To cite this article:

Létoublon, Françoise. "The Trojan Formulaic Theater." Classics@ 14. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies, 2016.

The Trojan Formulaic Theater*

Françoise Létoublon, Université Stendhal - Grenoble
The formulaic phrases referring to Troy in the Iliad have not received enough attention until now: Milman Parry emphasized the epithets for heroes, but was not as confident in regard to epithets for objects and places. In his first dissertation, he actually considered some generic epithets for cities, [1] and gives a list of them in a note, [2] but the combination of epithets with proper city-names did not particularly interest him. [3] A close examination of the formulaic epithets for cities will attempt to show the system of epithets used for Troy and to determine whether it corresponds to the law of economy, as does the system of epithets used with the names of the epic heroes and gods demonstrated by Parry. We shall try to show how the metrical distinction between the names Τροίη and ῎Ιλιος determines the choice of the epithets and their placement in the verse, and we shall conclude with observations on the importance of the space between the Achaean ships and the city walls as the theater of war.
While William M. Sale’s 1987 article, “The Formularity of the Place-Phrases in the Iliad,” is very interested in epithets for cities, is very accurate, and will be often quoted here, it may appear surprising that he does not check the system of formulaic epithets, though he still intends in this paper to defend Parry. The author seems to have ignored—not without good reason, in my opinion—a paper by C. M. Bowra published in 1960 (the same date as Lord’s Singer of Tales) in the Journal for Hellenic Studies, under the title “Homeric Epithets for Troy,” which does not even mention Parry, nor German scholars such as Düntzer, whose importance in the analysis of fixed epithets Parry had recognized. [4] Bowra leans on archaeology and Mycenean studies for such assertions as the following:
It is out of the question that Homer saw Troy in its heyday or even enough ruins of it to give him a clear notion of what it had been some five hundred years before his own lifetime. But this does not mean that he did not know the country round the hill where Troy had once stood. Indeed it is difficult to imagine how he could have composed the Iliad unless he had in his mind a far clearer picture of the Troad than that of Ithaca in the Odyssey, and the clarity of the picture, which helped him to some of his dramatic effects, must have been due in some degree to personal knowledge.
However, without mentioning either Parry or earlier German scholarship like that of Düntzer and Witte, [5] Bowra somehow rediscovers the importance of the various kinds of generic epithets for Troy. His first section bears the heading “Conventional Epithets for Places,” with the following list for Troy (without any questioning of the Greek form of the city name): ἐυκτιμένον πτολίεθρον, ἐρίβωλος, ἐριβώλαξ, ἐρατεινή, εὐρεία, ἱρή (this last case will be discussed below, since it is more complex than it seems in Bowra’s paper: I see it rather as a specific epithet).
Bowra’s second section consists of “Epithets Confined to Troy,” and contains the following, which could correspond to Parry’s “distinctive” epithets: ἐΰδμητος, εὐτείχεος, εὔπυργος, ὀφρυόεσσα. [6] Bowra connects this last with expressions such as ἐπ᾽ ὀφρύσι Καλλικολώνης (Iliad 20.151), and notes that “ὀφρυόεσσα is explained by the Townleian scholiast as ἐπὶ ὀφρυώδους τόπου κειμένη. It was used in the seventh or sixth century by a Delphic oracle for Acrocorinth (Herodotos 5.92 β 3).” [7] Bowra also mentions as relevant here ἄστυ μέγα and εὔπωλος. About εὐτείχεος and εὔπυργος, he writes:
The walls of Troy VI, which survived with some patching in Troy VIIA, show how well deserved the epithet is, and it helps to explain why the Achaeans took ten years to capture the city. [8]
We will see once more that the question is much more complex.
His third category, “Epithets Suitable to Troy but not Confined to It,” seems rather confused, with αἰπή, αἰπύ, αἰπεινή, ὑψίπυλος, ἠνεμόεσσα, εὐρυάγυια, εὖ ναιόμενον.
The main problem is of course that Bowra does not see that these more or less recurrent epithets necessarily imply a formulaic analysis and theory rather than a confrontation with some reality. We also note that he does not mention the peculiarity of the existence of multiple names for the same city nor the role of metrical constraints, whereas both of these facts absolutely need to be taken into account in this kind of study.
It may seem easy to mock such a way of finding epithets more or less suitable for the remains discovered by Schliemann, Blegen, and their successors, but this is still the kind of evidence used by the archaeological team on the site today (Korfmann et al.), albeit in a much more sophisticated manner (I am thinking, for example, of the exhibition Troia, Traum und Wirklichkeit [“Troy, Dream and Reality”], shown in Stuttgart in 2001). [9] We see there a very general tendency to look at landscapes through the mirror of well-known texts, and conversely to illustrate those texts with pictures taken from reality. [10]
Thus it is necessary to study the whole set of epithets used with each of the names given to Troy, as precisely as possible. In Parry’s writing, we think that the distinction between generic and distinctive epithets was a point very finely observed, though maybe not enough stated. [11] In the following study we will try to use this distinction for the city. I shall start with generic epithets in the first part, and then discuss what would be called, after Parry, the “distinctive” epithets, but which I will call rather specific. (This translation of Parry’s épithète spéciale serves better, in my view, to underscore the opposition with the épithète générique or “generic epithet” as a subcategory of the “fixed epithet.”) The specificity of Troy as a place will be eventually posited as the heroic space of the narrative.

1. Generic epithets for Τροίη / Ἴλιος

I propose to analyze αἰπεινή, ὑψίπυλος, εὐρείη, ἐρίβωλος and the derived form ἐριβῶλαξ as generic epithets.

αἰπεινή ‘lofty’

The data for αἰπεινή show the formula ῎Ιλιος αἰπεινή (always in this word order) declined at the beginning of the hexameter. We find it in the nominative in
῎Ιλιος αἰπεινή· νῦν τοι σῶς αἰπὺς ὄλεθρος (Iliad 13.773);
in the accusative in
῎Ιλιον αἰπεινὴν ἑλέειν κτάσθαι τε πολίτας (15.558; cf. 17.327)
and in the genitive in
᾽Ιλίου αἰπεινῆς· μάλα γάρ ἑθεν εὐρύοπα Ζεὺς (9.419 = 686; cf. 15.215)
We do not encounter the dative, but it is clear that nothing formally rules out ᾽Ιλίῳ αἰπεινῄ, and its absence may be thus due to accident, though such scholars as Sale actually rely on a correspondence between semantic need and the existence of formulas more than we do. [12]
This epithet, αἰπεινή, is also met in conjunction with other city names, either at the same place in the verse, as in
Πήδασον αἰπεινήν. Φύλακον δ᾽ ἕλε Λήϊτος ἥρως (Iliad 6.35)
or at a different place in the verse, as for other places like Calydon and Gonoessa:
οἵ θ᾽ Ὑπερησίην τε καὶ αἰπεινὴν Γονόεσσαν (2.573)
ὃς πάσῃ Πλευρῶνι καὶ αἰπεινῇ Καλυδῶνι (13.217; cf. 14.116)
This epithet never appears with the name Τροίη, but no holder of the realist theory like Bowra would say that Ἴλιος was lofty and Τροίη was not.

