Pointing at the Past: From Formula to Performance in Homeric Poetics

  Bakker, Egbert J. 2005. Pointing at the Past: From Formula to Performance in Homeric Poetics. Hellenic Studies Series 12. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_BakkerE_Pointing_at_the_Past.2005.

Chapter 8. Remembering the God’s Arrival

“What’s remembered goes on living and can happen again.”

Mario Vargas Llosa, The Storyteller

Following good hymnic practice, I will “start from the god.” In fact, the main subject of this Chapter is a starting point, the beginning of the Hymn, which I have reprinted below (underlined phrases will be discussed later on):

Μνήσομαι οὐδὲ λάθωμαι Ἀπόλλωνος ἑκάτοιο,
ὅν τε θεοὶ κατὰ δῶμα Διὸς τρομέουσιν ἰόντα·
καί ῥά τ᾿ ἀναΐσσουσιν ἐπὶ σχεδὸν ἐρχομένοιο
πάντες ἀφ᾿ ἑδράων, ὅτε φαίδιμα τόξα τιταίνει.
Λητὼ δ᾿ οἴη μίμνε παραὶ Διὶ τερπικεραύνῳ,
ἥ ῥα βιόν τ᾿ ἐχάλασσε καὶ ἐκλήϊσε φαρέτρην,
καί οἱ ἀπ᾿ ἰφθίμων ὤμων χείρεσσιν ἑλοῦσα
τόξον ἀνεκρέμασε πρὸς κίονα πατρὸς ἑοῖο
πασσάλου ἐκ χρυσέου· τὸν δ᾿ εἰς θρόνον εἷσεν ἄγουσα.
τῷ δ᾿ ἄρα νέκταρ ἔδωκε πατὴρ δέπαϊ χρυσείῳ
δεικνύμενος φίλον υἱόν, ἔπειτα δὲ δαίμονες ἄλλοι
ἔνθα καθίζουσιν· χαίρει δέ τε πότνια Λητώ,
οὕνεκα τοξοφόρον καὶ καρτερὸν υἱὸν ἔτικτεν.

Hymn to Apollo 1–13

The Hymn starts, as we see, with a description of Apollo’s arrival on Olympus. The central element is the god’s bow, which is so frightful as to make the assembled gods jump to their feet. The only ones to remain calm are Leto, his mother, and his father Zeus. Leto calmly takes her son’s bow, hangs it on a peg, leads him to Zeus, who offers him nectar. After this, peacefulness returns and everyone sits down. Order has been restored and a new, young, powerful god has just been integrated into the Olympic pantheon.

The Discourse of Remembrance

Speaking of memory, there is a feature of this passage that has been overlooked by those who focus on the riddle of the tenses: Apollo’s arrival on Olympos is preceded by the opening phrase μνήσομαι οὐδὲ λάθωμαι, “I will remember and not be unaware.” This phrase has not received much attention from commentators, but its simplicity is deceptive. In fact, I will argue that this phrase carries the seed of a solution to our problem. What does it mean for a speaker, a poet, to “remember,” and to “not to be unaware”? We can succeed here only when we have made explicit what “remembering” means in our culture, thus preparing ourselves for the relativism that is needed when we deal with such crucial concepts from the past.

Suggestive as it is, however, Vernant’s account neglects one crucial aspect of memory in archaic Greek mentality and poetics. Memory not only provides access to a reality that is ontologically prior; it also makes that reality present and is, as such, a strong mental experience. It is worthwhile to explore a conception of memory in archaic Greek poetics as a function of the dominant medium of communication of that culture: speech and performance. Memory in Homer is not a retrieval of stored facts, but a dynamic cognitive operation in the present, a matter of consciousness, or more precisely of the activation of consciousness. The verbal root mnē in Homeric Greek is used for the actual experience of the thing “remembered,” and lath, its notional opposite, for the absence of that experience. In other words, “remembering” and “forgetting” in Homer are states of mind in the present. We may acquire a first sense of the “presence” of the thing “remembered“ when we consider how Achilles remembers the quarrel with Agamemnon:

ἀλλά μοι οἰδάνεται κραδίη χόλῳ ὁππότε κείνων
μνήσομαι ὥς μ᾿ ἀσύφηλον ἐν Ἀργείοισιν ἔρεξεν
Ἀτρεΐδης ὡς εἴ τιν᾿ ἀτίμητον μετανάστην.

