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Swift-Running Hermes Σωκοσ / Ὠκύσ

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Chapter Summary

In the early books of the Iliad the Olympian gods tamper, albeit infrequently and inconspicuously, in human affairs, but they generally follow Zeus' directive in the council of gods in Book 8 to give assistance neither to the Achaeans nor the Trojans; not until the beginning of Book 20 do the gods openly declare their allegiances and fight undisguised on the battlefield in the so-called Theomachia ('Battle of the Gods'). Hermes, who has not previously revealed his allegiance, squares off against Leto, an unlikely combatant in any event (Il. 20.72). This chapter considers two epithets. Hermes' epithet ἐριούνιος was variously explained in antiquity. The chapter highlights that an understanding of Hermes' epithet ἐριούνιος as 'good-running' is in perfect harmony with one of Hermes' main attributes, as swift-running messenger of the gods. It focuses on extant verses to the obscuriora of hypothetical collocations based on hypothetical verses.

Keywords: ἐριούνιος; Hermes; Iliad; Olympian gods; Zeus



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