Visible Silence

Choosing Between Punctuation and Phonology

(Dr Ronald Blankenborg, Radboud University, Nijmegen)

This paper argues that rhythmical regularisation of the archaic hexameter shows visible traces of the performability of silence, or pause. Phonological replenishment complements prosodic means to make silence performable.

The past decades have seen various contributions to the issue of pause in ancient Greek epic poetry, both conceived as pausa, and as true silence (Daitz 1991, Devine & Stephens 1994; Steinrück 1995; Gentili & Lomiento 2003; Hagel 2004; Lukinovich & Steinrück 2004; Blankenborg forthcoming). Both from rhythmical colometry, and from phonoprosodic clues, evidence is brought forward to argue for variable positions for performative pause in hexameter poetry.

Steinrück 2005 presents examples of lagaroi, suggesting that certain textual variants may be explained as ‘smoothing over’ of indicators of silence. I take his example Il.19.189 (μιμνέτω αὖθι τέως ἐπειγόμενός περ Ἄρηος [Σ Esc.]) and Didymus’ comment (Σ Il.19.189: δίχα τοῦ πέρ, καὶ βραχὺ διασταλτέον ἐπὶ τὸ τέως πρὸς τὸ σαφὲς καὶ ἵνα διὰ τῆς σιωπῆς τοῦ χρόνου τὸ μέτρον σώιζηται) as a clue that stichoi lagaroi, meiouroi, and akefaloi point at phonetic indicators of pause rather than the probability of phonological regularization. My examples will show that printed and audible punctuation team up to facilitate silence in performance.