The meaning of Homeric εὔχομαι through its formulas

Epilogue. The etymology of εὔχομαι

The semantic analysis of Σ 499 has definite implications for the problematic prehistory of Greek εὔχομαι. This is a subject of consequence to the internal analysis of εὔχομαι in Homer, which is now complete. True, etymology is, from the viewpoint of method, secondary to understanding texts. But the validity of that understanding is in jeopardy if external etymological evidence cannot be related to it by common sense. Furthermore, the research I have undertaken is potentially more productive if its results apply to other Indo-European languages.

First there is the problem of internally reconstructing a plausible semantic antecedent for the various usages of Homeric εὔχομαι. The analysis of Σ 499 in Chapter IV has provided us with a point of departure. A formal link actually exists between the legal and secular usages of εὔχομαι, namely the collocation of εὔχομαι and φημί. This formal link suggests that the prehistoric functional link between secular and legal εὔχομαι was the notion ‘say (in a functionally marked context)’. Such a meaning for εὔχομαι is implicit in the collocation where εὔχομαι is the functionally marked, φημί the functionally unmarked word for ‘say’. [1] Thus we can make the simple hypothesis that an original meaning ‘say (in a functionally marked context)’ became specialized in two functionally marked contexts, one secular, resulting in the meaning ‘say (proudly, contentiously, accurately)’, the other legal, perhaps resulting in a meaning ‘state, plead, allege’.


Ε 285                                         δὲ μέγ’ | εὖχος ἔδωκας #
Λ 288                                         δὲ μέγ᾿ | εὖχος ἔδωκε #
Φ 297                                         δέ τοι | εὖχος ἀρέσθαι #
Λ 290                                 || ὑπέρτερον | εὖχος ἄρησθε #
Ο 462                                 || Τελαμώνιον | εὖχος ἀπηύρα #
Χ 130                                 || Ὀλύμπιος | εὖχος ὀρέξῃ #
[Doublet: Μ 328 = Ν 327 # – ἠέ τῳ εὖχος || ὀρέξομεν ἠέ τις ἡμῖν #]


Ν 303                                         δὲ | κῦδος ἔδωκαν #
Σ 456, T414                                Ἕκτορι | κῦδος ἔδωκε #
Μ 407                                 || ἐέλπετο | κῦδος ἀρέσθαι #
Υ 502                                         ἵετο | κῦδος ἀρέσθαι #
Θ 237                                         μέγα | κῦδος ἀπηύρας #
Ε 225                                 || Διομήδεϊ | κῦδος ὀρέξῃ #
Ε 33                                           Ζεὺς | κῦδος ὀρέξῃ #
[For the doublet Μ 328 = Ν 327, cp.:
Ο 491 # ἠμὲν ὁτέοισιν κῦδος || ὑπέρτερον ἐγγυαλίξῃ #]
Ο 595 κῦδος || ἀπαίνυτο …]


22 variant: Ε 33]
[For the doublet, cp. line-initial transformations:
Σ 294 # κῦδος ἀρέσθ’ …
Π 88 # δώῃ κῦδος ἀρέσθαι …]

These lists match all the attestations of εὖχος with representative κῦδος attestations. From a comparison of I and Ia, it is clear that εὖχος and κῦδος are simply prosodical variants which are never metrically interchangeable. In II vs. IIa, the situation is less clear. The formula systems are functionally complementary, and κῦδος could not substitute for εὖχος in II., but εὖχος could substitute for κῦδος without violation of meter in IIa. In fact, εὖχος in IIa would improve the rhythm by alleviating the overlengthening in Ζεὺ̅̅ς̲ | κ̲ῦδος. [
6] But the situation is exactly paralleled elsewhere in the Homeric corpus, cp. ποδάρκη̅ς̲̅ | δΐος Ἀχιλλεύς # (vs. ὠκὺς Ἀχιλλεύς), or πολύτλᾱ̅ς̲̅ | δ̲ῖος Ὀδυσσεύς (vs. ἐσθλὸς Οδυσσεύς). These cases of ‘uncorrected’ overlengthening are probably prosodic and phraseological archaisms embedded in the poetic repertoire. It is possible to rationalize them by considering εὖχος, ἐσθλός, and ὠκύς as metrical and functional alternatives to κῦδος and δῖος but not vice versa. Consider the large statistical predominance of κῦδος (64 x) vs. εὖχος (19 x). But the real point is that Ζεὺς κῦδος ἔδωκεν # was an immutable phrase to the traditional poet, and the substitution of εὖχος for κῦδος never occurred to him even in spite of the rhythmic anomaly. Neither does it prove that εὖχος and κῦδος differed from each other in meaning. As the formulaic analysis suggests, the two words occur in plainly identical contexts. [7] Moreover, the phraseology surrounding εὖχος and κῦδος is paralleled in only one other epic word, κλέος.

Compare the following:

Η 203 δὸς νίκην Αἴαντι καὶ ἀγλαὸν εὖχος ἀρέσθαι
γ 380 ἀλλά, ἄνασσ’, ἵληθι, δίδωθι δέ μοι κλέος ἐσθλόν
Ρ 16 τῶ με ἔα κλέος ἐσθλὸν ἐνὶ Τρώεσσιν ἀρέσθαι
Φ 297 ἂψ ἐπὶ νῆας ἴμεν· δίδομεν δέ τοι εὖχος ἀρέσθαι

This is not to deny that εὖχος can on occasion have thematic and secondary (i. e. on a level below the actual formula) dictional associations which differ from those of κῦδος. In general, such associations are crucial aspects of a word’s synchronic poetic effect in Homer, but they can be only synchronic and thus misleading in a diachronic analysis such as we are now concerned with. I propose a minimalistic axiom for diachronic semantic analysis in Homer: the testimony of thematic and dictional associations which are secondary to a word’s formulas is inadequate to controvert the testimony of that word’s inherited formulas.

For example, there is one instance of εὖχος in which κῦδος could fit the metric just as well:

# εὖχος ἐμοὶ δώσειν, ψυχὴν δ’ Ἄϊδι κλυτοπώλῳ

Ε 654, Λ 445, Π 625 (δοίης)

Formally speaking, this line has the characteristics of doublet composition (sic, in spite of its three attestations), namely improvisational x-sector phraseology and two (E 654, Λ 445) repetitions in a fixed context of three lines. [
9] The poet’s choice of εὖχος instead of κῦδος has been motivated by thematic and secondary dictional associations in the context. First, it cannot be a coincidence that all three attestations occur as the last line in the challenge speech of one hero to another, speeches which commonly contain statements of a hero’s γένος or γενεή introduced by secular εὔχομαι. [10] Moreover, one of the attestations of this line (Λ 445) is followed four lines later (Λ 449) by secular εὔχομαι introducing a speech of death exultation. [11] One might well be tempted to translate εὖχος in this line, with LSJ9, ‘boast, vaunt of superiority’, or, with Perpillou, to consider it ‘le nom institutionnel de l’avantage recherché [en combat]’. [12] However, it is also clear that this line is associated in the poet’s mind with another line which uses sacral εὔχομαι: {110|111}

# εὖχος ἐμοὶ δώσειν, ψυχὴν δ’ Αϊδι κλυτοπώλῳ #

The parallelism in compositional technique, [
13] diction, and arrangement (# εὖχεο … κλυτοτόξῳ # vs. # εὖχος … κλυτοπώλῳ #) cannot be coincidental, especially in view of the fact that κλυτόπωλος is attested only here in all Greek literature. It is now tempting to translate εὖχος in this line, again with LSJ9, ‘object of prayer, thing prayed for’. But this translation leaves aside the word’s associations with secular εὔχομαι as well as the most immediate associations of all, those with κῦδος and κλέος, which imply a meaning ‘fame, glory’. For # εὖχος ἐμοὶ δώσειν |, compare | κῦδος ἔδωκεν #, || δίδωθι δέ μοι κλέος, etc. as cited above, and for meaning and context compare:

# εὖχος ἐμοὶ δώσειν, ψυχὴν δ’ Αϊδι κλυτοπώλῳ #


Χ 57                                         || μηδὲ μέγα κῦδος ὀρέξῃς
          Πηλεΐδῃ, αὐτὸς δὲ φίλης αἰῶνος ἀμερθῇς.

Finally, postulating ‘say (in a functionally marked context)’ as an antecedent of ‘pray’ gives an excellent account of the structure of Homeric prayers. In its pristine form, the Homeric prayer’s structure (invocation, grant of favor, request of favor) is essentially physical, formal communication. Only if our notion of such a prayer is conditioned by cultural prejudice as basically ‘vow’ or basically ‘request’ does the neutral and concrete sense of εὔχομαι ‘say a prayer’ escape us. This concreteness is echoed on the one hand by the concreteness of the god’s response: he ἔκλυε, ‘heard it’, says the formula which concludes prayers, not ‘accepted it’, or ‘agreed’ or ‘granted it’; and on the other hand by the significant pairing in ritual narrative contexts of εὔχομαι and σπένδω, ‘pour a libation’. To cite Marcel Mauss once more, “La prière est évidemment un rite oral.” [19] Moreover, within the formulas of the epic, the concrete sense of εὔχομαι is still discernible, for the adverb μεγάλα, twice attested with sacral εὔχομαι in the formula


occurs elsewhere with the following verbs: [

4x      μεγάλ’ ἴαχε                 ‘roared loudly’
4x      μεγάλ’ ἔκτυπε             ‘thundered loudly’
Δ 425 μεγάλα βρέμει             ‘roars loudly’
Ν 282 μεγάλα . . . πατάσσει   ‘pounds loudly’
4 x     μεγάλα στενάχουσι      ‘groan loudly’ {113|114}
Π 429 μεγάλα κλάζοντε         ‘crowing loudly’
ι 399  μεγάλ’ ἤπυεν               ‘shrieked loudly’
υ 113 μεγάλ’ ἐβρόντησας       ‘thundered loudly’

Evidently, prayer is not only functionally but also physically marked speech in Homer.

On the evidence of the Homeric attestations, then, it is plausible to suppose that a pre-Homeric sense of εὔχομαι, ‘say (in a functionally marked context)’ has become specialized in three social spheres: 1) secular, or heroic, resulting in the specialization ‘say (proudly, accurately, contentiously)’, 2) legal, preserving the meaning ‘say’ or perhaps developing a special sense ‘state’, 3) sacral, with the specialization ‘pray’.