Iliad IX 646–648

Yet still the heart in me swells up in anger, when I remember
the disgrace that he wrought upon me before the Argives,
the son of Atreus, as if I were some dishonored vagabond. (Transl. R. Lattimore)

The possibility of retrieving pieces of information is not at issue here; Achilles speaks about his strong physical reaction when he relives the quarrel. The swelling of his κραδίη (‘heart’) in the present situation is no different from the condition of that organ back then, at the moment of Agamemnon’s insult.

It is time to return to the Hymn to Apollo, where “remembering” features prominently, apart from its importance in the first line. In the description of the Delian Festival, which may well have been the context of performance of the Hymn or of one of its earlier instantiations, there is a striking emphasis on “remembering” on the part of the participants (μνησάμενοι, 150), in particular the Delian Maidens:

αἵ τ᾿ ἐπεὶ ἂρ πρῶτον μὲν ᾿Απόλλων᾿ ὑμνήσωσιν,
αὖτις δ᾿ αὖ Λητώ τε καὶ Ἄρτεμιν ἰοχέαιραν,
μνησάμεναι ἀνδρῶν τε παλαιῶν ἠδὲ γυναικῶν
ὕμνον ἀείδουσιν, θέλγουσι δὲ φῦλ᾿ ἀνθρώπων.

Hymn to Apollo 158–161

who when they have first sung a hymn in praise of Apollo,
and then also of Leto and Artemis showering her arrows,
remembering men and women of past days
they sing a ὕμνος, and they enchant the race of humans.

The sequence in the performance of these Maidens (first a hymn proper to the god, then a “hymn” in an extended sense, remembering the heroic world) strikingly captures the epic practice that seems to be inscribed in the last line of our Hymn. The noun aoidē is here the direct grammatical object of the verb mimnēiskomai, when in ritual, formulaic fashion, “another aoidē” is announced after the poet has said farewell to the god in the previous line:

αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ καὶ σεῖο καὶ ἄλλης μνήσομ᾿ ἀοιδῆς

Apollo Hymn 546

But I, I will remember you as well as the rest of the song.

Usually, ἄλλης . . . ἀοιδῆς is taken to be another hymn to the same divinity, to be sung on a future occasion. [
25] This would mean that the verb μνήσομ᾿(αι) is future in terms of temporal deixis, referring to a time other than the present moment. There are various strong reasons for rejecting this reading that apply equally to the other recurrent closing phrase μεταβήσομαι ἄλλον ἐς ὕμνον. First, the idiomatic usage of allos “other” suggests “the rest of the song” rather than “another song”; [26] This means that the aoidē in question is the self-same song that the poet is presently singing, which brings the ritual phrase much closer to the singing of the Delian Maidens as well as to the traditional poetics of the Homeric Hymns as proems: the “remainder of the song” would be the epic story at hand. [27] The verbs μνήσομαι and μεταβήσομαι, in other words, do not refer to another, future, occasion, but to the present performance; they could be called performative (“I will now proceed to/I will now enact the remainder of the song”). [28] In the case of μνήσομαι, such a performative reading is underscored by the semantics of the root –mnē that I just reviewed: remembering is making present.

The Discourse of Proximity

This discussion of the neglected first line of the Hymn should now change our perception of the passage that follows. In fact, that whole passage is very much about cognition and perception. What happens in the passage is neither the attribution of qualities to the god, nor mere narration, but seeing, an acute perception of the god that is made possible by the poet’s “memory.” The passage describes neither a timeless scene nor a past one, but something present, happening right before the poet’s mind’s eye. This, I believe, is expressed by the tenses in the passage, present and aorist, that are used in a way that is not fully recognized in our handbooks of grammar.

The evidence of morphology, then, should keep us from reading the present tense forms in the opening scene of the Hymn as “generic.” But what about the aorists? Let us first note that the aorist is quite frequently used by Homeric speakers in connection with nūn, the adverb of temporal immediacy. For an example we return once more to the words of Diomedes that are uttered when Hektor has just escaped his attack:

ἐξ αὖ νῦν ἔφυγες θάνατον κύον· ἦ τέ τοι ἄγχι
ἦλθε κακόν· νῦν αὖτέ σ᾿ ἐρύσατο Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων

Iliad XI 362–363

Once again now you have escaped death, dog. And yet
the evil came near you, but now once more Phoibos Apollo has saved you.

