Homeric versus Attic – Nouns, etc.

Continuing the previous post, I also reviewed my note cards of Attic Greek nouns, adjectives, prepositions, etc., with similar results: of 254 Attic words, 163 were found in Homer, and 91 were not. As before, when I say “Homer,” I refer only to the Banner’s lexicon of his “Selections from Homer’s Iliad.”

That’s roughly the same percentages as for the verbs.

Also, most of the words that ARE found in Homer differ from Attic in some parts of their declension.

Among the noteworthy omissions (i.e. Attic words NOT found in Homer) are: αδικος (injustice), βαρβαρος (foreigner), βιβλος (book), γραμμα (letter), δελτος (writing tablet), δικαιος (justice), δουλος (slave), Ελλας (Hellas, i.e. Greece), λογος (word), μικρος (small), μνα (mina), τριηρης (trireme).

αδικος (injustice), δικαιος (justice) – While the root word, δικη (justice), existed, the concept & practice of justice, such as in law-courts figured more prominently in 5th & 4th Century Greece than in earlier times.

βαρβαρος (foreigner) – Homer uses a related word, but relatively high frequency of a word for “foreigner” suggests a stronger “Greek” identity in later times.

βιβλος (book), γραμμα (letter), δελτος (writing tablet) – More inference that the era of the Iliad was illiterate.

Ελλας (Hellas, i.e. Greece) – Homer uses other words to refer to Greece and the Greeks: Achaeans, Danaens, and Argives.

λογος (word), μικρος (small) – I was simply surprised that these basic, simple, common words did not appear.

μνα (mina) – There was no coined money in Homeric times.

τριηρης (trireme) – Triremes hadn’t been developed yet.