Greek Mythology and Poetics

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Chapter 5. The Death of Sarpedon and the Question of Homeric Uniqueness

It has been argued often, and in many ways, that the poetry of Homer is unique, transcending his poetic heritage. The point of departure for this presentation is a confrontation with one such argument, concerning the meaning of the Homeric expression kléos áphthiton ‘fame…imperishable’ at Iliad IX 413, cognate with the Indic expression śrávasákṣitam ‘fame…imperishable’ at Rig-Veda 1.9.7. I stress, at the very beginning, my own conclusion about these two expressions, following a long series of previous works leading to the same conclusion: [1] that Greek kléos áphthiton and Indic śrávasákṣitam are reflexes of a common Indo-European poetic expression. [2] An article concerning these two cognate expressions, however, stresses the differences between the Greek and the Indic contexts, concluding that the Homeric vision of imperishable fame is distinct and therefore unique to Homer. [3] In {122|123} reacting to this conclusion, I shall argue that, even if the Homeric expression kléos áphthiton ‘fame…imperishable’ has a distinctive meaning in comparison with the corresponding Indic expression, such distinctiveness can be explained nonetheless in terms of the actual traditions inherited by Homeric poetry. In other words, the themes underlying the Homeric expression kléos áphthiton, even if they have become semantically specialized in the overall context of the Iliad, may still reflect an Indo-European heritage. I shall also argue that these themes center on the concept of immortalization, transcending concerns about material wealth and security. Finally, I shall examine in detail, as further illustration of these themes, the Homeric story about the death and funeral of the Anatolian hero Sarpedon, as narrated in Iliad XVI.

Let us begin with the kléos ‘fame’ that Achilles predicts will he áphthiton ‘imperishable’ for him, in the sense that the reputation of this hero as conferred by epic poetry will survive him and last forever: [4]

εἰ μέν κ’ αὖθι μένων Τρώων πόλιν ἀμφιμάχωμαι,
ὤλετο μέν μοι νόστος, ἀτὰρ κλέος ἄφθιτον ἔσται·
εἰ δέ κεν οἴκαδ’ ἵκωμαι φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν,
ὤλετό μοι κλέος ἐσθλόν, ἐπὶ δηρὸν δέ μοι αἰὼν
ἔσσεται, οὐδέ κέ μ’ ὦκα τέλος θανάτοιο κιχείη

Iliad IX 412-416

If I stay here and fight in the siege of the city of the Trojans,
my homecoming [nóstos] is destroyed, but my fame [kléos] will be imperishable [áphthiton].
But if I return home to the beloved land of my ancestors,
then my genuine fame [kléos] is destroyed, but I will have a lengthy lifetime [aiṓn],
and my end in death will not overtake me quickly.

By contrast, it seems at first glance that the śrávas ‘fame’ for which the priests are praying in stanza 7 of Hymn 1.9 of the Rig-Veda is to be ákṣitam ‘imperishable’ only in the sense that it should last for a lifetime. In this instance, it has been claimed, the fame is contemporary, manifested in {123|124} “secure material possessions, festive celebrations, long life.” [
5] The same claim is made for the related Indic expression ákṣiti śrávas at Rig-Veda 1.40.4, 8.103.5, 9.66.7. [6]

This view concerning the distinctness of kléos áphthiton in Iliad IX 413 is at odds with the one that is advanced in my monograph on Greek and Indic meter, where I take the position that not only the Greek kléos áphthiton but also the Indic śrávasákṣitam convey the transcendent notion of a poetic tradition that will last forever, beyond today’s material wealth and security, and that this notion is in fact an inherited Indo-European poetic theme. [8] The disagreement can best be summed up by observing two different interpretations of viśvā́yur, one of the three epithets—besides ákṣitam—that qualify śrávas ‘fame’ at lines b and с of Rig-Veda 1.9.7. [9] Whereas I translate viśvā́yur as ‘everlasting’, [10] it has been suggested that the more appropriate rendering would be ‘lasting our lifetime.’ [11] Two other epithets are cited in support of the second interpretation: at line a of the same stanza, Rig-Veda 1.9.7 śrávas is also {124|125} qualified as vā́javat ‘rich in booty’ and gómad ‘rich in cattle’. It seems pertinent that Achilles himself, speaking of booty in general and mentioning cattle in particular at IX 406-407, goes on to say that all the booty that could be seized from Troy or Delphi is not worth as much as his own life (IX 401-405, 406-409), but that he will nevertheless lose his life in order to get something else that is indeed worth it, namely, kléos áphthiton (IX 413). By contrast, the śrávasákṣitam of Rig-Veda 1.9.7 is manifested precisely in the material security of booty in general and cattle in particular.

