Fighting Words and Feuding Words: Anger and the Homeric Poems

Introduction: Homeric Anger

{1} Across the landscape of Homeric studies there are monuments that demonstrate how central anger is to whatever the early Greeks—audience and performers alike—imagined the Homeric narratives to be about. By our own various references to the powerful concept of anger, we seem to wave it as a magic wand for conjuring meaning. The titles of some of the most insightful works in Homeric studies at times seem to me part of an inscription recording a magician’s incantation, set up in the agora of Homeric studies:

The Wrath of Athena

The Wrath of Paris

“Der Zorn des Paris”

Götterzorn bei Homer

“The Wrath of the Gods”

“The Anger of Poseidon”

Homers Zorn des Achilleus und den Homeriden Ilias

“The Wrath of Thetis”

This list can easily be expanded to include the analysts’ attempts to find the Ur-Ilias by styling it the mênis– (“anger-”) poem. [1] So too the literary critic will confidently locate the subject of the Homeric Iliad in this central concept; for example, according to C. Whitman, “the Wrath of Achilles had probably been an epic subject for generations when Homer found it.” [2]

Such conversations about anger have continued from antiquity to the present day, with the first scholium telling us that the variety of Homeric terms for anger are just so many synonyms: {1|2}

ὥσπερ ἐπὶ συκῆς πρῶτον μέν ἐστιν ὄλυνθος, εἶτα φήληξ σῦκον ἰσχάς, οὕτω πρῶτον ὀργή, θυμὸς χόλος κότος μῆνις. ὅμως ὁ ποιητὴς ὡς συνωνύμοις ὀνόμασιν ἐπὶ Ἀχιλλέως χρῆται· “ἠὲ χόλον παύσειεν ἐρητύσειέ τε θυμόν” (Α 192)· “οὐδ’ ὄθομαι κοτέοντος” (Α 181)· “αὐτὰρ ὁ μήνιε νηυσὶ παρήμενος” (A 488).

(Erbse 1969-77, vol. 1, 4: Schol. A ad Il. 1.1)

Just as for the fig-tree, there is first the ólunthos , then the phḗlēks , the sûkon , the iskhás , so too there is first orgḗ , [then] thumós, khólos, kótos, mênis . Nonetheless the performer uses these words as synonyms in respect to Achilles: “He would stop his khólos and restrain his thumós ” (A 192). “Nor would I care for you in your kótos ’’ (A 181); “and he raged [ mḗnie ] sitting by the ships” (A 488).

This ancient observation—pointing out that anger has as vigorous a cohort of synonyms as the fig—provides a background question for this study. Do the words for anger in Homeric texts present us with mere synonyms, so that the scholiast’s careful conspectus of terms for Achilles’ anger in Iliad 1 may be accurately called synonymous? Or should we look more carefully? Should we examine anger more closely than we do figs? [

One question remains: How surely do we know that to which we have so readily agreed? For all our certainty about Homeric anger, our studies have produced only a few substantial works devoted to analyzing this important concept. Indeed, the semantics of the entire range of anger terms in Homer remains obscure, despite a number of promising excursions into this area of study. In 1879, J. H. H. Schmidt discussed the Greek synonyms for anger in Synonymik der griechischen Sprache. Table 1 groups the Homeric words as they are cited by Schmidt.

Comparable in scope to Irmscher’s work, P. Considine (1969) produced a study of “divine wrath” in the Near East and Greece, assembling many important parallels that abound in Homeric, Mesopotamian, Canaanite, and Hittite texts. As with many other studies on anger, Considine’s method here does not focus on the poetic usage of particular words for anger. Thus, we are left without a clear notion of the boundaries that mark the territory covered by different lexical {3|4} items. That Homeric narrative is intimately bound up with a complex poetics must simply never be ignored. For example, in discussing Hera’s “disarming address” to Aphrodite, where Hera alludes to Aphrodite’s kótos against the Trojans as a possible impediment to her helping Hera in the Diòs Apatḗ, Considine seriously underestimates what is being said when he translates Il. 14.191-92: “Will you be cross [kotessaménē] and refuse me, because I am on the Danaans’ side and you are on the side of the Trojans?” [15] Now the divinity’s reference to kótos here is far from an attempt to minimize their conflict. Rather, it is an attempt to remove the most powerful hindrance to Hera’s request for Aphrodite’s help, namely, the kótos of Zeus. In his work on the lexicon for anger in Greek (1966, 1985, 1986), Considine carefully considers the lexical variety of Homeric diction, especially in opening and exploring the semantic field, all the while capably demonstrating that adequate analysis requires a detailed study of context. One needs to add, however, that in Homeric poetry, context is more than a paraphrase of the immediate narrative moment in which the term occurs. The richness of the language requires us to study each passage’s form and place it in the wider diction of the poems in addition to the narrative context in which the lexical item occurs. [16]