ὑψίπυλος ‘with high gates’

With Τροίη, the compound adjective ὑψίπυλος seems generic, since the formulaic hemistich ἔνθά κεν ὑψίπυλον, which occurs twice in the repeated verse ἔνθά κεν ὑψίπυλον Τροίην ἕλον υἷες Ἀχαιῶν (Iliad 16.698 = 21.544) has a metrical shape very similar to the beginning of 6.416, where the epithet occurs with Θήβην, but in reverse order (Θήβην ὑψίπυλον· κατὰ δ᾽ ἔκτανεν Ἠετίωνα).
These few occurrences do not allow a strong conclusion, but still suggest that ὑψίπυλος is generic with Τροίη, as αἰπεινή is with Ἴλιος.

εὐρείη ‘wide’

More numerous instances draw more confidence for the adjective meaning ‘wide’, though the relevance of this meaning may appear troublesome. It occurs with Τροίη as well as with other place names, hence its generic status: in addition to the 4 Iliadic and 3 Odyssean instances in which the epithet is applied to Τροίη (in the phrase ἐνὶ Τροίη εὐρείῃ at the end of the verse or Τροίῃ ἐν εὐρείῃ at the beginning), there is a series of instances with the names Λυκίη, Κρήτη, and Σπάρτη, and occasionally other ones like Κνωσός. With Τροίη we find examples such as:
γῆμεν ἀνὴρ ὤριστος ἐνὶ Τροίη εὐρείῃ (Iliad 13.433; cf. 24.774, Odyssey 11.499, 12.189)
Τροίῃ ἐν εὐρείῃ, τῶν δ᾽ οὔ τινά φημι λελεῖφθαι (Iliad 24.256 = 494; cf. Odyssey 1.62, 4.99, 5.307)
Line-final ἐνὶ Τροίῃ εὐρείῃ is built on the same fundamental schema as ἐν Λυκίῃ εὐρείῃ (Iliad 6.210), Λυκίης εὐρείης (Iliad 6.173), ἐν Κρήτῃ εὐρείῃ (Odyssey 13.256, etc.), and (with an even closer resemblance) ἐνὶ Σπάρτῃ εὐρείῃ (Odyssey 11.460) and ἐνὶ Κνωσῷ εὐρείῃ (Odyssey 18.591), all at line-end. With Λυκίη another schema is possible, exemplified by:
κρίνας ἐκ Λυκίης εὐρείης φῶτας ἀρίστους (Iliad 6.188; cf. 16.455, 16.673, 16.683)
We observe here a “grammar of the formula,” [13] with three main possibilities, corresponding to spondaic place-names like Κρήτη and Τροίη, or with short vowels like Λυκίη:
  • at verse beginning: ἐν εὐρείῃ – –
  • at verse end: ἐνὶ / ἐν – – εὐρείῃ·
  • Names with the shape – , like Λυκίη, can be situated at various positions in the verse, including in line-final formulas.

ἐρίβωλος ‘fertile’

The epithet ἐρίβωλος forms with Τροίη a formulaic hemistich. The accusative is usual with the verb ἱκέσθαι, [14] as in Τροίην ἐρίβωλον ἵκοντο (Iliad 18.67) and Τροίην ἐρίβωλον ἱκέσθην (Iliad 23.215). As a variant of this formula, we find the second hemistich with the prepositional complement in the verse ending κατὰ Τροίην ἐρίβωλον (Iliad 9.329), unless the reverse could be said, since statistics are not proof with so few examples.
As evidence for the generic status of this epithet, we find it applied to the names Φθίη (Iliad 9.363), Σχερίη (Odyssey 5.34), Παιονίη (Iliad 21.154), and the common noun ἄρουρα (Iliad 21.232).

ἐριβῶλαξ ‘fertile’

Formally and semantically close to ἐρίβωλος appears the derived adjective ἐριβῶλαξ, with an interesting case of declension of the formula (we find accusative, genitive, and dative forms with different verbs). Alongside the first-hemistich formulas with the accusative
ναίοιτε Τροίην ἐριβώλακα (Iliad 3.74; cf. 3.257)
we find interesting examples of the (locative) dative with preposition ἐν / ἐνὶ in a central position, for example:
ἦσαν ἐνὶ Τροίῃ ἐριβώλακι τέκτονες ἄνδρες (Iliad 6.315)
φθίσειν ἐν Τροίῃ ἐριβώλακι τηλόθι πάτρης (Iliad 16.461; cf. 24.86)
The generic status of this epithet is evident from the following examples of its use with other nouns:
οὐδέ ποτ᾽ ἐν Φθίῃ ἐριβώλακι βωτιανείρῃ (Iliad 1.155; cf. 9.479)
τῆλ᾽ ἀπὸ Λαρίσης ἐριβώλακος, οὐδὲ τοκεῦσι (Iliad 17.301; cf. 2.841)
Βώρου, ὃς ἐκ Τάρνης ἐριβώλακος εἰληλούθει (Iliad 5.44)
ὅι ῥ᾽ ἐξ Ἀσκανίης ἐριβώλακος ἦλθον ἀμοιβοὶ (Iliad 13.793)
τῶν ὅσσοι Λυκίην ἐριβώλακα ναιετάουσι (Iliad 16.172)
ὅς ῥ᾽ ἐκ Παιονίης ἐριβώλακος εἰληλούθει (Iliad 17.350)
῾Ρίγμον, ὃς ἐκ Θρῄκης ἐριβώλακος εἰληλούθει (Iliad 20.485; cf. 11.222)
κεῖθ᾽ ἁλὶ κεκλιμένη ἐριβώλακος ἠπείροιο (Odyssey 13.325)
We may note that, while the epithet occurs in the genitive case with many toponyms (Λαρίσης, Τάρνης, Ἀσκανίης, Παιονίης, Θρῄκης) and with the common noun ἠπείροιο, there are no occurrences with the genitive Τροίης.

εὐρυάγυια ‘with wide streets’

With the epithet εὐρυάγυια, the most frequent formulas in the Iliad employ forms of the verb αἱρέω ‘take, capture’. So, for example:
πανσυδίῃ νῦν γάρ κεν ἕλοι πόλιν εὐρυάγυιαν / Τρώων (Iliad 2.12-3; cf. 2.29-30, 2.66-67)
οὐ γὰρ ἔτι Τροίην αἱρήσομεν εὐρυάγυιαν (Iliad 2.141= 9.28)
τῷ δεκάτῳ δὲ πόλιν αἱρήσομεν εὐρυάγυιαν (Iliad 2.329) [15]
In the Odyssey, other city names warrant the generic status of the epithet (including Πριάμου πόλις ‘Priam’s city’, which of course refers to Troy):
ἵκετο δ᾽ ἐς Μαραθῶνα καὶ εὐρυάγυιαν Ἀθήνην (Odyssey 7.80)
ἠὲ διεπράθετο πτόλις ἀνδρῶν εὐρυάγυια (Odyssey 15.384)
σῇ δ᾽ ἥλω βουλῇ Πριάμου πόλις εὐρυάγυια (Odyssey 22.230)
The epithet also occurs once with Μυκήνη at the end of the verse:
Ἄργος τε Σπάρτη τε καὶ εὐρυάγυια Μυκήνη (Iliad 4.52)
Even though this is its only attestation within the Homeric corpus, εὐρυάγυια Μυκήνη should very likely be counted as a formula.
It would be relatively easy to exclude the examples with Ἀθήνην (and Μαραθῶνα) as more recent, and to observe that most other examples imply Troy in an indirect way, but it may seem more plausible to characterize the epithet as generic; its use with Μυκήνη seems a strong argument in this direction. Any wealthy city in the archaic period could likely merit a description as ‘having wide streets’.

