Friday, April 7, 2017

TFBT: Zielinski’s Law and Others

 Lately I have been going through some old notes. Okay, well actually as Maya can probably tell you, a thousand plus notes. Mostly quotes or links I don’t want to lose track of, again! Naturally I think all these little gems are amazing and fascinating, but I picked out just a few, you all might find interesting
Where one hero throws a rock at another, we should expect Aeneas to win the encounter.” Nagy_Best-of-the-Achaeans.   As to the victor using a rock, I think Athena is the best example;

As (Ares) spoke he struck (Athena) on the terrible tasseled aegis—so terrible that not even can Zeus’ lightning pierce it. Here did man-slaughtering Arēs strike her with his great spear. She drew back and with her strong hand seized a stone that was lying on the plain—great and rugged and black— [405] which men of old had set for the boundary of a field. With this she struck Arēs on the neck, and brought him down” Iliad 21.400 ff

The first example I found in the Iliad (assuming Nagy is focusing his assumption on this tale of battles and duels) is I Book Seven; 

“Hector did not cease fighting; he gave ground, and with his brawny hand seized a stone, [265] rugged and huge, that was lying upon the plain; with this he struck the shield of Ajax on the boss that was in its middle, so that the bronze rang again. But Ajax in turn caught up a far larger stone, swung it aloft, and hurled it with prodigious force. [270]” 

 However just a few lines later we hear, “the good herald Idaios said, “My sons, fight no longer, [280] you are both of you valiant, and both are dear to Zeus who gathers clouds; we know this; but night is now falling, and the requests of night may not be well ignored.”  Which means Hector threw the first stone and did not win.   

Examples proving Nagy’s point are;

  • ·      The gruesome “stone”-triggered  fate of Diores, son of Amarynkeus at 4.519,
  • ·      At 5.580 “Antilokhos hit the charioteer and attendant [therapōn] Mydon, the brave son of Atymnios,”
  • ·      Hector at 8.320 when “ with a loud cry … seizing a great stone made straight for Teucer”
  • ·      12.379Ajax son of Telamon killed brave Epikles, a comrade of Sarpedon, 380]hitting him with a jagged stone”
  • ·      14.409   Ajax son of Telamon struck Hector with a stone and he did fall to earth and bite the dust.

Etc., etc.  Plenty enough to prove Nagy’s point.  But as he points out, Aeneas always seems to be the exception to this rule. 

Zielinski’s Law; Homeric narrative always moves forward. Homer represents simultaneous actions as sequential and rarely notes simultaneity.    
Lots of debate on this law, scholars looking for the slightest nuance to make it invalid and others slightly changing the meaning of words to insure the laws validity. In short it is a good rule of thumb and explains incongruities in other poems of the era.

Zeus…the tragedians did not present him on stage.”  This rule is quite controversial.  Of the surviving plays by the three great playwrights; Aeschylus, four single plays and one trilogy, seven plays of Sophocles survive and Euripides' eighteen or nineteen.  In none of these does Zeus appear on stage.  But the argument is he could have in some of the lost plays.  Hmm; lack of evidence as evidence.  I don’t think so.    Ken Dowden in Zeus, argues that “It looks as though a rule is upheld: tragic Zeus does not appear on stage, but comic Zeus can.  Of course, his argument for a comic Zeus on stage is based on “the excellent Roman comedy of Plautus…based on a lost Greek play”, so our missing evidence used again as evidence.   

All that said, am I right? Zeus never descends to earth in the Homeric present?

Winkler’s Law; wherever in Homeric poetry a female character is described with beautiful ankles, (she) is about to save a male character.”    I have no reference for Winkler’s Law and can’t find it by googling it. So far my searches on the word in Perseus (καλλίσφυρος) aren’t providing it to be true. 
Here’s the first text I found using the Perseus word study tool;

abode beside his wedded wife, the fair Cleopatra, daughter of Marpessa of the fair ankles, child of Evenus, and of Idas that was mightiest of men that were then upon the face of earth; who also took his bow to face the king [560] Phoebus Apollo for the sake of the fair-ankled maid.

The beautiful ankled women above; Marpessa of the fair ankles, daughter of Evenus and wife of Idas.  Yes Marpessa saves Idas, but not now, rather twenty years before in another story.[1]

Next example is: book 5, card 313: ... Ζεφύρῳ εἴξασκε διώκειν. τὸν δὲ ἴδεν Κάδμου θυγάτηρ, καλλίσφυρος Ἰνώ, Λευκοθέη, πρὶν μὲν ἔην βροτὸς αὐδήεσσα  the West Wind to drive. But the daughter of Cadmus, Ino of the fair  ankles, saw him, even Leucothea, who of old was a mortal of human speech, [335] Which does follow Winkler’s Law,

Heracles, in myth or in the Hymn that ends shortly thereafter

Next; Homeric Hymn (2) to Demeter “ἑστήκει πανάφυλλον: ἔκευθε δ᾽ ἄρα
ταναοῖσι κομήσειν ἀσταχύεσσιν ἦρος“ At this point in the hymn there is no
male character to rescue even if trim-ankled Demeter.was in the mood to do

Conclusion; Winkler’s Law, doesn’t seem to work.

[1] (Apollodorus, The Library 1.7.9) But Idas came to Messene, and Apollo, falling in with him, would have robbed him of the damsel. As they fought for the girl's hand, Zeus parted them and allowed the maiden herself to choose which of the two she would marry; and she, because she feared that Apollo might desert her in her old age, chose Idas for her husband.125

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