These three specializations had already become fixed in Indo-European and were inherited as such by the dialects. That is perhaps clear from a cursory review of the cognates (above, p. 9f.), but the survey which follows establishes this in detail. In addition it searches for contextual evidence and archaisms to test the hypothetical meaning that I have reconstructed for εὔχομαι. In fact, it repeats, with intentional similarities in method and surprising similarities in content, the process of synchronic analysis and internal reconstruction just concluded.

I. In octosyllables:

1.176.4 (Anuṣṭubh): daddhí sūríś cid ohate
8.5.39 (Anuṣṭubh): anyó nét sūrír óhate
8.7.31 (Gāyatrī): kó vaḥ sakhitvá ohate
8.80.9 (Gāyatrī): ā́d ít pátir na ohase
8.3.14 (Pragātha): ŕ̥ṣiḥ kó vípra ohate
8.40.11 (Mahāpaṅkti): utó nú cid yá óhata
8.5.3 (Gāyatrī): vā́caṃ dūtó yáth ohiṣe

II. In dodecasyllables (Jagatī):

10.65.10 tváṣṭāraṃ vāyúm r̥bhavo yá óhate
8.59.2 yáyoḥ śátrur nákir ā́deva óhate {114|115}

III. In hendecasyllables (Triṣṭubh):

1.181. divó anyáḥ subhágaḥ putrá ūhe
5.3.9 putró yás te sahasaḥ sūna ūhé
5.30.6 áhim ohānám apá āśáyānam
6.52.5 devā́m̐ óhāno ávasā́gamiṣṭhaḥ
6.17.9 áhiṃ yád índro abhí óhasānaṃ

In octosyllabic verse, the attestations show an inviolate restriction of present indicative singular forms to the last three syllables of the line. Now according to Nagy, [22] the Vedic octosyllable is divisible into a four-syllable opening and a four-syllable closing on the basis of a statistical contrast between the unfixed metrical pattern of the first four syllables (# ⏒ ⏒ ⏒ ⏒) and the fixed pattern of the closing syllables ( ⏓ #). Accordingly he suggests that the Jagatī (dodecasyllabic) verse was originally composed of a complete octosyllable (opening + closing) following by an additional four-syllable octosyllabic closing, or, alternatively, of a four-syllable octosyllabic opening followed by a complete octosyllable (opening + closing). Nagy is able to support this hypothesis with statistical and phraseological evidence, and it appears that the attestations of όhate in II above agree with the theory as well. The four-syllable closing segment in the Jagatī verse 10.65.10: yá όhate # is also attested as the four-syllable closing of a Mahāpaṅkti octosyllable, 8.40.11: yá όhate #. This Jagatī verse may be a compound of the first type, while the other, 8.59.2, appears to be one of the second type, with octosyllabic opening (# yayόḥ śátrur: 4 syllables) + octosyllable … nákir ā́deva όhate #. No exact parallels to this octosyllable exist independently, but compare:

8.80.9 (Gāyatrī): ā́d ít pátir na ohase
7.16.11 (Pragātha): ā́d íd vo devá ohate (transitive óhate)
8.59.2 (Jagatī): … nákir ā́deva óhate

If this tentative formal analysis brings to mind that the Hymns of the Rig-Veda, whatever the technique and circumstances of their composition and however alien they may have been to those of Homeric epic, have an archaic, traditional verse-form which is also capable of the preservation of archaic phraseology and theme, [25] then it has fulfilled its purpose. As a detail supporting this contention, we note that the grammatical restriction of intransitive ūh- to present indicative singular, “present” perfect, and tenseless participles is reminiscent of the grammatical restriction of secular εὔχομαι to the present indicative (singular or plural) and tenseless participles in Homer (as against four [of 84] instances of present tense sacral εὔχομαι). But the contextual correspondences between precisely this secular εΰχομαι and intransitive ūh– offer more dramatic testimony to the archaism and conservatism of both poetic media, Homeric and Vedic. In our analysis of secular εὔχομαι for Chapter II, we divided the attestations into four groups on formal grounds, as follows:

  1. γένος εὔχομαι εἶναι and its transformations
  2. εὔχομαι εἶναι + comparative/superlative
  3. εὔχομαι εἶναι + social relationships
  4. Secular εὔχομαι introducing, concluding, and reporting speech.

The attestations of intransitive ūh- in the Rig-Veda are faithful to this classification in detail, though they are not susceptible to such rigorous formulaic analysis. For εὔχομαι specifying γένος [26] compare this genealogy of the Aśvins:

1.181.4 jiṣṇúr vām anyáḥ súmakhasya sūrír
            divó anyáḥ subhágah ̣ putrá ūhé

This passage corresponds in etiquette to the Greek γένος εὔχομαι εἶναι passages, in which a personage specifies the name of his father but omits {116|117} his own. Furthermore, the second genealogy, divás putrá ‘son of Dyaus’ (divás = Διός) is attested in Greek with εὔχομαι [
28] :

Ν 54 Ἕκτωρ, ὃς Διὸς εὔχετ’ ἐρισθενέος πάϊς εἶναι

Greek πά(ϝ)ϊς and Sanskrit putráḥ are cognate (Frisk 1960 s.v. παῖς, Ernout-Meillet 1959 s.v. puer, Pokorny 1959: p. 843) and for possible thematic relationships between Paris, Hector, the Dioscuri, and their Vedic equivalents, the Aśvins, see D. Frame, The Myth of Return in Early Greek Epic (forthcoming).

The second category in our previous analysis of secular εὔχομαι was εὔχομαι εἶναι + comparative/superlative (above, pp. 79ff.). Each of these constructions are attested once in the Rig-Veda:

8.5.39 anyó nét sūrír óhate bhūridā́vattaro jánaḥ (óhate + comparative)

Nicht ein anderer Lohnherr sich rühmen darf, ein noch freigebigerer Mann zu sein.”

In the first, the poet addresses a pregnant compliment to his patron. The second refers to Indra. The syntactic parallelism between these attestations and such Homeric lines as

Ε 173 οὐδέ τις ἐν Λυκίῃ σέο γ’ εὔχεται εἶναι ἀμείνων
Α 91 ὃς νῦν πολλὸν ἄριστος Ἀχαιῶν εὔχεται εἶναι

cannot be coincidental. From a semantic point of view, it suggests that the contentiousness and pride associated with secular εὔχομαι in Greek were associated with its ancestor in Indo-European (as well as Indic). On the other hand the absence of a form of the verb ‘to be’ in the Vedic attestations, [
33] coupled with the unqualified comparative in 8.5.39 [34] suggests that the accuracy and objectivity associated with Greek εὔχομαι has weakened slightly in favor of more emotive and subjective connotations, or, alternatively, that the Greek poetic tradition developed and strengthened the word’s objective connotations. Actually both processes may have occurred. {118|119}

Precise and detailed correspondences also exist in Vedic to the third use of secular εὔχομαι, for specifying as marks of privilege and identity social relationships which range from the possession of hospitality rights to the hieratic profession of θυοσκόος: [35]

8.7.31 kád dha nūnáṃ kadhapriyo
          yád índram ájahātana
          kó vaḥ sakhitvá ohate

8.3.14 kád u stuvánta r̥tayanta deváta
          ŕ̥ṣiḥ kó vípra ohate

Was sollen sie singen, um es dem Gotte recht zu machen? Welcher Redekundige darf sich rühmen, ein Ṛṣi zu sein?”

A further parallel to Homeric θυοσκόος εὔχεαι εἶναι (χ 321) exists in the thrice attested collocation sūrí-/óhate. Two instances have already been cited, 1.181.4, where the mortal Aśvin is called sūrír and 8.5.39, concerning the poet’s generous sūrír. In the third, Indra is being invoked to crush an enemy, a man who does not extract Soma:

1.176. asmábhyam asya védanaṃ
          daddhí sūríś cid ohate

Gib uns sein Besitztum. Er rühmt sich ein nobler Herr zu sein.”

The bard is aiming his hostility at a niggardly patron, for the word sūrí- is elsewhere applied either to gods [
37] or men in their role as wealth-giving patrons of Vedic hymn and ritual. [38] Its semantic sphere is consistent with ṛ́ṣi- and θυοσκόος, a word attested alongside μάντις and ἱερεύς at Ω 221. Finally, there are these verses, again addressed to Indra: {119|120}

8.80.9 turī́yaṃ nā́ma yajñíyaṃ
          yadā́ káras tád uśmasi
          ā́d ít pátir na ohase

Wenn du deinen vierten Namen, den opferwürdigen, annimmst, so wünschen wir das, dann erst bist du als unser Herr anerkannt.”

An exact formal parallel to the expression pátirohase. exists in one of the attestations of εὔχομαι, specifying a social function. Hector, in the prayer to his horses, [
39] speaks of himself in relation to Andromache:

Θ 190 ἢ ἐμοί, ὅς πέρ οἱ θαλερὸς πόσις εὔχομαι εἶναι.

