A nonce–word in the Iliad

Classical Quarterly 35 (1):1-8 (1985)
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Abstract

‘My own father’, Achilles says to Priam in the last book of the Iliad, ‘was a rich man and a powerful one. He was king of the Myrmidons, and he had a divine wife. But even so the gods gave him evils too. He had no family, only one son, and that son a παναώριος one. I do not look after him in his old age, but am far away, sitting here in Troy, inflicting misery on you and your children.’The problem I propose to discuss is the meaning of παναώριος. The word is unique to this passage, and the standard translation ‘of all-untimely fate’ or ‘doomed to die young’ is open to many objections. I shall argue that by describing himself as ‘untimely’ what Achilles means is that he is someone who is always doing the wrong thing at the wrong time, a misfit. It may seem a petty point, hardly worth the long argument that will be needed to establish it. But it has consequences for our judgement of the Iliad as a whole. If the one interpretation is correct, then Homer is content to repeat his effects without regard to the situation of his characters, which in any other author we would call careless writing. On the other interpretation he is capable of focusing down to quite detailed nuances. The question is not therefore one of lexicology alone but also of literary criticism.The translation ‘all-untimely doomed’ has warrant from antiquity. Leaf quotes a scholium παντελ⋯ς ἄωρον ⋯ποθανούμενον, and the word ⋯ωρία is used by a scholiast at 1.505 to refer to the fate by which Achilles was to die early.

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A Complete and Systematic Concordance to the Works of Shakespeare.Marvin Spevack - 1970 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 29 (2):279-280.

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