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Encyclopedia > Homeric epithet

Epithets in Homer. A characteristic of Homer's style is the use of recurring epithets, such as the rosy-fingered dawn or swift-footed Achilles. These epithets were metric stop-gaps as well as mnemonic devices for the aoidos (singer), both signs of the deep oral tradition that preceded the written codification of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Homer (Greek Hómēros) was a legendary early Greek poet and aoidos (singer) traditionally credited with the composition of the Iliad and the Odyssey. ... An epithet (Greek - επιθετον and Latin - epitheton; literally meaning imposed) is a descriptive word or phrase. ... Aoidos means singer in classical Greek. ... The Iliad (Ancient Greek , Ilias) is, together with the Odyssey, one of two ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer, a supposedly blind Ionian poet. ... Odysseus and Nausicaä - by Charles Gleyre The Odyssey (Greek: , Odusseia) is one of the two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to the poet Homer. ...

Moreover, epithets in epic poetry from various Indo European traditions may be traced to a common tradition going much deeper into pre-history; for example, the phrase approximating "everlasting glory" or "undying fame" can be found in the Homeric Greek kleos aphthiton and the Sanskrit śrávo ákşitam; they "were, in terms of historical linguistics, equivalent in phonology, accentuation, and quantity (syllable length). In other words, they are descendants from a fragment of poetic diction (reconstructable as Proto-Indo-European *klewos ņdhgwhitom) which was handed down in parallel over many centuries, in continually diverging forms, by generations of singers whose ultimate ancestors shared an archetypal repertoire of poetic formulae and narrative themes." (John Curtis Franklin, Structural Sympathies in Ancient Greek and South-Slavic Heroic Singing.) The epic is a broadly defined genre of poetry, and one of the major forms of narrative literature. ... The Indo-European languages comprise a family of several hundred languages and dialects [1], including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many in Southwest Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. ... Homeric Greek is the form of Ancient Greek that was used by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey. ... The Sanskrit language ( , ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 22 official languages of India. ... The vowels of modern (Standard) Arabic and (Israeli) Hebrew from the phonological point of view. ... Kinship and descent is one of the major concepts of cultural anthropology. ... Poetic diction is the term used to refer to the linguistic style, the vocabulary, and the metaphors used in the writing of poetry. ... The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages. ...

A name plus an epithet constitute a formula which exactly fits the metric structure of the verse. The use of formulas is characteristic of ancient epic poetry. In literature, meter or metre (sometimes known as prosody) is a term used in the scansion (analysis into metrical patterns) of poetry, usually indicated by the kind of feet and the number of them. ...

List of epithets in Homer

  • Achilles
    • son of Peleus
    • swift-footed (podas ôkus)
    • god-like (dios)
  • Aias
    • son of Telamon
    • bulwark of the Achaeans (herkos Achaiôn)
  • Agamemnon
    • son of Atreus
    • leader of men (anax andrôn)
  • Aphrodite
    • laughter-loving (philommeidês)
    • golden (chrusê)
  • Apollo
    • far-shooting, who strikes from afar (hekêbolos or hekatêbolos)
    • shootafar
    • Phoebus
  • Ares
    • man-slaying (androphonos)
    • brazen (chalkeos)
  • Athena
    • bright-eyed, grey-eyed, owl-eyed (glaukôpis)
  • Eos (Dawn)
    • rosy-fingered (rhododaktulos)
    • early-rising (êrigeneia)
    • golden-throned (chrusothronos)
    • fair-throned (euthronos)
  • Hector
    • son of Priam
    • helmet-flashing (koruthaiolos)
    • glorious (phaidimos)
    • breaker of horses
    • man-killing
    • tamer of horses
  • Helen
    • Argive (from Argos)
    • lovely-haired (eukomos)
    • born from Zeus (Dios ekgegauia)
  • Hephaistos
    • with the two strong arms (amphiguêeis)
  • Hera
    • ox-eyed (boôpis)
    • white-armed (leukôlenê)
    • discord manymoan
  • Menelaus
    • son of Atreus
    • fair-haired, blond (xanthos)
    • good at the war-cry (boên agathos)
  • Odysseus
    • raider of cities
    • son of Laertes
    • resourceful (polumêtis)
    • much-enduring (polutlas)
    • sacker of towns (ptoliporthios)
  • Paris (Alexandros)
    • son of Priam
    • lord of the fair-haired Helen (Helenês posis eukomoio)
  • Patroklos
    • son of Menoitios
    • with the great heart (megathumos)
  • Poseidon
    • earth-shaker (enosichtôn)
  • Sea (pontos)
    • wine-colored (oinops)
  • Thetis
    • silver-footed (arguropeza)
    • lovely-haired (eukomos)
  • Zeus
    • cloud-gatherer (nephelêgereta)
    • cronion thundercloud
  • Hermes
    • god of the golden wand
    • giant killer
  • Circe
    • Nymph with loveley braids
  • Tiresias
    • Seer of Thebes

  Results from FactBites:
EPITHETS IN HOMER (1205 words)
Epithets are a characteristic of oral poetry and Epic style.
Epithets are useful to the narrative of both poems.
'Homer' must have drawn on a long tradition of oral poetry and folk-tales, but his choice of central theme and the relation of the parts to the whole the wonderful craftsmanship following the artistic inspiration is a masterpiece.
  More results at FactBites »



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