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The Invention of the Whole-and-Part Figure and the Stoics on Solecism. Ancient Interpretations of Il. 24.58

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image of Mnemosyne

The second half of the Homeric line Il. 24.58 ('´Eκτωρ μεν ϑνητoς τε γυναικα τε ϑησατo μαζoν) was explained by ancient grammarians in different ways. By means of notions of ellipsis, pleonasm, and substitution they interpreted the words. Not before Eustathius are found the beginnings of an explanation based on the idea of the whole and the part and which is very close to the modern notion of the σχημα καϑ' oλoν και κατα μερoς, although is erm never was in use.

In the second part of this paper the annotation of the scholium, repeated in Eustathius, that the Stoics detected here a solecism, is discussed. This annotation has never been used in treatments of Stoic theory of language and is a very precious addition to the very few cases of solecism known to us as having been noticed by them. With the help of many other texts it is possible to come to the conclusion that the Stoics objected to the use of the middle voice ϑησατo = εϑηλασατo in connection with a baby child, instead of the active form. Very probably they called this type of solecism επικυματισμoς, 'fluctuation'.


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