Vedic páti– and Greek πόσις are exact formal cognates, [
40] but their functions in these attestations diverge: πόσις only survives in the sense ‘lord, husband’ in Greek, and it is applied in Homer to Zeus (H 411 et passim) and an assortment of heroes whose spouses, goddesses and heroines, are always specified. [41] Vedic páti– can also have this sense, [42] but here, as often, it is a hieratic term, restricted to divinities, with the sense ‘lord, master’. However, the social connotations of their common root *pot– are well established for Indo-European, [43] particularly Indo-Iranian, so that the hieratic applications of Vedic páti– are to be understood as an instance of the archaic use of prestige social words and concepts for divinities, such as Ζεῦ πάτερ/dyáuḥ pitár-/Juppiter, etc. or ἄναξ Διὸς υἱὸς Ἀπόλλων, Ζεῦ ἄνα. The situation in Greek represents a later development. Though the specialization of *potis to ‘lord, husband’ must be old, the broader social and hieratic sense ‘lord, master’ is older still. In Greek only the former has survived (contrast the less restricted and hieratic use of the feminine form πότνια ‘lady, mistress’ in Homer and Mycenaean [44] while the older meaning ‘lord, {120|121} master’ has been displaced by such words as ἄναξ. [45] Given the survival of πόσις only in the sense ‘lord, husband’, it remains possible that Homeric πόσις εὔχομαι/Vedic pátir … ohase reflect the combination of these words in the poetic language of Indo-European, and that the traditional phrase was preserved in the Greek epic tradition even though its meaning had altered. We are, then, postulating the preservation—only in connection with Hector—of a phrase which might once have been hieratic, and this can be paralleled by other still hieratic expressions we have found associated with him. [46] Note that the prosody of πόσις εὔχομαι, which is the same as that of γένος εὔχομαι and κλέος ἄφθιτον, is compatible with its Indo-European origin in terms of Nagy’s metrical hypotheses. [47]

Except for one further example, which occurs in an altogether different context, this completes our survey of the attestations of intransitive ūh-. We can summarize its results by saying that Vedic intransitive ūh- categorically and in detail corresponds to Homeric secular εὔχομαι. Although a tertium comparationis for some of the usage categories will be lacking when our survey of other cognates of εὔχομαι is concluded, it is fair to say even at this point that the correspondences between these two words in context, syntax, and also accompanying phraseology are too close and complete to be a coincidence or the result of common innovation. The whole series of usages of secular εὔχομαι = Vedic intransitive ūh– apparently belongs to the Indo-European poetic tradition, of which Greek epic and the lyrical Vedic hymns are both faithful conservators. On a semantic level, this implies that the meaning we deduced from the attestations of secular εὔχομαι applies to intransitive ūh– as well: ‘say (proudly, contentiously, accurately)’, though the final adverb should be softened for the Vedic word.

Let us postpone for a moment our consideration of the last attestation of Vedic intransitive ūh- and test these conclusions by an overview of the contexts and meanings of other cognates of εὔχομαι. In this connection, two of the three [49] attestations of the athematic verb aoj- (= εὐχ-) in the oldest Avestan texts, the Gāthās or hymns of Zarathuštra himself, merit detailed attention. At the conclusion of Yasna 50, Zarathuštra describes his relationship to Ahura Mazdā in the following way:

{122|123} In grammatical form and usage we rejoin in this passage secular εὔχομαι εἷναι and Vedic intransitive ūh-. The verb aojāi (1st sing. pres. conj.) occurs with a predicate nominative və̄ staotāeure Lobsänger” and is coordinate with a finite form of the verb ‘to be’, aŋhā (1st sing. pres. conj.) “ich will es sein., which is cognate with εἰμί [
51] ). Compare:

χ 321 εἰ μὲν δὴ μετὰ τοῖσι θυοσκόος εὔχεαι εἶναι,
R. V. 8.3.14 ŕ̥ṣiḥ kó vípra ohate

Welcher Redekundige darf sich rühmen ein Ṛṣi (zu sein)?

This inheritance of a secular usage for 1 ewg w h- is as expected. [
52] Again, in Yasna 43, Zarathuštra meditates before the fire-altar, Ahura Mazdā’s mystical dwelling. He sees himself encounter, for the first time, Ahura Mazdā himself, who greets and questions him:

The first two questions which Ahura Mazdā asks Zarathuštra are ciš ahī kahyā ahī Wer bist du? Wem gehörst du an?” As Geldner [
54] long ago pointed out, this combination of questions has precise etymological correspondences in both Greek and Indic epic:

(In Ο 247 Hector is asking Apollo his identity, in Ω 387 Priam is asking Hermes’, and in α 170 Telemachus is asking Athena/Mentes’s.) The Indo-European pedigree of this anaphoric combination of questions has thus been established. But the correspondence between the answers to these questions by a man to a god and vice versa in Greek and Avestan has not been noticed before. Zarathuštra answers Ahura Mazdā as follows:

Y.43.8a at̰ hōi aojī zaraθuštrō paourvīm

And Athena/Mentes thus answers Telemachus:

We have, then, a piece of Indo-European poetic conversation, a question and its answer. [
59] While a precisely parallel answer or naming attestation [60] of Vedic intransitive ūh- does not actually occur, the comparison just made confirms in general the Indo-European archaism of secular εὔχομαι and Vedic intransitive ūh -, and it strengthens the possibility that specific usages can be inherited phenomena rather than the result of common innovation. Such parallelism between form, function, and formal and functional context, cannot be considered a coincidence, especially in view of other evidence to be given for parallel phraseological inheritances by εὔχομαι and its cognates.

The one remaining attestation of Vedic intransitive ūh-, and the most important one for our purposes, is as follows:

Euch, ihr Gewinnreichen [Aśvin], haben sich die Loblieder vorgestellt. Wie ein Abgesandter empfehle ich meine Rede.”

Geldner’s translation of ohiṣe in this passage as a transitive verb with the meaning ‘empfehle’/‘praise, commend’ is initially dissatisfying. To our {125|126} way of thinking, at least, messengers do not so much ‘commend’ their speeches as speak them. There is evidence within the Rig-Veda itself to sustain this objection. Comparison to a messenger is conventional elsewhere in the hymns for the most powerful of all speech, the hymn (vā́c-·, stóma-, etc.) itself, as, for example, [

8.26.16 vā́hiṣṭho vāṃ hávānãṃ
            stómo dūtó huvan narā

Der Zugkräftigste von allen Rufen, das Loblied, soil euch als Bote laden, ihr Herren [Aśvin] . . .

5.43.8 áccā mahī́ br̥hatī́ śáṃtamā gī́r
          dūtó ná gantv aśvínā huvádhyai

Die große hohe zusagendste Lobrede soll wie ein Bote zu den Aśvin gehen, sie zu rufen.”

To reconcile the persistent speech associations of this simile with our passage is not difficult. Formally, it is just as possible that ohiṣe is an intransitive verb and that vā́cam is its ‘cognate’ accusative, i. e. that the syntax of 8.5.3c is a figura etymologica instead of transitive verb + direct object. Given that Vedic ūh- as an intransitive verb has the meaning of secular εὔχομαι, ‘say (proudly, contentiously, accurately)’, we can translate as follows:

8.5.3c vā́caṃ dūtó yáthohiṣe

“As a messenger I speak the word (of the hymn).”

As such, the line embodies a transference of the messenger simile from the hymn to its poet, and there is a close parallel to this transference elsewhere in the Rig-Veda:

4.33.1 prá ṛbhúbhyo dūtám iva vā́cam iṣya

Zu den Ṛbhu’s entsende ich die Rede wie ein Boten …

Here again, the hymn (vā́cam) is like a messenger (dūtám iva), but the poet also sends (iṣya) it, as though, paradoxically, he were a messenger and the hymn his message. This, precisely, is the image in 8.5.3c if it is construed as a figura etymologica.

We can carry the historical analysis of this common Indo-Iranian etymological figure a step further, however, and by doing so enhance our understanding of the etymology and meaning of Homeric εὔχομαι. For Homeric Greek also attests one and only one figura etymologica with the intransitive verb εὔχομαι in the formula

                                                  || καὶ εὐχόμενος ἔπος ηὔδα #

which occurs seven times (Λ 379, Ν 619, Ρ 537, Φ 183, Ξ 500, Υ 424, and Κ461). [
69] The accusative noun with εὐχόμενος is none other than (ϝ)έπος (<*əwek w-), functionally equivalent and related to Vedic vā́cam and Avestan vācim (<*əwοk w-). [70] However, the exact cognates of Greek (ϝ)έπος ‘word’ are Vedic vácaḥ, Avestan vacah- ‘id.’, while the formal but not functional equivalent of Vedic vā́cam, Avestan vācim, is Homeric (ϝ)όπ- ‘voice’. [71] The formal difference is slight, and the comparison of these three etymological figures, as evidence for the existence of their prototype in the poetic tradition of Indo-European [72] is prima facie justifiable:

Iranian: vācim aoxta
Indic: vā́cam . . . ohiṣe
Greek: εὐχόμενος ἔπος

{127|128}Yet it is tempting to ask the reason for this variation between reflexes of *əwek w– and reflexes of *əwok w-. It is a fact which supports our comparison that two other Indo-European poetic phrases have been found which feature the comparison of Homeric (ϝ)έπος and the Indo-Iranian reflexes of *əwek w– and *əwok w-. Here are the texts cited in a comparison made by Bartholomae: [

Iranian: (Y. 29.8.c)      hud əmə̄m diiāi vax əδrahiiā
                                 (vax– < *əwok w )
Indic: (R. V. 2.21.6)     dhehi. . . svā dmā́naṃ vācáḥ̣
                                 (vācáḥ < *əwok w-)
          (R. V. 1.114.6)   vácaḥ svādóḥ
                                 (vácaḥ < *əwek w -)
Greek: (HHymn 21.3f) ἀοιδὸς … ἡδυεπής
                                  (-επης < *əwekw-)

Here are those in Darmesteter’s comparison: [

Iranian: (Y. 58.8)          apanōtəmaiiā paitī vacastaštā
                                  (vacas– < *əwek w-)
Indic: (R. V. 1.130.6)    imā́ṃ te vā́caṃ vasūyánta āyávo
                                  ráthaṃ ná dhī́raḥ svápā atakṣiṣuḥ
                                  (vā́caṃ < *əwok w-)
          (R. V. 6.32.1)     vácāṃsy āsā́ sthávirāya takṣam
                                  (vácāṃsi < *əwek w -)
Greek: (Pindar, Pyth. 3, 112–114) ἐπέων … τέκτονες
                                  (ἐπέων < *əwek w-)

It is clear from the attestations of svādmā́naṃ vācáḥ/vácaḥ svādóḥ and vā́cam … atakṣiṣuḥ/vácā ṃsi … takṣam that vā́c– (<*əwok w-) and vácaḥ (<*əwek w-) are functional alternates in Indic. I cite here the remarks of Meillet on the meaning of vā́c– (n. sing, vā́k): [

L’action indiquée par un nom d’action indo-européen était une force, une puissance immanente à l’acte envisagé: de la racine *wek w – ‘émettre un son articulé’, le nom d’action vā́k ‘parole’ est dans l’Inde une force qui a une valeur religieuse; c’est parce que les mots de ce type indiquent une puissance, parce qu’ils sont des noms d’êtres qu’ils sont de genre ‘animé’: féminins et non pas neutres.

