Kakophōnotatōn

06505-shipwreck_turner

Part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

βιαζόμενον δέ τινα πρὸς ἐναντίον ῥεῦμα ποταμοῦ μετὰ τῶν ὅπλων καὶ τὰ μὲν ἀντέχοντα, τὰ δ’ ὑποφερόμενον εἰσάγων ἀνακοπάς τε ποιήσει συλλαβῶν καὶ ἀναβολὰς χρόνων καὶ ἀντιστηριγμοὺς γραμμάτων

δεινὸν δ’ ἀμφ’ Ἀχιλῆα κυκώμενον ἵστατο κῦμα,
ὤθει δ’ ἐν σάκεϊ πίπτων ῥόος, οὐδὲ πόδεσσιν
εἶχε στηρίξασθαι. [Il. 21.240ss.]

ἀραττομένων δὲ περὶ πέτρας ἀνθρώπων ψόφον τε καὶ μόρον οἰκτρὸν ἐπιδεικνύμενος ἐπὶ τῶν ἀηδεστάτων τε καὶ κακοφωνοτάτων χρονιεῖ γραμμάτων οὐδαμῇ λεαίνων τὴν κατασκευὴν οὐδὲ ἡδύνων·

σύν τε δύω μάρψας ὥστε σκύλακας προτὶ γαίῃ
κόπτ’· ἐκ δ’ ἐγκέφαλος χαμάδις ῥέε, δεῦε δὲ γαῖαν. [Od. 9.289s.]

πολὺ ἂν ἔργον εἴη λέγειν, εἰ πάντων παραδείγματα βουλοίμην φέρειν ὧν ἄν τις ἀπαιτήσειε κατὰ τὸν τόπον τόνδε· ὥστε ἀρκεσθεὶς τοῖς εἰρημένοις ἐπὶ τὰ ἑξῆς μεταβήσομαι.

(Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Peri Suntheseōs Onomatōn 16.99-100)

And when he depicts a warrior in full armour forcing his way forward against the contrary current of a river, now holding his own, now being carried off his feet, he will introduce clashings of syllables, delays in the rhythm, and letters which hold up the flow:

Around Achilles swirled a terrible tempestuous wave:
Its current dashed against his shield and swept away his feet
From their firm stance.

When men are being dashed against rocks, and he is portraying the noise and their pitiable fate, he will dwell on the most unpleasant and ill-sounding letters, nowhere attempting to make the arrangement smooth or attractive:

A pair of them he snatched and dashed, like puppies on the ground.
Their brains flowed freely on the floor and incarnadined the rocks

It would be a long task if I should set myself to produce examples of all the usages that might be required to illustrate this subject. I shall therefore content myself with what has been said and proceed to the next topic.

(tr. Stephen Usher)

Dusekphorōtata

800px-odysseus_and_nausicaa

Part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

ὅταν δ’ οἰκτρὰν ἢ φοβερὰν ἢ ἀγέρωχον ὄψιν εἰσάγῃ, τῶν τε φωνηέντων οὐ τὰ κράτιστα θήσει ἀλλὰ <τὰ δυσηχέστατα, καὶ> τῶν ψοφοειδῶν ἢ ἀφώνων τὰ δυσεκφορώτατα λήψεται καὶ καταπυκνώσει τούτοις τὰς συλλαβάς, οἷά ἐστι ταυτί

σμερδαλέος δ’ αὐτῇσι φάνη κεκακωμένος ἅλμῃ. [Od. 6.137]

τῇ δ’ ἐπὶ μὲν Γοργῲ βλοσυρῶπις ἐστεφάνωτο
δεινὸν δερκομένη, περὶ δὲ Δεῖμός τε Φόβος τε. [Il. 11.36s.]

ποταμῶν δέ γε σύρρυσιν εἰς χωρίον ἓν καὶ πάταγον ὑδάτων ἀναμισγομένων ἐκμιμήσασθαι τῇ λέξει βουλόμενος οὐκ ἐργάσεται λείας συλλαβὰς ἀλλ’ ἰσχυρὰς καὶ ἀντιτύπους

ὡς δ’ ὅτε χείμαρροι ποταμοὶ κατ’ ὄρεσφι ῥέοντες
ἐς μισγάγκειαν συμβάλλετον ὄβριμον ὕδωρ. [Il. 4.452s.]

(Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Peri Suntheseōs Onomatōn 16.98-99)

But when he is introducing a scene that is pitiable, frightening or august, he will not employ the finest of the vowels, but will take <the most unpleasant-sounding and> those of the fricatives and the voiceless consonants that are the most difficult to pronounce and crowd his syllables with these, as in these lines:

He burst on them, a fearsome sight, all uglified with brine.

A Gorgon’s head of baleful mien embossed the centre orb
With Fear and Panic ranged around her terrifying glare.

When he wishes to represent in words the flowing together of rivers into one place and the noisy splash of mingling torrents, he will not render this with smooth syllables, but with strong and resounding ones:

E’en as the winter-swollen rivers rush from hillsides steep,
They hurl their torrents wild into the watersmeet below.

(tr. Stephen Usher)

Poluphōnotatos

gerardhomer-det1

Part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Ὁ δὴ πολυφωνότατος ἁπάντων ποιητῶν Ὅμηρος, ὅταν μὲν ὥραν ὄψεως εὐμόρφου καὶ κάλλος ἡδονῆς ἐπαγωγὸν ἐπιδείξασθαι βούληται, τῶν τε φωνηέντων τοῖς κρατίστοις χρήσεται καὶ τῶν ἡμιφώνων τοῖς μαλακωτάτοις, καὶ οὐ καταπυκνώσει τοῖς ἀφώνοις τὰς συλλαβὰς οὐδὲ συγκόψει τοὺς ἤχους παρατιθεὶς ἀλλήλοις τὰ δυσέκφορα, πραεῖαν δέ τινα ποιήσει τὴν ἁρμονίαν τῶν γραμμάτων καὶ ῥέουσαν ἀλύπως διὰ τῆς ἀκοῆς, ὡς ἔχει ταυτί

ἣ δ’ ἴεν ἐκ θαλάμοιο περίφρων Πηνελόπεια
Ἀρτέμιδι ἰκέλη ἠὲ χρυσῇ Ἀφροδίτῃ. [Od. 17.36s. = 19.53s.]

Δήλῳ δήποτε τοῖον Ἀπόλλωνος παρὰ βωμῷ
φοίνικος νέον ἔρνος ἀνερχόμενον ἐνόησα. [Od. 6.162s.]

καὶ Χλῶριν εἶδον περικαλλέα, τήν ποτε Νηλεὺς
γῆμεν ἑὸν μετὰ κάλλος, ἐπεὶ πόρε μυρία ἕδνα. [Od. 11.281s.]

(Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Peri Suntheseōs Onomatōn 16.97-98)

Now when Homer, the poet with the most voices of all, wishes to portray the freshness of a comely countenance and a beauty that brings delight, you will find him using the finest of the vowels and the softest of the semivowels, and not crowding his syllables with voiceless letters, nor destroying the flow of sound by juxtaposing words which are hard to pronounce. He will make the arrangement of the letters sound gentle, and make it flow through the ear without offending it, as in the following lines:

Penelope, queen of wisdom from her chamber forth had gone,
Like Artemis or golden Aphrodite’s form divine.

’Twas once at Delos that I saw hard by Apollo’s shrine,
A sapling palm whose youthful straightness matched such comely grace as thine.

And saw I Chloris passing fair, whom Neleus wed of yore,
Bestowing wedding gifts unnumbered, for her beauty’s sake.

