Core Vocab

Core Vocab: sōphrōn, sōphrosunē

This time the Core Vocab word—taken from terms in H24H[1] and the associated Sourcebook[2] —is sōphrōn [σώφρων] ‘moderate, balanced, with equilibrium’; sōphrosunē [σωφροσύνη] ‘being sōphrōn’. In H24H, Gregory Nagy introduces the word as a metaphor describing the pilot of a ship in the Homeric Hymn (7) to Dionysus. Literally, this word is a compound adjective consisting of the elements sō- and -phrōn, meaning ‘the one whose thinking [phrēn] is safe’,… Read more

Core Vocab: mēnis

In the gloss provided by Gregory Nagy in H24H[1] and the associated Sourcebook[1], mēnis is summarized as “superhuman anger, cosmic sanction”. Following the Kosmos Society Book Club discussion about Leonard Muellner’s The Anger of Achilles: Mênis in Greek Epic (available online at CHS)[3], we became interested in finding out how the word was used in other texts, so it seems appropriate to choose this for the next Core Vocab discussion. Muellner… Read more

Core Vocab: ponos

This next exploration of Core Vocabulary—taken from terms in H24H[1] and the associated Sourcebook[2] —features ponos [πόνος], glossed as ‘ordeal, labor, pain’. In Homeric Greek, Autenrieth[3] explains further: “labor, toil, esp. of the toil of battle,…frequently implying suffering, grievousness, ‘a grievous thing,’…hence joined with ὀιζύς [oizus “woe, misery”], κήδεα [kēdea “cares, troubles,, sorrows” ], ἀνιη [aniē/aniā, “grief, sorrow, distress, trouble; bane”]” In this first example, we pick up where Achilles… Read more

Core Vocab: koros

This time the Core Vocab word—taken from terms in H24H [1] and the associated Sourcebook[2]—is koros: ‘being satiated; being insatiable’. The word is not discussed in the book, so I wondered how negatively koros was presented in the texts, and whether there was any difference between genres. And what kind of satiation is referred to? Not surprisingly, Hesiodic Works and Days has something to say about this: The hōrā for… Read more

Core Vocab: ekhthros

This time the Core Vocab word, taken from terms in H24H[1] and the associated Sourcebook,[2] is ekhthros [ἐχθρός], glossed by Gregory Nagy as ‘enemy [within the community], non-philos.’ The plural form is ekhthroi; and the associated noun is ekhthra or ekhthos ‘hatred, enmity’. There is a difference between an ekhthros who is a personal enemy, and a polemos or polemoi in the plural, a collective enemy, an opposing force in… Read more