We can use the Vedic line 8.5.3c, which is the focus of our discussion, as an example of this. It is a variation on lines which consistently compare the poetic vā́cam, the sacral hymn itself, to a messenger. Although it transfers {128|129} this simile to the poet, the line directly attests to the religious value of vā́c- (= hymn) and, by latent allusion to the other application of its simile, it calls to mind the animate force of vā́c-:

8.5.3c vā́caṃ dūtó yáthohiṣe
‘As a messenger I speak the word’.

We can now see that this simile, which may appear banal enough to us, is instead a bold instance of the poet identifying himself with his hymn’s affective power.

Having compared the form of the three etymological figures, we are ready to consider their contexts and functions. What can we reconstruct as the meaning and usage sphere of their Indo-European prototype? Does this agree with our earlier hypothesis that εὔχομαι was the functionally marked word for ‘say’ which was specialized, in pre-Homeric times, in sacral, secular, and legal contexts ?

For our translation of ohise in the line:

R. V. 8.5.3c vā́caṃ dūtó yáthohiṣe

we invoked the fact that intransitive ūh– had inherited and preserved the same meaning as secular εὔχομαι, ‘say (proudly, accurately, contentiously)’. It is important that this synchronic meaning provides a satisfactory sense in context, but this should not obscure us to another fact, that the context of ohiṣe in 8.5.3c has nothing to do with any other contexts of intransitive ūh -. It specifies neither genealogy nor superiority nor social function nor victory in battle. Instead, the context of ohiṣe recalls us to the beginning of our study, to the use of sacral εὔχομαι to introduce or conclude speech by a man to a god: [

R.V. 8.5 dūrā́d ihéva yát saty
            aruṇápsur áśiśvitat
            ví bhānúṃ viśvádhātanat
            nr̥vád dasrā manoyújā
            ráthena pr̥thupā́jasā
            sácethe aśvinoṣásam
            yuvā́bhyāṃ vājinīvasū
            práti stómā adr̥kṣata
            vā́caṃ dūtó yáthohiṣe {130|131}

  1. Sobald die rötlichscheinende (Uṣas) von fern her, als ob sie hier wäre, aufschimmert, so hat sie allenthalben ihren Glanz ausgebreitet.
  2. Auf dem männerfahrenden, gedankengeschirrten, breitgestaltigen Wagen folget ihr Meister Aśvin der Uṣas.
  3. Euch, ihr Gewinnreichen, haben sich die Loblieder vorgestellt. Wie ein Abgesandter, usw.

The relationship between artistic and religious values in the Rig-Veda is the subject of some scholarly disagreement, but not to the extent of making it doctrinaire to say that the hymns are fundamentally religious. [82] As its messenger simile makes clear, then, vā́caṃ dūtó yáthohiṣe refers to the utterance of sacral speech as formal, affective communication by a man with a god. They are hymns evolved from prayers, meant to accompany sacrifices, containing invocations to divinities and making requests of them. I reiterate that this context for ohiṣe is not predictable from the other contexts of intransitive ūh– in the Rig-Veda.

{132|133} As we have already seen, the Homeric parallel to these Indic and Iranian phrases, εὐχόμενος ἔπος, is attested six out of seven times to introduce a speech of triumph by a warrior over his dead enemy. [90] These speeches are companion pieces to the genealogical statements introduced by εὔχομαι which precede single combat, and both are examples of secular εὔχομαι in the meaning ‘say (proudly, contentiously, accurately).’ The seventh attestation is a follows:

Κ 460 καὶ τά γ’ Ἀθηναίῃ ληΐτιδι δῖος Ὀδυσσεὺς
          ὑψόσ’ ἀνέσχεθε χειρὶ καὶ εὐχόμενος ἔπος ηὔδα·
          “χαῖρε, θεά, τοῖσδεσσι· σὲ γὰρ πρώτην ἐν Ὀλύμπῳ
          πάντων ἀθανάτων ἐπιδωσόμεθ’· ἀλλὰ καὶ αὖτις
          πέμψον ἐπὶ Θρῃκῶν ἀνδρῶν ἵππους τε καὶ εὐνάς.”

Here εὐχόμενος ἔπος occurs in a line with two finite verbs (ἀνέσχεθε … ηὔδα), as is typical of the language of ritual narrative. [
91] It introduces a prayer of the regular tripartite structure: 1. invocation (χαῖρε, θεά) 2. grant of favor (σέ . . . ἐπιδώσομεθ’) [92] 3. request of favor (ἀλλὰ καὶ {133|134} αὖτις . . . εὐνάς). I conclude that εὐχόμενος ἔπος in Κ 461 means ‘speaking the word (of prayer)’, as do its Indo-European cognates vācim, aoxtadas (heilige) Wort aufsagte” and vā́cam . . . ohiṣe ‘I speak the word (of the hymn)’. In previous discussion of Κ 461 [93] we left open the possibilities that its breaking of the sacral-secular split in the formulas of εὔχομαι, was an archaism predating the rigorous implementation of that split or a slip of the tongue. But this line constitutes the only one of five instances of cross-over between the sacral and secular formulas of εὔχομαι which has neither a textual variant nor a simple explanation of the presence of εὔχομαι as filling a variable slot in an otherwise fixed expression. [94] In view of its textual security and the simple explanation for its presence offered by comparative evidence, I view this attestation of εὐχόμενος ἔπος as a contextual and formal archaism.

This establishes the viability of our hypothesis that the etymological figure *əwek w-/*əwok w– plus *ə 1 ewg w h– belonged to the Indo-European poetic tradition. The formal collocation and its function are preserved in poetic texts of three Indo-European dialects. What does this tell us about the meaning and usage of the prototype of εὔχομαι in Indo-European? First of all, it provides dramatic evidence that the root originally meant ‘say’. In an inherited phrase attested in three dialects its reflexes can successfully be translated as intransitive verbs of saying (ohiṣe ‘I speak’, aoxtaer sagte auf’, εὐχόμενος ‘saying, speaking’). Secondly, we have evidence that the usage of the root *ə 1 ewg w h– in sacral contexts is at least as old as its usage in secular contexts, for it is attested in a fixed phrase in sacral contexts in three Indo-European dialects. [95] Finally, the contexts of the Indic and {134|135} Iranian cognates of εὐχόμενος ἔπος add a new dimension to our definition of *ə 1 ewg w h– as the functionally marked word for ‘say’ in Indo-European. The overtly agonistic quality of sacral speech in these cultures in general and in the contexts of their reflexes of the Indo-European poetic phrase *əwok w– *ə 1 ewg w h– may be a purely local phenomenon. But it gives life to the possibility that prayer was agonistic in its Indo-European setting as well, that speech, in order to communicate with divinity, had to win out over the speech of competitors. [96] Moreover, if we specify that functionally marked ‘say’ in Indo-European implied the utterance of words which win out over a competitor’s, then we can understand in a more concrete way the reasons behind the diverse acceptations of Homeric εὔχομαι. Then its use for legal claim and counter-claim, on the field of battle, in specifying one’s place in a prestige-conscious society, and for the rite oral as well, makes good sense.

Dictionaries define vāghát- (<*ə 1 ewog w h-) [98] as a cult official with unspecified functions: ‘Beter, Opferer; Veranstalter des Opfers’. [99] But in several passages the word clearly refers to singers of the Vedic hymns, and Geldner’s translations of it as ‘Sänger, Priester’, which Citron [100] ably defends, are justifiable:

1.40.4 yó vāgháte dádāti sūnáraṃ vásu
          sá dhatte ákṣiti śrávaḥ
          tásmā íḷāṃ suvī́rām ā́ yajāmahe
          suprátūrtim anehásam

Wer dem Sänger (vāgháte) echtes Gut schenkt, der erwirbt unvergänglichen Ruhm. Für ihn erbitten wir den Segen guter Männer, die tüchtig voranstreben, fehlerlos sind.”

It is the poet who traditionally expects material reward from his patron, to whom he gives in return ákṣiti śrávahunvergänglichen Ruhm.” [
101] The first person plural yajāmahewir erbitten’ in the following stanza makes plain the reference of vāgháte. Plainer still is the following:

1.31.14 tvám agna uruśáṃsāya vāgháte
            spārháṃ yád rékṇaḥ paramáṃ vanóṣi tát

Du Agni gewinnst für den Sänger (vāgháte), dessen Worte weit reichen, das was wünschenswerter höchster Besitz ist.”

Here Agni is conceived of as the winner of the wealth which the poet’s patron bestows. Other attestations support the definition ‘Sänger’. [
102] And it is worthy of special note that the vāghát- is twice attested as complementary to the hótṛ (< juhóti ‘pour (a libation)’, = Gk. χέ(ϝ)ω), [103] who is the most important official in Vedic rites: {136|137}

3.2.1 dvitā́ hótāram mánuṣaś ca vāgháto
         dhiyā́ ráthaṃ ná kúliśaḥ sám r̥ṇvati

Abermals bringen ihn [Agni], der der Hótṛ auch des Manu war, die Priester (vāgháto) mit Kunst zustande wie das Beil den Wagen.

1.58.7 hótāraṃ saptá juhvo yájiṣṭhaṃ
          yáṃ vāgháto vr̥ṇáte adhvaréṣu

Perhaps these passages attest to an Indic reflex of the pairing of σπένδω and εὔχομαι in ritual contexts of Greek epic. [
105] Citron has already suggested such an inheritance on the basis of the functions and etymologies of hótṛ and vāghát-, and he explains the prominence in Vedic of hótṛ at the expense of vāghát- as due to the great importance of the Soma offering in Vedic ritual. [106] In any case, there is good evidence to show that vāghát– refers to a human speaker of sacral language to divinities, to the man who vā́cam óhate.

