Agamemnon, the Pathetic Despot: Reading Characterization in Homer

  Porter, Andrew. 2019. Agamemnon, the Pathetic Despot: Reading Characterization in Homer. Hellenic Studies Series 78. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

Appendix. Colometry and Formulae


[ back ] 1. On the colometry of the epic hexameter line, see Fränkel 1955:104, Halporn et al. 1963:11-12, Jones and Gray 1972, Nagy 1974, Peabody 1975:66-70, Edwards 1987:4-54, Foley 1990:80-82, Sale 1993, Nagy 2000, Edwards 2002, Garner 2011:3-17, and Porter 2011.

[ back ] 2. I mean here by “words,” both the Greek words of a traditional lexicon and, as Foley (1991:26n57) argues, composite words such as formulae, which should not be divided. The difference between cola and metra in this singular respect suggests the superior internal logic of colometrics for a consideration of the structuring of the Greek hexameter.

[ back ] 3. Peabody 1975:68.

[ back ] 4. 1975:66-70. See Foley (1990:73-80) for a favorable overview of Peabody and statistics on cola placement.

[ back ] 5. 1955:104. The response of Kirk (1985:18-23; 1990: passim) to Fränkel and his predecessors was to question the developing principles of colometrics, including the four part line, essentially because of the number of bridges that occur and the location of the caesura in a certain percentage of Homeric lines. Kirk’s stance is ameliorated somewhat by his own observation that Fränkel’s (and other scholars’) “analysis has been a productive one, since many Homeric verses do naturally fall into those [four] cola” (1985:20). While it is necessary to adopt a working principle for considering the cola of any line, it is unwise to speak in absolutes.

[ back ] 6. The placement of the caesurae in no way negates the normal patterns suggested by Meyer’s or Hermann’s Bridge. In the case of Meyer’s Bridge (affecting where the break occurs for the first cola), the rule is that if the second foot is a dactyl (–⏑⏑), then the two short syllables must be part of the same word-unit. This means for colometric analysis, which does not divide words in any case, that the break (unless bridged) would come at A1. In the case of Hermann’s Bridge (affecting where the fourth cola begins, at C1 or C2), which observes that if the fourth foot is a dactyl, then the two short syllables must also be part of the same word-unit, the break would come at C2 (the adonean clausula), unless the second hemistich is bridged.

[ back ] 7. Peabody 1975:xi-xiv. Cf. the comments of Austin 2009:95-96.

[ back ] 8. It needs to be said that I have based most of my conclusions in Chapters 2-5 (even when I am considering the findings of others) on firsthand data gleaned from innumerable searches of Homer using the TLG database and incessant analysis of the poetic verse using the system of colometry I outline here. Consequently, any statistical mistakes are almost always my own.

[ back ] 9. See 4.2.1 Agamemnon’s Dishonoring and Hubristic Actions: 1.6–344.

[ back ] 10. The most significant colon break is that of the mid line, followed by C2 respectively, but of course, formulae and formulaic systems can stretch to whole lines and beyond.

[ back ] 11. 2.2.4 Menestheus and Odysseus: 4.327–364.

[ back ] 12. Russo 1997: 2011.

[ back ] 13. Parry 1971:13.

[ back ] 14. Anyone who has spent time trying to find and analyze formulae has necessarily noted the flexibility of Homer’s use of formulaic elements, including the substitutions, expansions, parallelisms, and differing degrees of fixity for particular parts of Homeric verse.

[ back ] 15. Nagler 1967, Visser 1988, Bakker 1997. Russo’s (1997, 2011) and Edward’s (1997) overviews of these approaches are balanced. The sorts of observations that Hainsworth (1968) made about the greater flexibility of Homeric prosody are real and cannot be overlooked; cf. Higbie 1990:152-198. While I do not try to set rules as to the number of times a formula must occur to be named as such, I accept the idea of formula recurrence as one sign that an expression is formulaic. Sale (1993:101) calls a formula exactly repeating fewer than six times an “infrequent formula.” I do not, as Peabody (1975:97) or Parry (1971:275n.), attempt to establish the minimum length for formulae.

[ back ] 16. Parry 1971:13; cf. 272: “a given essential idea.”

[ back ] 17. As a starting point for formal versus dynamic equivalence, see the bibliography listed in Pedro 2000:415.

[ back ] 18. Kelly (2007) perhaps wisely eschews traditional terminology opting instead for a “unit” of meaning in his referential commentary.