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A Few Words For Springs In Aeschylus

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the semantics of two words commonly translated as "spring," χϱήνή and πηγή as they are used by the fifth-century BC Greek tragedian Aeschylus. These two words, one quite rare and the other rather frequent, at least in the verses of Aeschylus that survive, present us with an opportunity to focus closely on how the playwright, known for his innovative use of language, engages with epic precedent and helps shape the development of the Greek poetic vocabulary. The word clearly has a wider semantic range in Aeschylus than χϱήνή in some instances with concrete meaning and in others clearly in a metaphorical sense. But the term always has the sense of "source" embedded within it. The chapter suggests that "running water" is an inappropriate translation for πηγή in Aeschylus, whenever it appears.

Keywords: Greek poetic vocabulary; Greek tragedian Aeschylus



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