As we saw in the previous Chapter, in contexts such as this one, the aorist carries the augment much more frequently than when a past event is referred to. On this basis, recapitulating the discussion of the previous Chapter, I propose that originally the function of augment was quite different from the marking of past tense. Augment, I argue, was originally a deictic suffix used on the aorist stem, the verbal form for the completeness of an action, and it would signal that an action is completed in the speaker’s presence. Thus augment was originally, just as –ι, a prefix connected with proximity, perhaps identical to the prefix ἐ- in the deictic ἐkei`no~. For practical purposes, we might say that augment in Homer has often the effect of present perfect tense in English.

Looking at Homeric narrative in this light, we may observe that the only place where present tense is used by the Homeric narrator (that is, forms with the suffix –ι), and the only place where aorists always carry the augment is the simile, e.g.:

θῦνε γὰρ ἂμ πεδίον ποταμῷ πλήθοντι ἐοικὼς
χειμάρρῳ, ὅς τ᾿ ὦκα ῥέων ἐκέδασσε γεφύρας·
τὸν δ᾿ οὔτ᾿ ἄρ τε γέφυραι ἐεργμέναι ἰσχανόωσιν,
οὔτ᾿ ἄρα ἕρκεα ἴσχει ἀλωάων ἐριθηλέων
ἐλθόντ᾿ ἐξαπίνης ὅτ᾿ ἐπιβρίσῃ Διὸς ὄμβρος·
πολλὰ δ᾿ ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ ἔργα κατήριπε κάλ᾿ αἰζηῶν·
ὣς ὑπὸ Τυδεΐδῃ πυκιναὶ κλονέοντο φάλαγγες
Τρώων, οὐδ᾿ ἄρα μιν μίμνον πολέες περ ἐόντες.

Iliad V 87–94

He [Diomedes] raged all around the plain like a swollen river
winterflowing, which quickly has smashed the dikes:
Neither can the dikes, solidly packed, contain it any longer,
Nor can the walls hold it, the banks of the flourishing vineyards,
In its sudden flash flood, when Zeus’s rain weighs heavy on it;
And many of the lovingly made works of young men have crashed down beneath it:
Thus by Tydeus’s son dense phalanxes were dispersed
Of the Trojans; and they could not withstand him, numerous as they were.

It is the usual interpretation of the present as generic and of the aorist as “gnomic” that lies at the basis of the problems with the opening scene of the Hymn, as we have seen. But there is no reason to see the temporal reference of these tenses in the similes as generic or gnomic. It is true that the simile evokes a recognizable scene that is well within the experiential orbit of the audience; and previous knowledge of how lions, boars, or swollen rivers typically behave is of course what similes draw on for their effect. But that does not make the similes any less visual. The generic aspects may be a matter of common knowledge, but when the simile is actually performed, generic knowledge yields to a highly specific, sharp image: we are witnessing this lion, this boar, or this swollen river. Accordingly, the language of the similes is what I called in the previous chapter the language of immediacy.

The language of the similes is also that of the opening scene of the Hymn. The combination of present tense and augmented aorist in the similes exactly matches the use of tenses in the first lines of the Hymn. We can now see the present tenses as neither generic nor historical, but as perceptual. And the aorists are neither gnomic nor a narrative anomaly, but perceptual as well—their augment is the same as that of the perceptual aorists used by Diomedes in his immediate physical present.

A further similarity between the Hymn’s opening scene and the linguistic articulation of similes is that the scene opens with a relative pronoun modified by the particle τε (ὅν τε, v. 2), just as the simile of the mountain brook cited above and many other similes. The particle τε marks Apollo as a simile’s central image. The adverbial use of τε in epic has been said to express a fait permanent, a “permanent fact,” but C. J. Ruijgh, the author of that idea, is careful to specify that what is permanent is not so much the fact itself as its link with another idea in a particular context. [34] That the river is swift–streaming and winter-swollen is a “permanent fact” only in the context of Diomedes’ battle rage; it explains the crucial respect under which the river is evoked. Similarly, the relative clause following Apollo’s name does not signal—what has puzzled so many scholars—that the gods’ trembling at Apollo’s entrance is something permanent, generic, or repeated. If anything is repeated, it is the performance of the scene, not the scene itself. The relative clause gives the specific respect under which the god is evoked and his presence enacted: this is, for the purpose of this Hymn, the god’s quintessential image. We could translate: “I will now make Apollo present by remembering him as he enters Zeus’s hall while the gods tremble at him.” [35] Epic τε recurs in the third part of the scene: χαίρει δέ τε πότνια Λητώ, v. 12. It does not signal that rejoicing is a “permanent fact” about Leto, but that this scene is Leto’s quintessential moment of joy.

