μάν, μήν, μέν

Book Nav

main

342. The three words μν, ῥὴν, μέν agree so nearly in meaning and usage that they are to be regarded as etymologically connected, if not merely varieties of the same original form. The two former (with the long , η) express strong affirmation (= surely, indeed, etc.). The shorter form μέν is also originally a Particle of affirmation, but has acquired derivative uses of which the chief are

  1. the concessive use, preparing us for a Clause ςwith an Adversative δέ, αὐτάρ, ἀλλά, etc.
  2. the use in the second of twο Clauses with the meaning yet, nevertheless.

Taking the generally received text of Homer, we find that άv occurs 24 times, and that there are only two places in vwhich it is not folowed by a vowel. The exceptions are, Il. 5. 895 ἀλλʼ οὐ μάν σʼ ἔτι δηρὸν ἀνέξομαι ἄλγεʼ ἔχοντα, vwhere άv may be due to the parallel ll. 17. 41 ἀλλʼ οὐ μὰν ἔτι δηρὸν ἀπείρητος πόνος ἔσται, and ll. 5. 765 ἄγῳει μάν οἱ (i. e. Fοι) ἕπορσον κτλ. (cp. Il. 7. 459 ἄγρει μὰν ὅτʼ ἂν κτλ.). On the other hand νέhv, which occurs 10 times, is foovwed by a consonant in every place except ll. 19. 45 καὶ μὴν οἱ τότε γʼ εἰς ἀγορὴν ἴσαν. These facts have not yet been satisfactorily explained. Bekker in his second edition (1858) vwrοte ῳhv throughout for μνάv, and sought to distinguish hν and ῳέv as far as the metre allovwed according to Attic usage (d. θ. pP. 34, 62). Cοbet on the contrary proposed to restore μέ for Wέγ (3fisc. COτit. p. 365), and so far as these two forms are concerned his vieςw is probable enough. But how are vwe to explain the peculiar facts as to μὰν? VWe can hardl y account for it except as a genuine Homeric form, and such a form must have been used before consonants as vwel as voyWels. If so, we can only suppose that an original ῳuάv was changed into μuέv vwhenever it came before a consonant, and preserved when the metre made this corruption impossible.

It is to be observed also that ἄν and uνέν are almost confined to the Iliad, in which μv occurs 22 times and ῳνὴν 7 times. n the Odyssey ἄν is found twice, viz. in 11. 344, 17. 470, and ῳuν three times, in 11. 582, 593, 16. 440 (= Il. 23. 410). It appears then that ἐς is the only form which really belongs to the language of the Odyssey. Consequently the substitution of ῳνές for puὰv in the liadd may have taken place very early. The change of ῳνές to hr probably belongs to the ater period when phν had been established in Ionic and Attic prose.

343. ἄν bas an affirmative and generally a hortatory or interjectional force: as in ἄγρει μάν may come! (Il. 5. 765. 459), and ἦ μάν, οὐ μάν, used when a speech begins in a tone of surprise, triumph, or the like

Il. 2. 370 ἦ μὰν αὔτ ἀγορῇ νικξς, γέρον, υἷας ἀχαιῶν.

Il. 12. 318 οὐ μὰν ἀκληεῖς Αυκίην κάτα κοιρανέουσιν ἡμέτεροιβασιλῆες
(cp.4-512, 13.4 14.,14.454, etc.)

An approach to the force of an emphatic γet appears in Il. 8. 373

ἔσται μὰν ὅτ ἂν οὔτε φίλην γλαυκώπιδα εἴπῃ·

and in ἀλλʼ οὐ μάν (Il. 5. 895, 17- 41, 418, xc), νὴ μάν (Ii. 8. 512, 15- 476, 22. 354).

344. μνὴν with a hortatory force occurs in Il. 1. 302

εἰ δʼ ἄγε μὴν πείρησαι
come, do but try

. The combination μήν is affirma- tive (rather than merely concessive)—not so much admitting as insisting upon an objection or reply.

Il. 2. 291 ἦ μὴν καὶ πόνος ἐστί
it is true enough that there is tοil

Il. 7. 393 ἦ μὴν Γρῶές γε κέλονται
assure you that the Trojans bid him

Il. 9. 57 ἦ μὴν καὶ νέος ἐσσί
we must remember that you are young.

In καὶ μὴν it emphasizes the fact introduced by καί.

Il. 19. 45 καὶ μὴν οἱ τότε γʼ εἰς ἀγορὴν ἴσαν
observe that even these then went

345. μέν is very common in Homer. The original simply affirmative force appears especially in the combimmations ᾖ μέν, καὶ μέν, and the like, in which it is indistinguishable in sense from μήν.1

ᾖ μέν is regularly used in oaths, and is even found with an infinitive in oratio obliqua.

Il. 1. 76 καί μοι ὄμοσσον ἦ μέν μοι . . . ἀρήξειν.

So in a strong asseveration, as

Il. 7. 97 ἦ μὲν δὴ λώβη τάδε γʼ ἔσσεται
this will really be a foul shame

Od. 19. 235 ἦ μὲν πολλαί γʼ αὐτὸν ἐθηήσαντο γυναῖκες
you may be sure that many women gazed with wonder at it.