Likewise the Latin derivative of Theme II *ə 1 weg w h-, voveō, which features iterative-causative morphology [107] and is a transitive verb, occurs exclusively in sacral contexts, with a legal usage attested vestigially. [108] This word has, however, undergone semantic development to ‘pledge, vow’ or ‘wish’. As was previously suggested, [109] we can understand this meaning for a cognate of εὔχομαι by the parallel but relatively transparent semantic development of Latin spondeō, cognate of σπένδω. spondeō, which is morphologically identical to voveō, means ‘pledge, guarantee’ and is restricted to legal contexts. Yet it is clear from Indo-European evidence that its root did not originally refer to pledges, but to a concrete, sacral act: cf. σπένδω ‘pour a libation’, Hitt. šipand-spenden, Gußopfer darbringen; {137|138} opfern’. [110] As Benveniste has shown, [111] in their Homeric contexts such libations are intended to guarantee security in the face of danger, e. g. when Achilles dispatches Patroclus into battle (Π 225–256) or when Priam sets out to ransom Hector (Ω 302–316). This explains the use of σπένδομαι for treaties, which are mutual guarantees of security. We can say that in Latin, the word spondeō has developed from concrete to abstract, from sacral act with symbolic content to the symbolic content of the sacral act: ‘pledge, guarantee’. The same development occurs later within Greek, for the compound ἐπισπένδω is attested in the Gortynian Code with a meaning ‘guarantee’, [112] and in a recently published 5th century Cretan inscription the simplex form σπένδω means ‘solemnly pledge, promise’. [113]

On this basis we can hypothesize that voveō ‘pledge, wish’ was a word originally designating a sacral act whose symbolic content was a pledge and a wish. But this is precisely the case with Homeric prayers designated by the cognate of voveō, εὔχομαι. They contain a statement that a gift has been, will be, or is being given to the god, and this gift, which can even be a libation, symbolizes the existence of a contract between god and man. [114] On the basis of its existence the person praying expresses a wish or request, often for his own security in the face of danger:

“πότνι’ Ἀθηναίη ῥυσίπτολι δῖα θεάων
ἆξον δὴ ἔγχος Διομήδεος, ἠδὲ καὶ αὐτὸν
πρηνέα δὸς πεσέειν Σκαιῶν προπάροιθε πυλάων,
ὄφρά τοι αὐτίκα νῦν δυοκαίδεκα βοῦς ἐνὶ νηῷ
ἤνις ἠκέστας ἱερεύσομεν, αἴ κ’ ἐλεήσῃς
ἄστυ τε καὶ Τρώων ἀλόχους καὶ νήπια τέκνα. .
Ὣς ἔφατ’ εὐχομένη, ἀνένευε δὲ Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη.

(Ζ 305–311)

To this passage and others [
115] we may compare a Plautine attestation of voveō. Jupiter himself is speaking, disguised as Amphitruo, to Alcumena:

Amph. 946 iube vero vasa pura adornari mihi,
                ut quae apud legionem vota vovi si domum
                rediissem salvos, ea ego exsolvam omnia,

vōta here refers to sacral pledges made in battle whose fulfillment was contingent upon the fulfillment of a wish or request. The structural elements are the same as those in a Homeric prayer, but they have been arranged in a tightened temporal hierarchy, and voveō ‘pledge’ has become specialized {138|139} and also abstract, in that it no longer refers overtly to speech. [
116] Specialization to the other element of prayer, the wish or request, also occurs for voveō and vōtum:

Hor. Ep. 1.4. quid voveat dulci nutricula maius alumno
                   qui sapere et fari possit quae sentiat …?
Hor. Carm. 4.13.1 audivere, Lyce, di mea vota, di
                           audivere, Lyce: fis anus, …

In this usage voveō has almost returned to the meaning ‘pray’, but its specialization to the wish or request element of prayer is clear from numerous attestations, [
117] and it is not to be confused with the sacral usage of εὔχομαι, in Homer, where the verb refers to the totality of a prayer’s structural elements. [118] Nevertheless, the existence of such a meaning may have perpetuated the existence of archaic sacral phraseology to which the old, concrete sense of voveō was appropriate. A possible example is the collocation vōtīs vocāre, attested in sacral contexts no less than seven times [119] in the corpus of Virgil, as in the concluding line of a prayer to the deified Caesar Augustus in the Georgics (I. 40ff.):

da facilem cursum atque audacibus adnue coeptis
ignarosque viae mecum miseratus agrestis
ingredere et votis iam nunc adsuesce vocari.

This fixed phrase may be the reflex in Latin of the Indo-European etymological figure *əwek w -/*əwok w– + 1 ewg w h-, for vocāre is cognate with Ved. vā́c-, Av. vaxš, and voveō with εὔχομαι, Ved. ūh-, Av. aoj-.

Of the four languages which preserve this archaic word, only Homeric Greek has preserved all three of its original usages intact, and it has done so even though at least two of these usages, which we have called sacral and secular, had lost their original semantic unity and become, in effect but not in fact, separate words. In the analysis of εὖχος, we saw that a single formulaic phrase can evoke a range of disparate meanings. The triple usage of εὔχομαι is to be understood as another dramatic instance of the power a rigorous formulaic medium has to implement and preserve semantic richness. Formulas are not cliché́s, receptacles of cant, or merely convenient phrases to help a faltering performer. They are metrical combinations of words in which the heritage of the primordial past could achieve its highest potential for the expression of living poetic meaning. They are the means by which that past survived, and the medium in which it first crystallized. It is time for Homeric research to realize the creative potential in diachronic, synchronic, and aesthetic understanding of them.


[ back ] 1. See above, pp. 76 ff., 83, and Ch. III, n. 20.

[ back ] 2. There seems to be no opportunity to establish, on formal grounds, a relative chronology for the Homeric formulas. All possibilities have been entertained for such a chronology on functional grounds. Perpillou 1972: pp. 169–182 argues that εὔχομαι is legal in all its Homeric attestations and only gradually becoming a distinctly sacral word. Citron 1965: p. 115 considers it originally a part of the social vocabulary. Finally, there is Benveniste’s point of view (1969: t. 2, pp. 233–43) that the sacral sense “vow” is anterior to both of these. See above, pp. 11 ff. for an analysis of the problem in terms of methodology.

[ back ] 3. Frisk 1960: s.v. εὔχομαι, Citron 1965: pp. 99 f., Chantraine 1970: s.v. εὔχομαι, Perpillou 1972: p. 176. See also Greindl 1938: p. 58. His definition: “persönlicher Erfolg und mit diesem verbundener ‘Ruhm’.”

[ back ] 4. See above, p. 46f. and Ch. II, n. 64.

[ back ] 5. See n. 9, below.

[ back ] 6. On overlengthening, i.e., the lengthening of a syllable both by nature and position, see Platt 1921: p. 143, Parry 1928a: p. 52 n. 1, pp. 237–238.

[ back ] 7. Compare Ο 462 and Γ 373; γ 57, γ 380 and Η 203; Χ 57–8 and Λ 445 = Ε 654 = Π 625; Χ 130 and Ε 33; Λ 290 and 0 491; Π 87–8, Φ 297 and Ξ 364–5.

[ back ] 8. See above, p. 82, and Nagy 1974: pp. 229–261, “Epilogue: The Hidden Meaning of κλέος ἄφθιτον and śráva(s) ákṣitam.”

[ back ] 9. The third repetition of this line at Π 625 in a similar (but not verbatim identical) context is a sign that it is becoming a fixed whole-line formula, not that it was one previously.

[ back ] 10. See above, p. 73 f.

[ back ] 11. See Ch. III, pp. 92 ff.

[ back ] 12. Perpillou 1972: p. 176.

[ back ] 13. Both are doublets; see above, pp. 54ff., for this term and a discussion of Δ 101 = Δ 119

[ back ] 14. εὖχος has an exact formal cognate attested once in Vedic, óhasGeltung, Wert’ (Grassmann 1873: s.v.) R.V. 6.68.9. Geldner’s translation: ‘Lob’. On the meaning of εὐχωλή, see LSJ9 s.v. On its suffixation, which is a Greek innovation, see Chantraine 1933: pp. 241–3.

[ back ] 15. For a clear example of εὖχος associated with secular εὔχομαι, see Φ 473 in context. I should add that Perpillou’s (1972: pp. 176–7) astute observation of a thematic parallelism between the relationships specified by secular εὔχομαι and the claim-to-favor portions of some Homeric prayers is probably a synchronic, associative phenomenon of the same sort, if not a coincidence. (He cites eleven instances of this thematic parallelism, and I count nine attestations in which the parallelism could but does not occur, out of a total of eighty-four attestations of sacral εὔχομαι.) In three passages, which Perpillou does not single out, secular εὔχομαι is actually used in a prayer to specify the grounds on which a response is expected (Θ 190, ι 529, ε 450). I would interpret these in particular as evidence that there is a secondary dictional and thematic association between secular and sacral εὔχομαι. Perpillou, on the other hand, argues that the whole development of sacral εὔχομαι is predicated on and secondary to the usage of secular εὔχομαι, and he uses the thematic parallelism he has found and an interpretation of the original meaning of εὖχος as “le nom institutionnel de l’avantage recherché (en combat)” to support this theory. εὖχος is thus an archaic word which has not undergone what he considers to be a secondary sacral specialization. Perpillou’s theory is an excellent one, but in addition to the alternative interpretation of his evidence offered above, I point out here that the formulas of secular and sacral εὔχομαι are not shared at all (pace Perpillou, n. 11. p. 177; cf. above, pp. 66–67). Furthermore, if the content of the claim-to-favor portion of some prayers is motivating the usage of εὔχομαι to designate whole prayers, one would expect this element of the prayer structure to have more prominence than it in fact does. Instead, it is no more or less prominent than the other elements, and in only two of eight indirectly quoted prayers (Δ 101–3 = Δ 119–21; ρ 50–1 = ρ 59–60) is the claim-to-favor verb given the dubious grammatical prominence of being an infinitive directly dependent on sacral εὔχομαι (for an interpretation of this as a simple transformation of the prayer structure motivated by compositional factors, see above, pp. 54 ff.). Moreover, the claim to favor in these particular prayers is not thematically parallel to any usage of secular εὔχομαι. For more discussion of Perpillou’s work, to which I am much indebted, see below, p. 125 f. on the sacral sense of Vedic ūh- and the legal sense of Latin voveō .

[ back ] 16. 16 On the meaning and etymology of Latin fās, see Benveniste 1969: t. 2, pp. 133–140. Compare also these possible derivatives of the root: Gk. φωνή ‘voice’; OE bōn ‘boast’ (e.g. Vainglory 28–9 [Krapp and Dobbie: 1936]: he . . . bod his sylƒes/swiþor micl þonne se sella mon ‘he boasts of himself to be much more than a better man’); OI bœna ‘to pray (to gods)’, Zoëga 1910: s.v. Frisk 1960: s.v. has reservations because of the semantic distance between φωνή ‘voice’ and φημί ‘say’, but cf. (ϝ)όπ- ‘voice’, (ϝ)έπος ‘word’, εἶπον ‘said’.

[ back ] 17. Corlu 1966: p. 18.