This is not to say, however, that the theme of personal immortalization is minimized by Homeric poetry. Given the specialized value system of Achilles, we may note that the Iliad itself provides the backdrop of a more generalized outlook where the theme of personal immortalization is clearly not incompatible with the theme of immortalization by epic in general and by the Iliad in particular. The case in point is the death and funeral of the Lycian hero Sarpedon, as narrated in the Iliad.

In considering this narrative about Sarpedon, I shall adduce three general principles established in three distinct fields, each of which has a direct bearing on the question of Homeric uniqueness. The fields are: (1) archaeology, (2) comparative linguistics, and (3) the study of “oral poetry.” I propose to outline the three principles field by field, and then to correlate them with the passage describing the death and funeral of the hero Sarpedon, Iliad XVI 419-683.

In fact, a general argument can be made that Homeric poetry is permeated with references—direct as well as oblique—to heroes in their religious dimension as figures of cult. [29] For the moment, however, I confine myself to citing the one central scene that Rohde himself acknowledged as just such a reference. This scene, the Funeral of Patroklos in Iliad XXIII, happens to be an ideal point of transition to the second of the three principles to be considered in evaluating the narrative about the death and funeral of Sarpedon in Iliad XVI. This time the field is comparative linguistics. As for the principle in question, the briefest of summaries will suffice: as we have already seen, not only is the Greek language cognate with other Indo-European languages such as Hittite and Indic, but also various Greek institutions are cognate with the corresponding institutions of other peoples speaking other Indo-European languages. [30] The case in point is one particular set of details where the evidence about a Greek institution can be matched with corresponding evidence attested in other societies with an Indo-European linguistic heritage. I refer to the Funeral of Patroklos in Iliad XXIII, as compared with the royal funerary rituals that are recorded in official Hittite documents. [31] The convergences in detail between the Iliadic scene and the standard Hittite ritual are so strikingly close as to {128|129} suggest a common Indo-European heritage. [32] When we add the comparative evidence of funerary rituals and ancestor worship in the Indic traditions, the thesis of a common Indo-European heritage is further reinforced. [33]

With these thoughts in mind, we are ready to consider the Greek word of Anatolian origin that occurs in the lliadic passage telling of the death and funeral of Sarpedon, son of Zeus himself. After this prominent Lycian prince dies at the hands of Patroklos, the plan of Zeus is that Apollo should remove his body by having the twins Húpnos ‘Sleep’ and Thánatos ‘Death’ convey it to his homeland of Lycia (Iliad XVI 454-455, 671-673). At this point, the following sequence of events is to happen:

ἔνθα ἑ ταρχύσουσι κασίγνητοί τε ἔται τε
τύμβῳ τε στήλῃ τε · τὸ γὰρ γέρας ἐστὶ θανόντων

Iliad XVI 456-457 = 674-675

and there his relatives and comrades will give him a funeral [verb tarkhúō]
with a tomb and a stele, for that is the privilege of the dead.

The conventional translation, ‘give a funeral to’, for the verb tarkhúō is inadequate, as we shall presently see. If indeed this story of Sarpedon—as also other Homeric stories—is a faithful retelling of a genuine tradition, then its Lycian setting assumes added significance. As it happens, the Lycian language is Indo-European in origin and closely related to Hittite and Luvian. In Lycian, there is a word trqqas, which designates a god described as one who smashes the wicked; [
43] this form is directly related to Luvian Tarḫunt-, which is the name of the storm-god who is head of the Luvian pantheon. [44] There is also a Hittite version, attested as {131|132} Tarḫu– in theophoric names; it is also attested as the adjective tarḫu-, meaning ‘conquering, victorious’. [45] This whole family of noun-formations stems from the verb tarḫ– ‘conquer, overcome’, which can be reconstructed as the Indo-European root *terh2-. [46]