What remains to be done is to make clear the syntagmatic relationship between anger terms and their immediate context and the paradigmatic relationships they have with one another; without such study, the relationship that obtains between, for example, khólos and khṓomai remains invisible; without a commitment to the system in which these terms have their function, it is difficult to arrive at the hypothesis that drives Feuding Words and Fighting Words, that khólos and kótos are distinct from one another.

Before addressing my own method, I want to suggest that as difficult as the problem of studying a large lexical field is for the Homerist, it is even more so {4|5} for the cultural historian who tries to sort out from the galaxy of Homeric vocabulary the notions that best characterize Homeric anger in order to establish large-scale cultural trends of great importance. A cultural historian may, with understandable dismay, balk at the suggestion that a full-scale formulaic analysis is in order before anyone may venture into the terrain of Homeric narrative.

Yet it is precisely this problem that will be encountered by those who, trying to put the Greeks in context, take the words for granted in the interest of a seemingly more important enterprise. For example, E. Voegelin makes a problematic claim about Homeric khólos:

Here Voegelin is justified to say that there is an anger that as a legal institution parallels cultural structures such as can be observed in the Roman institution of inimicitia / amicitia. But that anger is not khólos—it is kótos. For kótos is directly related to the incipient vocabulary of Greek legal institutions (including díkē “judgment,” “justice”; húbris “outrage”; and the like), especially as the terms relate to the traditional institutions of reciprocity. And, as I will demonstrate, khólos bears little resemblance to a “legal institution.” The only way to sort out khólos from kótos, however, is to study systematically the semantics of anger that makes clear such a distinction. Indeed, without such work, it is hard to imagine how a cultural historian can distinguish which word describes “a lordly wrath” and which “a private state of emotions.”

My emphasis on Homeric matters steers the discussion away from later Greek material. Indeed, the reader will notice that missing from this book is an extended analysis of the literature on anger in the ancient world after the early Greek period. Fortunately, as this book went to press an important book on ancient anger appeared, one that provides just such an extended analysis. W. V. Harris’s Restraining Rage (2001), focusing on the restraint of anger, exhaustively covers a vast panorama of Greek and Roman thinking about anger, with a central aim of examining Greco-Roman antiquity’s yearnings for the repression of anger. The importance of this project goes without saying, especially given the philosophical tradition’s tenacious speculation on this topic (Harris 2001, 84-128).

In contrast, I focus my discussion of anger on Homer in order to fill what seems to me a lacuna. As can be surmised from my comments above, the study of anger in antiquity has often taken Homeric anger for granted or at least as worthy only of being confined to a review-chapter serving as background for the rest of antiquity. Despite this drawback, the studies of anger in the later literature {5|6} have been admirably vigorous (as now with Harris and with even more recent work [Braund and Most 2003]); we Homerists should emulate that vigor.

Similarly, M. Rosaldo in her Knowledge and Passion (1980) describes the dynamics of emotion as manifested among the Ilongot in Northern Luzon in the Philippines. [25] Rosaldo’s discussion is worth quoting at length for her account of how the terms that define the Ilongot cultural understanding of anger are to be taken:

The Homerist should emerge from an anthropologist’s analysis of anger with renewed expectations that semantic work can move beyond the well-tended groves of lexical classification and into the wilder forests of words and things. If, as M. Rosaldo describes them, metaphors for anger might be based on a “loose conceptual scheme that underlies them,” it may be that philological rigor will not have the flexibility to unearth loose schemes as well as it does the tightly constructed ones. [

The student of Homeric poetry is left with a struggle if not a dilemma: to use the methods of linguistics, anthropology, and the other intellectual disciplines for studying human culture and at the same time maintain sharp focus on the poetry, a task the social scientist sees as secondary. Thus, the student of Homeric poetry must keep in mind the poetic object in question, all the while avoiding the siren- song of the applied methodology. This act balances the real and the fictional, and it is indeed difficult to draw documentary evidence about a culture from its creative narrative art.

