Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Three-Word Hexameters

Ever since reading line 31 of the Hymn to Demeter I've wondered how many hexameters consist of only three words: πατροκασίγνητος πολυσημάντωρ πολυδέγμων. Just today I came across an article by John Scott, 1924, "The Number of Words in a Dactylic Hexameter". Apparently there are four such verses in Homer, although, unfortunately, Scott only gives one example: Iliad 2.706: αὐτοκασίγνητος μεγαθύμου Πρωτεσιλάου. That still leaves many epic verses to be checked; but I doubt that any of them have triple alliteration like the example from Demeter.

On the other hand, Scott claims that the wordiest line in Homer is Odyssey 22.367: ὧ φίλ᾽, ἐγὼ μὲν ὅδ᾽ εἰμί, σὺ δ᾽ ἴσχεο, εἰπὲ δὲ πατρί.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a look at

Iliad 11.427, 15.678
Odyssey 10.137 (12.133a)
Hes. WD 383
Hymn to Artemis (27) 3

These lines commonly start with kasignetos compounds.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

Wow, thanks! I'm going to have a look at those right away. The kasignetos thing is very interesting. Thanks, N.

6:21 PM  

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