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Wort- und Formenvielfalt

Festschrift für Christoph Koch zum 80. Geburtstag. Unter Mitarbeit von Daniel Petit


Edited By Anna Jouravel and Audrey Mathys

Die Festschrift ehrt Christoph Koch, Professor für Vergleichende und Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft an der Freien Universität Berlin. Zu seinem 80. Geburtstag vereint der Band wissenschaftliche und persönliche Beiträge von Kollegen, Schülern und Freunden. Sie umfassen verschiedene Bereiche der historischen und modernen Sprachwissenschaften wie der Indogermanistik, der Byzantinistik, der Slavistik oder Baltistik, greifen kunsthistorische und editionsphilologische Fragestellungen auf und spiegeln somit das breite Spektrum der Interessens- und Forschungsgebiete des Jubilars wider.

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The Homeric language – something old, something new, and something borrowed

Gerson Schade


The discussion of the Homeric language has often been, and still is, dominated by passionate dogmatists, insisting on a detail here, or a detail there. This leads to nothing. No general picture can thus be painted. That is the reason why this article comes without the usual paraphernalia of scholarship. Special emphasis, however, is exactly put on scholarship and criticism, but on a larger scale. At the end of my paper, a bibliographical note collects the textbooks from where the material comes. However, our main purpose is not evaluating secondary literature, but trying to make the Homeric language – and the specific problems it poses – accessible for non-specialists. Homer, or whoever composed Iliad and Odyssey, was highly gifted and ingenious, indeed – and this goes also for his language.

1.The Homeric language has been studied for more than two millennia. At least from the fifth century BCE, people discussed the correctness of Homer’s use of the Greek language, and the difficulty of his rare words. The Greek term for ‘correctness of speech’ is orthoépeia, and it was perhaps the great Protagoras who introduced it into the intellectual debate. It makes sense to assume that because Protagoras’ younger contemporary Democritus published a text on ‘Homer’s correctness of speech and his words’ (DK 68 A 33, xi 1), and we know from other texts of his that Democritus often polemicised against Protagoras (DK 68 A 114 & B 156). He may well have done so in his work on Homer’s ortho...

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