2. εὐτείχεος ‘with strong walls’: generic or specific?

The case of εὐτείχεος shows an interesting paradigmatic complementarity between Ἴλιος and Τροίη. The epithet occurs with no other toponym, which poses a challenge for Bowra’s reasoning: why do we not find it describing Tyrins or Mycenae, where the walls are still now very impressive, and must have been impressive in antiquity? [16] This case is peculiar because the specific epithets mentioned by Parry generally correspond to one and the same name rather than one and the same reality, whereas this epithet could be specific for the city referred to by both names, Ἴλιος and Τροίη. The walls of the city, however, figure prominently in the Troy story: witness the myth of the gods Poseidon and Apollo together building them for king Laomedon (Iliad 21.441-446) [17] and Andromache’s mention of a weak part of the wall, which may allude to the future fall of the city (Iliad 6.433-439). [18] Thus εὐτείχεος with reference to Τροίη or Ἴλιος represents a kind of “traditional referentiality,” as John Foley would have said. [19]
The most frequent formula is a whole formulaic verse with the name Ἴλιος, appearing four times in the Iliad:
῎Ιλιον ἐκπέρσαντ εὐτείχεον ἀπονέεσθαι (Iliad 2.113, 2.288, 5.716, 9.20)
We also find two instances with Τροίην εὐτείχεον:
αἴ κέ ποθι Ζεὺς / δῷσι πόλιν Τροίην εὐτειχεον ἐξαλαπάξαι (Iliad 1.129)
ἱέμενος Τροίην εὐτείχεον ἐξαλαπάξαι (Iliad 8.241)
We may also note the alternative form εὐτειχής without either of the proper names, but with a clear reference to Troy through the word πόλιν in
δουρὶ δ᾽ ἐμῷ κτεάτισσα πόλιν εὐτείχεα πέρσας (Iliad 16.57)
Arguably related is an isolated use of εὔπυργος ‘with strong towers’ in
εἰς ὅ κεν ἢ ὑμεῖς Τροίην εὔπυργον ἕλητε (Iliad 7.71)
Τροίην εὔπυργον has a different metrical shape from the more usual Τροίην εὐτείχεον, necessitating a different placement in the verse, but both phrases exhibit a similar distribution around the caesura (penthemimeral or hepthemimeral). Thus Τροίην εὔπυργον may reasonably be considered a formula, entering the complex system of the formulaic epithets for Troy.
Εὐτείχεος and εὔπυργος refer to the walls and the towers of the Trojan city; they emphasize the strong defense apparatus, which should succeed in protecting the city against enemies. Therefore the more εὐτείχεος and εὔπυργος the city, the more tragic the Achaean attack against it appears. The interpretation of these words as specific epithets for Troy with both of its proper names seems possible, but we deem it more interesting to conclude that an ambiguity exists. Though we do not know any other cases in which the same epithet is used with two different names for one and the same reality, it cannot be formally proven that the epithet is not generic. Anyhow, the reality of the walls and towers of Troy does not really matter here: rather, we are dealing with a kind of “traditional referentiality.” We suggest that Troy’s strong walls are not a specific characteristic of this city in themselves, since we know other cities that were endowed with very impressive walls and gates at that time; however, they take on great importance in the Iliad’s narrative because of the events that occur around them, and that could explain why these epithets seem quasi-specific for both of the names of the city. [20]
Before dealing with the possible cases of specific epithets, it must be noted that both Ἴλιος and Τροίη also occur without any epithet, as in
Τροίῃ δὲ πεφήσεται αἰπὺς ὄλεθρος (Iliad 17.153)
Here, however, the adjective αἰπύς, modifying ὄλεθρος, could substitute for αἰπεινή (attested with Ἴλιος, not with Τροίη; see above) or αἰπύς, which also occurs once with Ἴλιος:
                                  … εἰς ὅ κ᾽ Ἀχαιοὶ
Ἴλιον αἰπὺ ἕλοιεν Ἀθηναίης διὰ βουλὰς (Iliad 15.70-71)
Note also the lines
                         νῦν ὤλετο πασῆς κατ᾽ἄκρης
Ἴλιος αἰπεινὴ· νῦν τοι σῶς αἰπὺς ὄλεθρος (Iliad 13.772-773)
in which the formula Ἴλιος αἰπεινὴ at the beginning of the verse occurs in close proximity with the final formula αἰπὺς ὄλεθρος. We may consider this an indication of the relation between the elevation of the city and the abruptness of its destiny in the poet’s mind. Thus the abruptness of the city becomes a metaphor of its destiny, and the metaphor is achieved in the traditional formulaic style. In 17.153 (quoted above) the application of the epithet to ὄλεθρος alone, with the dramatic dative Τροίῃ standing alone at the beginning of the same verse, could thus emphasize the metaphorical value of the epithet, the high city becoming the victim of a high fall, as if there were a fitting proportion between its high walls and the fall. It is of course possible that we attach too much importance to the usual way an epithet occurs and to the contrast with the occurrence where it is missing: we just want to point out a possible stylistic and rhetorical device. [21]
Both Ἴλιος and Τροίη also occur without an epithet in a use we could call neutral, mostly with a preposition: compare, for instance, Iliad 8.131: κατὰ Ἴλιον, 21.295: κατὰ Ἰλιόφι, 24.67: ἐν Ἰλίῳ, 24.145: Ἴλιον εἴσω, 22.478: ἐν Τροίῃ, and particularly the following formulaic verse ending, which seems more expressive:
… οἳ Ἰλίῳ ἐγγεγάασιν (Iliad 6.493, 17.145)
Note that this is particularly the case for locative expressions: this could lead to support for Sale’s observation that there are no formulas for the locative meaning “in Troy” and for departing from it, and for his hypothesis: the dramatization of the plot inside the city would correspond to the poet’s period, when no more formulas were created anew; [22] we will come back to this issue.

