24 May 2006

Any Hellenists have some free time for Aoidoi.org?

After we finished the Aoidoi commentary on the Shield of Achilles, Nick and I discussed what we might want to work on next. We settled on the Hymn to Demeter, as practice for work on a rather larger work (a secret for now), largely because Nick had already read it and had plenty of notes at hand. Today he sent me the last chuck of the just under 500 lines of the Hymn. Right now the document weighs in at 54 pages, and we have fine tuning and additional notes yet to finalize, so it will certainly be longer.

Between the two of us the final editing is pretty good. But this is big enough that I would feel better if we could get someone else to take a close look at it once we get closer to the final draft. I know there are practicing scholars who read this blog. If any of you out there has an interest in this particular text and the time to proof 50+ pages of Greek verse, vocabulary and grammar notes, please do contact me (email). I'm afraid all I can offer in compensation is gratitude and the modest κλέος Aoidoi.org has to grant.

18 May 2006

Bragging: Metrical Breakthrough

After years of reading hexameters, I can now usually read unseen verses in the correct meter without stumbling. I have had a much harder time with iambic trimeters, however, even after reading the entire Cyclops. All those substitutions! and the ancipites! This morning on the bus, while reading the opening to Medea, it finally clicked.

Using Euripides as my first serious exposure to trimeters was probably not the smartest decision.

14 May 2006

Random Philology

The Vedic Verbal Edifice. One curious turn of phrase common in Epic is βῆ δ’ ἴμεν. It has dozens of variations, from βάν ῥ’ ἴμεναι out to the set phrase βάσκ’ ἴθι (Iliad 2.8., though some might object to that last one being included). The phrase is a little unusual in that it's just a finite form of "to go" followed by an infitive with basically the same meaning. "He went to go?" Now forms of βαίνω sometimes take on the sense of "to step," so I can see how these both might be used together.

Since both stems have clear cognates in Vedic I wondered if there were parallels. At the moment I don't know of a good database that'd let me do a lexical search like that for the Vedic corpus, so I went to my Vedic grammar to look up forms. In Macdonell's Vedic Grammar for Students the entry for i (cognate of ἴμεν) has this listing of infinitives: étum (B.); étave, étavái, ityái, iyádhyai, áyase; étos. Such riches!

Phonetic Echos in Epic. Another common turn of phrase in Epic is αὐτὰρ ἐπεί/ἔπειτα. In fact, some Hellenistic critic referred to hackish Cyclic poets as "people who say 'αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα.'" I recently ran across αὖτις ἔπειτα in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (325), but a quick search shows that it appears once in the Odyssey, too, 11.98. I wonder how much that leading αὐτ- motivated the following ἔπειτα.

Mesomedes 1

This weekend I got email from someone who brought my attention to a musical rendition of Mesomedes 1, a Hymn to the Muses (MP3). This reminded me that I had completed comments on this poem — probably really two poems — some time ago. I never published it, though I have no idea why. So I will now: Mesomedes 1.

His "Hymn to Nemesis" is interesting. I should work that up, too.

07 May 2006

On second thought

I think I'm tired of maintaining software when I'm not at work. I'm happy to let someone else manage the database and software maintenance for my blog for now. It's one less thing to take away time I'd rather spend on more interesting things.

Please excuse the visual horror while I get the CSS worked out.