Achtergronden bij het gebruik van het augment in Homerus | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 51, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573



The function of the augment in Homer is a widely discussed issue in Greek linguistics. The traditional view that the Homeric augment is a temporal marker, just like in Classical Greek, has been questioned during the last decades. This article first summarizes the most relevant observations that have been made and evaluates their strengths and weaknesses. First of all, the high frequency of the augment on the aorist in gnomes and similes, but also when the current result of a past action is highlighted, suggests that the augment does not refer to a past event. The type of discourse, moreover, correlates with the frequency of the augment: it is used relatively often in similes and character speech, but not in narrative. This is why the function of the augment has in recent years been interpreted as deictic (Bakker) or pragmatic (Mumm). In our view, metrical considerations and morphological restrictions influence the use of the augment rather heavily, but if that is taken into consideration, a pragmatic function of the augment seems plausible. We illustrate these points and the remaining problems by discussing augment use in three passages from the .


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