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Iliad 8,408 and 422: The variae lectiones ὅττι νοήσω, ὅττι νοήσῃ or ὅττί κεν εἴπω, ὅττί κεν εἴπῃ and the Use of the Modal Particle κεν in Homeric Greek

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From the journal Philologus


In this short article I discuss the variae lectiones in Il. 8.408 and 8.422. All manuscripts have ὅττι νοήσω (408) and ὅττι νοήσῃ (422), but many editors have preferred to print Aristarkhos’ corrections ὅττί κεν εἴπω and ὅττί κεν εἴπῃ respectively. By comparing the instances in which ὅττί κεν εἴπω/ῃς/ῃ and ὅττι νοήσω/ῃς/ῃ are used and by delving deeper into the use of the modal particle (MP) in epic Greek, I argue that the transmitted readings ὅττι νοήσω (408) and ὅττι νοήσῃ (422) should have preference, because they have no MP and refer to repeated actions, whereas the construction ὅττί κεν εἴπω/ῃς/ῃ, which has an MP, refers to a more specific instance (which is why it has an MP in the first place).


This research was conducted at the Università degli Studi di Verona during the project Particles in Greek and Hittite as Expression of Mood and Modality (PaGHEMMo), which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement Number 101018097. I would like to thank Professor Paola Cotticelli-Kurras and the doctores Francesca Cotugno, Stella Merlin-Defanti, Valerio Pisaniello (all Università degli Studi di Verona) for their insights and the discussions I had with them on this topic, and would also like to express my gratitude to the editors and the reviewers of Philologus for their input, observations and suggestions for improvement. It goes without saying that all shortcomings, inconsistencies and/or errors are mine, and mine alone.


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Published Online: 2023-01-14
Published in Print: 2023-01-12

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