Gregory Nagy, The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry
Foreword to the 1999 Second Edition
Introduction. A Word on Assumptions, Methods, Results
Part I. Demodokos, Odyssey, Iliad
1. The First Song of Demodokos 2. The Best of the Achaeans 3. A Conflict between Odysseus and Achilles in the Iliad 4. The Death of Achilles and a Festival at Delphi Part II. Hero of Epic, Hero of Cult
5. The Name of Achilles 6. Lamentation and the Hero 7. The Death of Pyrrhos 8. The Death of Hektor 9. Poetic Categories for the Hero 10. Poetic Visions of Immortality for the Hero Part III. Praise, Blame, and the Hero
11. On Strife and the Human Condition 12. Poetry of Praise, Poetry of Blame 13. Iambos 14. Epos, the Language of Blame, and the Worst of the Achaeans 15. The Best of the Achaeans Confronts an Aeneid Tradition Part IV. Beyond Epic
16. The Death of a Poet 17. On the Antagonism of God and Hero 18. On the Stories of a Poet's Life 19. More on Strife and the Human Condition 20. Achilles beyond the Iliad Appendix. On the Forms Krataió– and Akhaió– Bibliography
Appendix. On the Forms Krataió– and Akhaió–
A§1. Our point of departure is the verse-final form krataiís/Krátaiin in Odyssey xi 597/xii 124.  The conventional explanation, that we have here an id-stem feminine built from the adjective krataió-, is plagued with difficulties on the formal and functional levels.  I cite in particular the verse-final ā-stem feminine krataiḗ.  Where an id-stem feminine adjective is formed from an o-stem adjective, we do not expect the parallel inheritance of an ā-stem feminine. The clearest example of this restriction is Homeric feminine thoûris (never *thoúrē) compared to masculine/neuter thoûr-os/-on.  Even in the two most obvious archaic instances where the id-stem becomes a substantive, the corresponding o-stem adjective retains a two-gender system. Thus: hēmerís 'cultivated vine' compared to hḗmer-os/-on 'tame' and nukterís 'bat' compared to núkter-os/-on 'nocturnal'.  In fact, the author of an exhaustive monograph on the family of id-stems in Greek allows the inclusion of krataiís into this family only on condition that it be considered anomalous: in the face of the attested verse-final feminine krataiḗ, he treats krataiís as a likely case of "Augenblicksbildung."  What with such difficulties in explaining krataiís as an id-stem, I offer an alternative morphological explanation, however tentative, that is in accord with the contextual interpretation of Odyssey xi 597/xii 124. I propose that in both attestations, krataiís is a bahuvrīhi adjective originally shaped *kratai-u̯is 'whose force has krátos'. 
A§2. The immediate problem with this explanation is the short i in the reconstructed compound element *u̯i-.  The radical form *u̯ī- 'force' survives in Homeric diction as a simplex noun with long ī: nominative ī́s (Iliad XI 668, etc.), accusative în' (three attestations, all prevocalic: hence probably în),  instrumental î-phi (Iliad I 38, etc.). There is also a cognate noun in Latin, again with long ī: nominative uīs, ablative uī, and plural nominative/accusative uīrēs. The question, then, is whether *u̯i- can be the variant of *u̯ī- in the posited formation of a bahuvrīhi compound *kratai-u̯is.  There seems to be comparative evidence from Indic, where nouns ending with radical or even suffixal ī (nominative singular -īs) have variants with ĭ (nominative singular –ĭs) in the second element of bahuvrīhi compounds.  As for Greek, nouns other than ī́s that end with radical î are practically nonexistent.  On the other hand, nouns ending with suffixal ī (nominative singular -īs) are well attested, although the ī is regularly extended by -d- or -n- when followed by a vowel in the ending. Hence the genitive of knēm-ī́s is knēm-îdos, not *knēm-íos; likewise, the genitive of akt-ī́s is akt-înos, not *akt-íos. In this category too, however, there are definite traces of ĭ coexisting with ī. Consider knā́mĭdes (Alcaeus fr. 357.5LP), stamĭ́nessi (Odyssey v 252), klāĭ́des (Pindar Pythian 9.39; compare klāîdas at Pythian 8.4), etc. 
A§3. I pursue the hypothesis further by positing besides *kratai-u̯i- an extended feminine bahuvrīhi formation with suffix *-́i̯ă-/-i̯ā́-, of the type kūdi-áneira (from *kūdi-áner-i̯ă).  Such a formation may be the actual ancestor of the attested Homeric feminine krataiḗ, under the following two conditions:
- the suffix *-́
- - was leveled to *-
- -an original combination *-
- - survived as *-
A§4. The example of Homeric hetaírē is instructive in other respects as well. Like krataiḗ (9x, Iliad only), it occurs only in verse-final position (hetaírē Iliad IX 2, hetaírēn Odyssey xvii 271).  Whereas the feminine hetaírē is rare, the corresponding masculine hetaîro- 'companion' is common, with more than 250 Homeric occurrences. Moreover, about one-sixth of these are in verse-medial rather than verse-final position. Similarly, masculine krataió- occurs in verse-medial (Iliad XI 119) as well as in verse-final position (Iliad XIII 345, Odyssey xv 242, xviii 382).  The masculine/feminine distribution of hetaîros/hetaírē in Homeric diction is significant for the present argument because the masculine hetaîros is actually built from the feminine hetaírē (which in turn was built from another masculine form, hétaros).  In fact, the leveling of feminine *hétari̯ǎ/hetari̯âs/etc. to hetaírē/hetaírēs/etc. can be attributed directly to the pressure of the new masculine type hetaîros upon the old feminine type that had given it shape: hetaîr-os requires a new feminine adjunct with stem in -ā-, so that hetaír-ē displaces *hétairǎ. Thus we may even argue that verse-final hetaírē and verse-final krataiḗ both conceal an earlier *hétairǎ and *krátaiǎ respectively. 
