Imatges de pÓgina


clearly exhibit the specific idea of the word in its Homeric use." Alacer, velox, strenuus, celer, according to Ebeling: three meanings at least are included in the four words, and no clue to a root-meaning, or to the relation which connects the three. Quick, nimble, active," Liddell and Scott. Buttmann, who is usually so satisfactory, expounds the Homeric uses of the word at great length; but I cannot feel satisfied with the manner in which they are arranged and correlated.

I will first give my own conclusions, and then the reasons for them. First, then, we have here the element or factor of weight added to pure speed: a compound is substituted for a simple idea. If so, it will not surprise us that this compound and no longer one-edged idea should lead us out into a greater diversity of meanings, so that Ooós varies, while okús remains at its original standing-point as a simple description of speed.

Next let us consider the admitted derivation, which is from Ośw (see Buttmann, Ebeling, and others). Buttmann indeed doubts whether, to meet some of the senses, another root is not required: but let us see. The word éw (used also for the movement of deities) seems to designate by preference the hard running of a man. Curro vehementer is the meaning given by Damm.

If this is so, the fast running of a man represents weight along with motion, but the speed is the chief idea, and weight is the secondary element. The characteristic of it, as distinguished from the idea expressed in okus, is that it carries way, as is said of a ship or boat. Thus a railway train might be called thoos, for it carries a great deal of way yet speed is the principal idea it offers through the eye to the mind. The best English word that occurs to me for describing this particular class of movement is a vehement or rushing movement. And this I take to be the radical idea of thoos: velocity with vehemence.

Now (1) that, which rushes, is apt to smash objects on which it impinges, and to sever their parts. It does the work of a sharp instrument, and thus acquires the cognate sense of sharp, and may describe sharpness in acutely angular material form.

Secondly (2), that which rushes may have passed beyond measured into an unmeasured motion. It then has the effect of haste as opposed to order, and thus thoos obtains the cognate sense of hasty.

Thirdly (3), the rush of battle is the proper work of the brave warrior, and attaches to him closely, as in the constant Homeric phrase πópovσɛ. The Homeric warrior leaps, springs, or bounds. Thus thoos acquires the cognate sense of bold or brave.

2 I hope these words may not appear to imply censure or depreciation. What we may expect of Lexicons is that they shall exhibit, in the best manner compatible with their rigid limitations of space, all results firmly established by usage, or obtained by detailed and special inquiry. This great task they accomplish for us. There cannot, for example, be a Greek student in England who is insensible of the debt he owes to Deans Liddell and Scott for their invaluable work.

Fourthly (4), that, which rushes and smashes, inspires fear; and thus thoos acquires the cognate sense of awful or formidable.

These five senses, the original and the four derivative, will include, I think, among them every passage in which the word is used by Homer.

1. That use, which I have called the primary use of thoos, the rushing, or moving onwards both with weight and with rapidity, may be readily exemplified. For example, it is a stock epithet of Ares, applied to him eight times (Il. v. 430 et alibi). In the passage named I do not doubt that a corporal and not a mental quality is principally signified: for the Ares of Homer is never described by mental qualities unless they be bad ones, which thoos is not; for, although it may tend to, it does not include, excess. Buttmann expresses a different opinion on the passage, but he does not appear to have taken into consideration the very marked Homeric view of the character of Ares.

But, out of about seventy places where the word is used in the Iliad, fifty have it as an epithet for ships. In the Odyssey it reappears still more markedly as a stock epithet; and, out of fiftythree places, in no less than fifty-one it is applied to ships. The ship, then, will probably supply the leading idea. Buttmann observes that the meaning here might be sharp in form, from the shape of the beak (in voc. § 2). But if the old building of the hull was bluff, it seems unlikely that the form of the beak, which is a mere appendage, should suggest an epithet so dominant, which is sure to signify some principal property. This must, then, he found in the motion of the ship and such motion unites the three properties of being smooth, weighty or forceful, and rapid. This entirely agrees with the application of the word to Ares, the only other case in which it is employed as a stock phrase. I think, therefore, that this is established as the staple idea of the word for Homer, and that the other senses are derivative and occasional. The two motions give to thoos the place I have assigned it in the quantitative scale. And we may conceive it as meaning, for the ship, way-carrying; for Ares, with no more than a shade of difference, rushing or vehement.


