The Grammaticalization of Daimonie at Iliad 24.194

In: Mnemosyne
Author: H. Paul Brown1
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  • 1 Gettysburg College, Department of Classics, 300 N. Washington St., Box 394, Gettysburg, PA,
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Homer’s use of the address form δαιµονίη for Hekabe at Iliad 24.194, has been particularly troublesome, and these problems have remained largely unresolved because the word’s etymology, its later use, and its generally negative tone contrast with the otherwise non-confrontational tone of Priam’s speech at Il. 24.194-199. This mismatch has led to a wide range of interpretations, and no general consensus. In this paper I argue that the term here appears to be undergoing grammaticalization in the direction of a discourse particle, and as such does not characterize the addressee but the context of Priam’s subsequent speech. Although use of the term by later authors shows that this process was terminated, nevertheless, the development of δαιµόνιε proposed here patterns with that of other divine address forms such as Latin mehercule! and edepol!, French mon Dieu!, English oh my God!, etc. which have come to function like other discourse particles such as wow!

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