3. Possible specific epithets and the Holy City

ἠνεμόεσσα ‘windy’

Few epithets may be said to be specific to Troy, as either Ἴλιος or Τροίη, in the strong Parryian sense. It seems possible, however, to consider ἠνεμόεσσα a quasi-specific epithet for Ἴλιος, since, apart from one instance in which it modifies another city-name, Ἐνίσπη, the epithet occurs (in the Iliad) only with Ἴλιος, in a formula confined to the second hemistich. The single exception, from the Catalogue of Ships, is:
῾Ρίπην τε Στρατίην τε καὶ ἠνεμόεσσαν Ἐνίσπην (Iliad 2.606)
All of the other Iliadic instances reverse the order of name and epithet, as in
ἤτοι ἐγὼν εἶμι προτὶ Ἴλιον ἠνεμόεσσαν (Iliad 3.305; cf. 8.499, 12.115, 13.724, 18.174, 22.64, 23.297)
In the Odyssey the same epithet occurs in the same position with common nouns:
ᾤκεον ἐν σπήεσσι δι᾽ ἄκριας ἠνεμόεσσας (Odyssey 9.400; cf. 16.365)
Παρνησοῦ, τάχα δ᾽ ἵκανον πτύχας ἠνεμόεσσας (Odyssey 19.432)
As in the Iliad, the epithet occupies the last position in the verse, but the association with ἄκριας or πτύχας instead of Ἴλιος seems to indicate a disregard of the traditional formulaic system.
The formula προτὶ / ὑπὸ Ἴλιον ἠνεμόεσσαν, as Sale notes, [23] occurs mostly in the ‘motion-to’ use, which for him proves the role of semantic values of the formula.

εὔπωλος ‘abounding in horses’

εὔπωλος occurs only with Ἴλιος, in a formula confined to the first hemistich. The hemistich, which occurs five times in the Iliad and the Odyssey, is exemplified by the line
Ἴλιον εἰς εὔπωλον ἅμ᾽ Ἀργείοισιν ἑπέσθην (Iliad 5.551; cf. 16.576, Odyssey 2.18, 14.71, 11.169) [24]
Thus εὔπωλος could be a specific epithet for this city, known in mythology for the divine horses given by Zeus to Tros as compensation for the taking of his son Ganymede (Iliad 5.266). That is not to say that other places were not also known for their horses, such as Argos, for which the epics use other formulas, especially employing the epithet ἱππόβοτος (the word probably characterizes Argos as a large country rather than a city, as may be the case for Ἴλιος when it is said to be εὔπωλος). [25]
It is not surprising to find formulas that likewise associate the Trojan people with horses. Phrases with the epithet ἱππόδαμος ‘horse-taming’ in the first part of the verse in the dative or the accusative exhibit variations showing how the formula may adapt to both meter and morpho-syntax:
Τρωσὶν ἐφ᾽ ἱπποδάμοις (Iliad 8.110, 8.516)
Τρωσὶν ἐφ᾽ ἱπποδάμοισιν (Iliad 4.355, 19.237, 318)
Τρῶας ἐς ἱπποδάμους (Iliad 17.230)
Τρῶας θ᾽ ἱπποδάμους καὶ ἐϋκνήμιδας Ἀχαιούς (Iliad 3.343, 4.80)
Τρώων ἱπποδάμων (Iliad 2.230, 4.355, 6.461, 11.568)
Τρώων θ’ ἱπποδάμων καὶ Ἀχαιῶν (χαλκοχιτώνων) (Iliad 3.127, 3.131, 4.352, 8.71)
In the whole-verse formulas Τρώων θ’ ἱπποδάμων καὶ Ἀχαιῶν χαλκοχιτώνων and Τρῶας θ᾽ ἱπποδάμους καὶ ἐϋκνήμιδας Ἀχαιούς, clustered in Books 3 and 4, and each denoting the same two groups, note that, although the first hemistich is identical, the second shows a change of both word-order and epithet.
The nominative proper is not attested, but the vocative occurs twice in a verse-initial formula that exhibits a significant shift in both meter and word-order:
ὄρνυσθ’ ἱππόδαμοι Τρῶες (Iliad 4.509, 12.440)
The other formulas quoted above may also, with slight variations, be encountered at other places in the verse, as in
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ Τρώεσσι μεθ’ ἱπποδάμοις ἀγορεύσω (Iliad 7.361, 8.525)
πῶς γὰρ νῦν Τρώεσσι μεμιγμένοι ἱπποδάμοισιν (Iliad 10.424; cf. 17.418, 20.180)
The epithet also occurs with the names of several individuals, including Hector and Antenor among the Trojans, and Tydeus, Diomedes, Nestor, Thrasymedes, and Atreus among the Achaeans (all fighters in the Trojan War or their ancestors), but with no other collective name. So it can be concluded that it is a specific epithet for the Trojans, as εὔπωλος is with Ἴλιος, showing once more the complementarity between Ἴλιος and Τροίη.

ὀφρυοέσσα ‘with overhanging brows’

The very intriguing epithet ὀφρυόεσσα, with the nominative Ἴλιος, is a hapax:
τῷ δὲ μάλιστ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἔην ἐναλίγκιον ὡς εἰ ἅπασα
Ἴλιος ὀφρυόεσσα πυρὶ σμύχοιτο κατ᾽ ἄκρης (Iliad 22.410-411)
The phrase Ἴλιος ὀφρυόεσσα at the beginning of the verse looks like a formula, and though we find no other instance of it, we would be less confident than most “hard Parryist” scholars about excluding its formulaic status: [26] in a tradition that can be traced back to Meillet, [27] we admit the possibility of formulas that occur only once in the Homeric corpus. Nevertheless, the opacity of the epithet, already problematic in antiquity for the scholiast quoted by Bowra (above), leads us to conclude that this epithet may be very ancient, and not at all an invention of “Homer,” whatever its meaning is. The formal relation of ὀφρυόεσσα to ὀφρῦς is clear, but does it mean ‘eyebrow’ with an anthropomorphic meaning? Or is the meaning of ‘eyebrow’ for the substantive itself derived from another meaning, which could be attributed to natural features as well as to eyebrows (as seems to be the case in English for brow)? [28] It happens elsewhere that semantically opaque expressions that can be illuminated by comparison with other languages and/or literatures appear in Homer, Hesiod, Pindar, etc., as very ancient formulas that were obviously not very well understood. Could ὀφρυόεσσα, then, be the sole attested instance of an old epithet specific to Ἴλιος? Ιf we take into account the masculine form ὀφρυόεντα found in an oracle for Corinth preserved by Herodotus, [29] the epithet would be specific for this city situated on a steeper rock than Troy. It is impossible to go further with such evidence. But it might be important that this passage with a very specific epithet deals in a very solemn tone with the tragic loss of the city, as was the case above with the “high disaster” (αἰπὺς ὄλεθρος) coming to the high city with its high walls. It might also be important to mention that Ophryneion is a toponym known in the Troad, at least through Strabo, who situates a grove sacred to Hector there (13.1.29): [30] our hypothesis would be that this name derives from the same ὀφρῦς as the epithet ὀφρυόεσσα, based on a similar meaning of ὀφρυ-, let us say ‘brow’ or ‘ravine’, itself relatively frequent in geographical descriptions.

