The semantics of ἀοιδός and related compounds: towards a historical poetics of solo performance in Archaic Greece

TitleThe semantics of ἀοιδός and related compounds: towards a historical poetics of solo performance in Archaic Greece
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMaslov, B
JournalClassical Antiquity
Volume28
Issue1
Pagination3-38
Abstract

The article shows that in the Archaic period the Greeks did not possess a term equivalent to Classical ποιητής ““poet-composer.”” The principal meaning of the word άοιδός, often claimed to correspond to ποιητής and modern English poet, was ““tuneful”” (adj.) or ““singer”” (subst.). The secondary meaning ““poet working in the hexameter medium”” is limited to the post-Iliadic hexameter corpus. It is furthermore possible to show that the simplex άοιδός was backderived from a compound. More specifically, following Hermann Koller, I propose that the secondary meaning, being an epic innovation, developed from the compound *θεσπιαοιδός ““singer of things divine,”” whereas the primary meaning ““singer”” may go back to έπαοιδός, which later acquired the specialized meaning ““singer of incantations.”” [http://ca.ucpress.edu/content/28/1/1]

DOI10.1525/CA.2009.28.1.1

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