Epics

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ear Epic Journeys team,

I asked a friend who is a Greek scholar to help me out with the meaning of the names of the swineherd Eumaios and nurse Eurykleia in the Odyssey and he sent me all kinds of good things that I thought I would share with you.

Have a good weekend... - Valerie

> The etymology of eumaios' name is a matter of
>contention. It may be a folk etymology related to the word eumenes, meaning >"kind". (side note: in the Linear B tablets e-u-me-ne is a man's name). It >may be related to maiomai meaning "to seek after", but the connection is >not obvious. eumaios is notable as one of the characters which the Homeric >narrator addresses directly in the second person. (e.g. "O Eumaios, good >swineherd, you did x....") The other character addressed in this way is >Patroclus in the Iliad. Richard (Martin) has argued that this second person >address is an indication of the close relationship between the Homeric >narrator and the hero of the epic. i.e. the narrator often speaks in a way >which brings him close to the way that the main character speaks or vice >versa-- the major character speaks like a Homeric singer. In the case of >the Iliad, the hero is Achilles and Patroclus is of course the closest >buddy of Achilles. In the Odyssey, you could argue whether it is because of >focalization through Odysseus or Telemachus but either way, Eumaios is a >special figure in relation to them and hence he gets addressed in the 2nd >person.

>
>Eurykleia's name should mean something like "far-famed" or "of wide fame". >Eury- means broad, kleia- is related to the word kleos, "glory". [In the >Iliad, Achilles famously says that he can live a long life without kleos or >die young and gain kleos through his glorious death.] A key point about >both Eurykleia and Eumaios is that they get much more attention than any >slave in the Iliad but they are both of noble birth. (1.429 and 15.403ff >for the relevant stories.) So, even though they are technically...
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