[ back ] 18. See above, p. 41.

[ back ] 19. Mauss 1968: p. 384.

[ back ] 20. The only exception to the juxtaposition of μεγάλ(α) with a verb designating a loud noise is actually an ad hoc transformation of an εὔχομαι-formula: δ 504–5, cited and discussed above, p. 38, and Ch. II, n. 55.

[ back ] 21. On the formal comparison, see Watkins 1969: pp. 113–4, § 101. While óhate and εὔχομαι are both thematic verbs from the same root, comparative evidence shows that an athematic verb (cf. εὖκτο, Thebaid III, 3 (Allen); Gath. Av. aogədā) was inherited and that its thematization is an innovation common to Greek and Sanskrit. On the archaism of εὖκτο, see Schmitt 1967: p. 261f.

[ back ] 21a. 21a See Appendix, pp. 141ff.

[ back ] 22. 22 Nagy 1974: pp. 166–190.

[ back ] 23. Watkins 1963: pp. 198f.

[ back ] 24. Grassmann 1873: s.v. ūh- (2), and consistently translated as present by Geldner, though with a different meaning (ūh-: vitarke ‘consider (oneself)’; see Geldner 1901: p. 59) which is formally unnecessary and ad hoc.

[ back ] 25. See Nagy 1974: pp. 15–19, pp. 191–228 for penetrating generalizations and a rigorous demonstration of this.

[ back ] 26. 26 See above, pp. 69–78.

[ back ] 27. The text used in this and subsequent citations from the Rig-Veda is that of Theodor Aufrecht 1968 (re-issue), and the translations are by K. Geldner 1951. Geldner’s translations of the forms of óhate are inconsistent (“sich rühmen., “sich betrachten., etc.), but, except where noted, the grammatical construction with óhate is always the same as with εὔχομαι (predicate nominative) and a consistent translation by “sich rühmen” or “say (proudly, accurately, contentiously)” is possible and warranted as well. The only difference is that the Vedic word is never accompanied by a verb ‘to be’, which must be supplied for translation. This accords with our evidence for the most archaic (metrically and contextually) secular εὔχομαι formula: γένος εὔχομαι without εἶναι: see above, pp. 70–72, especially on Lyric κλέος ἄφθιτον # vs. Epic κλέος ἄφθιτον ἔσται #, Nagy 1974: pp. 103–17, 118–39, and p. 120f. below on πόσις εὔχομαι. On the semantic consequences of the absence of ‘to be’, see below, p. 118.

[ back ] 28. Others who receive this genealogy in Homeric epic are Hermes, Herakles, and the Muse (see above, Ch. II, n. 68). In the Rig-Veda, celestial gods are divás putráḥ (“son of sky”: Parjanya, 7.102.1; Sūrya, 10.37.1; Maruts, 10.77.2) as well as the Angirases (3.53.7, 4.2.15, 10.67.2) and the Aśvins, who are not celestial gods. Hector is markedly out of place in this list of Greek and Vedic divinities; see the work of Frame cited and also n. 46 below. (In Alkaios fr. 34, 2 Lobel-Page: παίδες … Δίος ἠδὲ Λήδας (= Διόσκουροι), παῖδες is a probable restoration only.)

[ back ] 29. On the metaphorical or delusional aspect of this line, see Ch. III, p. 78 and n. 19, and also Frame’s forthcoming book; on the accuracy of ūh– see below, p. 122.

[ back ] 30. Cf. R.V. 1.69.2 where Agni has the same relationship to the other gods.

[ back ] 31. Cf. Geldner’s translation with that of Kuhn 1861: p. 240, who first proposed the comparison of ūh– and εὔχομαι: “ṛbhavo yá óhate die für R. gelten, ganz wie ποίης ἐξ εὔχεται εἶναι γαίης u. ä.., taking óhate as third plural, and that of Ludwig (ap. Geldner 1901: p. 63) “den Tv. Vâju, (jeden), der sich seines Names rühmen darf, ο Ṛbhus . . .., with a play on the name Ṛbhu and its meaning ‘craftsman’. Renou 1958: p. 122 expresses frustration with the passage.

[ back ] 32. Geldner 1901: p. 62 offers another translation of this passage based on Wackernagel’s (1896: § 279b β) formal evidence that devā́n̐ is accusative plural instead of genitive plural: “der den Göttern am besten mit Hilfe beispringt.”

[ back ] 33. On the ‘truth’ value of the verb ‘to be’ in Indo-European, see Watkins 1969: pp. 186–94 and 1972: p. 555 on Homeric ἐσθλόν. Cf. also n. 27.

[ back ] 34. Contrast ἐν Λυκίῃ σέο γ’ in Ε 173, Ἀχαιῶν in A 91, and all the other Greek attestations in this class, p. 79 above. On devā́n̐ see n. 32.

[ back ] 35. See above pp. 83ff.

[ back ] 36. The last line is Geldner’s translation in Geldner 1901: p. 63. In Geldner 1951 this translation appears instead: “Wer pocht noch auf eure Freundschaft?” and in the Nachträge (p. 262) there is yet a third version: “Wer rechnet (legt wert) auf eure Freundschaft?” The problem is to reconcile the meaning of óhate with sakhitvá, locative. Renou 1962: p. 48 offers a translation which is equally disturbed by taking óhate as from vah– (see also Renou 1962: p. 80): “Qui vous cultive(ra désormais) pour (faire) amitié?” The parallels in Homer point to a solution along the lines of Geldner’s 1901 translation, e.g. “Who says proudly (he is) in your friendship?”

[ back ] 37. For example: Varuna, 1.186.3; Agni, 2.6.4; Indra, 6.29.5.

[ back ] 38. See Grassmann 1873: s.v. for its associations with maghávan-reichlich gebend’. For the meaning, Mayrhofer 1956-: s.v. ‘Herr, Schirmherr, Opferherr’. Its etymology is disputed, but Mayrhofer s.v. singles out Thieme 1938: p. 159: “*su-(ə)ri- > sūríḥ ‘εὔξεινος, gastlich, Herr’ zu sú 1 , aríḥ., an etymology which is concordant with such Homeric phrases as ξεῖνος δέ τοι εὔχομαι εἷναι#, and Szemerényi’s su + *rə 1 i– (rayíḥ ‘rich’) in Szemerényi 1956.

[ back ] 39. See above, Ch. II, pp. 29f. and n. 26.

[ back ] 40. See Frisk 1960- and Mayrhofer 1956-: s.vv.

[ back ] 41. They are Hector Θ 191, X 439/Andromache; Alexander and Menelaos Γ 329, Γ 429, δ 137 etc./Helen; Anchises HAphr 242/Aphrodite; Odysseus 26x/Calypso, Circe, Nausicaa, Penelope; Diomedes Ε 414/Adrestine; Antiphates κ 115/his nameless wife; Agamemnon ω 200/Clytaemnestra; nameless pair in simile, θ 523.

[ back ] 42. A morphological distinction between the two senses of páti– “Herr” and “Gatte” is developing in Vedic. pátyu– always means “Gatte., see Grassmann 1873 s.v. páti– and an explanation in Benveniste 1935: pp. 63–4.

[ back ] 43. See the discussions in Benveniste 1969: t. 1, pp. 293ff., pp. 87ff. and 1966: pp. 301ff. A convincing number of sociological terms are inherited as compounds by the Indo-European dialects and reflect a consistent, archaic social structure. Even the archaic compound dám-pati- (cf. δεσπότης) is usually hieratic in the Rig-Veda, though it does have a more banal usage in the later hymns of Maṇḍala 10, e.g. 10.165.4. Compare Myc. do-po-ta PY Tn 316 do(m)spotai (?), name of a divinity.

E.g. πότνια Ἥρη # and also πότνια μήτηρ # (both passim). For Mycenaean, e.g. KN V 52 a-ta-na-po-ti-ni-ja attested once in Homer, Ζ 305 # πότνι’ Ἀθηναίη . . ., once in Hesiod (Theog. 926).

[ back ] 45. ἄναξ is only hieratic in Attic, for example (LSJ9 s.v.). The semantic process outlined for πόσις is an instance of Kurylowicz’s (1966: p. 169) Fourth Morphological Typology: “Quand à la suite d’une transformation morphologique une forme subit la différentiation, la forme nouvelle correspond à sa fonction primaire (de fondation), la forme ancienne est réservée pour la fonction secondaire.” Here it is not a morphological transformation which has initiated the restriction of πόσις, but its displacement by a prestigious word from a prestigious culture, ἄναξ. In certain Homeric contexts, ἄναξ has actually taken over the meaning of δεσπότης, which is not adaptable to the hexameter (α 397, κ 216). In Cypriot, ϝάναξ has itself undergone the same process of displacement and restriction as we hypothesize for πόσις. See Masson 1961: p. 218 for attestations of ϝάναξ in the meaning ‘prince’, having been displaced by βασιλεύς from its primary function ‘king’. Cf. also Eng. prince (from Lat. princeps ‘first citizen = emperor’), vs. Eng. king. (I owe these typological parallels to G. Nagy.)

[ back ] 46. See above, Ch. III. p. 78 and n. 19; Ch. II, n. 26 on the divinity of his horses; Epilogue, p. 117 on Διὸς πάις; and add to the passages in Ch. III, n. 19 the following:

          Ω 258 Ἕκτορά θ’, ὃς θεὸς ἔσκε μετ’ ἀνδράσιν, οὐδὲ ἐῴκει

          ἀνδρός γε θνητοῦ πάϊς ἔμμεναι ἀλλὰ θεοῖο.

Cf. also Paelignian iouiois puclois (Vetter 1953, p. 140 #202), where puclois is cognate with Skt. putrá-, iouiois with Skt. divás and Διός, and the Διόσκουροι are being referred to. For figures of myth and cult who, as incarnations of divine parents, go on to become heroes of epic, see the important work of Dumézil 1968, 1971, 1973. For applications in Greek epic, see Clader 1973 on Helen and Frame 1971 on Nestor.

[ back ] 47. See above, Ch. IΙΙ, pp. 69–71.

[ back ] 48. See above, Ch. IΙΙ, pp. 89–97.

[ back ] 49. For the third, see n. 85 below.

[ back ] 50. Text and translation by Humbach 1959 I: p. 149.