We are still left, however, with the problem of translating Greek tarkhúō. Since the form tarḫu-, as we have seen, can designate a divinity in the Anatolian languages, Chantraine follows Paul Kretschmer’s example in interpreting the Greek expression ἔνθα ἑ ταρχύσουσι at Iliad XVI 456 = 674 as ‘and there they will treat him like a god’. [48] We may compare the Hittite expression designating the death of a king or queen in the royal funerary ritual: DINGIRLIMiš kišat ‘[he or she] becomes a god’. [49] The adverb ἔνθα ‘there’ in the Greek expression ἔνθα ἑ ταρχύσουσι refers to the dêmos ‘district’ of Lycia (Iliad XVI 455, 673; cf. 683). [50] I draw attention to this word dêmos in the context of the aforementioned fact that cult is a localized phenomenon in archaic Greek religion. I also draw attention to the following Homeric expression involving this same word dêmos:

…θεὸς δ’ ὣς τίετο δήμῳ

Iliad V 78, Χ 33, XI 58, XIII 218, XVI 605

…and he got tīmḗ [honor] in the dêmos, like a god

The verbs tī́ō/tīmáō ‘honor’, and the corresponding noun tīmḗ ‘honor’, are crucial, since one of their uses in Greek is to designate the ‘honor’ that a god or hero gets in the form of cult; this usage is not recognized as a distinct category in the dictionary of Liddell and Scott, although it is richly attested in the language of archaic poetry and prose. [
51] If indeed {132|133} cult is also implied in the Homeric formula presently under consideration, then we could immediately justify Chantraine’s interpretation of ἔνθα ἑ ταρχύσουσι at Iliad XVI 456 = 674 as ‘and there they will treat him like a god’: in the dêmos of Lycia, Sarpedon will get tīmḗ ‘honor’ just as a god would. [52]

The solution to this problem, I suggest, lies in the actual contexts of the formula announcing that a given hero ‘got tīmḗ [honor] in the dêmos, like a god’ (Iliad V 78, X 33, XI 58, XIII 218, XVI 605). In each of these contexts, the hero appears in the function of either priest or king:

  • V 77-78          Dolopion as priest of Skamandros
  • X 32-33          Agamemnon as king of all the Argives
  • XI 58-60         Aeneas as grouped with the Antenoridai; at II 819-823 he and the Antenoridai are described as joint leaders of the Dardanians
  • XIII 216-218   Thoas as king of the Aetolians
  • XVI 604-605   Onetor as priest of Zeus Idaios

The sacral aspect of priests is in these cases overt, but not that of kings. As we turn from Homeric to Hesiodic poetry, however, we find an overt attestation showing that kingship is not only sacral but also intrinsic to the hero as a cult figure who gets his due tīmḗ.

After the death of the Gold Generation is narrated (Works and Days 116, 121), they are described as possessing what is called the géras basilḗion ‘honorific portion of kings’ (γέρας βασιλήιον 126). We have already seen the word géras ‘honorific portion, privilege’ in a context where it designates the funerary honors accorded to the corpse of Sarpedon—honors that included the procedure designated by the verb tarkhúō:

ἔνθα ἑ ταρχύσουσι κασίγνητοί τε ἔται τε
τύμβῳ τε στήλῃ τε· τὸ γὰρ γέρας ἐστὶ θανόντων

Iliad XVI 456-457 = 674-675

and there his relatives and comrades will give him a funeral [verb tarkhúō]
with a tomb and a stele, for that is the privilege of the dead.

It is worth noting in this connection that the Gold Generation ‘died as if overcome by sleep’ (θνῇσκον…ὥσθ’ ὕπνῳ δεδμημένοι Works and Days 116), whereas the corpse of Sarpedon was flown to Lycia by Húpnos ‘Sleep’ and Thánatos ‘Death’, who are described as “twins” (Iliad XVI 672). Since the word géras ‘honorific portion, privilege’ in Hesiodic diction and elsewhere represents a specific manifestation of tīmḗ (as in Theogony 392-396), [
56] we can correlate what is said at Works and Days 126 about the Gold Generation’s royal géras with what is said later about the Silver Generation: after the death of this next generation is narrated, they are described as

δεύτεροι, ἀλλ’ ἔμπης τιμὴ καὶ τοῖσιν ὀπηδεῖ

Hesiod Works and Days 142

second in rank—but nevertheless they too get tīmḗ.

The irony here is that the Silver Generation, which represents the nega{134|135}tive and latent side of the cult hero, earned an untimely death from Zeus for the following reason;

οὕνεκα τιμὰς
οὐκ ἔδιδαν μακάρεσσι θεοῖς οἳ Ὄλυμπον ἔχουσιν

Works and Days 138-139

because they did not give tīmḗ [plural] to the blessed gods who control Olympus.