One feature of the opening scene remains to be discussed: the only “imperfect” verb in the description, μίμνε (v. 5). [36] The verb separates the present verbs in vv. 2–4 from the aorists in vv. 6–10. Its function in the scene is not deictic or descriptive, but orientational, processual. The phrase of which it is a part (Λητὼ δ᾿ οἴη μίμνε, “Leto alone remained ”) directs the listener’s attention in processing the scene, as the description now moves from the gods’ consternation to Leto’s calm demeanor: she alone did not jump. The god’s mother is set apart from the other gods in a phrase that acts as caption, or frame, for the description of the welcoming of the new god by his parents. The imperfect μίμνε does not so much detail what Leto actually did—in fact, it says that Leto did not do something—as lead the way into the description of her central role in the event: it sets the scene for Leto’s actions, all described in the aorist. [37] In this way, with Leto as its central character, the opening scene is an appropriate opening to the Hymn to Delian Apollo, since in her quest and her labors on Delos Leto is its central character. And when, after the intermezzo zooming in on the god’s parents, the poet’s vision widens again and the assembly of the gods comes back into the picture, the god’s appearance has yielded to his mother’s joy in perceiving it. Just as many Homeric similes, the opening scene has progressed from an original image to an autonomous elaboration of a detail of that scene. [38]

Seeing, Thinking, Achieving

Still, in spite of the extensive similarities between the Hymn’s opening scene and the Homeric simile, a difference remains. Apollo is not a simile’s image, or so it would seem. There is nothing to which Apollo is compared. Before we address this problem, a further observation has to be made: Apollo’s entrance is not a scene that is as accessible as the rustic and pastoral scenes of the similes. In fact, the ability to see gods is not given to every mortal. The gods are seen and recognized only when they want to, and by whom they have selected for that purpose. Patroklos, for example, does not see Apollo the moment the god approaches to deal him his death blow. Nor does Telemachos see or recognize Athena when the goddess is present to arrange the recognition scene between Odysseus and Telemachos:

οὐδ᾿ ἄρα Τηλέμαχος ἴδεν ἀντίον οὐδ᾿ ἐνόησεν,
οὐ γάρ πως πάντεσσι θεοὶ φαίνονται ἐναργεῖς

Odyssey xvi 160–161

But Telemachos did not look her way nor did he take notice;
for the gods do not manifest themselves in full evidence to all.

This extract gives us the religious basis of the later stylistic notion of ἐνάργεια (which will concern us in the next Chapter): a god’s full, unmediated presence. [
39] This presence is possible through a human’s special faculties of cognition, which find their essential expression in Homeric Greek in the lexical root no. The negated verb of that root is used for Telemachos; the affirmative will be used four lines later for his father, who does see and recognize Athene. It is due to his noos, his capacity to noēsai, that Odysseus is able to “see,” in more than just a perceptual sense. Noos and noēsai denote, in epic Greek, a special awareness of the beyond, of the metaphysical. He who has noos is able (to repeat Vernant’s formulation) to “decipher the invisible.” In fact, noos and the cognitive faculty of noēsai are very much in the semantic sphere of the verbal roots –mnē and of the negation of its notional opposite lath. [40] The verbal idea lath is not only the notional opposite of –mnē, but also of noē. And its negative, οὐ λαθέσθαι, “not be unaware,” is equivalent to either verbal idea. So mnēsasthai and noēsai are two sides of one and the same coin; both are the lexical expression of Vernant’s mythical conception of “memory” as a seeing beyond, a piercing of the surface appearance of things.

