The ‘Homeric Greek compounds’ project is an on-going linguistic research project partially funded by the University of Palermo FFR-2013 (ATE-0164). The project aims at creating a free open-access online database containing the Homeric compounds found in the Iliad and the Odyssey. The research group is currently composed of people ranging from graduate to Ph.D. students, from post-doctoral researchers to associate professors, mainly from the Department of Humanities of the University of Palermo and from the Department of Literary Studies, Philology and Linguistics of the University of Milano Statale. The group is composed of the following people: Annamaria Bartolotta (project coordinator, University of Palermo), Lucia Aliffi (University of Palermo), Valentina Amico (University of Palermo), Maria Cardella (University of Milano Statale), Loredana Coccia (University of Palermo), Alessandra Cuva (University of Palermo), Francesco Dedè (University of Milano Statale), Noemi De Pasquale (University of Salerno), Mauro Giuffrè (University of Palermo), Michele Longo (University of Palermo), Roberta Melazzo (Marconi University), Castrenze Nigrelli (University of Palermo). The main purpose of this working group is to collect and describe all the compounded Nouns and Adjectives occurring in the Homeric poems, in order to share and make linguistic data re-usable and available to the scientific community. The ultimate goal of this project is indeed to offer a manageable database as a tool to study and reconstruct, as far as possible, the unifying criteria that are at the basis of the process of composition in archaic Greek. In fact, both definitions and classifications of compounds are still a debated issue in the linguistic literature. Research into the explanation of this complex linguistic phenomenon must be integrated by not only making cross-linguistic comparisons, but also considering the diachronic perspective. Thus, an interdisciplinary perspective is needed, that gives value to the historical-comparative dimension as well. By virtue of the conservative nature that characterizes compound forms, the diachronic development and prehistory of compounds in the oldest Indo-European languages reveals valuable information about the syntactic structure of the IE proto-language. In particular, although Ancient Greek composition has been dealt with since the beginning of the XXth century, there is still no reference database that gathers and describes all the compounds attested in Homeric Greek, a language that, along with Sanskrit, is the basis and the starting point for the reconstruction of the Indo-European proto-language. Hence, the idea of a database containing a description of morphological, syntactic, semantic and lexical features, and etymological interpretation of each compounded word in the Iliad and Odyssey.
The database contains more than 1500 entries, which are arranged alphabetically from Α to Ω. The database encodes information about the syntactic category of the compound and its morphosyntactic structure, including its part of speech and the lexical category of both first and second members (categorization). As it is not easy task to decide whether the adjectival or noun suffix is added to the whole compound or to the second element, the square brackets in the categorization do not refer to any specific morphological theory about the word-formation process, but are only used to describe the lexical categories that form each single compound. The linguistic description also contains the compound meaning and the features that have been considered relevant, i.e. its etymology, each word occurrence and the corresponding inflectional information, including case and number, the headedness (endocentric vs exocentric), the classification of each compound (subordinate, determinative attributive, coordinate). When necessary, some specific notes are added about linking elements (i.e. those functional structures that serve to link the two members of compound, and which can find expression in specific inflectional endings of the non-head member within the complex word), head position in endocentric compounds (right-headed/left-headed compounds), case forms of the first/second member, other morphological or semantic useful information.
Main bibliographic and digital tools used in this research include (but are not limited to) the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG 2000), the online Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English lexicon (LSJ 2011). Reference works are, among others, Schwyzer (1959), Chantraine (1968), Clackson (2002), Lieber & Šteckauer (2009), Meissner & Tribulato (2002), Tribulato (2015). Critical editions of Iliad and Odyssey are Mazon (1957–61) and Monro & Allen (1978); Van Thiel (1991) and Van Thiel (1996). Reference translation of Iliad and Odyssey is Murray (1946a, b). Etymological dictionaries are Chantraine (1968-1980) and Frisk (1960-1972). Reference works for the IE roots are basically Pokorny (1959) and Rix (2001).
Beekes, R. P. 2010. Etymological Dictionary of Greek (2 vols). Leiden, Brill.
Chantraine, P. 1968-1980. Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque, Paris, Klincksieck.
Chantraine, P. 1968. La formation des noms en grec ancien, Paris, Klincksieck.
Clackson, J. 2002. Composition in Indo-European Languages. Transactions of the Philological Society, 100 (2), 163-167.
Frisk, H. 1960-1972. Griechisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 3 vol. Heidelberg, Carl Winter.
Lieber, R. & Šteckauer, P. (Eds). 2009. The Oxford Handbook of Compounding. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
LSJ, 2011. The online Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English lexicon. Irvine, CA, University of California.
Mazon, P. 1957-61. Homère. Iliade. Tome I : chants I-VI; tome II: chants VII-XII; tome III: chants XIII-XVIII; tome IV: chants XIX-XXIV. Paris, Les Belles Lettres.
Meissner T. & Tribulato O. 2002. Nominal composition in Mycenaean Greek. Transactions of the Philological Society, 100 (3), 289-330.
Monro, D. B. & Allen, T. W. 1978. Homeri Opera, vols. I–IV. Oxford, Clarendon Press.
Murray, A. T. 1946a-b. Homer, The Iliad. Vol. I. The Odyssey. Vol. I-II. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.
Pokorny, J. 1959. Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch. I-II. Bern-München, Francke Verlag.
Risch, E. 1974. Wortbildung der homerischen Sprache. Berlin-New York, Walter De Gruyter.
Rix, H. 2001. Lexicon der Indogermanischen Verben. Wiesbaden, Reichert Verlag.
Schwyzer, E. 1959. Griechische Grammatik, vols. I–II. Munich, Beck Verlag.
TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae). 2000. A Digital Library of Greek Literature. University of California, Irvine, CA.
Tribulato, O. 2015. Ancient Greek Verb-initial Compounds. Berlin-Boston, Walter De Gruyter.
Van Thiel, H. (Ed). 1996. Homeri Ilias. Hildesheim, Georg Olms Verlag.
Van Thiel, H. (Ed). 1991. Homeri Odyssea. Hildesheim, Georg Olms Verlag.