It is strongly supported by the grammatical derivative Oows (thoōs). We find this adverb used in eight places of the Iliad: which appears uniformly to bear the sense of briskly' or ' promptly,' and thus to give testimony, as far as it goes, to the original sense of brisk or quick motion. In the Odyssey we have the adverb sixteen times and in two of the passages, which relate to acts done in terror (xxii. 19, 364), which Buttmann has failed to observe (in voc. § 1), we may trace the idea of haste. In all the rest the word has, to all appearance, the exact meaning which appears in the Iliad. In Il. xviii. 40 a Nereid nymph is Thoè, in ii. 758 the warrior Prothoos is thoos, and in Od. i. 71 the mother of Poluphemos is Thoōsa. In

the first of these we can hardly presume any element of vehemence in the idea conveyed; in the second and third we may.

The other applications of thoos are as follows. It is given to Antilochos, Æneas, Glaucos, Acamas, and several other warriors, and also to the Abantes of Euboea, who are commonly mentioned with great favour by the Poet. Here we have the rush of battle for the basis of the idea, just as, in the expression, Bony ȧyalós, we have the shout of battle. In the case of Æneas (xiii. 477) the two ideas are joined: he is there Bon Boós. To both of these notions the idea of stout or valiant is proximate; and this appears to be the meaning wherever the word is given to warriors. We have it in the rallying call of Sarpedon to the Lycians (Il. xvi. 422) retreating from Patroclos :

αἰδώς, ὦ Λύκιοι, πόσε φεύγετε ; νῦν θοοὶ ἐστέ.

To suppose anything but the direct meaning to be here intended (as in the refined irony now ye are swift,' i.e. in running away) is out of keeping with Homer's high estimate of the Lycian soldiery and with the use of the lofty word αἰδώς. We may, without doubt, render the phrase be bold,' quit you like men.'

Next, as that which is in rapid movement while carrying weight must always be near to an excess of rapidity, the idea of haste is kindred and proximate to the primary sense, and so appears in Od. viii. 38, Ooηv úλeyúvɛte daîtα, ' prepare a hasty meal.'

The other applications of the word are as follows: to

Night, in Il. x. 394, 468; xii. 463; xiv.
261; xxiv. 366, 653. Od. xii. 284.
The chariot, xi. 533; xvii. 458.
The scourge, xvii. 430.

The (warrior's) hand, xii. 306; and, in
the Odyssey, to
Islands, xv. 298.
An arrow, xxii. 83.

In the first of these cases alone thoos has something of the character of a stock epithet. Doubtless the rapid descent of Night entitles her to the epithet. Et jam nox humida cælo Præcipitat (En. ii. 8). But the mere sense of rapid or rushing Night would be rather tame and thin for a passage like Il. xiv. 261, where impersonated Sleep described how Night was able to save him from the resentment of Zeus :


ἅζετο γὰρ, μὴ Νυκτὶ θοῇ ἀποθύμια ἔρδοι.

The spirit of the passage requires, that the epithet should tend to represent Night as a personage that even Zeus would be shy of offending: say, as dread or formidable Night. This is agreeable to all the epithets attaching to Night in Homer; with whom, be it remembered, Night is one thing, and moonlit Night is another. With the single exception of außpooin, an epithet always used for Night in relation to the supernatural order, all her epithets are of the awful and repellent character. Not only is she δνοφερή, ὀρφναίη, and μέλαινα, but

ἐρεμνή, ἐρεβεννή, and κακή. She is in Il. xiv. 260 θεῶν δμήτειρα καὶ ȧvôpôv. Thus the rapid rush of Night, in herself perhaps repulsive as the enemy of Light, makes her awful or formidable, and imparts this meaning to thoos as one of its derivative senses. Such a signification is appropriate generally to the passages where the epithet is used for Night, and by some of them it seems to be actually required. One case requires particular notice. In Od. xii. 279, Eurulochos complains that Odusseus requires his crew to remain on board through the vu Oon. Here the meaning cannot be rapid, for rapidity would diminish the force of the complaint. The meaning is dread, and the reason follows at once in v. 285: it is that Night is the parent of storms, which are the destroyers of ships.