But just as the verbal root –mnē, the meaning of noēsai and its cognates (such as noos and noēma) is not exhausted by this idea of “seeing beyond.” An act of noēsai is more than a thought or a perception, however profound; it is at the same time the realization, the accomplishment, of its cognitive content. This is made abundantly clear in passages where the noos or the noēma of the gods, in particular Zeus, is concerned. It is the noos of Zeus that makes Hektor wake up after he has lost consciousness, and it is the noos of Zeus that overwhelms the Greeks in the battle of the ships. And in general it is the noos of Zeus that makes humans do whatever he wants them to do. [41] The strong sense of accomplishment that is inherent in the semantics of noos and noēsai [42] is conveyed with particular clarity in the words of Calypso when she has to give up Odysseus; she pairs the verb noēsai with the verb krainō/krēnai (trans. Lattimore): [43]

αἴ κε θεοί γ᾿ ἐθέλωσι, τοὶ οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἔχουσιν,
οἵ μευ φέρτεροι εἰσι νοῆσαί τε κρῆναί τε.

Odyssey v 169–170

If only the gods consent. It is they who hold wide heaven.
And they are more powerful than I to devise and accomplish.

The two major senses of noēsai, accomplishment and seeing with special clarity, come together in a usage of noēsai that has to do with the very enactment of the epic events. Many times the course of events is essentially due to a character who was able to noēsai. The most characteristic moments when this happens are the conspicuous “if not” or reversal situations in the battle narrative of the Iliad, of which we have seen a representative example in Chapter Six above: if so and so had not performed the profound act of noēsai, then epic would not have been the same, or would not even have existed. The crucial formula is εἰ μὴ ἄρ᾿ ὀξὺ νόησε, “if he/she had not seen sharply,” which enacts the epic tale as the consequence of a moment of penetrating vision. [

The semantics of noēsai thus reviewed is fully pertinent to the opening scene of the Hymn to Apollo. The enargeia of that scene is more than mere vividness. It is an act of full recognition of the god’s presence. The poet is capable, due to his noos, of “remembering” the god, which implies both seeing him and accomplishing his presence. The god’s arrival is at the same time a speech act and a mind act: the speech act of mnēsasthai is the fulfillment of the mind act of noēsai. The god’s presence now, with his terrifying bow and arrows, is a visualization of the poet’s noēma.

Just like a Noēma

We return to the question of the simile: if the opening scene has all the features of a Homeric simile, what is it that Apollo is compared to? The answer I will propose bears on the very unity of the Hymn, since it connects the opening scene with the Hymn’s second arrival scene. I have already observed that the two scenes are linked by way of the previewing technique of ring composition in archaic poetry: often the first mention of the event in question looks ahead to the second one, and clears the ground for the narrative in between.

But the unity is further enhanced by a short comparison in the second arrival scene:

εἶσι δὲ φορμίζων Λητοῦς ἐρικυδέος υἱὸς
φόρμιγγι γλαφυρῇ πρὸς Πυθὼ πετρήεσσαν,
ἄμβροτα εἵματ᾿ ἔχων τεθυωμένα· τοῖο δὲ φόρμιγξ
χρυσέου ὑπὸ πλήκτρου καναχὴν ἔχει ἱμερόεσσαν.
ἔνθεν δὲ πρὸς Ὄλυμπον ἀπὸ χθονὸς ὥς τε νόημα
εἶσι Διὸς πρὸς δῶμα θεῶν μεθ᾿ ὁμήγυριν ἄλλων·
αὐτίκα δ᾿ ἀθανάτοισι μέλει κίθαρις καὶ ἀοιδή.

Hymn to Apollo 182–188

he goes playing the lyre, son of glorious Leto,
the hollow lyre, all the way to Pytho rich in rocks,
clad in clothes immortal and fragrant; his lyre
under his golden plectrum gives an enchanting sound.
From there up to Olympos from the Earth like a thought,
he goes to Zeus’s hall and the assembly of the other gods.
Immediately song and the lyre are on the immortals’ minds.