Our survey of formulas involving the concepts of tīmḗ and dêmos leads to the following conclusion: the hero who gets tīmḗ from the dêmos is said to be “like a god” because he is thereby being treated as a cult figure. In Homeric poetry, of course, the generic hero is predominantly a figure of {135|136} epic, and his dimension as figure of cult has to be latent—basically because he is still alive. Once he is dead, however, the perspective may change, as in the case of Sarpedon: the verb tarkhúō, designating what his relatives and comrades do to the dead hero, conveys the notion that he is being treated like a god—which is the epic way of saying that he is being treated like a cult figure.

This is not to say, however, that Homeric poetry ignores the dimension of cult: rather, it places itself above cult. The kléos that the hero {136|137} earns in Homeric poetry by way of valor in battle serves to validate and even justify the tīmḗ, ‘honor’ that he gets at home from his dêmos ‘district’. While he is still alive in the Iliad, Sarpedon himself says so:

Γλαῦκε, τίη δὴ νῶι τετιμήμεσθα μάλιστα
ἕδρῃ τε κρέασίν τε ἰδὲ πλείοις δεπάεσσιν
ἐν Λυκίῃ, πάντες δὲ θεοὺς ὣς εἰσορόωσι,
καὶ τέμενος νεμόμεσθα μέγα Ξάνθοιο παρ’ ὄχθας,
καλὸν φυταλιῆς ἀρούρης πυροφόροιο;
τῶ νῦν χρὴ Λυκίοισι μέτα πρώτοισιν ἐόντας
ἑστάμεν ἠδὲ μάχης καυστείρης ἀντιβολῆσαι,
ὄφρα τις ὧδ’ εἴπῃ Λυκίων πύκα θωρηκτάων
“οὐ μὰν ἀκλεέες Λυκίην κάτα κοιρανέουσιν
ἡμέτεροι βασιλῆες, ἔδουσί τε πίονα μῆλα
οἶνόν τ’ ἔξαιτον μελιηδέα‧ ἀλλ’ ἄρα καὶ ἲς
ἐσθλή, ἐκεὶ Λυκίοισι μέτα πρώτοισι μάχονται.”

Iliad XII 310-321

Glaukos, why is it that you and I get the most honor [verb tīmáō, from tīmḗ] of all,
with a special place to sit, with choice meats, and with full wine-cups,
in Lycia, and everyone looks at us as gods,
and we are allotted a great témenos [sector of land] at the banks of the Xanthos,
fine land, orchard and wheat-bearing ploughland?
And so it is our duty to take our stand in the front ranks of the Lycians, and to meet blazing battle head-on,
so that one of the heavily armored Lycians may say of us: “Indeed it is not without kléos that our kings
are lords of Lycia, who feed upon fat sheep
and drink choice sweet wine, since they have genuine strength
and since they fight in the front ranks of the Lycians.”

On one level, the examples of tīmḗ recounted by Sarpedon to Glaukos can function as attributes of a living epic hero who happens to be a king; on another level, however, each example can be matched with a corresponding sacral honor accorded to a cult figure. As we know from Greek religious practices attested in the historical era, cult heroes receive libations, [
63] choice cuts of meat placed on a special table, [64] and {137|138} the allotment of a témenos in the sense of ‘sacred precinct’. [65]

From the standpoint of the Iliad, then, Sarpedon’s goal is to get a kléos that matches the tīmḗ that he already has at home in Lycia. From the standpoint of cult, however, this tīmḗ would be possible only after he dies, so that the epic perspective has the logical sequence reversed: by placing epic above cult, Homeric poetry allows the hero, even before he dies, to have the kind of tīmḗ that befits a cult hero. What he still has to earn by dying is kléos itself.

Sarpedon then goes on to say that he and Glaukos should be prepared to die in battle at Troy (Iliad XII 326-328), and that he would choose to escape from battle only if escaping entailed immortality (322-325). The implication seems to be that the welcoming of death may succeed in bringing immortality where the avoidance of death has failed: after all, both tīmḗ and kléos, which are in store respectively for the hero of cult and the hero of epic after death, are áphthito– ‘imperishable’ (τιμὴ…ἄφθιτος Homeric Hymn to Demeter 263; κλέος ἄφθιτον Iliad IX 413).