[ back ] 51. See Mayrhofer 1956-: s.v. ásti; for the form, Reichelt 1909: p. 96.

[ back ] 52. 52 For a parallel in Younger Avestan, see Y. 41.5 θwōi staotarascā . . . aogəmadaēcā usmahicā visāmadaēcā deine Lobredner und Propheten, ο Ahura Mazdā, heissen wir und wollen wir (sein)’ (Wolff).

[ back ] 53. Text and translation by Humbach 1959 I: p. 112.

[ back ] 54. Geldner 1896–1904: p. 52 § 50. See also Schmitt 1967: pp. 135ff.

[ back ] 55. kasyāsi is, however, a varia lectio, though a preferable one. See Schmitt 1967: p. 137.

[ back ] 56. On the text and meaning of this line, see Wackernagel 1950: pp. 299–300.

[ back ] 57. Text and translation by Bartholomae 1904: s.v. aog-, col. 37.

[ back ] 58. For other examples of this pairing of questions and answer, see ξ 187 τίς πόθεν εἰς ἀνδρῶν; and ξ 199 ἐκ μὲν Κρητάων γένος εὔχομαι εὐρειάων (on the metrical and grammatical archaisms in ξ 199, see above, pp. 70ff.) and ξ 204; HApoll 452 and HApoll 470; ο 423 and ο 425; Ζ 123 and Ζ 211. With εὔχομαι replaced by φημί, Φ 150 and Φ 157–60.

[ back ] 59. On the poetic nature of these questions, see Schmitt 1967: pp. 135–6. The god-man confrontation in the Greek and Avestan examples, which is also a vestigial theme in other Greek attestations of the inherited phraseology (e.g. Ζ 123ff., Ο 247, Ω 387, cp. HApoll 468 and 490, where the question is in different language), may be inherited and a sign that the original context of this question and its answer were not banal. Note also that the answers in both Greek (a 180, HApoll 480) and Avestan include the actual name of the personage, which is extraordinary: above, Ch. Ill, n. 9.

[ back ] 60. 60 See however R.V. 8.80.9, cited above, p. 120, for páti . . . ohase, in which páti is Indra’s turī́yaṃ ná̄ma vierter Name’. The naming usage of aoj- has a wide extension in Younger Avestan, see Bartholomae 1904: s.v. aog-.

[ back ] 61. 61 See below, n. 95, for Y. Avest. aoxta in sacral and secular contexts.

[ back ] 62. 62 vōtī reus: Vergil, Aeneid V. 237; vōtī damnāri Livy 5.25.4, 7.28.4, 27.45.8. Professor C. Watkins suggested the significance of these phrases to me in 1968.

[ back ] 63. 63 pace Macrobius Saturnalia 3.2 ad Aen. V. 237: voti reus: haec vox propria sacrorum est, ut reus vocetur, qui suscepto voto se numinibus obligat, damnatus autem, qui prōmissa vota nōn solvit.

[ back ] 64. Geldner 1959: II. p. 291 ad loc. entertains the possibility in his note that yáthohiṣe is sandhi for yathā + ūhiṣe, the latter being in his interpretation (Geldner 1901: p. 59) a vṛddhi form of ūh- which involves a semantic development ‘überlegen’. He offers an alternate translation: “Wie ein Abgesandter will ich meine Rede überlegen.” The sense is inferior, the semantic change ad hoc (see above, n. 17, n. 19), and the Indo-European parallels to be cited below are convincing evidence against what is in the first place only a phonological possibility without positive evidence in its favor. In the same note, Geldner mentions the possibility of ohiṣe being second person singular instead of first person singular, as he and Whitney 1967: p. 319, §893d consider it. The line then becomes “Selbstanrede des Dichters., of which there are other instances in Maṇḍala 8: 1922, 69.2, and 92.7. In my opinion, we have in this form a simple case of poetic conjugation: óhate# ⇒ohase# ⇒ohiṣe (see the list of attestations above, p. 114f.). This clearly implies that ohiṣe# is first person singular.

[ back ] 65. For the same metaphor of hymn as messenger, see 8.26.16, 1.173.3, 6.63.1, 7.67.1. I have not been able to find parallels to Geldner’s ‘commending’ messenger.

[ back ] 66. Benveniste 1969: t. 2, p. 236.

[ back ] 67. See Mayrhofer 1956- s.v. ūh-, vā́k, and Watkins 1969: pp. 113–4, § 101. Except that aoxta is an athematic verb while óhate is not, the collocations vā́cam . . . ohiṣe and vācim aoxta are exact formal cognates. For other attestations of the Avestan expression in grammatical transformations, see below, p. 132. For another attestation of the Vedic phrase, see below, pp. 129, 146.

[ back ] 68. See Benveniste 1968 for a demonstration of the existence of a common Indo-Iranian poetic tradition.

[ back ] 69. The contexts of these attestations are discussed below, pp. 133ff.

[ back ] 70. For the long vowel in vā́cam Avestan vācim see Mayrhofer 1956-: s.v. vā́k, Wackernagel-Debrunner 1930: p. 228, § 124. The long ο has been generalized throughout the paradigm, as in Latin vōx, vōc-is, another exact cognate.

[ back ] 71. See Mayrhofer 1956-: s.v. vácaḥ, Frisk 1960: s. vv. ἔπος, *ὄψ 1.

[ back ] 72. For other etymological figures attested in common by the poetic tradition of the Indo-European dialects, see Schmitt 1967: pp. 267ff.

[ back ] 73. See Bartholomae 1887: p. 56, Schmitt 1967: p. 254f., Mayrhofer 1956-: s.v. vá̄k

[ back ] 74. See Darmesteter 1878: pp. 319–21 = Schmitt 1968: pp. 26–9, and see Schmitt 1967: p. 296f.

[ back ] 75. Meillet7 1965: p. 72. For a very important study of vā́c– and Vedic poetics, see Renou 1955: pp. 1–27 and the comments of Thieme 1957: pp. 51–56.

[ back ] 76. See Manessy 1961: p. 235f. for the functional contrast between vā́c– and vácaḥ.

[ back ] 77. Ibid., n. 75.

[ back ] 78. For the archaic formation, see Chantraine 1933; p. 97ff. The semantic developments are yet another instance of Kurylowicz’s Fourth Morphological Typology (see above, n. 45). ὄσσα has replaced ϝοπ- in its primary function, while ϝοπ- has a restricted function also attested in Vedic vá̄c– ‘Stimme’ (see Grassmann 1873 s.v.v vā́c.) Avestan vāxš (see Bartholomae 1904: s.v.2 vak-).

[ back ] 79. In Avestan, the functional contrast between these words survives transformed. Thus vāxš (<*əwok w-) is masculine or feminine and can mean ‘Stimme, Rede, Wort’, but also ‘Spruch, Vers; Gebet; Zauberformel, bes. von den in feste Form gefügten Worten der mazdischen Religion’ and also ‘Einzelwort, Wörter der Gāθās’, ‘das wahrgesprochene Wort’ (See Bartholomae 1908: s.v. 2 vā́c-). vacah– (< *əwek w-) is neuter and means ‘Sprechen, Rede, Wort im Gegensatz zu Denken und Handeln’ and ‘Ausspruch, Spruch, Diktum’ without the religious applications of vāxš (Bartholomae 1908: s.v. vačah-). The compound vacastašti– ‘text of a liturgical hymn or gāθā’ is not an exception, since the primordial building metaphor in –tašti has conditioned the word for ‘speech’, vacas-. This word is also attested in a transformed functional contrast to vāxš in the Nīrangistān, 42: yō gāθanąm ōiiəm vācim apa.yāiti aēuuąm vā vacas.taštīm “wer eine einzige Strophe (= vācim) der Opferlieder übergeht oder einen einzigen Vers” (= vacas. taštīm), Waag 1941: p. 115 ap. Schmitt 1967: p. 296 and n. 1708.

[ back ] 80. See below p. 146 for a discussion of the transitive usage of ūh– in this line.

[ back ] 81. See above, pp. 18ff.

[ back ] 82. See Nagy 1974: p. 16, Renou 1955: pp. 1–27 (a discussion of vā́c– and the poetics of the Rig-Veda) and a review of it by Thieme 1957 which comes to terms with Renou’s concept of a “pénombre” of artistic values in the hymns. I note here Thieme’s dictum (1957: p. 54) “The greater the art, the more powerful the spell” and his remarks (p. 53) on “the poet’s conviction that it is his poem which renders the sacrifice efficient.”

[ back ] 83. The translation is by Wolff 1910: p. 242.

[ back ] 84. See Humbach 1959 I: pp. 69ff. on the religious character of Zarathuštra’s ‘Gebetshymnen’, as he calls them, and n. 86 below, on their relationship to the Vedic hymns. The interpretation I have given in the text of vācim in Yt. 13.90 imposes itself and is consonant with Wolff’s parenthetical ‘heilige’ in his translation based on Bartholomae 1904. However, Bartholomae s.v. 2 vak– defines vācim here as ‘das Wort, das wahrgesprochene Wort’ in a separate lemma (# 5) between # 4 ‘Wort der mazdischen Religion, Spruch, Vers, Gebet, Zauberformel’ and # 6 ‘Einzelwort, Wörter der Gāθās’. I take it that he does so under the influence of miθaoxtəm vācim (discussed just below), where vācim does not refer to Zoroastrian ritual language. But ‘das Wort’ does not adequately express its meaning there, nor does ‘das wahrgesprochene Wort’ correspond to the implications of vācim in Yt. 13.90. ‘Heiliges Wort’ would suffice in both contexts.

[ back ] 85. Wolff 1910: p. 84. For the same expression, see Yt. 19.95–6, and for a similar usage of aoj– in Gath. Av., in a pejorative sacral context, see Y. 32.10: hvō. mā nā sravå mōrəndat̰ yə̄ acištəm vaēnaŋhē aogədā/gąm ašibyā hvarəca Derjenige Mann verdirbt die Verkündigung, der gar Schlimmes ausspricht, um die Kuh und die Sonne mit seinen Augen zu schauen” (Humbach 1959 I: p. 98). See also his commentary ad loc. (1959 II: p. 35): “yə̄ acištəm … aogədā ist jemand, der Lieder nach Art der vedischen Uṣaslieder vorträgt,” and see his paraphrase (1959 I: p. 97) “die trughaften Priester, die üble Lieder singen.” In other words, as Humbach has construed this line, we are to understand yə̄ acištəm … aogədā as yə̄ acištəm (sc. vācim) … aogədāder gar Schlimmes [sc. Wort] ausspricht …’; cp. “Priester, die üble Lieder singen,” for the elliptic etymological figure.