ἱερή / ἱρή ‘sacred’

Let us develop a little more the association of Troy with two adjectives that seem very close one to another, but nevertheless display very different behavior, ἱερή and ἱρή. The first adjective occurs with other city-names or place-names, like Thebe, city of Eetion, Andromache’s father. Though the location of this city might suggest that it is close to Troy and included in the Troad, this is not the case for Euboea, Zeleia, and Pylos, all places that receive the epithet. [31] ἱερή therefore appears to be a generic epithet, which also occurs with certain common nouns. It occurs with Ἴλιος only once:
Ἴλιον εἰς ἱερήν· τῇ δ᾽ ἀντίος ὄρνυτ᾽ Ἀπόλλων (Iliad 7.20)
Especially worthy of note is the line
Περγάμῳ εἰν ἱερῇ, ὅθι οἱ νηός γε τέτυκτο (Iliad 5.446)
Although, as we will see shortly, Πέργαμος is the name of the Trojan acropolis, ἱερὴ is a generic epithet in reference to the city of the Trojans.
In strong contrast, its apparent allomorph ἱρή seems strictly limited to Troy under the name Ἴλιος; metrically, it is strictly limited to the verse-final position. The whole formulaic verse
ἔσσεται ἦμαρ ὅτ᾽ ἂν ποτ᾽ ὀλώλῃ Ἴλιος ἱρή (Iliad 4.164, 6.448)
occurs twice in the Iliad. There are other instances of the phrase in the nominative case:
Κτίσσε Δαρδανίην, ἐπεὶ οὔ πω Ἴλιος ἱρὴ (Iliad 20.216; cf. 4.46, 24.27) [32]
as well as in the genitive:
ὥς κεν Τύδεος υἱὸν ἀπόσχῃ Ἰλίου ἱρῆς (Iliad 6.96 ~ 6.277; cf. 21.128)
The epithet is most frequent in the accusative case. We observed two recurring whole line formulas, and in these instances its formularity is evident:
τεύχεα συλήσας οἴσω προτὶ Ἴλιον ἱρήν (Iliad 7.82; cf. Iliad 7.413, 7.429, 13.657, 17.193)
βῆ δὲ κατ᾽ Ἰδαίων ὀρέων εἰς Ἴλιον ἱρήν (Iliad 15.169; cf. Iliad 24.143, Odyssey 11.86, 17.293)
There are, as well, a number of instances of the verse-final formula Ἴλιον ἱρήν in other contexts (Iliad 5.648, 6.416, 18.270, 21.515, 24.383).
This clear evidence of a declined formula in the strongest Parryian sense (without any examples in the dative, which could support Sale’s remarks on the absence of the locative value for “Troy-city”) contrasts with the other name of the city, Τροίη, which does not occur at all with ἱρή, and is used with ἱερός only in the periphrases Τροίης ἱερὰ κρήδεμνα (Iliad 16.100) and Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον (Odyssey 1.2). Might we detect in this difference of usage a difference in meaning? ἱρός is usually understood to mean ‘sacred,’ like ἱερός, but some have proposed that it means, instead, ‘mighty, powerful’. [33] ἱρή seems specific with the name Ἴλιος whereas ἱερή is generic with both of the city’s names.
City-names are often constructed as derivatives of the name of the city’s founder. [34] The famous genealogy of Aeneas in Iliad Book 20 (214-231) gives the list of his ancestors, but does not seem to provide a key to Ἴλιος ἱρή: the main figures in the royal lineage outlined there are sucessively Dardanos (219), Erichthonios (ibid.), Tros (231), his sons Ilos, Assarakos, and Ganymedes (232), Ilos’ son Laomedon (236) and grandson Priam (237), and Assarakos’ son Kapys and grandson Anchises (239). [35] Ἴλιος appears to relate to Ilos, Τροίη to Tros. The specificity of Tros’ three sons, Ilos, Assarakos, and Ganymedes, excludes the hypothesis of a mistake or change in the tradition of which Aeneas preserves the memory. Apollodorus’ Bibliotheca (3.140), perhaps more accurately than the Iliad, mentions a first Ilos, eldest son of Dardanos, who died without heir so that his brother Erichthonios became king.
The tradition of the Palladion, which comes from the Epic Cycle but is not referred to in Homer, derives the origin of the statue either from Dardanos, the very first ancestor mentioned in Iliad 20 (who in most detailed traditions came from Greece through Samothrace, still another problem that we cannot deal with here), or from Ilos, but never from Tros or Erichthonios. The point cannot be developed in this frame, [36] but the statue of the Palladion played a crucial role for the city as a protective talisman until a night expedition by Diomedes and Odysseus succeeded in stealing it. [37] Therefore I propose a strong link between the magical power of the statue and Ilos, recalling that he had his tomb in the plain near Troy, an important landmark in the surroundings of the city for the chiefs and soldiers of both camps. This Ilos could be the son of Dardanos omitted in Aeneas’ genealogy rather than the son of Tros, about whom he has explicit knowledge.
The formulaic theater—located in our minds rather than reality—could then be first the place where oral poetry is still now “fighting” against the defenders of that “astonishing degree of reality” (Bowra’s phrasing) found in the Homeric poems. But a step further can be possible with the help of Jenny Strauss Clay’s studies of “Homer’s Trojan Theater,” [38] in which the space between the Achaean ships and the city walls is described as a theater where the episodes of fighting move the narrative along with higher and higher intensity until Hector’s men set the ships on fire, which leads Achilles to accept Patroclos’ demand and send him to war in his own armor. It could be assumed that the formulaic style stresses and emphasizes this theater of war: the Achaeans want to take the city, which, protected by its high walls and doors, is relatively safe. Conversely, the Trojans want to defend their holy city at all cost. In this connection, I would like to study more closely expressions such as the following:
νῦν γάρ κεν ἕλοι πόλιν εὐρυάγυιαν / Τρώων (Iliad 2.12-13; cf. 2.29-30, 2.66-67)
εἴ κεν Ἀχαιοὶ / Τρῷας δῃώσωσιν ἕλωσί τε Ἴλιον ἱρήν (Iliad 4.415-416)
εἰ γᾶρ νῦν Τρώεσσι μένος πολυθαρσὲς ἐνείη / … αἶψά κε Πάτροκλον ἐρυσαίμεθα Ἴλιον εἴσω (Iliad 17.156-159) [39]
Sale aptly remarks that typical formulas exist for expressing a move towards the city (compare the examples of προτὶ Ἴλιον ἠνεμόεσσαν and προτὶ / εἰς Ἴλιον ἱρὴν, noted above), [40] whereas there are virtually no formulas corresponding to the locative meaning of ‘in the city’, nor to the expression of the movement away from the city. Sale explains this by a hypothesis concerning the relative chronology of the text, the Troy-scenes that imply the locative being composed, in his opinion, more or less at the date of “Homer.” This conclusion might be in harmony with that of the importance of the space between the Achaean ships and the city walls as the theater of war, which we are exploring.