The same sort of implication can be found in the words of Hera at Iliad XVI 440-457, where she tells Zeus that he must not permit Sarpedon to escape death in battle and thus send him back home to Lycia alive (see especially line 445). Implicitly, Sarpedon would then have tīmḗ without having had to experience death. The exemption of Sarpedon from death in battle, Hera says to Zeus, would be without precedent: in her words, “beware lest some other divinity may wish to send his or her son back home, away from the battle” (Iliad XVI 446-447). Instead, Hera suggests, Zeus should let his own dear son die at the hands of Patroklos, after which Thánatos ‘Death’ and Húpnos ‘Sleep’ will take Sarpedon’s body back home to the dêmos ‘district’ of Lycia (XVI 450-455). Immediately after these verses, we come upon the verse that describes the ritual performed on Sarpedon’s corpse, as designated by the verb tarkhúō (XVI 456, repeated at 674). From the context of Hera’s words, we now see that the action conveyed by this verb is presented as a compensation for the death that Sarpedon must experience. From the other contexts that concern the theme of compensation for mortality, we also see that the verb tarkhúō entails the theme of immortalization after death—in a way that is yet to be defined. That is to say, the verb tarkhúō indicates not only that the relatives and comrades of Sarpedon will treat him like a cult figure but also that he will thereby attain some form of immortalization after death. [66] {138|139}

The fundamental difference, however, between the explicit immortalization of Herakles and the implicit immortalization of Sarpedon is that the first is narrated as an event on the level of myth whereas the second is narrated as an event on the level of ritual. Still, the myth and the ritual are complementary aspects of one ideology. The rituals of cult are a code that can convey the same message as that conveyed by the code of the myth. On a formal level, we can see most clearly the complementary function of myth and ritual in expressing the theme of immortality by considering the name Ēlúsion ‘Elysium’. We may turn to the renowned passage in Odyssey iv 561-569 where this name designates a special place of immortalization for heroes, and indeed the concept of Elysium has become a permanent fixture of Western civilization. But we seldom hear of what ancient commentators on Greek religion have to say about élúsion as a plain noun. In the Alexandrian lexicographical tradition (Hesychius s.v. Ἠλύσιον), the word is glossed as κεκεραυνωμένον χωρίον ἢ πεδίον ‘a place or field that has been struck by the thunderbolt’, with this added remark: καλεῖται δὲ καὶ ἐνηλύσια ‘and it is also called enēlúsia’. This definition is confirmed by the testimony of Polemon (F 5 Tresp), who explains that enēlúsion is a place made sacred by virtue of having been struck by a thunderbolt; also, the adjective enēlúsios is attested in Aeschylus TGF 17 as an epithet of the hero Kapaneus, who was struck dead by the thunderbolt of Zeus. [75] We may compare the semantic relationship of enēlúsios/enēlúsion with that of hierós/hierón ‘sacred’/’sacred place’. Moreover, the body of the thunderstruck Kapaneus is described as hieró– ‘sacred’ in Euripides Suppliants 935. [76] {140|141}

Let us return for one last viewing of the corpse of Sarpedon. It is appropriate to notice that the Iliad contains other indications of his impending immortalization besides the verb tarkhúō at XVI 456 = 674. Each of these indications requires a discussion that would go beyond the scope of this presentation, and I will content myself with merely listing them as signposts for future elaboration:

Coming now to the end of this inquiry into the death of Sarpedon, we are left perhaps even more mystified than ever by this uncanny Anatolian analogue of a Herakles. There are so many ramifications waiting to he explored that this presentation amounts to a set of questions more than answers. But this much at least is certain: Homeric epos is a repository of secrets about life and death—secrets that it will never fully reveal. In the case of Sarpedon, his Anatolian heritage allows a glimpse behind the veil of Homeric restraint—and the secrets are almost given away. {142|143}


[ back ] 1. For a thorough bibliographical dossier, see Schmitt 1967.61-71.

[ back ] 2. N 1974a, esp. pp. 140-149, 244ff. On the metrical factors that may be involved in the tmesis of śrávas and ákṣitam, see N 1979b.630n6.

