Journal of Latin Linguistics
Ed. by Calboli, Gualtiero / Cuzzolin, Pierluigi
2 Issues per year
What does ἐπί really mean? Contact and dimensionality of the landmark as basic semantic categories in the locative prepositional phrases with ἐπί
The spatial relations expressed by the preposition ἐπί can be clarified attending to the dimensionality of the landmark as a basic semantic category, along with the constant notion of contact, belonging to the preposition. On the contrary, the orientation – from which the traditional explanations are derived – is important but clearly secondary. After explaining the coexistence and partial synonymy of ἐπί with dat. and gen. starting from the uses with three-dimensional landmarks, the study of the uses with two- and one-dimensional landmarks allows reformulation of the basic meaning of the preposition. In turn, this allows recognition of a system based on a very particular conceptual view about limits and ends in the different dimensions, a conceptual view in decline since Homer, although we can find other traces of it here and there, also in Latin.