Monday, June 29, 2009


Negative Prefixes

M.L. West, Indo-European Poetry and Myth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 128 (on "Characteristics of divinity"):

In his Preface (p. v), West modestly states, "I have furnished myself with a working knowledge of some of the relevant languages." I know only "small Latine and lesse Greeke," but some of West's Vedic and Avestan examples look to me like series of asyndetic, privative adjectives. On sleepless gods, I would add some Greek philosophical speculation, from Walter Scott, Fragmenta Herculanensia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1885), p. 198 (col. 11, l. 42-col. 13, l. 70):
Though a large part of the sentence is lost, the argument is clear. 'Sleep is like death; so much so, that the fact that the soul sleeps may be used as an argument that it will perish. Therefore sleep is a thing tending to dissolution. But the Gods must be kept free from all things tending to dissolution; therefore the Gods do not sleep.'
The remains of Philodemus' Greek on this subject can be found in Scott, p. 173.

See also West, p. 110 (on "Anaphora of first element of compounds"):

Finally, see Hollister Adelbert Hamilton, The Negative Compounds in Greek, diss. Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, 1899), p. 9:

Related post: Via Negativa.

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