A§5. As a parallel for the accent of krataió-, we may cite the unique Homeric instance of masculine Trōioús 'of Trōs' (Iliad XXIII 291: metrically shaped --; epithet of híppous 'horses'), apparently built from the feminine visible in Trōiaí 'Trojan' (see especially Iliad XVI 393: metrically shaped --; epithet of híppoi 'horses).  We may contrast the oxytone accentuation of this secondary masculine Trōioús with the barytone of primary masculine Trṓïoi 'of Trōs' (Iliad V 222, VIII 106, XXIII 378: metrically shaped -uu; epithet of híppoi 'horses'). The accentuation of disyllabic feminine Trōiaí 'Trojan' and its declension shows clearly that this word was originally built with a stem in *-́i̯ă-/-i̯ā́-,  as I have also argued in the case of krataiḗ.
A§6. My provisional reconstruction of krataiā́ from *krataiu̯i̯ā́- leads to a parallel explanation of Akhaiā́-: after loss of laryngeals, I posit *Akhaiu̯i̯ā́ (from *u̯iə-i̯eə 2-). Like hetaîro-, krataió-, and Trōió-, the masculine Akhaió- would be a secondary formation built from an older feminine. The distribution of Akhaió- in Homeric diction is also similar to that of hetaîro-: the vast majority of the masculine forms occur in verse-final position, but a distinct minority are verse-medial (again, roughly one-sixth). The two forms even share a distinctive epithet: besides verse-final eüknḗmīdes Akhaioí 'Achaeans with fair greaves' (36x in Iliad and Odyssey), we find verse-final eüknḗmī- des hetaîroi 'companions with fair greaves' (5x in Odyssey). Likewise, the distribution of Homeric Akhaiā́- is similar to that of hetaírā-: it is extremely rare and occurs only in verse-final position: eüplokámīdes Akhaiaí 'Achaean women with fair curls' at Odyssey ii 119, xix 542. Compare Trōiaì eüplókamoi 'Trojan women with fair curls' at Iliad VI 380, 385. 
A§7. If indeed *Akhaiu̯i̯ā́- is basic to a secondary masculine *Akhaiu̯i̯ó-, the latter's function as an ethnic noun could in turn motivate such feminine derivatives as *Akhaiu̯íd- 'Achaean' and *Akhaiu̯íā.  Compare Homeric Dardaníd- (Iliad XVIII 122, etc.) and Dardaníē (Iliad XX 216), motivated by the ethnic noun Dárdano- (Iliad II 701, etc.).  The reconstruction *Akhaiu̯íd- would account for the Homeric feminine Akhaiḯd- (Iliad I 254, etc.); as for *Akhaiu̯íā-, we may find it in the Linear B texts as a-ka-wi-ja-de, if indeed this spelling may be interpreted as *Akhaiu̯íān-de 'to Achaea'.  We also find it as Akhaiḯē in Herodotus 5.61 (epithet of Demeter!) and as Akhaiḯēs in Semonides 23.1W. 
A§8. I have perhaps taken up too much time in pursuing what must remain merely a formal possibility: that krataió- and Akhaió- are compounds built with *u̯ĭ́-. The main justification for raising this possibility remains the thematic evidence of krátos, ákhos, ī́s, and other forms related to them. I admit, however, that the purely formal evidence could still take us in many other possible directions.  For the time being, I will simply close with a few comments on some formal difficulties that remain.
- From the evidence of Linear B texts, we see that
- - 'not new' is probably a thematization of
- 'near in past time' (see Chadwick 1976). Perhaps
- - is likewise from *
- plus -
- -? But
- - is not attested as an adverb like
- . Or perhaps
- - is *
- plus –
- - (cf. adverb
- )? But how to explain the accent of –
- -?A reconstruction like *
- may perhaps not account properly for the Latin borrowing
- of course, the latter form may be simply the reflex of
- , with the
- serving as hiatus breaker. Compare Latin Argīuī from
- (the Greek has no
- before -
- ); this Latin borrowing is attested early (e.g., Plautus), and I see no reason to insist on an analogical insertion of
- by way of
- Another problem is that the reconstruction *
- - would fail to account for *
- -; this form, however, is not attested to my knowledge in Greek, unless we read the Cypriote spelling
- (Masson 1961n405.1) as *
- os. This reading is vitiated, however, by the necessary assumption that word division has been neglected between the patronymic (genitive) and the hypothetical ethnic (nominative). In fact, word divisions are faithfully observed in attested Cypriote spelling (word-final -
- spelled -
- ). Also, there is an actual word divider between
- . Discussion in Masson 1961:69. Besides, etymologically genuine
- can be spelled
- in Cypriote (Thumb/Scherer 1959:160), and we may therefore expect the reverse as well (
- ).If indeed
- - was never *
- -, then an argument could be made for its morphological parallelism with
- - even without positing compound formations
[ back ] 1. See Ch.5§36.
