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Quiz about Homeric Questions
Quiz about Homeric Questions

Homeric Questions Trivia Quiz


Homer's Greek is linguistically interesting-- a fact not known to most casual readers of the "Iliad" and "Odyssey" in translation. Take this quiz to find out more about the language and poetry of Homer! No knowledge of Greek required.

A multiple-choice quiz by pu2-ke-qi-ri. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
pu2-ke-qi-ri
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
181,336
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
1910
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
- -
Question 1 of 10
1. In what meter are the Iliad and the Odyssey written? You might know this as the meter of Longfellow's poem "Evangeline". Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Greek poetic meters are not based on syllable stress, like English poetic meters are. Instead, Greek meter is based on what aspect of the syllable? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Furthermore, syllables in ancient Greek words aren't accented by stress. What are they accented by? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Objects and heroes have more than one epithet because Greek words change their endings to indicate grammatical meaning. An epithet may work with one form of a word, but not another. What are the different grammatical forms of a noun called? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. There are multiple distinct dialects of ancient Greek. For instance, the historian Herodotus, from Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, wrote in Ionic Greek, while the historian Thucydides, from Athens, wrote in Attic Greek. The dialect in which Homer composed his works is known as Homeric Greek. Was this an actual spoken dialect?


Question 6 of 10
6. Homer uses older and newer versions of words as it suits the meter. It just so happens that a certain consonant was in the process of dropping out of use around Homer's time. Name it, or the English letter corresponding to its sound. For a clue, you might compare the newer form "oinos" with its English cognate "wine," Latin "winus."

Answer: (Which consonant is different?)
Question 7 of 10
7. Another consonant was also in the process of dying out in certain situations: intervocalic iota (i), also known as y. Surprisingly, one word where we find an intervocalic iota present is "Athenaie," the name of the goddess more commonly known as... Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Homeric Greek lacks this part of speech, certainly present by the time of, say, Plato. I'll give you *the* hint required to get this question right, not just *a* random clue. Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Many Greek names consist of two normal Greek words put together. For instance, the name of Hector's son, Astyanax, consists of the two words "astu" (town) and "anax" (lord). Patroclus' name contains the same two words, in reverse order, as what famous queen? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. You've heard the story where Odysseus tells the Cyclops he's Mr. Nobody, but the Greek includes a pun on top of that. One form of the word "no" is "ou," and this is the form Odysseus gives the Cyclops in his name "outis." But when the Cyclops starts telling his friends that Nobody's hurting him, he uses the other form, "me," out of grammatical necessity. What meaning, other than "nobody," does "metis" have? You might know this personified as Athena's mother, the goddess of intelligence. Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. In what meter are the Iliad and the Odyssey written? You might know this as the meter of Longfellow's poem "Evangeline".

Answer: Dactylic hexameter

Dactylic hexameter consists of six feet, each of which can be either a dactyl, long-short-short, or a spondee, long-long. For a sample of what this really sounds like, there are several recordings up on the web of Stanley Lombardo reading the "Iliad" in Greek.
2. Greek poetic meters are not based on syllable stress, like English poetic meters are. Instead, Greek meter is based on what aspect of the syllable?

Answer: Length

Syllables can be either long or short, depending on how long it takes to pronounce them. A long syllable takes about twice as long to pronounce as a short syllable. Whether a syllable is long depends on the consonants that precede and follow the vowel and whether the vowel is long.
3. Furthermore, syllables in ancient Greek words aren't accented by stress. What are they accented by?

Answer: pitch

Ancient Greek would have sounded something like Chinese or Swedish, I suppose. The so-called acute accent represents a high or rising pitch, the circumflex represents a pitch that rises, then slides back down, and the grave represents a "canceled" acute.
4. Objects and heroes have more than one epithet because Greek words change their endings to indicate grammatical meaning. An epithet may work with one form of a word, but not another. What are the different grammatical forms of a noun called?

