in reaction to my article appears in the present volume: W. 25 Nov 2012 07:39:45 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and others. As for the comparisonof poetic phrases in different national traditions. 'Archaische Heldendichtung:Singen und Schreiben' in W. If the implication is that I have assumed the dialect groupings of the first millennium to be equally valid for the second.but why not of Homer? It is well known that metricaland prosodic anomalies in Homer often disappear when we replace linguistic forms of the transmittedtext by the older ones from which they evolved.F. maintained the -oo genitive to be Mycenaean.The language of Achilles and other papers (Oxford 1989) 104-40. and Meillet's comparisonsare based on standard. Akad. Only a few lines earlierhe has cited Meillet's monographLes origines indo-europeennesdes metres grecs. and it is not entirely clear to me what in my arguments is being criticized. Homer. he concedes.Gregory Nagy.I will content myself with a few points and.Thus he disputesthe usual assumptionthat 'IXiou tpo&p6potl0v and Ai6Xo KIcutc 6&duarta go back to 'IXtoo and At6Xoo.Vedic srdvo. The differences between Achaean (if this is taken to mean the languageof the pre-DorianPeloponnese)and Aeolic 6 G. PerhapsChadwick. will know that such strings are available. On the other hand. of a century ago. I do not think in terms of a specific migration of bardsin the context of some refugee movement. The hypothesis of a continuityof poetic traditionfrom IndoEuropeantimes is not understoodby its many adherents as excluding changes of metre. No one. Nor do I imagine a 'translation'from Achaean into Aeolic.152. Meillet's work has been successfully extendedby RomanJakobson. He is more doubtful about the thesis that an Indo4 'Have we Homer's Iliad?'.In some cases we have to go back a long way.10.218 on Sun. There is evidence of this in inscriptionswhere an awkward name had to be accommodated.if not to lengthen the second o of -oo. when Chadwick writes. Wyatt. not speak as if nothing of the kind had ever been published.. etc. I never suggested otherwise. Early verse inscriptionssuch as the Ischia cup5show that many such anomalies had already come into being by the late eighth century.168. and while I speak of an accretion of epic themes from the south to a late Mycenaean Thessalian poetic tradition. It is the logical intermediatestage between earlier-oto and later -ov.why never molossic etc? And 'Iiot. Kullmann and M.But anyone who seeks to account for Homer's 'IXio and Ai6Xov in this way must explain (a) why the licence is only used in the genitive singular (eighteen instances.he again ignores most of what his fellow philologists have done in this field. Chadwick himself seems to accept that the traditiongoes back to the Mycenaean period. as he calls them. Cf.174 NOTES Europeantraditionlies behind it.dksitam. By courtesy of the authorand the editor I have been granteda preview and the opportunity to respond. YCS xx (1966) 175-216. It might have happened that when the intervocalic i disappeared. 06ox. Latacz (ed. 5 CEG 454. examples of a licence to treat names scanning --as It cannot be fortuitous that metrical irregularitiesin formulas constantlyresolve themselves when antecedent forms are reconstructed.not aberrantforms. is If so. 6p6cav. Hansen's addenda and corrigendain CEG ii (304). (b) why the following word almost always begins with two consonants. or that I am unaware that in identifying regional elements in the epic language one must distinguishbetween inheritedarchaismand innovation.6-7. In two of the three exceptions the following word begins cteya-. he should unimpressedby Meillet's comparisons.

and in Thessaly the epic language naturally took on Aeolic features as they developed.L. and the linguisticAeolisms point with them. But I must once again draw attention to the Lesbian and nHpacuo.partly to replace 'difficult' archaisms (but why should an Ionian audience have found &iL?. Even if the screen were as blank as he suggests.218 on Sun. that we do not hearof any pre-HomericLesbianpoets (but then.W. the first by the regular Lesbian sound-change /CptV/ > /CeppV/. No. Why fight it? M. we do not hear of any Ionian ones either). where I pointout thatthis sound-change musthavebeencompleted in relativelylate.takes it into his head to call them "lfpes instead of KEvraupot without there having been any Aeolic poetic traditionto supply him with this gloss. W. the second by accommodationof the new form to formulas requiring the original scansion with short initial syllable.. on the grounds that it 'has not left a trace'.NOTES (the language of Boeotia and Thessaly) will still have been quite small at the period in question. Lesbian spoken not far from the Troad). WEST All Souls College.168. Wyattmaintainsthat there never was an Aeolic epic. Lawrencewas re-workingthe valuable notes which accompanyhis revision of Rawlinson's translation of Herodotus. Bodleian Library. 'save reminiscences of Homer'.. easier than *qut.7 Wyatt does not deny that there are Aeolic and even Doric forms in the epic language. This content downloaded by the authorized user from 192. tenth. Scholars who wish to consult this material should contact Dr JudithPriestman.CQxxiii (1973)191. The question is how they got there. His notion is that Ionian poets brought 175 them in deliberately. This is to attributeto the bards a measure of linguistic self-consciousness and artifice worthy of the Alexandrians. in retailinga story of ThessalianCentaurs.We are asked to imagine an Ionian poet who.JHScviii (1988)163n. published in a limited edition by the Nonesuch Press in 1935. and that there is no hint of any epic poetry lying behind Sappho and Alcaeus.?). Papers of Professor A.Oxford OX1 3BG. or ninth centurybut had died out by the seventh. 25 Nov 2012 07:39:45 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . after nptago.Dept.forms that could only poets' nHppaocog have developed in a Lesbian traditionof poetry about Troy. Lawrence At the time of his death in 1991 ProfessorA. Thessalian mythology. Oxford 7 Cf. partly for thematic reasons (ThessalianAchilles. and (g6. and interest in Troy itself are not merely contingent phenomenathat encouragedan Ionian epic traditionto sprout a few Aeolisms: they themselves point to prior Aeolic epic. it would prove nothing: there would be no difficulty in the hypothesis that a Lesbian epic traditionflourished in the eleventh. 79. reference to Lesbos in the context of the Trojan War.82. action situatedaroundLesbos. and Ij6L. Such regional differences as existed in speech would naturally be reflected in local uses of the epic language. had become established Ionian poetry. of Western MSS.

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