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353. The enclitic particle περ is evidently a shorter form of the preposition πέρι, which in its adverbial use has the meaning beyond, exceedingly (§ 185). Accordingly, περ is intensive, denoting that the word to which it is subjoined is true in a high degree, in its fullest sense, etc.

Il. 23.79 λάχε γεινόμενόν περ
              was my fate even from my birth

Od. 1.315 μή μʼ ἔτι νῦν κατέρυκε λιλαιόμενόν περ ὁδοῖο

Od. 8.187 στιβαρώτερον οὐκ ὀλίγον περ

Il. 2.236 οἴκαδέ περ σὺν νηυσὶ νεώμεθα
              (= let us have nothing short of return home)

Il. 8.452 σφῶϊν δὲ πρίν περ τρόμος ἔλλαβε φαίδιμα γυῖα
              even beforehand trembling seized your knees

Il. 13.72 ἀρίγνωτοι δὲ θεοί περ
              gods, surely, are easily known

Od. 4.34 αἴ κέ ποθι Ζεὺς
               ἐξοπίσω περ παύσῃ ὀϊζύος

So with relatives, ὅς περ the very one who, ὡς ἔσεταί περ (Attic ὥσπερ καὶ ἔσται) just as it will be, ὅτε περ just when. Also εἴ περ eνen if, and ἠέ περ or ἤ περ eνen than.

Usually, however, περ implies a sense of opposition; i. e. it emphasizes something as true in spite of a preceding assertion.

οὔ τι δυνήσεαι ἀχνύμενός περ
you will not be able however much vexed

πολέες περ ἐόντες
many as they are

πίνοντά περ ἔμπης
even though drinking, etc.

and with substantives.

Il. 20.65 τά τε στυγέουσι θεοί περ
              which even the gods (gods though they are) dread

Il. 1.352 ἐπεί μʼ ἔτεκές γε, μινυνθάδιόν περ ἐόντα
              since you are my mother, short-lived though I am

Or it may imply compensation for the absence of something else.

Il. 1.508 ἀλλὰ σύ πέρ μιν τῖσον
             do you honor him (since Agamemnon will not)

Il. 17.121           αἴ κε νέκυν περ Ἀχιλλῆϊ προφέρωμεν
                γυμνόν· ἀτὰρ τά γε τεύχεʼ κτλ.

The intensive καί and περ are often used with the same word or phrase.

καὶ ὀψέ περ
even though late

καὶ πρὸς δαίμονά περ
eνen though it were against a higher power

καὶ πεζός περ ἐῶν
though only on foot

εἰ δὲ καὶ Ἕκτορά περ φιλέεις, etc.

So with οὐδέ not even, as οὐδὲ θεοί περ not even the gods, οὐδʼ ὥς περ not eνen so, οὐδέ νυ σοί περ not even to you.

The combination καί περ (or καίπερ) occurs in Homer in one place only, viz. Od. 7.224 καί περ πολλὰ παθόντα.

When καί precedes a word followed by περ, it is always = even (not and). Hence in Il. 5.135 καὶ πρίν περ μεμαώς means eνen though formerly eager, and is to be taken with the preceding line, not with the succeeding δὴ τότε μιν κτλ. Thus there is no anacoluthon, as is generally assumed.

Suggested Citation

D.B. Monro, A Grammar of the Homeric Dialect. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7.