4. The names of Troy

In its sole occurrence in the Iliad, the name Δαρδανίη is given to the first settlement in the Troad, founded by Dardanus higher on the heights of Mount Ida than the future site of Troy (Iliad 20.215-218). Six formulaic uses of the name Πέργαμος show that this was the name of the acropolis of Troy, standing in the same relation to the city as the Kadmeia to Thebes, for example:
νεμέσησε δ’ Ἀπόλλων / Περγάμου ἐκκατιδών (Iliad 4.507-508; cf. 7.20-21)
Αἰνείαν δ’ ἀπάτερθεν ὁμίλου θῆκεν Ἀπόλλων / Περγάμῳ εἰν ἱερῇ (Iliad 5.445-446)
ὣς εἰπὼν αὐτὸς μὲν ἐφέζετο Περγάμῳ ἄκρῃ (Iliad 5.460, with reference to Ares; cf. 6.512-613)
Πέργαμον εἰσαναβᾶσα φίλον πατέρ’ εἰσενόησεν (Iliad 24.700, with reference to Cassandra)
While Pergamos appears to be the proper name of Troy’s acropolis, ἐν πόλει ἄκρῃ can be considered a “minimal formula” for this part of the city. [41] Pergamos was probably the solemn, official name contrasting with the quotidian use of ἐν πόλει ἄκρῃ.
The uses of the names of peoples are also very interesting: they seem to imply that Dardanians were a distinct population of inhabitants of the Troad, different from the Trojans but constantly fighting with them because of their close kinship. [42] Why no ethnonym deriving from the name of Ilos occurs in Homer, although Ἴλιος appears more sacred than Τροίη, remains a mystery.
Thus Ἴλιος and Τροίη refer to one and the same city under the name of a different founder: the more sacred Ἴλιος very probably refers to the first Ilos, whom Aeneas did not mention in his genealogy, rather than to the second Ilos, whom he remembers because that Ilos is closer to his own lineage, whereas the founder died without posterity. The use of the formulaic epithets implies that the city of Troy is with the Achaean camp the very center of the epics: its name occurs with some generic epithets that occur with other city names as well, but some epithets might have a specific status, just as heroes and gods have some specific epithets. This might mean, not that Troy is uniquely windy, rich in horses, or even holy, but rather that in the ongoing course of the epic plot, the whole interest of the characters, and by extension that of the audience, focuses on this very city. Meanwhile, the particular form ἱρή, associated solely with the name Ἴλιος, could be explained by particular features of Trojan myth.

5. The Names of Troy and Formulaic Economy

We conclude with remarks on the formulaic system and its economy. The epithets for both Ἴλιος and Τροίη correspond to a very extensive and economic formulaic system, since no formulas expressing the same essential idea fit exactly the same metrical conditions. This system can be sketched as follows [43] :
Generic Epithets
Τροίην ἐρίβωλον ἵκοντο [P 6-12] 1x
Τροίην ἐρίβωλον ἱκέσθην [P 6-12] 1x

ναίοιτε Τροίην ἐριβώλακα [P 1-8] 1x
ναίοιμεν Τροίην ἐριβώλακα [P 1-8] 1x

ἐνὶ Τροίῃ ἐριβώλακι [P 2b-8] 1x
ἐν Τροίῃ ἐριβώλακι [P 3-8] 2x

Τροίην αἱρήσομεν εὐρυάγυιαν [P 4-12] 2x
πόλιν εὐρυάγυιαν [P 7½-12] 5x [44]

῎Ιλιος αἰπεινή [P 1-5] 1x
῎Ιλιον αἰπεινὴν [P 1-5] 2x
᾽Ιλίου αἰπεινῆς [P 1-5] 3x [45]

ὑψίπυλον Τροίην [P 3-7] 2x
With the idea ‘broad’ appears a subsystem in the dative:
ἐνὶ Τροίη εὐρείῃ [P 6b-12] 4x
Τροίῃ ἐν εὐρείῃ [P 1-5] 5x
Another interesting subsystem appears with εὐτείχεος, which occurs with both names in different metrical patterns:
῎Ιλιον ἐκπέρσαντ᾽ εὐτείχεον ἀπονέεσθαι [P 1-12] 4x
Τροίην εὐτείχεον [P 4-8b] 2x [46]
Possible specific epithets:
προτὶ Ἴλιον ἠνεμόεσσαν [P 6a-12] 5x
ὑπὸ Ἴλιον ἠνεμόεσσαν [P 6a-12] 1x

Ἴλιον εἰς εὔπωλον [P 1-6a] 2x

ἱππόδαμοι Τρῶες [P 3-7] 2x
Τρώων (θ᾽) ἱπποδάμων [P 1-5] 9x
Τρωσὶν ἐφ᾽ ἱπποδάμοισι(ν) [P 1-6] 4x [47]
Τρῶάς θ᾽ ἱπποδάμους [P 1-5] 3x

Ἴλιος ὀφρυόεσσα [P 1-6a] 1x
ἱερή and ἱρή
Ἴλιον ἱρήν [P 9-12] 13x
Ἰλίου ἱρῆς [P 9-12] 3x