[ back ] 86. See Humbach 1959 II: p. 83 on Yasna 50: Zarathuštra’s hymns can adopt the traditional imagery and refer to mythology of the Vedic tradition. See also Benveniste 1968: p. 70. His evidence leaves him to suppose that “dans le milieu οù prêchait Zarathuštra, on pratiquait un culte et une liturgie de style védique, dont le réformateur emprunte l’expression pour mieux les combattre.

[ back ] 87. See above, p. 121f.

[ back ] 88. Renou 1955: p. 18, p. 11 n. 1

[ back ] 89. See Mauss 1967 for a classic exposition of the principle of reciprocity as a social, religious, economic, legal, etc. phenomenon, and specifically his discussion of potlatch (p. 4 et passim), an extravagantly agonistic form of gift-giving characterized by intense rivalry and even the conspicuous destruction of wealth. On p. 53ff. (with notes) Mauss documents the existence of potlatch in Indo-European society and among the pre-Aryan inhabitants of the Indic peninsula as well. See also Benveniste 1960: pp. 315–26 for more Indo-European evidence, and above, Ch. II n. 22 on Homeric prayer structure.

[ back ] 90. See above, Ch. IΙΙ, pp. 89ff. ξ 463 εὐξάμενός τι ἔπος is an eighth attestation, but its traditional function has been aborted by genre-suppression in the Odyssey, see above, pp. 94–97.

[ back ] 91. See above, p. 32f. and passim.

[ back ] 92. On the assumption that ἐπιδωσόμεθ’, which is Aristarchus’ reading, is correct, and that it is to be interpreted as the scholia suggest: δώροις τιμήσομεν. But the middle of ἐπιδίδωμι is not securely attested elsewhere, and its direct object σέ is difficult in spite of the scholiastic paraphrase. LSJ9 suggest a meaning ‘give each other gods’, ‘take as one’s witness’ for ἐπιδωσόμεθ’, citing X 254 θεοὺς ἐπιδώμεθα as a parallel. There, too, however, the varia lectio ἐπιβώμεθα is attested and seems preferable. ‘Take as one’s witness’ is an ad hoc meaning and ‘give each other gods’ is almost nonsense, aside from its being based on the dubious ‘reciprocal middle’, ἐπιδώμεθα in X 254 and ἐπιβωσόμεθα in Κ 463 make good sense in context and have a textually secure parallel. Compare:

          Κ 462 … σὲ γὰρ πρώτην ἐν Ὀλύμπῳ

                    πάντων ἀθανάτων ἐπιβωσόμεθ’· ἀλλὰ καὶ αὖτις

                    πέμψον ἐπὶ Θρῃκῶν ἀνδρῶν ἵππους τε καὶ εὐνάς.

          Χ 254 ἀλλ’ ἄγε δεῦρο θεοὺς ἐπιβώμεθα· τοὶ γὰρ ἄριστοι

                    μάρτυροι ἔσσονται καὶ ἐπίσκοποι ἁρμονιάων·

                    οὐ γὰρ ἐγώ σ’ ἔκπαγλον ἀεικιῶ, αἴ κεν ἐμοὶ Ζεὺς

                    δώῃ καμμονίην …

          α 378 … ἐγὼ δὲ θεοὺς ἐπιβώσομαι (sic) αἰὲν ἐόντας,

                    αἴ κέ ποθι Ζεὺς δῷσι παλίντιτα ἔργα γενέσθαι·

Note the sequence invocation + request in all three passages. If this is the preferable reading, then the prayer structure in Κ 462–4 has an ellipse of the grant of favor element simply because a gift is actually being given while the prayer is taking place, as τοῖσδεσσι suggests. For parallels, see above, pp. 27ff.

[ back ] 93. See above, p. 25.

[ back ] 94. See above, pp. 23ff., 42, and 94.

[ back ] 95. How, then, can one reconcile the sacral fixation of the etymological figure in Indo-European with the fact that in five of its six Homeric attestations εὐχόμενος ἔπος occurs in secular contexts? Is this an innovation in Greek? It is possible that this is the case, and simply the result of unpredictable reinterpretation. But our experience of the way in which traditional language operates in Greek as well as Indo-European, our experience of its contextual conservatism and archaism, stands against such an assumption. I offer, exempli gratia, another suggestion which is more consistent with the methodology I have employed and which takes account of all the evidence without falling back completely on the whimsy of τύχη. We have given evidence to show, and more is forthcoming, that the root *ə 1 ewg w h- was functionally bivalent—either sacral or secular—in Indo-European. Similarly, our reconstruction of the etymological figure in Indo-European involves another formal and functional bivalence: either *əwek w– or *əwok w-, one a functionally unmarked, the other a functionally marked word for ‘speech’. I propose that the combination, in an etymological figure which intensifies the force of its verb (see Schwyzer-Debrunner 1966: p. 74 who describe this construction as “fakultative Verstärkung des Verbalbegriffs”), of *ə 1 ewg w h-, the functionally marked word for ‘say’ in Indo-European, with *əwok w– the functionally marked word for ‘speech’ in Indo-European, was restricted to sacral contexts, to speech cubed or raised to the third power in respect to its force. Thus the sacral contexts of Vedic vā́cam . . . ohiṣe and Y. Av. vācim aoxta. Contrastingly, the combination of *ə 1 ewg w h– and *əwek w-, the unmarked word for ‘speech’, could appear in either sacral or the restricted set of secular contexts to which *ə 1 ewg w h– was attached in the Indo-European poetic tradition. (For the functional bivalence of unmarked words, compare φημί, which either contrasts with or replaces εὔχομαι, above, pp. 76ff.). Thus the two contexts of εὐχόμενος ἔπος in Greek epic are an inherited phenomenon. Once εὔχομαι’s formulas became specialized into ‘pray’-formulas and ‘say (proudly, contentiously, accurately)’-formulas, the contextual bivalence of εὐχόμενος ἔπος became intolerable and was resolved in favor of secular usage with a vestigial survival of the sacral usage in Κ 461.

[ back ] 96. One piece of evidence to confirm this hypothesis is lacking, namely the attestation of *əwek w– + *ə 1 ewg w h– in an etymological figure outside of Greek in a secular context. But a close parallel exists in Y. Av. vacə̄biš aojānomit Worten sprechend’, the present participle of aoj- plus vacah- (= ἔπος) in the instrumental pl., a phrase attested four times to introduce direct speech. At Yt. 5.76, it introduces a prayer by the hero Vistarav; at Yt. 19.49 it introduces a speech by the god Ātar, son of Ahura Mazdā, threatening the primordial monster, Dahāka, with death in a manner reminiscent of challenge speeches introduced by εὐχόμενος ἔπος, e.g. Υ 424ff. See also Yt. 17.17, 17.22, where it introduces a name identification. Rig-Veda: see 1.36.113, 3.8.10, 7.32.1, 8.5.16–8, in all of which the poet is called vāghát-, and Renou 1955: pp. 1–25.

[ back ] 97. Benveniste 1936: pp. 147ff.

[ back ] 98. For the formation, see Wackernagel-Debrunner 1954: p. 160.

[ back ] 99. Grassmann 1873 and Mayrhofer 1956-: s.v. vāghát-.

[ back ] 100. Citron 1965: pp. 106–9.

[ back ] 101. On the meaning of ákṣiti śrávaḥ, the glory which poetry confers on the patron of sacrifice, see 1.126. 1 ff. and Nagy 1974: pp. 252ff. For vāghát– in the same context, of a receiver of wealth, see 4.2.13, 8.78.4, 10.62.7.

[ back ] 102. Cf. 8.78.4, 1.88.6, 1.3.5, where the connection of vāghát– with poetry is explicit, and above, n. 96, for the “joute littéraire” and vāghát-.

[ back ] 103. See Mayrhofer 1956-: s.v.

[ back ] 104. For the meaning of saptá juhvò “die sieben Zungen (Opferlöffel)” see Geldner 1956 ad. loc. They refer to the words of the priests.

[ back ] 105. See above, pp. 34ff.

[ back ] 106. The prominence of the hótṛ as against the vāghát– must be understood as the redistribution into a hierarchy of functions which are still complementary. The vāghát— is twice spoken of as preparing Soma (4.2.13 and 1.3.5), just as the hótṛ partakes in the Vedic rite oral or yajñá– (R. V. passim). Compare Homeric ritual, where praying and pouring libations are complementary functions performed by the same person. The situation as a whole explains the glosses ‘Priester, Veranstalter des Opfers’ for vāghát-.

[ back ] 107. See above, Ch. II, n. 52.

[ back ] 108. See above, p. 125.

[ back ] 109. Above, p. 36 f.

[ back ] 110. Friedrich 1952: s.v. šipand-.

[ back ] 111. Benveniste 1969: t. 2, pp. 210–4.

[ back ] 112. Benveniste 1969: t. 2, pp. 213–4 and Willetts 1967: p. 21 and n. 40, n. 65.

[ back ] 113. Jeffery and Morpurgo Davies 1970: pp. 128, 145–7.

[ back ] 114. See above, pp. 27ff.

[ back ] 115. For more prayers of this type, see above, pp. 27 f.

[ back ] 116. The structure of prayer elements in this passage is not exceptional. The joke is in mihi and salvos. Cf. for the same structure Cicero De Div. 1.17.31: cum sues puer pasceret, una ex iis amissa vovisse dicitur, si recuperavisset, uvam se deo daturum, quae maxima esset in vinea; Livy 5.19.6: dictator ludos magnos vovit Veiis captis se facturum.

[ back ] 117. See Lewis and Short 1879: s.v. vōtum Β. 1, s.v. voveō II.

[ back ] 118. See above, Ch. II, p. 30f. et passim.

[ back ] 119. Georgics I 42, 157; Aeneid I 290, V 234, 514, VII 471, XII 780.

[ back ] 120. Meillet7 1965: p. 235.

[ back ] 121. For the coexistence of sacral-legal and warrior social spheres in Indo-European culture, see the work of Georges Dumézil, most recently his three volume study of myth and epic (Dumézil 1968, 1972, 1973).