Friday, June 10, 2022



Homer, Iliad 5.472-474 (Sarpedon, a Lycian ally, speaking to Hector; tr. A.T. Murray, rev. William F. Wyatt):
Hector, where now is the force gone that before you had?
You thought, I suppose, that without men and allies you would hold the city
alone with the aid of your sister's husbands and your brothers.

Ἕκτορ πῇ δή τοι μένος οἴχεται ὃ πρὶν ἔχεσκες;
φῆς που ἄτερ λαῶν πόλιν ἑξέμεν ἠδ᾽ ἐπικούρων
οἶος σὺν γαμβροῖσι κασιγνήτοισί τε σοῖσι.
Id. 17.144-145 (Glaucus, a Lycian ally, speaking to Hector):
Take thought now how by yourself you may save your city and home
aided only by the people who were born in Ilios.

φράζεο νῦν ὅππως κε πόλιν καὶ ἄστυ σαώσῃς
οἶος σὺν λαοῖς τοὶ Ἰλίῳ ἐγγεγάασιν.
Calvert Watkins, "Homer and Hittite Revisited," in Peter Knox and Clive Foss, edd., Style and Tradition: Studies in Honor of Wendell Clausen (Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner, 1998), pp. 201-216, rpt. in his Selected Writings, ed. Lisi Oliver, Vol. III: Publications 1992-2008 (Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck, 2008 = Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft, 129), pp. 855-865, analyzed these passages in section II: "Four Quadrants of Social Appurtenance" (pp. 204-206; rpt. pp. 858-860). Watkins argued that they correspond to a twice-repeated formulaic expression in a Hittite text of ca. 1500 B.C., the Proclamation of King Telepinus (translation only shown here):
His sons (and) brothers, and his relatives by marriage,
the members of his kindred and his soldiers were united.
According to Watkins (p. 205; rpt. p. 859):
The Telepinus passage describes a quadrupartite organization along two parameters: blood—alliance and close—distant.
With a nod to Benveniste, we may term these quadrants of social appurtenance:8 they define the individual's relation to the ruler.

8 Emile Benveniste, "Les quatre cercles de l'appartenance sociale," Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes 293 (Paris 1969).
In comparing the passages from the Iliad, Watkins wrote (p. 206; rpt. p. 860):
"Ego's λαοί" makes no sense to me. I can only assume that it is a misprint for "Hektor's λαοί." There is another misprint in Watkin's discussion — he refers to "Il. 5.473-475" instead of to "Il. 5.472-474."

From Kenneth Haynes:
That strange "Ego" is a bit of technical jargon from the anthropological study of kinship. It refers to the individual at the center of a kinship diagram, to person to whom the others are related in the particular ways specified by a kinship terminology.


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