In these and similar pa6sages μάν strengthens a purely affirmative ᾖ, and there is no sense of contrast. The adversative use may be perceived, as ςwith the simple ᾖ (ἡ 338) and ἦ μήν, when a speaker insists on his assertion as true along with or in spite of other facts: e.g. in Od. 10. 64 πῶς λθες, Ὀδυσεῦ; τίς τοι κακὸς ἔχραε δαίμων; μέν σʼ ἐνδυκέως ἀπεπέμπομεν suτeίγ we seπt γοu on γοuττ waγ witἄ adμe pτουίsίοn. and in the common form of reproach, Il. 11. 765 ὅὦ πέπον, ἦ μὲν σοί γε Μενοίτιος ὥθ’ ἐπέτελλε (cp. 5. 197, 9. 252). So with ironical emphasis, Π. 3. 430 ἦ μὲν δὴ πρίν γʼ εὔχε κτλ. κw2γ κuτeξ γοᾷ ὁοasted π, cp. 9- 348.

The corresponding negative form ῳuνὴ ὅν occurs in formal oaths (§ 358.b), and with the Opt. in a sort of imprecation in Od. 22. 462.

μὴ μὲν δὴ καθαρῷ θανάτῳ ἀπὸ θυμὸν ἑλοίμην κτλ. (cp. μὴ μάν)

Denial insisted upon in view of some state of things is expressed by οἡ ῳμάν, as Il. 4. 372

οὐ μὲν Γυδέί γʼ ὥδε φίλον πτωσκαζέμεν ἢεν
(why do you shrink?) surely Tydeus did not.

The form καὶ μέν answers closely to the Attic καὶ μήν, which is used to call attention to a fact, especially as the ground of an argument.

Il. 18. 362 καὶ μὲν δή πού τις μέλλει βροτὸς κτλ.

a mortal, remember, will accomplish his will (much more a great goddess)

Il. 1. 269 καὶ μὲν τοῖσιν ἐγὰὼ μεθομίλεον
(these were the mightiest of men): yes, and I was of their fellowship.

Sometimes the fact is first indicated, then dwelt upon in a fresh clause with καὶ μνέν.

Il. 9. 497 στρεπτοὶ δέ τε καὶ θεοὶ αὐτοί, . . . καὶ μὲν τοὺς θυέεσσι κτλ.
even gods may be moved . . . they are indeed turned from their anger by sacrifice, etc.

Cp. Il. 24. 488; Od. 7. 325, 14. 85.

Similarly when a new point in the narrative is reached.

Il. 6. 194 καὶ μέν οἱ Λύκιοι τέμενος τάμον
yes and (besides what the king gave) the Lycian people made him a temenos

Cp. Il. 5. 27, 23. 174, 24.732.

The adversative sense—but yet, but surely—is chiefly found after a negative, νέν being used either alone or in combination with an adversative Conjunction (ἀλλά, ἀτάρ).

Il. 1. 602 δαίνυντʼ, οὐδέ τι θυμὸς ἐδεύετο δαιτὸς εἴκῃς οὐ μὲν φόρμμιγγος
nor yet the phorminx.

Il. 2. 703 οὐδὲ μὲν οὐδʼ οἱ ἄναρχοι ἔσαν, πόθεόν γε μὲν ἀρχόν.

Od. 15. 405 οὔ τι περιπληθὴς λίην τόσον, ἀλλʼ ἀγαθὴ μέν.

Il. 6. 123 οὐ μὲν γάρ ποτʼ ὄπωπα . . . ἀτὰρ μὲν νῦν γε κτλ.

Also after a question.

Il. 15. 203 ἦ τι μεταστρέψεις; στρεπταὶ μέν τε φρένες ἐσθλῶν.

With the Article μμν is sometimes used to bring in a parenthesis, which may be simply affirmative, or indicate some 0position.

Il. 1. 234 ναὶ μὰ τόδε σκῆπτρον, τὸ μὲν οὔ ποτε φύλλα καὶ ὄζους φύσει
(= by this scepter, eνen as it shall never, etc.).

Il. 5. 892 μητρός τοι μένος ἐστὶν ἀάσχετον, οὐκ ἐπιεικτόν, Ἥρης, τὴν μὲν ἐγὼ σπουδῇ δάμνημʼ ἐπέεσσι
she is indeed one whom I can hardly tame.

Cp. IL. 10. 445, 15- 45, 16. 141. Α less emphatic use (merely to bring out a new point in the story) is not uncommon.

Il. 2. 101 ἔστη σκῆπτρον ἔχων, τὸ μὲν κτλ.

Cp. Il. 18. 84, 131, 23.328, 808; Od. 9. 320, 321. Further, the interposed statement may have a double reference, a corresponding Clause with δέ or αὐτάρ serving to resume the narrative.

Il. 8. 256 ἀλλὰ πολὺ πρῶτος Γρώων ἕλεν ἄνδρα κορυστήν, Hραδμονίδην Ἀγέλαον· ὁμὲν φύγαδʼ ἔτραπεν ἵππους, τῷ δὲ μεταστρεφθέντι κτλ. (so ibid. 268-271).

Again, the return to the main story after a digression may be marked by a similar form: e.g. in Od. 6. 13 (after a parenthetical account of the Phaeacians and Alcinous) τοῦ μὲν ἔβη πρὸς δῶμα κτλ. nom it was to his house that she went. Cp. Od. 9. 325.

  • 1. On the uses of μέv see the dissertation of Carl Mutzbauer, Der hοmerische Gebrauch der Partikel MEN, K0ln. 1884-86.