οἶνοψ

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Ancient Greek[edit]

The dark Mediterranean Sea

Etymology[edit]

From οἶνος (oînos, wine) +‎ -οψ (-ops) ( connected to ὄψ (óps, eye; face)).

In Mycenaean Greek Linear B, 𐀺𐀜𐀦𐀰 (wo-no-qo-so) (KN Ch 1015)[1] and 𐀺𐀜𐀦𐀰𐀤 (wo-no-qo-so-qe) (KN Ch 897)[1] (a name of a bull, perhaps connected to the use of bullshead rhytons to contain ritual wine) is taken to be the same term.[2]

Pronunciation[edit]

 

Adjective[edit]

οἶνοψ (oînopsm, f (neuter οἴνοπος); third declension

  1. (Homeric epithet of the sea or cattle) an epithet traditionally rendered as "wine-dark" and taken to mean wine-colored and hence dark, reddish (as the sea at sunset), bluish (like some wines), or purplish
    • 800 BCE – 600 BCE, Homer, Iliad 2.613:
      αὐτὸς γάρ σφιν δῶκεν ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν Ἀγαμέμνων
      νῆας ἐϋσσέλμους περάᾱν ἐπὶ οἴνοπα πόντον
      Ἀτρεΐδης, ἐπεὶ οὔ σφι θαλάσσια ἔργα μεμήλει.
      autòs gár sphin dôken ánax andrôn Agamémnōn
      nêas eüssélmous peráān epì oínopa pónton
      Atreḯdēs, epeì oú sphi thalássia érga memḗlei.
      For Agamemnon son of Atreus himself had given [the Arcadians]
      strong-benched ships for crossing the wine-dark sea,
      since they weren't interested in the work of the sea.
    • 800 BCE – 600 BCE, Homer, Odyssey 13.31–35:
      ὡς δ' ὅτ' ἀνὴρ δόρποιο λιλαίεται, ᾧ τε πανῆμαρ
      νειὸν ἀν' ἕλκητον βόε οἴνοπε πηκτὸν ἄροτρον ...
      ὣς Ὀδυσῆ' ἀσπαστὸν ἔδῡ φάος ἠελίοιο.
      hōs d' hót' anḕr dórpoio lilaíetai, hôi te panêmar
      neiòn an' hélkēton bóe oínope pēktòn árotron ...
      hṑs Odusê' aspastòn édū pháos ēelíoio.
      As when a man longs for supper who all day
      has had two wine-dark oxen pulling a crafted plow through fallow land, ...
      so it was welcome for Odysseus that the sun's light set.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Since it is used of the sea at sunset, some scholars think this word meant deep red,[3][4] but others are sceptical that Homer meant the sea or oxen were red/wine-colored.[2] Some speculate Homer may have had blue wine, but the word is elsewhere used of oxen.[4] Eleanor Irwin suggested it indicated a dark surface reflecting light like wine in a goblet.[5] Michael Clarke suggested it was meant to evoke not just the appearance of wine but its effects (e.g., when Achilles is at the "wine-dark" sea, he is intoxicated with grief).[4]

Declension[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 John Chadwick, ‎J. T. Killen, ‎J. P. Olivier, The Knossos Tablets (1971, →ISBN), page 46
  2. 2.0 2.1 Karl Kerényi, Dionysos
  3. ^ Edzard Visser, Homer 1977–2000, in Lustrum Band 56: 2014 edited by Marcus Deufert, Michael Weißenberger
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Shane Butler, ‎Alex Purves, Synaesthesia and the Ancient Senses (→ISBN, 2014)
  5. ^ Eleanor Irwin, Colour terms in Greek poetry (→ISBN, 1974), page 28: The epithet οἶνοψ in Homer's oft-quoted "wine-dark" sea also describes cattle (Od. 5.132). We may well wonder what point of comparison exists between wine and water and also between wine and cattle. The author inclines to the view that a dark surface reflecting light is in all cases being described. Wine in the ancient world was seen, not through glass as in modern times, but in an opaque crater or cup. It was the surface that caught the eye. Similarly the sea viewed from land or shipboard may, under appropriate weather conditions, appear dark with reflected lights. In the case of cattle, too, the surface, i.e. hide, may be dark and glossy.