Explanation from the Nature of ϝ

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403. The theory recently advanced by Prof. Hartel is one to which it is ἀifficult to do justice in a short statement. The careful re-examination which he has made of the metrical facts has convinced him that the influence of the f is not occasional or arbitrary, but in the strictest sense universal in Homer. He does not hoςwever regard the passages in which the f appears to be neglected as corrupt or spurious, but explains them on the theory that the f in Homer has not the ful value of an ordinary consonant: comparing it, for instance, not with the initial yV of Latin, but ςwith the sound which that letter has in the combination QV.

Hartel's chief argument is that hiatus after short vοςwels is the most common of the metrical facts pointing to a lost f, and especially that it is much commoner than lengthening by Position, the numbers being 2995 and 359 respectively. But the force of this argument depends in the case of each sword on the metrical form : thus before a vwοrd ob iambic form the syllable must be short, hence we may find hiatus, but not lengthening : before an anapaest the reverse holds gοοd. f (using HartelΓs list) we take the instances in which is folloςwed in the verse by two short syllables-the words being ἄγεν, ἅλις, ἔαρος, ἕλικες (ςwith ἑλίκωπες, 8Sxc.), ἔπος, ἐρόω, ἔτος, ἰαχή, ἴδον-we shall find that they .number 415, and the makes Position in 98. But this is not materially different from the proportion which ςwil be found to obtain in the case of any common word of the same metrical form (such as πόλεμος).