Because I have suggested that this study will turn to anthropological and linguistic cultural inquiries in order to understand the poetry of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and because it will be evident that this process will be engaged after we have addressed formal issues, it is wise to ask whether social or literary perspectives have priority in my work. The methodological distinction between a social study and a textual one demands more theoretical rigor than I intend to apply here. But it will become evident that I am not trying primarily to reconstruct archaic or bronze-age social structures by combing through the evidence of the Homeric texts. Since I begin my analysis with close readings of {8|9} words, passages, and texts, my focus is primarily on those texts, the aim being to draw out of the cultural categories examined, such as the notion of “feud” or “aggression,” a conceptual field that will be of value to students of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Thus, even if an archaic Greek cultural practice is found out by sheer hard work, it is placed immediately into the service of the text. In sum, this is a work of poetic analysis using the tools at our disposal—which include social theory—to organize evidence and give shape to conclusions. But those conclusions remain, unflinchingly, about the text.

In terms of method, then, we need three approaches. First, we must focus on anger itself as a semantic field in Homeric poetry. Second, we need to study closely the specific diction for anger in the medium of Homeric verse. And third, we need to set this research within the context of anthropological and social research into the formation and expression of emotions in human groups. The main methodological focus of this book depends upon the first two approaches, especially as they relate to the system of anger displayed in the two words kótos and khólos, in the course of which the third approach is drawn into service for a thorough study of the linguistic and poetic evidence. But how then should we approach that poetic evidence?

Where has that kind of work been done with respect to anger in Homer? It should not surprise us that the most rigorous examination of anger has been produced in the study of mênis, especially since that word initiates Homeric discourse. I introduce the material on mênis here because in the study of this important word, method has made all the difference for our coming to terms with anger in Homer. {11|12}

Given the success of this method as applied to mênis, the other words in the lexicon of Homeric anger should receive the same rigorous attention that has been given to the first word of the Iliad. In Feuding Words and Fighting Words, then, I focus on two of those words for the following two reasons: first, in order to expand our understanding of the range of anger terminology in early Greek epic; and second, because a specific passage in Book 1 of the Iliad singles these two words out for special consideration.

In this book, my approach, then, is to gather and discuss all the examples of two terms (khólos and kótos), in order to examine them with reference to Homeric diction. In the process of doing this, the anthropological, linguistic, and social topics that arise are to be treated insofar as they are helpful toward understanding Homeric narrative. Note that even as I adhere to the principle of collecting all the examples, the collection is ultimately grounded in an observation from within the culture. Rather than producing an abundance of linguistic data that would be true to lexical completeness while capsizing the central goal of coming to terms with the productive use of anger in this poetry, I ground my arguments in the words of the prophet Calchas in Book 1 of the Iliad. I emphasize that the group of words selected for study is not arbitrary but can be said to stem as a group from an interpretation in the text.

Now it is time to introduce the passage that will be often in the foreground and always in the background of this book. In this Introduction, the passage highlights the intricacy of Homeric diction for anger. The final four verses of this passage provide the original stimulus for this book.

Near the opening of the Iliad, the Achaean prophet, Calchas, requests that Achilles protect him from Agamemnon’s wrath once the source of the plague is revealed:

ὦ Ἀχιλεῦ, κέλεαί με, Διὶ φίλε, μυθήσασθαι
μῆνιν Ἀπόλλωνος ἑκατηβελέταο ἄνακτος. {12|13}
τοιγὰρ ἐγὼν ἐρέω· σὺ δὲ σύνθεο καί μοι ὄμοσσον
ἦ μέν μοι πρόφρων ἔπεσιν καὶ χερσίν ἀρήξειν·
ἦ γὰρ ὀίομαι ἄνδρα χολωσέμεν, ὃς μέγα πάντων
Ἀργείων κρατέει καί οἱ πείθονται Ἀχαιοί.
κρείσσων γὰρ βασιλεὺς, ὅτε χώσεται ἀνδρὶ χέρηι·
εἴ περ γάρ τε χόλον γε καὶ αὐτῆμαρ καταπέψη,
ἀλλά τε καὶ μετόπισθεν ἔχει κότον, ὄφρα τελέσση,
ἐν στήθεσσιν ἑοῖσι· σὺ δὲ φράσαι εἴ με σαώσεις.

