Rhythm without Beat: Prosodically Motivated Grammarisation in Homer, by Ronald Blankenborg

We are excited to announce the release of Rhythm without Beat: Prosodically Motivated Grammarisation in Homer, by Ronald Blankenborg. Rhythm Without Beat first appeared in 2014 as a preliminary study to Blankenborg’s thesis Audible Punctuation: Performative Pause in Homeric Prosody, which will be published in print as part of the Hellenic Studies Series in April 2019.

From the Introduction

“What exactly did Homer leave behind? Was it a long series of hexameters? Yes and no. In writing, both the Iliad and the Odyssey appear as continuous repetitions of stichic verses. The epic narrative is cast in the hexametric mould: every single line fits one hexameter. The metrical shape of the hexameters varies, but all the verses of the Iliad and the Odyssey meet the structural requirements of hexametric poetry: alternating rhythm, the number of feet, of syllables, of theses, and of arses. All the verses scan without serious difficulty; the division of the Homeric text into hexametric lines has never been a problem like the division into lines of, for example, Pindar. The metrical shape of the Iliad and the Odyssey, as well as the metrical units into which the text divides, are clear enough. Not so clear are the intelligible units of sense into which the epic divides. At times whole verses or parts thereof, the hemistichs or the metrical cola, seem to function as the units of sense; then again, often the units of sense do not stop at the boundaries of the verse, the hemistich, or the metrical colon.”