In comparing Apollo’s arrival to a noēma, that is, the mind act that gives rise to poetry, the Hymn is turning on itself. In fact, the god’s arrival on Olympos, a noēma, immediately creates a model for the setting of the Hymn’s performance: a poet producing aoidē before an attentive audience. The image of the lyre-player complements that of the bow-wielder, revealing the unity of the paradoxes posed by Loxias, the oblique, ambiguous god. What creates this palintropos harmonia is the poet’s remembering, the enactment of a penetrating vision. Not only is the poet able to see the god, and present him to his audience by the power of poetry; he is also capable of seeing behind the outward terrifying appearance of the archer god, and of discovering its benign counterpart, the lyre. The noēma is the poet’s noēma and thus, ultimately, Apollo himself as the object of the poet’s vision. This vision not only gives us an Apollo who is whole and integrated in all his complexity; it also gives us a hymn that is whole and integrated in enacting it.


[ back ] 1. See West 1975:161; Janko 1982:99, 253; Clay 1989:18, with a survey of the older literature.

[ back ] 2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.

[ back ] 3. See Bakker 1997a:112–121.

[ back ] 4. Penglase 1994:99; West 1997:355.

[ back ] 5. See e.g. van Groningen 1948; Péristérakis 1962; Ruijgh 1971:257–265; Pelliccia 1986; McKay 1986 (see also note 44 of Chapter Seven above).

[ back ] 6. E.g. West 1975:163; Janko 1981:17; see further references in Clay 1989:23n15.

[ back ] 7. See also Bakker 1997b:16; 1999d:51, 62.

[ back ] 8. Janko 1981:17.

[ back ] 9. Janko 1981:11.

[ back ] 10. See also Janko 1998:7: “poets composing orally cannot go back and alter what they have composed.”

[ back ] 11. E.g. Nagy 1999, in reply to Janko’s position.

[ back ] 12. Clay 1989:26; cf. Clay 1997:494.

[ back ] 13. Clay 1989:27.

[ back ] 14. See also Chafe 1994:53.

[ back ] 15. See also Fentress and Wickham 1992:2–8.

[ back ] 16. For a general overview of memory and forgetting in cognitive psychology, see Rubin 1995:146–174.

[ back ] 17. Vernant 1990:115: “Le passé ainsi dévoilé est beaucoup plus que l’antécédent du présent : il en est la source. En remontant jusqu’à lui, la remémoration cherche non à situer les événements dans un cadre temporel, mais à atteindre le fond de l’être, à découvrir l’original, la réalité primordiale dont est issu le cosmos et qui permet de comprendre le devenir dans son ensemble.”

[ back ] 18. Vernant 1990:16; Detienne 1967:15–17. Both may have been influenced by Éliade 1949:331f. and/or his sources.

[ back ] 19. Exhortation to ‘remember’ battle: VI 112; VIII 174; XI 287; XIII 48; XV 477, 487, 734; XVI 270; XVII 103, 185; XIX 148. “He/they ‘remembered’/‘didn’t forget’ battle”: IV 222; VIII 252; XI 566; XIII 835; XIV 441; XV 380; XVI 601–602. Other associations of ‘remembering’ and action in battle: V 263; XVII 364; XIX 153. “Forgetting battle”: XIII 722; XV 322; XVI 356–357; XXII 282.

[ back ] 20. ἀρετή: XXII 268; stand guard: VII 371; X 99; XVIII 299; eating and drinking: XIX 231; XXIV 129, 601, 602, 613; x 177; xx 246.

[ back ] 21. On this passage, see Cole 1983:10 with further access to the literature on “archaic truth.”

[ back ] 22. The only cases where Homeric Greek comes close to the modern “scientific” notion of remembering involve the perfect stem of the verb, denoting a permanent state in the present, e.g. VI 222–223 Τυδέα δ᾿ οὐ μέμνημαι, ἐπεί μ᾿ ἔτι τυτθὸν ἐόντα κάλλιφ᾿ “I don’t remember Tydeus , because he left me when I was still little.”

[ back ] 23. Moran 1975:198; Cf. Richardson 1974:325.

[ back ] 24. See Bakker 1999a:8.

[ back ] 25. E.g. Moran 1975:197–198; Clay 1997:493.

[ back ] 26. Usually this idiom is presented in a quantitative sense (οἱ ἄλλοι ‘the remaining ones’ [others within the same group], see Kühner-Gerth 1898–1904:1: 635); but ἄλλος can very well modify collective or unitary concepts: Thucydides 1.2.6 τῆς ἄλληςἙλλάδος “the rest of Hellas”; 1.110.4 τῆς ἄλλης συμμαχίδος “the rest of the alliance.” In Homeric Greek, the definite article need not be used in this idiom.

