Syllabic Quantity: Position

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369. The quantity of a syllable-that is to say, the time which it takes in pronunciation-may be determined either by the length of the vowel (or voςwels) which it contains, or by the character of the consonants ςwwhich separate it from the next vοςwel sound. n ancient technical language, the voςwel may be long by its own παtμκτe (φύσει), or by its ροςitοα (θέσει).

The assumptions that all long syllables are equal, and that a ong syllable is equal in quantity to tςwο short syllables, are not strictly true of the natural quantity in ordinary pronunciation. Since every consonant takes πορme time to pronounce, it is evident that the first syllables ob the ςwοrds ὄφις, φρύς, ὀμφή, ὄμβρος are different in length ; and so again are the first syllables of ἴlτος, ὥτρυνον. Again, the diphthong6 p, ηυ, 8ʼc. are longer than the single voςwels η, ω, 8Sc., and also longer than the diphthongs αἱ, ευ, οἱ, οu. In short, the poetical ' quantitiesb must not be sup- posed to ansςwer exactly to the natural or inherent length of the syllables. The poetical or metrical value is founded upon the natural length, but is the result of a sort of compromise, by which minor varieties of quantity are neglected, and the syl- lables thereby adapted to the demands of a simple rhythm.

It has been shown, however, that the general rule of Position rests upon a sound physiological basis. 1The insertion of a consonant may be regarded as equivalent in respect of time to the change of a short voςwel into a long οne.- (Brhcke, bio pὰysίοοgischen Grundlαgen der neuὰοchdeιtschen Persκkunst, p. 70 ; quoted by Hartel).

370. Position. The general vale is that when a short vowel is folloςwed by tςwο consonants the syllable is long.

Regarding this rule it is to be observed that

  1. Exceptions are almost wholly confined to combinations of a M ute (esp. a tennuia) with a following Liquid. But even with these combinations the general rule is observed in the great maiority of the instances.
  2. Most of the exceptions are found ςwith words which could not otherςwwise be brought into the hexameter : such as Ἀφροδίτη, Ἀμφιτρύων, βροτῶν, τράπεζα, προσηύδα, etc.
  3. The remaining exceptions are nearly al instances in which the vowel is separated by Diaeresis from the folloςwing con- sonants: as Il. 18. 122 καί τινά Γρωίάδων, 24. 395 καὶ τά γε χρυσείην.

The chief exceptions in Homer are as follows1

τ0: in ἀμφιτρύαν, ἐτράφην (1. 23. 84-but see the note on § 42 in the Appendix, p. 390), τετράκυκλον (l. 24. 324), φαρέτρης (Ll. 8. 323), Oτρυντεύς (II. 20. 3834) ; and in ἀλλότριος (unless vwe scan χθd, -4ν, etc.).
Before τράπεζα, τρίαινα, τρίτη (τριήκοντα, kc.), τραπείομεν (τράποντο, προ-τραπέ- σθαι, kc), τράγους, τροποῖς, τρέφει (d. 5. 422., 13- 410), τροφοῦ (Od. 19. 4891, τρέμον (Od. 11. 527).
Before a diaeresis, καί τινα Γραωάδαων (l. 18. 122).

up : in ἀλλοπρόσαλλος (2l. 5. S31) ; before προσηύδα, πρόσαπον, προίκτης, πρόσσω, and other Compounds of πρό and πρός (προκείμενα, προσαίξας, kc.); also before πρὸς ἀλλήλους, πρὸ ἄστεος, and one or tvw0 similar phrases (cp. ll. 13. 799 , 17. 726).
Bοfore ριαμίδης l.), πρίν (l. Il. 97 οὐδʼ ὅ γε πρίν κτλ., cp. 19. 313, 0d. 14. 334., 17- 597) : πρῶτος (Od. 3. 320., 17. 275), προσφάσθαι (Od. 23. 106).

κp in δακρύοισι (Od. 18. 173), ὅακρνπλάνειν (Od. 19. 122), ἑνέκρνφε (Od. 5. 488), κεκρνμμένα (Od. 23. 110).
Before Κρονὰυν, Κρόνου παῖς, κραταιός, Κραταιs, κράτος μέγα (Dl. 20. 121), κράν- εια, κρυφηδόν, κραδαίνα, κρατευτάαπ, κρεάων.
Add Il. 11. 697 εἴλετο κρινάμενος; Od. 8. 92 κατὰ κρᾶτα (κὰκ κρᾶτα ?), 12. 99 δέ τε κρᾶτί.

8p : in βροτός and its derivatives, as ἀβρότη, ἀμφίβροτος: also before βραχίαωων.

ὅ0 : in ἀμφι-δρνφής (1. 2. 700), and before δράκαων, φρύας, δρόμους. Also I1. 11. 69 τὰ δὲ δράγματα (unless vwe read δάργματα, as Hartel suggests).

θρ : in ἀλλόθροος (Od. Il. 183, ὅᾶc.), and before θρόναων, c. and θρασειάαων. Also in ll. 5. 462 ἡγήτορι βρηκῶν.

ρ: in Ἀφροδίτη: and Od. 15- 444 ἡμῖν δʼ ἐπι-φράσσετʼ ὄλεθρον. Cp. Hee. Op. 555 προπεφραδμένα.

dp : before χρέος or χρέαως (Od. 8. 353) : and in ll. 23. 186 ῥοδόεντι δὲ χρῖεν, Il. 24- 795 καὶ τά γε χρυσείην.