[ back ] 3. Floyd 1980. The germ of the present chapter is derived from the article N 1981, which was written in response to Floyd’s arguments. There is another article that goes further than Floyd, Finkelberg 1986 (who cites Floyd 1980 but not N 1981a), claiming that the Homeric expression kléos áphthiton at Iliad IX 413 is not even an inherited formula. For a critique of Finkelberg, see [A.T.] Edwards 1988; also Watkins 1989. In response to Finkelberg’s argument that kléos áphthiton as used at Iliad IX 413 is not a “self-contained unit,” I point to the discussion in N 1974a.104-109, where the relationships that link the phrase-types κλέος ἄφθιτον ἔσται (as at IX 413), κλέος ἔσται (as at VII 458), and κλέος ἄφθιτον (as at Sappho F 44.4 V) are explored from the perspective of a less narrow understanding of “formula.” I agree with Finkelberg that κλέος ἄφθιτον ἔσται at IX 413 is coefficient with κλέος οὔποτ’ ὀλεῖται as at II 325. I can also accept the possibility that κλέος οὔποτ’ ὀλεῖται does not occur at IX 413 because ὤλετο is already present at the beginning of the line. But I disagree with her inference that the presence of κλέος ἄφθιτον ἔσται instead of κλέος οὔποτ’ ὀλεῖται at IX 413 is an innovation; it could be an archaism that survives precisely for the stylistic purpose of avoiding word duplication. As a general approach to poetics, I suggest that allowance should always be made for the possibility that more archaic forms can be activated in situations where the more innovative device is inappropriate. For an illuminating discussion of the usage of relatively older and newer forms in poetics see Meillet 1920.

[ back ] 4. See N 1974a.244-255.

[ back ] 5. Floyd 1980.135.

[ back ] 6. Floyd p. 135.

[ back ] 7. Floyd p. 139.

[ back ] 8. N 1974a.244-255. For an effective answer to those who question the antiquity of this theme, see Risch 1987, esp. p. 4, where he points out a crucial oversight on the part of most experts who have expressed their views on the Greek epithet áphthito– ‘imperishable’ and its Indic cognate ákṣita-. Cf. also Watkins 1989.

[ back ] 9. I follow Schmitt 1967.19n114 and 73n446 in interpreting the form viśvā́yur at RigVeda 1.9.7 as the neuter of viśvā́yus-, agreeing with śrávas ‘fame’, rather than viśvā́yu-, supposedly agreeing with índra. Granted, there are passages where viśvā́yu– is indeed attested as agreeing with índra– (e.g. RigVeda 6.34.5), but there are also clear attestations of neuter viśvā́yus– (Wackernagel and Debrunner 1939.291; concerning the tendency for –ā́yu to be displaced by –ā́yus– in the second part of compounds, see Wackernagel and Debrunner 1954.479). For a reading of viśvā́yur at RigVeda 1.9.7 as agreeing with índra, see Watkins 1989.

[ back ] 10. N 1974a.110.

[ back ] 11. Floyd 1980.136n6.

[ back ] 12. Benveniste 1937. Not cited by Floyd 1980.

[ back ] 13. Benveniste p. 109.

[ back ] 14. Benveniste pp. 105, 109.

[ back ] 15. Benveniste pp. 105, 109.

[ back ] 16. Benveniste p. 100.

[ back ] 17. See N 1979a.169-170 §30n2. On heroes as portrayed in the Works and Days, cf. also Vernant 1985.101, 104, 106. I interpret the μὲν at line 166 of the Works and Days as parallel to μὲν at lines 122, 137, 141, 161, not to μὲν at line 162 (pace West 1978.192). The discussion of cyclical regeneration at N pp. 168-172 is in line with Benveniste’s notion (p. 112) that aiṓn is visualized as the synthesis of the finite and the infinite in the form of a circle.

[ back ] 18. See N pp. 175 § 1n4, 203 § 41n2.

[ back ] 19. Benveniste 1937.110

[ back ] 20. Frame 1978. See also pp. 92ff.; the discussion here of the relationship between nóos/nóstos and psūkhḗ is pertinent to the expression ψυχὴ πάλιν ἐλθεῖν ‘that the psūkhḗ come back’ at Iliad IX 408. The observations of Frame pp. 145-152 about the links between the themes of immortality and cattle in Indo-European poetic traditions are pertinent to the discussion above of the epithet gómad ‘rich in cattle’ at RigVeda 1.9.7.

[ back ] 21. For more on the Iliadic theme of Achilles’ immortalization by way of epic, see n 1979a.174-210. Note, too, that the hero Odysseus, unlike Achilles, achieves both a kléos and a nóstos (N pp. 36-41). From this point of view at least, the epic about Odysseus may indeed be considered to be closer to the Indo-European pattern. Moreover, in light of the connotations of the epithet ólbioi ‘blessed’ as discussed above, we may note in passing the expression lāoì… | ólbioi at Odyssey xi 136-137, mentioned in the context of Odysseus’ ultimate ‘homecoming’: the setting of Odysseus’ future death implies rebirth into an Elysian status, parallel to the status of the immortalized heroes on the Islands of the Blessed (as at Hesiod Works and Days 172, cited above). For other aspects of the theme of rebirth in the Odyssey, see Newton 1984.

