The πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης formula in early Greek poetry
Simmons, Jill Katharine
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This thesis examines the πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης formula as it appears in the Homeric and Hesiodic poems, as well as two later instances of the phrase in fragments of epic and elegy. The collocation is here examined for the ways in which its use in Homer demonstrates a clear and consistent conformity to the poetic purpose of emotional revelation and amplification. The Iliadic use of the phrase contributes to the thematisation of grief and the establishment of the sea as a locus for poetic expression in Greek epic. Later uses of the formula in the Odyssey, in the Hesiodic material, and in fragment 13 of Archilochus draw on the psychological effect of the phrase’s Iliadic use to evoke the volume of epic lament. The πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης collocation provides an important example of how oral-traditional vocabulary develops meaning through reuse, and highlights the function of the sea as normative Homeric landscape.