n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Madness in Homer and the verb

Supplement 3
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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It has become something of a cliché that there is not much evidence for madness in Homer. Hershkowitz's study has revealed that even the little there is should be carefully distinguished from madness as conceived in later Roman epic. And yet, an examination of madness in the and , since they constitute perhaps our earliest texts, is an essential precursor to any synthetic treatment of the topic in later Greek literature.

This paper will attempt a limited investigation into madness in these two poems by focusing on just one linguistic term, the verb and its derivatives. What I shall suggest is that careful scrutiny of the contexts in which this verb is employed, encourages a need to reconsider our standard assumptions as to the semasiology of this verb. While I am in broad agreement with Hershkowitz's point of view on this subject, my own conclusions differ from hers in some respects.

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