(Il. 1.74-83)

O Achilles, beloved of Zeus, you order me to speak the anger of Apollo, king, far-shooter. So, I will tell you, but promise me and swear that, yes, you will truly help me in word and deed. Now, I think I will enrage a man who has mighty rule over all the Argives, and the Achaeans obey him. For a king is stronger when he comes to be angry with a lesser man; for, if in fact he can swallow his khólos down on the very same day, he can later keep kótos in his heart until he brings it to its télos . You must take thought of protecting me.

In line 75 the text shows that mênis signifies the anger of Apollo represented by the plague that ravages the Achaean camp. Quite rightly, Calchas worries that his revelation of the source of Apollo’s anger will lead to a mortal’s anger (ándra kholōsémen, Il. 1.78). This observation may be true of anyone, but Calchas is concerned about the political power this man wields: hòs méga pántōn / Argeíōn kratéei kaí hoi peíthontai Akhaioí “Who has mighty rule over all the Argives, and the Achaeans obey him,” Il. 1.78-79. Next, Calchas introduces yet another word for anger (khṓsetai).

Finally, Calchas opposes one kind of anger to another in a systematic fashion, that is, in a way that implies some regular difference between the two: khólos is immediate (autêmar “on this very day,” Il. 1.81) and is related metaphorically with the physiological process of digestion (katapépsēi “swallows down, digests,” Il. 1.81). In addition, khólos is surpassed in its consequences by the last kind of anger here cataloged, kótos; for kótos has consequences that reach out far beyond the present (metópisthen “in the future,” Il. 1.82), and kótos may, in the course of things, reach some end to which it by nature tends (óphra teléssēi “until he brings it to pass,” Il. 1.82).

I will be looking closely at the issues that arise from my selecting these two words for anger as exemplary of Homeric culture’s construction of anger. To close this Introduction, however, let us consider a feature of Calchas’s speech that might independently indicate to us the speaker’s value for the study of Homeric language: Calchas presents us with a folk definition of anger terms.


[ back ] 1. The titles in the list refer respectively to: Clay 1983; Collins 1987; Heitsch 1967; Irmscher 1950; Woodhouse 1930, Chapter 4; Lidov 1977; Petersen 1920; and Slatkin 1986. And see now The Anger of Achilles (Muellner 1996). For a typical analytic statement, see Leaf 1886, I.xxiii: “The original poem, the work of ‘Homer’ himself was the Μῆνις Ἀχιλλέως …”

[ back ] 2. Whitman 1958, 182.

[ back ] 3. On synonyms in Homer see Paraskevaides 1984 and Martin 1989, 14 (“When we do pay attention to context, synonymity recedes”). For the question of functional synonymity and the formula, see Bakker and van den Houten 1992.

[ back ] 4. Using Irmscher’s list, see note 11.

[ back ] 5. For the significance of the opening word in prooemial style, see van Groningen 1946, 284-87 and Kahane 1992 and 1994 (for mênis, see 52-58).

[ back ] 6. “Zorn als Ausfluss des natürlichen Wesens des Menschen bezeichnen, als eine starke Regung oder Offenbarung des Gemütes oder der Seele” (Schmidt 1879, 551).

[ back ] 7. “Den Kern der dritten Gruppe machen zwei Substantive und zwei Verben aus, welche den dauernd in der Seele wonenden Groll bezeichnen” (Schmidt 1879, 551).

[ back ] 8. Schmidt 1879, 551.

[ back ] 9. See, for example, Od. 8.227 with Od. 8.238. So, too, Calchas refers to khólos just after using the phrase basileùs . . . khṓsetai (Il. 1.80-81) “A king … will be angry.”

[ back ] 10. mênis, khólos, khōomai, kótos, odússomai, mênos, ékhthos, miséō, alastéō, skúzomai, ágamai, némesis, and khalepaínō.

[ back ] 11. For further problems with Irmscher’s work (especially its lack of statistical information), see Considine 1966, 15-16. Considine acknowledges that both mênis and khólos receive “rather unsatisfactory treatment” in Irmscher.

[ back ] 12. Most disturbing is the absence of analysis of poetic context. Without contextual analysis firmly rooted in the study of traditional diction, it would be nearly impossible to uncover the relationship of, say, khólos to khṓomai.

[ back ] 13. Irmscher 1950, 81-86. On the relation of Zeus Xenios to anger see Watkins 1987b, 298-99, Muellner 1992, 130-31 and 1996, 37.

[ back ] 14. Again, see Martin 1989, 12-14, for articulation of this method.