Answer: Cases

Let's take the example of supplying an epithet in front of Apollo's name. When "Apollo" is the subject, the form is "Apollon," short-long-long. In that case, the epithet "Phoibos" works, long-short. Should we want to say "of Apollo," the form is "Apollona," long-long-long-long. We can't use "Phoibos" here; we can't have a single short syllable between two longs.

However, "hekebolon," short-long-short-short, suits the bill.
5. There are multiple distinct dialects of ancient Greek. For instance, the historian Herodotus, from Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, wrote in Ionic Greek, while the historian Thucydides, from Athens, wrote in Attic Greek. The dialect in which Homer composed his works is known as Homeric Greek. Was this an actual spoken dialect?

Answer: No

Homeric Greek is mostly Ionic Greek, with some Aeolic forms thrown in. Homer also uses an incongruous combination of old and new forms of words. Hence, nobody actually went around speaking Homeric Greek. I wonder if any translator has tried to reproduce how strange Homeric Greek would have sounded to a listener.
6. Homer uses older and newer versions of words as it suits the meter. It just so happens that a certain consonant was in the process of dropping out of use around Homer's time. Name it, or the English letter corresponding to its sound. For a clue, you might compare the newer form "oinos" with its English cognate "wine," Latin "winus."

Answer: w

The early Greek alphabet contained a letter to represent the sound w, which was then still present in the language. It looked like our letter F. It was known as "vau" (pronounce the v as a w), and after the sound dropped out of use, digamma. We see the digamma used in early inscriptions.
7. Another consonant was also in the process of dying out in certain situations: intervocalic iota (i), also known as y. Surprisingly, one word where we find an intervocalic iota present is "Athenaie," the name of the goddess more commonly known as...

Answer: Athena/Athene

Yes, after the i dropped out and left Athenae, the a and the e contracted simply to an e. In the first book of the Iliad, both spellings are found just a few lines apart. Here, the -i- is an adjectival ending on Athene, the name of Athens, the city. So, if you ever wondered whether Athens was named after Athena or vice versa, you now know that Athena was definitely named after Athens.

In Mycenaean Greek, ca. 1200-1400 BCE, Athena's name is written as a-ta-na-po-ti-ni-ja, literally the "Athens' Goddess." (The different spellings Athena/Athene are either due to differences in ancient Greek dialects, or, more likely, Latinizing the long e to a long a.)
8. Homeric Greek lacks this part of speech, certainly present by the time of, say, Plato. I'll give you *the* hint required to get this question right, not just *a* random clue.

Answer: Definite article

Alas, your faithful quiz writer forgets the theory of how the definite article developed. I must say, the definite article is quite helpful for figuring out the grammar of a word if you happen to be a beginning Greek student!
9. Many Greek names consist of two normal Greek words put together. For instance, the name of Hector's son, Astyanax, consists of the two words "astu" (town) and "anax" (lord). Patroclus' name contains the same two words, in reverse order, as what famous queen?

Answer: Cleopatra

Cleopatra is a Greek name, if you didn't happen to know. It consists of the two words "patros," "father," and "kleos," "fame." So, it means "fame of the father."
10. You've heard the story where Odysseus tells the Cyclops he's Mr. Nobody, but the Greek includes a pun on top of that. One form of the word "no" is "ou," and this is the form Odysseus gives the Cyclops in his name "outis." But when the Cyclops starts telling his friends that Nobody's hurting him, he uses the other form, "me," out of grammatical necessity. What meaning, other than "nobody," does "metis" have? You might know this personified as Athena's mother, the goddess of intelligence.

Answer: Cleverness

A few lines later, Odysseus laughs to himself about "how my name deceived him, and my faultless cunning (metis)." Actually, the two metis's are not exact homophones, but close enough that listeners would have heard the Cyclops bellowing, "Help! Mr. Smartypants is killing me!"
Source: Author pu2-ke-qi-ri

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