The Epic Adventures of an Unknown Particle

18 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2009

See all articles by Joshua T. Katz

Joshua T. Katz

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2007


This paper, a mini-“Autour de ‘ταρ épique’,” is above all a contribution to the study of Homeric formulas and compositional technique. I give an overview and expand our understanding of the underappreciated Homeric particle ταρ (tar), whose Cuneiform Luvian cognate Calvert Watkins discovered over a decade ago and whose essential Greek-ness M. L. West accepts in his Teubner edition of the Iliad; demonstrate on linguistic and stylistic grounds that ταρ is part of the conjunction αὐτάρ (autár) but not of the semantically similar near-look-alike ἀτάρ (atár); and explain why this unstressed and almost unknown monosyllable is of unexpectedly wide interest, being not just a bit of Homeric and Indo-European linguistic trivia, but an important rhetorical device in the description of ancient Greek ritual.

Suggested Citation

Katz, Joshua T., The Epic Adventures of an Unknown Particle (2007). Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics Paper No. 070701, Available at SSRN: or

Joshua T. Katz (Contact Author)

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