[ back ] 22. In the course of arguing that kléos áphthiton is a Homeric innovation, Finkelberg 1986.5 asserts that the application of áphthito– to an “incorporeal entity” like kléos ‘fame’ is a “semantic innovation”; at p. 4 she argues that, on the grounds that áphthito– applies mostly to “material objects,” the “concrete associations of the term must have been the original ones.” I question such a weighing of statistical predominance in determining what is “original.” And I point out a salient feature, not noted by Finkelberg, in the contexts where áphthito– applies to “material objects”: the concrete associations are otherworldly ones (cf. N 1974a.244-255).

[ back ] 23. See pp. 9-10.

[ back ] 24. See pp. 10-11.

[ back ] 25. Rohde 1898 1:184-189.

[ back ] 26. Cf. N 1979a, esp. p. 342.

[ back ] 27. For a sensible critique, see Hack 1929.

[ back ] 28. Rohde 1898 1:14-22.

[ back ] 29. N 1979a.69-117.

[ back ] 30. See p. 2.

[ back ] 31. As edited by Otten 1958.

[ back ] 32. See p. 85.

[ back ] 33. See p. 85.

[ back ] 34. E.g. Andronikos 1968.76.

[ back ] 35. As I stressed in ch. 4, I do not claim that cremation was the definitive Indo-European funerary ritual. I argue only that cremation was clearly one of perhaps several different types of Indo-European funerary ritual.

[ back ] 36. Van Brock 1959; cf. N 1979a.33, 292-293; also p. 48 above.

[ back ] 37. Ban Brock p. 119.

[ back ] 38. Householder and Nagy 1972.774-776; cf. also Sinos 1980 and Lowenstam 1981.

[ back ] 39. E.g. Schadewaldt 1965.155-202.

[ back ] 40. Clark and coulsen 1978.

[ back ] 41. Cf. Lord 1960.100.

[ back ] 42. Lord p. 29.

[ back ] 43. Laroche 1958.98-99; Heubeck 1959.32-35.

[ back ] 44. Laroche pp. 98-99; cf. Watkins 1974.107.

[ back ] 45. Laroche pp. 90-96.

[ back ] 46. Laroche p. 96. Also Watkins 1990.

[ back ] 47. DELG 1095.

[ back ] 48. DELG 1095; Kretschmer 1940.103-104.

[ back ] 49. Otten 1958.119-120.

[ back ] 50. For the semantics of dêmos as ‘district’, see DELG 273-274; by extension, the word comes to mean ‘people of the district’ (e.g. Odyssey vii 11).

[ back ] 51. Prose: cf. the use of tīmḗ at Herodotus 1.118.2 (cult of god) and 1.168 (cult of hero); cf. also the use of tīmáō at 1.90.2, 2.50.3, 2.75.4, 5.67.4-5. Poetry: cf. the use of tīmḗ in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter 311-312, where the theme of the gods’ getting “honors” is correlated explicitly with the observance of their cults by mortals (also lines 353, 366-369); for commentary, see Richardson 1974.260-261. For more evidence from poetry, see Rudhardt 1970.6-7. See also in general Rohde 1898 1:99n1.

[ back ] 52. See Kretschmer 1940.104 on the later literary and epigraphical evidence for the local cult of Sarpedon and Glaukos as heroes in Lycia. In Lycian Xanthos, there is also epigraphical evidence for a dêmos ‘deme, district’ named Sarpēdónios (Kretschmer p. 104).

[ back ] 53. Andronikos 1968.114-121.

[ back ] 54. Rohde 1898 1:91-110.

[ back ] 55. I have attempted such a review in N 1979a.151-173.

[ back ] 56. Benveniste 1969 2:43-50.

[ back ] 57. See N 1979a.118-150.

[ back ] 58. The use of therapeúō ‘be a therápōn [minister]’ may have deeper significance. As Sinos 1980 has shown, the therápōn in Homeric narrative is an inferior look-alike who can function as the equal of his superior look-alike and thus be invulnerable—so long as he serves him. Once he leaves his superior look-alike and acts on his own, however, the therápōn loses his invulnerability and dies, thus fulfilling his function as ritual substitute; see p. 48 above.