τλ: in σχετλίη (l. 3- 414), which however may be scanned - -.

κλ: in Πάτροκλε (Ii. 19. 287), ἐκλίθη (Od. 19. 470-should perhaps be readd ἑτέραωσε κλιθῇ), προσέκλινε (Od. 21. 138, 165-read perhaps πρόσκλινε or ἕκλινε) : and before Rλυταιμνήστρη, Κλεαναί, κλύδαν, κλεηδά2, κλιθῆναι (Od. Il. 366). Also, in Od. 12. 215 τύπτετε κληίδεσσιν, 20. 92 τῆς δʼ ἄρα κλαιούσης.

πλ: in the Compounds τειχεσι-πλῆτα (l. 5. 31, 455), πραrτόπλοος, προσέπλαζε (Od. 11. 583-readd perhaps πρόσπλαζε) : before λάταια, πλέαων sαιίίng, πλέαων mοτe (l. 10. 252), πλέον f2 (Od.20. 355). Add ll. 9. 382 (παOd. 4. 127) Αἰγυπ- τίας, ὅθι πλεῖστα (vwith υ.t. ᾖ πλεῖστα, cp. Od. 4. 229), and ll. 4. 329 αὐτὰρ ὁ πλησίον.

χλ: in Od. 10. 234 καὶ μέλι χλαωρόν, 14- 429 ἀμφὶ δὲ χλαῖναν.
To these have to be added the very fevw examples of a vovwel remaining short before σκκ and ζ : vi2.-

σκ : before 22κάμανδρος, στέπαρνον (Od. 5. 237., 9. 391), σκίη (Hee. Op. 589).

C: before Σάκυνθος (l. 2. 634, Od. Il. 246, kkc.), έλεια Ii. 2. 824, etc.).

στ: before στέτος in Od. 21. 17S, 183-unless it is a case of Synizesis.

A comparison of these exceptions swill show that in a sense ewe are right in attributing them to metrical necessity. There are comparatively feςw instances in vwhich the tςwo consonants do not come at the beginning of a sword of the form -, so that the last syllable of the preceding vword must be a short one. On the other hand, the extent to which neglect of position is alloςwed for metrical convenience is imited, and depends on the πatμuτaί ηuantitγ of the consonants in question, i.e. the actual time occupied by their pronunciation. Sonant mutes (πmediae) are longer than surd mutes (tenμues) ; gutturals are longer than dentals or labials ; and of the tςwο liquids λ is longer than ρ. Thus shortening is tolerably frequent before πρ and τρ, less so before κρ, πλ, κλ, θρ, χρ. VWith other combinations of mute and liquid, as φρ, bρ, ρ, and ςwith σκ and C, it seems to be only add- mitted for the sake of swords which the poet was absolutely com- pelled to bring in : such as Ἀφροδίτη, 2κάμανδρος, Ζάκυνθος, βροτός, with its compounds, dc. No exceptions are found before γρ, γὰ, φλ, κν, κμμ, or any combination other than those men- tioned. In short, the harshness tolerated in a violation of the rule usually bears a direct relation to its necessity. br was im- possible to have an lad vwithout the names Aphrodite and Scamander, but these are felt and treated as exceptions.

The wοrd ἀν8ρότη2, which appears in the fixed ending λιποῦσʼ ἀνδρότητα καὶ ἥβην, should probably be vwritten ἀδρδτηs. As the original ρ οfβροτός becomes either uβρ (as ἄμβροτος, φθισίμβροτος), 0r βρ (as νὺξ ἀ-βρότη, ἀμφ-βροτος), so p might become vδρ (as ἀνδρός), or ὅp. So perhaps Eνυαλίᾳῳ ἀνδρεφόντῃ should be Ἐνυαλίῳ ἀδριφόντη (ς r - - ) : cp. ἀνδρε-φόνος (Hdn. up. Eustath. 183, ὅ).

The plea on which a short voςwel is aloςwed before Σκάμανδρος and σκέπαρνον may be extended, as Fick points out (βe22. βeιtr. xiv. 316), to some forms of σκίδνημι novw vwritten vwithout the σ, vi2, κέδασθεν (l. 15. ὅ57), κεδασθέντες, 1c. Metrical necessity, hovwever, vwouldd not justify the same license vwith σκίδναται (ἐπικίδναται Il. 2.850,ὰ1c.), ἑ-σκίδνατο, ἑ-σκέδασσε(for which ἐσκέδασε is available).

Neglect of Pοsitiοn is perceptibly commoner in the Odysseγ than in the lied. Apart from cases in vwhich the necessities of metre can be pleaded. viz. proper names and vwords beginning vwith , it vwil be found that the proportion of examples is about 3 : Il. Ti will be seen, too, that some marked instances occur in Books 23 and 24 of the lied. n Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns the rule is sri more lax. Thus in Hesiod a vovwel is allowed to be short before κ (Op. 557, Fr. 95), and πς (Theοgg. 319). Inn the scanty fragments of the Cyclic poets we find πἔπραωται (Cypria), πᾶτρί (Little lied), Ἀγχίσαο κλντὸν κτλ. (ibιαd.), ἀκριβέα (liupersis).

  • 1. They are enumerated by La Roche, οmerίsche 7ntersνιcὰνnρε, pp. 141, with his usual care and completeness.