[ back ] 15. Considine 1969, 139-40.

[ back ] 16. Considine’s recent work on mênis has helped advance a more rigorous study of this term (Considine 1985, 1986). Cf. Muellner 1992 and now Muellner 1996, 177-89.

[ back ] 17. Adkins 1969, 7-20.

[ back ] 18. Adkins 1969, 15.

[ back ] 19. Adkins 1969, 17.

[ back ] 20. Voegelin 1956, 89.

[ back ] 21. In addition to Harris 2001, see also an excellent brief review of the state of this research in Laurenti and Indelli 1988, 1-8; for the relationship of the philosophical to the literary implications of anger see Anderson 1964, especially 149-73, with Galinsky 1988 for the later literature. As this book went to press, appeared Braund and Most 2003.

[ back ] 22. Muellner 1976, 15.

[ back ] 23. For a brief introduction to the anthropology of anger see Tavris 1989, 48-69; see also, especially for a review of the debate between the physicalists and social constructivists, Myers 1988; Hochschild (1983, 201-22) succinctly reviews the study of emotion “from Darwin to Goffman”; a collection of classic essays on the topic of the emotions can be found in Calhoun and Solomon 1984. In the social sciences, a valuable reference for research on the emotions is the collection of Lewis and Haviland (1993; on anger, especially 537-46). The classic study in the social sciences is that of Averill (1982, 1983). Lutz (1988) reviews the anthropology of emotions in general.

[ back ] 24. Lutz 1988, 157.

[ back ] 25. For the Ilongot, see also M. Rosaldo 1984, and her discussion of the relationship between feuding, raiding, and beheading.

[ back ] 26. M. Rosaldo 1980, 45.

[ back ] 27. As informed by anthropology, classical studies have blossomed of late, but the field of anthropology is too vast for me merely to cite it passing. Yet some works provide methodological perspectives that have informed this book: besides the important works of Detienne (see especially 1981, Chapter 6, for an analysis of the interaction of 20th century anthropology and the Greeks), Vernant, and Burkert, let me cite works that consciously take on the relationship between the literary text and anthropology: Kurke 1991, 7-12 and 88-96; Nagy 1979, 1990a and b, 1992; and Martin 1989. As to social life and anthropological modeling for the ancient world see D. Cohen 1991, where he applies a model derived from Mediterranean anthropology to the moral life of Athens (see Chapters 1 and 2 for the theory and method); see too Humphreys 1978 and Zeitlin’s overview of Vernant’s work (in Vernant 1991b, 3-24).

[ back ] 28. Sacks 1987, Introduction, 1-30.

[ back ] 29. Sacks 1987, 17.

[ back ] 30. Sacks 1987, 23.

[ back ] 31. Sacks 1987, 19. For problems related specifically to the relationship of field worker to informant see Clifford 1988, 48-50 and 72-75. Though we should not romanticize the “informant” as a source, to have access to no living informed member of a culture threatens the success of any anthropological inquiry. Just such a situation imperils a project on Homeric discourse, since we deal without the perspective provided by dialogue with a competent member of the culture. Yet the limitations thus imposed on work in early Greece parallel the problems newly discovered with respect to the dialogue between an outsider anthropologist and an insider informant. Anthropology’s maturation—its realization that its very hallmark, the relationship between outsider and insider, is loaded with difficulties—emboldens those of us who work in pre-ethnographic cultures to attempt to reconstruct, even if imperfectly, the relationship that mirrors that of the dialogue between an informant and a researcher. For anthropology’s cognizance of the pitfalls faced by the researcher in approaching any culture, the “crisis in ethnographic authority,” see Clifford 1988 and the collection of essays in Clifford and Marcus 1986. Cf. Finley 1986, 118.

[ back ] 32. For the importance of the expansion aesthetic see Martin 1989, 206-30.

[ back ] 33. See again M. Rosaldo 1980, 45.

[ back ] 34. M. Sahlins 1985, 125. See Dougherty and Kurke 1993, 5-6, for an application of Sahlins’ work to cultural poetics.

[ back ] 35. Besides Sahlins 1985, see also Sahlins 1976, 1981.

[ back ] 36. M. Rosaldo 1980, 21.

[ back ] 37. M. Rosaldo 1980, 22.

[ back ] 38. On this kind of anger, see Considine 1969.

[ back ] 39. E.g., Cunliffe 1963, LSJ, LfrGE, s.vv.