[ back ] 59. On the semantics of áphthito-, see pp. 124ff.

[ back ] 60. Richardson 1974.245-248.

[ back ] 61. Fuller discussion in N 1979a.181-182. In Greek vase inscriptions, the form ΔΕΜΟΦΑΟΝ is actually attested: see Richardson pp. 236-237.

[ back ] 62. See p. 26.

[ back ] 63. Burkert 1985.194, 205.

[ back ] 64. On the practice of trapezṓmata, see Gill 1974. Sarpedon’s royal diet of mutton (Ili ad XII 319) may be correlated with archaeological discoveries at Eretria showing that sheep are the usual victims sacrificed to heroes (see Hadzisteliou Price 1973.136).

[ back ] 65. On the témenos as a sacred precinct, see Burkert 1985.84-87; on the precincts of Pelops and Pyrrhos, see Burkert 1983.93-103 and 119-120, respectively.

[ back ] 66. This interpretation can be extended to the only other Homeric attestation of tarkhúō besides Iliad XVI 456 = 674, namely, Iliad VII 85. The dead body in this case is that of the hypothetical hero who is to answer Hektor’s challenge to fight whoever is the “best of the Achaeans” (see VII 50) in one-to-one combat (VII 67-91). Elsewhere, I argue that the words of Hektor ironically apply to Achilles himself (N 1979a.26-41), and that Achilles himself is destined for personal immortalization in alternative epic traditions that are implicitly recognized by the Iliad (N pp. 174-210 and 317-347).

[ back ] 67. Thieme 1952. See also Schmitt 1967.186-192. The objections raised against this etymology have been convincingly refuted by Schmitt 1974.

[ back ] 68. Schmitt 1967.190.

[ back ] 69. Schmitt pp. 190-191; cf. Householder and Nagy 1972.771-772.

[ back ] 70. DELG 1094 at least allows for the possibility that the Greek word tárīkhos ‘smoked fish, mummy’ is a related borrowing. In Herodotus 9.120 the word is applied to the corpse of the hero Protesilaos, who in this context is believed to be endowed with supernatural powers. See N 1987c.

[ back ] 71. On Tarḫunt– and the thunderbolt, see Laroche 1958.95.

[ back ] 72. Cf. the contexts assembled by Laroche pp. 90-91.

[ back ] 73. In the Pindaric narrative, Semele’s abode of immortality is Olympus itself. See also Diodorus Siculus 5.52, Charax FGH 103 F 14.

[ back ] 74. Cf. Rohde 1898 1:320-322.

[ back ] 75. Burkert 1961.

[ back ] 76. Cf. also the testimony of the Thurian gold leaves at A1.4, A2.5, A3.5 (Zuntz 1971.301-305), where the persona of the dead man is represented as declaring in each instance that his immortalization was preceded by death from the thunderbolt.

[ back ] 77. On the association, at Hesiod Works and Days 172, of the word ólbioi with the heroes who inhabit the Islands of the Blessed, see N 1979a.170 §30n2.

[ back ] 78. Burkert 1961.212n2.

[ back ] 79. Cf. the theme of the “baths of Okeanos” at Iliad XVIII 489 = Odyssey v 275, as discussed in N 1979a.201-204. In the case of Iliad XVI 669 and 679 it is possible that these verses referred originally to the local waters of the Lycian river Xanthos (cf. Iliad II 877, V 479, VI 172).

[ back ] 80. Note that ambrosíē is used in Homeric diction as a synonym of néktar; in other words, ambrosia and nectar do not seem to be specialized always as food and drink respectively (see Schmitt 1974.158).

[ back ] 81. On the use of ámbroto– and its derivatives to designate the notion of ‘immortalizing’ as well as ‘immortal’, see Thieme 1952.

[ back ] 82. See Vermeule 1979.242n36 and 248n36 on the “Harpy Tomb” of Xanthos. On the theme of death/immortalization in the form of abduction by winds, see N 1979a.190-203.

[ back ] 83. On the morphology of –ēdṓn, see Risch 1974.61. More on Harpies at pp. 243ff. below.

[ back ] 84. Vermeule 1979.169.

[ back ] 85. See p. 90.

[ back ] 86. See pp. 90ff.

[ back ] 87. Cf. Vermeule 1979.242n36.