Ἴλιον εἰς ἱερήν [P 1-5] 1x
Τροίης ἱερὰ κρήδεμνα [P 4-10a] 1x
Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον [P 6a-10a] 1x in the Odyssey
Περγάμῳ εἰν ἱερῇ [P 1-5] 1x
Most of these epithets indicate that Ἴλιος and Τροίη refer to different realities, maybe because they have different founders. Or possibly the poets used different metrical shapes, associated with different epithets, to single out different periods in the city’s stratified history. We cannot explain why only Ἴλιος occurs in the nominative, but it might have to do with the fact that, in several cases, the formulas relative to this name are declined (῎Ιλιος αἰπεινή and ῎Ιλιος ἱρή) whereas those with Τροίη are not, and with the fact that Ἴλιος and its paradigm often appear at the beginning of the verse, in an apparently emphatic position. Thus the formulaic system clearly functions according to Parry’s characterization:
The uses of noun-epithet formulae are varied and many, but their common utility lies in the fact that they fill exactly a certain portion of the verse where the noun, or its synonym, would not fit. The technique of the use of the fixed epithet as we find it in Homer reveals plainly an ancient and intense development. In those cases where the importance of a word, or a category of words, has brought about its use frequently, and in different combinations of words, we find that the noun-epithet formulae constitute systems characterized by a great complexity and by a strict economy. [48]
The numerous epithets that occur with both Ἴλιος and Τροίη (ἐρίβωλος, ἐριβῶλαξ, εὐρυάγυια, etc.) exhibit a variety of metrical shapes, providing considerable flexibility when joined with either name.
One last comment concerns Sale’s analysis of place-name formulas. In his 1987 paper, he remarks the strange absence of formulas with the locative meaning of the dative. I first believed I had discovered an error in this analysis with two cases: ἐν(ὶ) Τροίῃ ἐριβώλακι and ἐνὶ Τροίη εὐρείῃ / Τροίῃ ἐν εὐρείῃ. [49] After looking more closely both at the whole list of the examples and his paper, it seems to me that the situation is more complicated.
Let us first quote his accurate phrasing:
We have established, then, that there are few or no pre-Homeric formulae for ‘in Troy-city’ and none for ‘from Troy’. The formulaic tradition did not say these things. But what about the whole epic tradition, formulaic and non-formulaic?—for it is evident from Homer that not every time an idea is expressed will it be expressed in a formula. Did no poet before Homer ever say ‘from Troy’? Such an extreme view is surely very unattractive. What we can argue is this: in the last few generations before the composition of the Iliad, the oral poets did not frequently say ‘in Troy’ or ‘from Troy’. If they had, formulae would have developed. [50]
Sale then takes a further step (ibid.):
… pre-Homeric poetry did not say ‘in Troy’ frequently because it did not frequently place the action in Troy. It did not say ‘from Troy’ because, being rarely inside the city, it rarely had occasion to leave it. This would mean that the bulk of the Iliad’s Trojan scenes—there are 33 in all—could safely be attributed to Homer’s own invention. Note that this does not mean that the Trojan scenes will be significantly less formulaic than the rest. Hector’s helmet is just as bright, and the Achaean chitons just as brazen, whether referred to inside the city or out of it. It certainly does not make Homer a pen-poet who inherited the rest of the Iliad. It does mean that the parts of Troy which are not visible from outside will lack formulae—and this is in fact the case.
Sale does not analyze the formulaic system of the names for Troy, because he is interested in what he calls the formularity of place-names (more generally than Troy) in the Iliad, which means the statistical proportion of formulas vs. non-formulaic uses of words. He concludes that ‘in Troy’ does not occur in formulas, but he introduces a note of caution with the qualifiers ‘often’ and ‘frequently’. It is true that the uses of ἐν(ὶ) Τροίη with both ἐριβώλακι and εὐρείῃ are formulaic and are used to express that some event happened ‘in Troy’. Nethertheless, in my opinion, these uses do not imply that Sale’s intuition is wrong: they do not belong to the real Trojan scenes he had in mind, for instance the scenes on the wall in Books 6 and 22, in Priam’s palace, etc. Rather, they all refer to the period before the war, when the “best man who was in Troy married Hippodameia” (Iliad 13.433), when Priam’s sons were born, or when Hector was still protecting his family (three examples in Book 24), and further in the Odyssean examples. They all belong to a timespan before the period narrated in the Iliad, and they derive from that a nostalgic tone. The poet never uses those phrases when he tells for instance of Helen inside the palace or on the walls, of Hector’s quest for Andromache and their meeting, or of the sacrifice scene to Athena. Actually, Sale does not notice some formulaic uses meaning ‘in Troy’, but this does not compromise his conclusions.
Thus the various uses of fixed epithets with different names of the city of Troy show that the city can be counted as one of the heroes of the Iliad. Moreover Sale’s analysis might show that the scenes inside Troy constitute the very bulk of Homer’s work, distinct from the more traditional theater of the war.


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Witte, K. 1972. Zur homerischen Sprache. Reprint of articles published in Glotta, 1909-1914. Darmstadt.