The course of the chariot plainly enough belongs to the original sense. So does the movement of the warrior's arm and hand, in hurling the dart (Il. xii. 306). So does the application to belos, the arrow of Odusseus, in Od. xxii. 83. It is, however, noteworthy that the epithet of movement commonly applied to the arrow in Homer is not thoos, but okus, which carries no idea of weight. There seems to be, as usual, a reason for the difference, in the passages where it is found. Here the line runs :

ἐν δέ οἱ ἥπατι πῆξε θοὸν βέλος

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The Poet is describing the actual stroke, so he takes an epithet which adds force to the idea of movement. This oku would not have done. We note the value of the distinction in a passage like Il. v. 106:

ὣς ἔφατ' εὐχόμενος· τὸν δ ̓ οὐ βέλος ὠκὺ δάμασσεν,

Pandaros, boasting of his shot, had just before (v. 104) called the dart κрaτɛρòv Béλos: but when the weapon had arrived, and only its failure is in view, the epithet of force would be out of place for Homer. So again in v. 112, where the arrow is drawn out, it is oku; but an arrow which does its work, and kills its man, is thoon.

There remains yet one other sense to consider. That which rushes with force, smashes and divides: in dividing, it does the work of sharpness, and hence thoos comes to signify an object of a sharp or cutting form. In the sense of sharpness of form the word is applied (Od. xv. 248) to the islands called Echinades, at the mouth of the Acheloos. So Buttmann; I think rightly. The sense of rapid, i.e. quickly disappearing from vessels as they passed, is a far-fetched meaning. The later name of these islands, as the Echinades, appears to show that this was a vertical sharpness, perhaps such as that which has suggested, on our own coast, the name of the Needles.

μάστιξ θοή.

There remains only the μáorię Oon. This expression occurs in a particular case, where the lash was eagerly employed. Its object was, either by coaxing or by punishing, to induce the horses of Achilles,

after the death of Patroclos, to move; but they remained obstinately still (xvii. 430).

πολλὰ μεν ἂρ μάστιγι θοῇ ἐπεμαίετο θείνων,
πολλὰ δὲ μειλιχίοισι προσηύδα, πολλὰ δ ̓ ἀρειῇ.

What we see plainly and primarily is the eager use of the whip in lashing the horses. It is the rapid whip, rapid because eagerly and keenly used. But if it be preferred to render the epithet here by the word 'eager,' this rendering might be supported perhaps by the form used where Herè eagerly whips her horses (Il. v. 748, viii. 392).

Ηρη δὲ μάστιγι θοῶς ἐπεμαίετ' ἄρ' ἵππους.

The meaning in all the passages appears to lie balanced between eager' and 'rapid;' rapid with force, and not only with velocity. Commonly Homer has no epithet for púorię. When he employs any, it is mostly pasivý, glittering.' In xi. 532 he has μáσтiyi Xiyʊpî, the shrill, cracking whip. The mode of use is signified by thoos.


In thoos, then, we have seen a strong, rapid, weighty, but still for the most part ordered movement. When we come to thouros, there is a degree of difference; the element of weight is more perceptible, and with and owing to this weight, not to an increase of speed, there is a greater violence.

The use of thouros is extremely limited; for it is applied to Ares only, and this in eleven passages, as a sort of stock epithet. Its cognate thouris is in like manner a stock epithet of aλký. Both these words seem to denote physical, corporal, impetuosity. But thouros is also employed for a shield (It. xi. 32 and xx. 162); and for the dread Aigis in xv. 308. It would not have been possible for Homer to attach thoos to these words: it would have been too rapid an epithet for them. The mere fact that they can receive Ooûpos proves an addition of the element of mass, modifying the compound, and lets it mark a stage on our way from pure speed to slowness and the reluctance of inertia.

I do not doubt that, as regards the notion of violence, Ooûpos with the sister word is a step in advance of Ooós, and I would propose to translate it as 'impetuous,' or perhaps 'overwhelming.' On the one side it differs from Ooós in that the motion it describes is no longer, generally, an ordered motion; on the other side it differs from oẞpiuos not in its overwhelming or crushing force, but in that the idea of velocity still remains prominent, although it is yoked with the other idea, now equally prominent, of mass or quantity of matter. Our adjective 'impetuous,' which implies a vehemence carried into some excess and emancipated from due restraint, seems applicable to thouros. For thoos in its primary sense I cannot find a nearer word than 'vehement;' although this adjective seems not to be used by Shakespeare or Milton for material things. But vehemence' is applied to sound in

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