[ back ] 2. See Chantraine II 579 and Risch 1974:144.
[ back ] 3. See Ch.5§30.
[ back ] 4. For a survey of id-stem feminines built from o-stem adjectives: Meier 1975:46–47.
[ back ] 5. See Kastner 1967:100, who infers that the i-stems have here precluded the building of ā-stems. In compounds, of course, the preclusion of feminine ā-stems by i-stems is a general rule: e.g., haplo-ís and hapló-os/-on (see Meier, 1975:47–50).
[ back ] 6. Meier 1975:47.
[ back ] 7. See again Ch.5§36.
[ back ] 8. For the moment, it is necessary to posit a short i simply in order to account for the accentuation of Krátaiin at Odyssey xii 124; on which see Wackernagel 1953 [= 1914]:1167–1168 and Meier 1975:47n110.
[ back ] 9. Chantraine II 469.
[ back ] 10. See also the arguments of Bader 1976 for the coexistence of radical *u̯ĭ- and *u̯ī- (from *u̯i-ə 2-), which she posits to explain *u̯ĭ-ro- (as in Latin uir, Tocharian A wir, Irish fer, Old English wer, etc.) compared to *u̯ī-ro- (as in Indic vīra-, Lithuanian výras, etc.). Note that the Italic languages seem to attest both *u̯ĭ-ro- (Latin uir) and *u̯ī-ro- (Umbrian ueiro/uiro; Volscian couehriu from *ko-u̯īriōd); see Bader 1976:207–208.
[ back ] 11. See Wackernagel 1905:98–99 and 1930:187; compare also the radical element bhū- which may be either –bhū- or -bhŭ- as the second element of bahuvrīhi compounds.
[ back ] 12. In Schwyzer's list (I 570–571), we find only two other sure examples: kī́s and lī́s, neither of which has a definite Indo-European pedigree.
[ back ] 13. See Schwyzer I 465. Consider also nominative singular órnīs (Iliad IX 323, XII 218) and órnĭs (Iliad XXIV 219). But here the original stem may have been –ĭ-: cf. órneon from *órnei̯on.
[ back ] 14. For the cognate type of compound feminine in Indic: Wackernagel/Debrunner 1954:388–390.
[ back ] 15. See Kuryłowicz 1968:213. Cf. also Indic feminine -bhv-ī- besides -bhū- in compounds (Wackernagel/Debrunner 1954:387–388).
[ back ] 16. Risch 1974:167; also Chantraine II 380–381.
[ back ] 17. Also verse-final hetaírē at Hymn to Hermes 31, 478.
[ back ] 18. Also in verse-medial position at Hymn to Hermes 265, 377.
[ back ] 19. Risch 1974:167; Chantraine II 380–381.
[ back ] 20. There is also an interesting comparison to be made on the level of semantics: whereas krataiḗ functions exclusively as the epithet of Moîra 'fate' in Homeric diction, hetaírē at Iliad IX 2 is applied to Phûza, a supernatural personification of phûza 'routing of the enemy'. Phûza is the hetaírē of Phóbos, personification of phóbos 'turning and running out of fear'. The immediate context is that the Trojans are routing the Achaeans (Iliad IX 1–2), who are afflicted by pénthos (Iliad IX 3).
[ back ] 21. Wackernagel 1953 [= 1914]:1176.
[ back ] 22. Wackernagel 1953 [= 1914]:1176.
[ back ] 23. The form eüplokámīdes (+ Akhaiaí) need not be an ad hoc feminine created on the model of eüknḗmīdes (+ Akhaioí), pace Risch 1974:144 and Meier 1975:65. Even if it were so, however, it does not follow that the entire combination of eüplokámīdes + Akhaiaí was created on the model of eüknḗmīdes + Akhaioí. The two combinations function as a set containing traditional variants, and the possibility remains that the older noun may have attracted the newer epithet.
[ back ] 24. Presumably *-u̯i̯id- and *u̯i̯íā- yield *-u̯id- and *-u̯íā-.
[ back ] 25. For this type of derivation: Meier 1975:26–29.
[ back ] 26. See Ch.5§35. For an attempt at establishing a regional distinction in the prehistoric usage of Akhaiíd- and Akhaiíā-, see Aitchison 1964.
[ back ] 27. West reads Akhāḯēs, which represents an apparent phonological development from Akhaiḯēs: Schmidt 1968.8n24.
[ back ] 28. Alan Nussbaum and Jochem Schindler have kindly offered me their advice on the available evidence. They are of course not to be held accountable for the views I have expressed.