(tr. Stephen Usher)

Hestiasin

numa-and-egeria-bas-relief
Bertel Thorvaldsen, Numa Pompilius og Egeria

Τοῦτον τὸν ἄνδρα Ῥωμαῖοί φασι στρατείαν μηδεμίαν ποιήσασθαι, θεοσεβῆ δὲ καὶ δίκαιον γενόμενον ἐν εἰρήνῃ πάντα τὸν τῆς ἀρχῆς χρόνον διατελέσαι καὶ τὴν πόλιν ἄριστα πολιτευομένην παρασχεῖν, λόγους τε ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ πολλοὺς καὶ θαυμαστοὺς λέγουσιν ἀναφέροντες τὴν ἀνθρωπίνην σοφίαν εἰς θεῶν ὑποθήκας. νύμφην γάρ τινα μυθολογοῦσιν Ἠγερίαν φοιτᾶν πρὸς ἀυτὸν ἑκάστοτε διδάσκουσαν τὴν βασιλικὴν σοφίαν, ἕτεροι δὲ οὐ νύμφην, ἀλλὰ τῶν Μουσῶν μίαν. καὶ τοῦτό φασι γενέσθαι πᾶσι φανερόν. ἀπιστούντων γὰρ, ὡς ἔοικε, τῶν ἀνθρώπων κατ’ ἀρχὰς καὶ πεπλάσθαι νομιζόντων τὸν περὶ τῆς θεάς λόγον, βουλόμενον αὐτὸν ἐπιδείξασθαι τοῖς ἀπιστοῦσιν ἐναργές τι μήνυμα τῆς πρὸς τὴν δαίμονα ὁμιλίας διδαχθέντα ὑπ’ αὐτῆς ποιῆσαι τάδε· καλέσαντα Ῥωμαίων πολλοὺς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν, ἐν ᾗ διαιτώμενος ἐτύγχανεν, ἔπειτα δείξαντα τοῖς ἐλθοῦσι τὰ ἔνδον τῇ τε ἄλλῃ κατασκευῇ φαύλως κεχορηγημένα καὶ δὴ καὶ τῶν εἰς ἑστίασιν ὀχλικὴν ἐπιτηδείων ἄπορα, τότε μὲν ἀπαλλάττεσθαι κελεύειν, εἰς ἑσπέραν δὲ καλεῖν αὐτοὺς ἐπὶ τὸ δεῖπνον· παραγενομένοις δὲ κατὰ τὴν ἀποδειχθεῖσαν ὥραν ἐπιδεῖξαι στρωμνάς τε πολυτελεῖς καὶ τραπέζας ἐκπωμάτων γεμούσας πολλῶν καὶ καλῶν ἑστίασίν τε αὐτοῖς παραθεῖναι κατακλιθεῖσιν ἁπάσης ἐδωδῆς, ἣν οὐδ’ ἂν ἐκ πολλοῦ πάνυ χρόνου παρασκευάσασθαί τινι τῶν τότε ἀνθρώπων ῥᾴδιον ἦν. τοῖς δὲ Ῥωμαίοις κατάπληξίν τε πρὸς ἕκαστον τῶν ὁρωμένων ὑπελθεῖν καὶ δόξαν ἐξ ἐκείνου τοῦ χρόνου παραστῆναι βέβαιον, ὅτι θεά τις αὐτῷ συνῆν.
(Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Rhōmaikē Archaiologia 2.60.4-7)

The Romans say that he* undertook no military campaign, but that, being a pious and just man, he passed the whole period of his reign in peace and caused the State to be most excellently governed. They relate also many marvellous stories about him, attributing his human wisdom to the suggestions of the gods. For they fabulously affirm that a certain nymph, Egeria, used to visit him and instruct him on each occasion in the art of reigning, though others say that it was not a nymph, but one of the Muses. And this, they claim, became clear to every one; for, when people were incredulous at first, as may well be supposed, and regarded the story concerning the goddess as an invention, he, in order to give the unbelievers a manifest proof of his converse with this divinity, did as follows, pursuant to her instructions. He invited to the house where he lived a great many of the Romans, all men of worth, and having shown them his apartments, very meanly provided with furniture and particularly lacking in everything that was necessary to entertain a numerous company, he ordered them to depart for the time being, but invited them to dinner in the evening. And when they came at the appointed hour, he showed them rich couches and tables laden with a multitude of beautiful cups, and when they were at table, he set before them a banquet consisting of all sorts of viands, such a banquet, indeed, as it would not have been easy for any man in those days to have prepared in a long time. The Romans were astonished at everything they saw, and from that time they entertained a firm belief that some goddess held converse with him.

* Numa Pompilius.

(tr. Earnest Cary)