Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Graphetai

I first came across this beautiful word in the following passage:

Not far from my cottage on the downs is a barn known as the Old Barn. It is surrounded by a wall and there is a cow-pond within the enclosure. It is the very place for a man of philosophic temper to visit. It might have been built here on the bare hills for no other purpose than human meditation. It resembles a diminutive Abbey Church standing within its garth. Its walls are constructed of huge blocks of chalk and if you enter the windowless building, crowded now with farm implements, and examine the masonry closely, it is soon revealed that the white flat surfaces have been used by generations of Dorset labourers as tablets for the simple graphetai of their days.

  • Llewellyn Powys The Tolpuddle Martyrs

George Loveless was one of my ancestors. 
This white page, these keys, this screen
form the graphetai of my days.



2 comments:

  1. That George Loveless appears a comely fellow, and those remarkable (goose-down-stuffed?) leggings would have provided a useful defense against errant darts flung under the influence at the local public house.

    Learning something new every day keeps the old teacher at bay, as the saying might once have gone.

    When Homer was a pup, there were no rhymes for graphetai, and that sorry state of things remains the case until this day. Of course Homer would have had no use for rhymes in any case.

    But the Homer Multitext Project will not abandon graphetai so easily, simply for its lack of bells and whistles for rhymers.

    “The roughly 700 scholia of the U4 codex, as a general rule, do not follow one specific method of linking scholia to Iliad text. The scholia themselves we may divide into two distinct types: ‘graphetai’ scholia, and all other scholia.
    Graphetai scholia, which consistently begin with the letters gamma and rho combined into a symbol, usually appear directly to the left or right of the line upon which they comment, as they provide alternate readings of a line or half line which the scribe has, for some reason or another, decided not to [choose for the line itself]. Some scholia beginning with the graphetai symbol do appear to the right of the prose paraphrase passage; whether these graphetai scholia comment on the prose paraphrase or on the Iliad text will be an interesting question to consider."

    Carry on then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, thanks for this. Having donned my goose feather leggings and considered the question, I will indeed, carry on.

      Delete

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