[ back ] 27. See Nagy 1990a:54; 1990b:353, 359; and especially 2000, where he discusses ὕμνος as generic term for epic poetry: the start of the performance, “hymn” in our sense, comes to encompass the entire performance that follows. Ancient evidence for the “proem function” of the Homeric Hymns: Pindar, Nemean 2.3; Thucydides 3.104 (who cites passages from the Apollo Hymn as ἐκ προοιμίου Ἀπόλλωνος).

[ back ] 28. Notice that this nonfuture reading is equally important for the lines with which the allegedly separate Hymn to Delian Apollo ends (οὐ λήξω ἑκηβόλον Ἀπόλλωνα | ὑμνέων “I will now continue singing of Apollo”); see Miller 1986.

[ back ] 29. Cf. Theognis 1056 Μουσῶν μνήσομεθ᾿.

[ back ] 30. West 1966: 152 (on Hesiod, Theogony 1); Richardson 1974:325 (on the last line of the Hymn to Demeter). The present discussion has an obvious bearing to the problem of “first person futures” in Pindar, recently reviewed by Pfeijffer 1999. To address that question here would lead us too far afield; I merely wish to point out that to attribute a “text-internal” function to a future verb is not making it equivalent to a present (Pfeijffer 1999:13). For futures with νῦν, see. e.g. V 279, XI 367, XIX, 23; XX 89, 454; XXII 271; i 200, ix 16, xix 572, 576; xxii 6; Pindar, Pythian 9.55–56; Sappho, fragment 160 V; Euripides, Alcestis 374; Medea 926; Helen 938; Bacchae 1313; Sophocles Philoctetes 1053; Herodotus 7.13.

[ back ] 31. See also Bakker 1993a:15–25; 1997a:74–80; 1997b:17–23; 1999a.

[ back ] 32. E.g. Lehmann 1993:173, 180.

[ back ] 33. See also Chapter Six above, p. #.

[ back ] 34. Ruijgh 1971:15–18. Ruijgh proposes, plausibly, that “epic τε” derives from the more general connective use of the particle as it has been attested since Mycenaean.

[ back ] 35. Compare Hymn to Dionysos 1–2: Ἀμφὶ Διώνυσον Σεμέλης ἐρικύδεος υἱὸν | μνήσομαι ὡς ἐφάνη παρὰ θῖν᾿ ἁλὸς ἀτρυγέτοιο.

[ back ] 36. On μίμνε, see also West 1989, who rightly adduces στεῖχον at Hesiod, Theogony 10 and ἔννεπον at Hymn to Pan 29, and argues that these verbs are relics of an erstwhile Indo-European present-stem injunctive. I agree with West that μίμνε is an archaic relic, analyzing it as a form lacking the suffix –i, rather than as an “imperfect”; that is, the verb is not so much “past” as “nonpresent.” I would add, however, that the whole scene displays a use of tense that is “unrecognized” in Greek grammar.

[ back ] 37. On framing, see also Bakker 1997a:88–122 as well as Chapter Four above, p. #; on the framing function of the imperfect, see further Chapter Nine below, p. #.

[ back ] 38. The first example that comes to mind is the simile at VIII 554–561, where the fires in the Trojan plain are compared to stars in the night sky, which then leads to the shepherd’s joy in contemplating it (γέγηθε δέ τε φρένα ποιμήν, 559).

[ back ] 39. Cf. XX 131; vii 201; Hesiod, fragment 165.5 M-W.

[ back ] 40. E.g. XXI 441–443; i 321–322; xx 204–205. See also Nagy 1990a:210ff.

[ back ] 41. See XV 242; XVI 103, 684–691.

[ back ] 42. See also ii 278–282.

[ back ] 43. On κραίνω and poetic utterance, see also Detienne 1967:53–57.

[ back ] 44. See Bakker 1997a:178–180; on νοῆσαι further 1997a:173–177.

[ back ] 45. Hymn to Apollo 19, 207: πῶς τάρ σ᾿ ὑμνήσω πάντως εὔυμνον ἐόντα;

[ back ] 46. Compare XV 79–83; vii 36 (cf. viii 559); Hymn to Hermes 43; Hymn to Apollo 448; Theogn. 985.