By Harris, William
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Additional resources for Archilochus Fragments First poet after Homer
The metric pattern is built into the verse, it is not a grid to fit the sound into. The central key words are of course su`ka kei`na both words showing the circumflex which is an overlong vowel so far as length is concerned. Pitchwise, it has a rising inflection of perhaps a minor fifth , peaking and then falling back to the normal base level at the end. This doubled rising and peaked inflection is unmistakably strong, especially since here repeated in adjacent words and I suspect it is this emphatic marking which evokes my reaction of smell for what could otherwise be just a clump of figs.
First of all, 'roikos' is bow-legged and most unlikely to be seen on an archaic statue, although many Greeks must have had poor bone growth as a result of diet deficiencies let alone disease. Continuing with the legs, he is "un-slippably standing on his feet", with a firm perfect active participle reinforcing the notion of solidity. (Engl. "asphalt" for pavement is a 19th c. ) Staying with body figures, it is no surprise to find that he is full of heart, an expression we can understand today although anciently based on a wrong understanding of the heart center of the emotions.
Xifevwn de poluvstonon evssetai evrgon: tauvth~ gar ke`inoi davimone~ eisi mavch~ despovtai Eubovih~ douriklutoiv....... "Not many bowstrings will be stretched nor slingshot flying thick, when Ares makes his killing field On the plain. Then it will be the grievous work of the sword. " We have here an unusual battle scene which apparently by design or treaty was restricted to sword-fighting to the exclusion of bows and slings. This may point to the Lelantine War between Chalcis and Eretria in 790 BC where missile weapons were by agreement outlawed.