[ back ] * Many thanks to the organizors of the Parry-Lord Conference and the editors of the book, to Stephen Rojcewicz who carefully checked my English, and to the kind reviewer who read the first version of the text with a very positive akribeia.
[ back ] 1. Parry 1971: “if we take a generic epithet of a hero, δαΐφρονος, which is said of 15 heroes, or μεγαλήτορος, which is said of 13 heroes, that each of these epithets, and each alone, presents one of the 21 different metrical values attested for generic epithets of heroes in the genitive case, may be regarded as certain proof that both epithets are integral parts of a traditional system. Or again, we have a certain proof of the traditional character of πολύτλας δῖος Οδυσσεύς in that this formula is, first, unique in metre among the 14 noun-epithet formulae used in the nominative case for this hero, and second, is of the same metrical value with a great many other noun-epithet formulae of heroes—we pointed out 40 of them (TE p. 10-13). But when we try to determine whether the epithets εὐρυάγυια and τειχιόεσσαν, to choose two examples, are traditional or original, whether they are generic or distinctive, we no longer have this certainty. The different epithets of cities which are beyond doubt generic amount to only seven, in all the five cases” (102).
[ back ] 2. Parry 1971: “In the genitive: ἐυκτιμένης (2), ἐρατεινῆς (2), ἱεράων (1). In the dative: ἐυκτιμένηι (3), ἠγαθέηι (3), ἱερῆι (2), εὖ ναιομένωι (1). In the accusative: ἐυκτίμενον πτολίεθρον (4), ἐρατεινήν (7),̀ ἐρατεινάς (1), ἐυκτιμένην (2), ζαθέην (4), ἱερόν, ἱερήν (3), ἠγαθέην (1), εὖ ναιομένον (2)” (102). As Parry notes, “The figures indicate the number of different cities described by each form.”
[ back ] 3. An interesting historical view on the formula before Parry, in his work, and afterwards is found in Russo 1997.
[ back ] 4. Düntzer is quoted at least six times in Parry’s theses, as well as Witte.
[ back ] 5. I first thought that Bowra did not read Parry or the German scholarship, but the anonymous reviewer of this paper remarks that he quoted Parry’s theses written “some 40 years ago” in his posthumously published book entitled Homer (1972), and considered them fruitful.
[ back ] 6. In the thèses he submitted for the degree of Docteur-ès-Lettres at the University of Paris, Parry makes a series of binary distinctions between various possible kinds of epithet. He distinguishes in the first place between the épithète fixe or ornementale and the épithète particularisée; then, as subdivisions of the first category, he distinguishes the épithète générique from the épithète spéciale. (See, for example, Parry 1928:109, 146.) ‘Distinctive’ is the standard English translation, originating with Adam Parry, for Parry’s label spéciale; we adopt it here, although the complementary relationship with the épithète générique might be better captured by rendering spéciale as ‘specific’.
[ back ] 7. Bowra 1960:18.
[ back ] 8. Bowra 1960:17.
[ back ] 9. For more nuanced positions on this point, cf. Kullmann 2002 and Montanari 2005, among a huge amount of references.
[ back ] 10. See for instance Luce 1999.
[ back ] 11. Parry 1971:145-153 on the generic epithet, 153-165 on the particularized one; Edwards 1986:193-197 appears particularly clear on these distinctions.
[ back ] 12. Sale 1987, 1996.
[ back ] 13. The notion of “declension of the formula” is owed to the German scholar Kurt Witte (1913); see de Lamberterie 1997:18. As Edwards 1986:197-198 recognizes, Chantraine 1932 was the first application of Parry’s ideas, “and for a long time the only one apart from Parry’s own later work.” We consider Nagler 1967 and 1974 an important step in taking a “generative” view of formulas. See Létoublon 1992 (on the phrase ἥβης μέτρον with various forms of ἱκέσθαι, in contrast with other phrases for the coming of old age, with such phrases as γῆρας ἱκάνει).
[ back ] 14. Létoublon 1985:144-146.
[ back ] 15. Note also Iliad 14.88-89: οὕτω δὴ μέμονας Τρώων πόλιν εὐρυάγυιαν / καλλείψειν.
[ back ] 16. See Polychronopoulou 1999:275-294, “Les murailles des Cyclopes.” King Proitos of Tyrins was thought to have called the Cyclopes from Lydia or Thrakia to build the walls. In other traditions, they were built by the Pelasgoi.
[ back ] 17. See Scully 1990:51. Scully’s chapter 3, entitled “The Walled City” (41-53) deals with this question, noting first that only nine cities are said to be walled in the Iliad: Troy (Ilios), Thebes (in Egypt and in Boiotia), Lyrnessos, Tyrins, Kalydon, Phaia, and Gortyn. But none of these walls matter as much for the epics as Troy’s wall. Scully devotes one section of his book to euteikheos, another to hiera teikhea. The formal complementarity of ῎Ιλιον ... εὐτείχεον, Τροίην εὐτειχεον, and Τροίην εὔπυργον at different places in the verse, corresponding to Parry’s law of economy, is not made clear enough in Scully’s discussion, in my opinion.
[ back ] 18. Kirk 1990:217-218.
[ back ] 19. Foley 1991:38-60.
[ back ] 20. A similar argument might be made for ἐρίβωλος and ἐριβῶλαξ: the epithets do not indicate that the Troad was an especially fertile territory, although the frequent emphasis on horses (see below on εὔπωλος) might suggest this, as for Pylos and Sparta.
[ back ] 21. Those formulas with αἰπ- in diverse forms appear interesting in a comparative way: as C. Watkins remarked, Ἰλίου αἰπεινῆς could have a parallel in a Hittite phrase meaning “and he came from steep Wilusa” (1986). It is tempting to dream about a very ancient poetic use of the qualification of the city as steep before the Homeric epics. Quoting this article, Sale (1987:35n8) remarks: “If this phrase was an ancestor of Homer’s, it went through several changes as it descended; for Homer speaks of Ἰλίου αἰπεινῆς only in formulae for the city’s destruction, never for motion from the city.”
[ back ] 22. Sale 1987: 32-38.
[ back ] 23. Sale 1987:30.
[ back ] 24. Note that in several of these examples, going “to Ilios abounding in horses” is associated with the idea of combat (cf. ἵνα Τρώεσσι μάχοιτο / μαχοίμην in Iliad 16.576, Odyssey 11.169, 14.71), in accordance with the Achaean point of view.
[ back ] 25. Two formulaic schemes are found for Argos, the horse-nourishing place. The first occurs at the end of the verse with a genitive: ἀπ᾽ Ἄργεος ἱπποβότοιο (Iliad 2.287, 19.329); μυχῷ Ἄργεος ἱπποβότοιο (Iliad 6.152); ἑκὰς Ἄργεος ἱπποβότοιο (Iliad 9.246). The second occurs at the beginning of the verse with an accusative: Ἄργος ἐς ἱππόβοτον (Iliad 3.75, 3.258, 15.30). Cf. also the formula Δαναῶν ταχυπώλων at the end of the verse (Iliad 4.232 etc.), and one occurrence of Μυρμιδόνες ταχύπωλοι at its beginning (Iliad 23.6): all of this material seems to obey Milman Parry’s laws.
[ back ] 26. See Sale 1987; 1996.
[ back ] 27. De Lamberterie 1997:19.
[ back ] 28. LSJ s.v. ὀφρυόεις: “on the brow or edge of a steep rock, beetling.”
[ back ] 29. Herodotos 5.92 (ὀφρυόεντα Κόρινθον). See also Strabo 8.6.23: χώραν δ’ ἔσχεν οὐκ εὔγεων σφόδρα, ἀλλὰ σκολιάν τε καὶ τραχεῖαν, ἀφ’ οὗ πάντες ὀφρυόεντα Κόρινθον εἰρήκασι καὶ παροιμιάζονται “Κόρινθος ὀφρυᾷ τε καὶ κοιλαίνεται.” Note also Strabo’s use of ὀφρύς in geographical descriptions at,,
[ back ] 30. See Cook 1973:72-77, and particularly 74: “The Ophryneion site lies 1.5 km from the centre of Erenköy and just north of a precipitous ravine with banks of oolitic drift in which Calvert discovered remains of various creatures of the pliocene.”
[ back ] 31. Cf. Iliad 1.366, 2.535, 4.103, 4.121, Odyssey 21.108.
[ back ] 32. This instance proves that for the poet, Ἴλιος is different from Δαρδανίη, the first establishment known in the region. See below.
[ back ] 33. See Chantraine 2009:1309.
[ back ] 34. In this case, the city-names Ἴλιος and Τροίη both with suffix -yo/ya, as well as Δαρδανίη deriving from Dardanos.
[ back ] 35. On this genealogy, see Wathelet 1989:97-101 and 1988(1): 399-407 on Dardanos; 606-611, on Ilos, argues that, although Apollodorus mentions another person called Ilos, this Ilos is a “doublet” of Tros’ son. Wathelet says that the city-name preexists the founder, which seems morphologically difficult. See also 1989(2): 1028-1031 on Tros.
[ back ] 36. See Létoublon 2010, 2014.
[ back ] 37. Cf. Faraone 1992.
[ back ] 38. Clay 2007 and 2011.
[ back ] 39. See Wakker 1994:388-389 for the relation of the wish with the conditional.
[ back ] 40. Sale 1987:37.
[ back ] 41. Sale 1987: 33n25. Occurrences of ἐν πόλει ἄκρῃ: Iliad 6.88. 6.297, 6.317, 7.345. Cf. also Iliad 20.52.
[ back ] 42. Space does not permit me to consider here the available research on the formulaic status of the names of Trojans and Dardanians.
[ back ] 43. In the following list, I use the system outlined by Sicking 1993:69 (a modification of O’Neill 1942) to indicate the localization of phrases within the hexameter. Sicking’s system assigns a number to each position in the hexameter as follows:
1 2a 2b 3 4a 4b 5 6a 6b 7 8a 8b 9 10a 10b 11 12
Thus “P 6-12,” for example, indicates that the first syllable of the phrase falls in Sicking’s Position 6 and the last syllable in Position 12 (which is the last syllable of the verse). The “masculine” (penthemimeral), “feminine,” and hepthemimeral caesurae fall at the boundaries between positions 5 / 6a, 6a / 6b, and 7 / 8a, respectively.
[ back ] 44. In four of five instances, the city is further specified as Τρώων ‘of the Trojans’; in the fifth instance (Odyssey 4.246), it is clear from the context that the city is Troy.
[ back ] 45. Ἴλιον αἰπὺ [P 1-4a] (Iliad 15.71) might be a variant, linked to the notion of αἰπὺς ὄλεθρος ‘steep destruction’.
[ back ] 46. This formula, whose constituents stand on either side of the penthemimeral caesura, is in an apparently complementary relationship with Τροίην εὔπυργον [P 6-10a, x 1], whose constituents are on either side of the hepthemimeral caesura.
[ back ] 47. There are an additional 6 instances of Τρωσίν / Τρώεσσι with ἱπποδάμοις / ἱπποδάμοισι(ν) in various positions in the verse.
[ back ] 48. Parry [1928] 1971:246. The anonymous reviewer is once more to be thanked for having drawn my attention to this paper; I did not remark its importance.
[ back ] 49. And the reviewer of my first version of the paper encouraged me to think so.
[ back ] 50. Sale 1987:37.