[ back ] 40. There have been exceptions to this general neglect, as for example in the study of éris (“strife”) by Hogan 1981, and Nagler 1988 and 1992; see also Dumézil 1980 on ménos (“anger”) and lússa (“rage”).

[ back ] 41. That khólos should be neglected because it is common fits in nicely with M. Rosaldo’s remarks. For khólos as the unmarked term for anger, see Considine 1985, 162 n. 2, “In Homer the unmarked word for anger is khólos, in Classical Greek orgḗ and in later and Modern Greek thumós”; cf. Considine 1986, 53. See also Turpin 1988, 258 (“dénomination non-marquée de la colère”). Curiously Considine 1986 omits kótos in his review of Homeric anger terms.

[ back ] 42. See, for example, Lakoff and Kövecses 1987 and Lutz (in Holland and Quinn 1987), who covers the ethnographic importance of anger and its role in a community’s organization of its social life. See also M. Rosaldo 1980, and R. Rosaldo 1984; on the meaning of emotions as part of a culture’s semiotic practice, see Myers 1988 and 1991. A variety of critical work continues to be produced in this area (see, e.g., Heider 1991). Anthropological work in the area of emotion and aggression needs to be attended to by the Homerist, who can also make a contribution to ethnographic projects from the evidence provided by our archaic Greek texts.

[ back ] 43. In Novaco 1986, 3.

[ back ] 44. Add here Tavris’s complaints (1989, 39). For more on the slighting of emotion in the sociological literature, see Hochschild 1983, 201-4. The literature on aggression has begun to include extensive study on anger’s role as a social problem; see Geen 1990, 115-25. In the context of world mythology, note that Aho 1981 does not single out anger as a specific cause of violence in the sacral mythology of war. See also Lemerise and Dodge 1993, 537.

[ back ] 45. Two psychoanalytically informed studies of Homer consider the psychological questions relating to Achilles, while leaving aside the question of anger (MacCary 1982 and Holway 1989). For psychoanalysis and anger, see Novaco 1986, 2-6.

[ back ] 46. Sacks 1987, 17. See also 1-3.

[ back ] 47. Sacks 1987, 13.

[ back ] 48. Muellner 1992, 1996; Watkins 1977a.

[ back ] 49. Muellner’s book on mênis (1996) is a watershed in the study of anger in Homer, both for providing rigorous method with sophisticated readings of crucial passages, and for engaging the necessary comparative material. A major thrust of this work is to apply a social and linguistic category (taboo) in the course of analyzing the traditional diction that is Homeric usage. Important questions regarding the nature of such a taboo are raised in Turpin 1988; see also Muellner 1992; Muellner’s work details the nature of this constraint (1996, 191-94). See also Nagy 1979, 74 and Nagy 1990a, 227 and 238.

[ back ] 50. Watkins 1977a; Muellner 1992. For more on mênis and khólos see chapters 2 and 3. Also see Considine 1966, 16-22; as well as 1985 and 1986; Nagy 1979, 15-18; 1990, 227, 238, and 263; Turpin 1988. Janko 1992, 106 questions the hypothesis that mênis refers to divine wrath; see also Kahane 1994, 50-58. While providing the definitive study of mênis, Muellner (1996) analyzes the way the taboo mechanism functions in the Homeric poems.

[ back ] 51. Schwyzer 1931, rejected in Schwyzer 1939, 260; see now Muellner 1996, 18689, where the appendix (“The Etymology of Mênis” 177-94) reviews the comparative evidence and comes to the conclusion that “Watkins’s revival of Schwyzer’s etymology appears to be the most consistent with the word’s meaning and usage” (194).

[ back ] 52. Ameis and Hentze 1894 at Il. 1.81 for a succinct and telling note on the style of this passage.

[ back ] 53. On sound-patterns in Homer see Shewan 1925, and on word-play in Homer see Louden 1995; note that Louden (30) catches a pun involving khólos (with khōlós “lame”) at Od. 8.304-8.

[ back ] 54. Manes 1980, 122.

[ back ] 55. Manes 1980, 123.

[ back ] 56. Compare Nestor’s definition of mêtis “cunning intelligence” (Il. 23.313-18), as discussed by Detienne and Vernant 1974, 11-23; also Frame 1978, 85; and note the contrast with nóos at line 590. See too Menelaus’s observations on kóros “satiety” in Il. 13.636-39. Such passages can profitably be approached with Manes’s notion of the folk definition.