Homer and the Alphabet
In the English edition of his new book, Nanos Valaoritis analyses how the two Homeric epics were probably written using the alphabet as a rhetorical and symbolic thread and part of the text. It’s otherwise impossible to explain the length of the poems and the use of the alphabetical letters as merely separating marks. Using a method of thematic acrophony, (naming letters in an alphabetic writing system using words whose initial sounds are represented by the respective letters) the poet chose words which began with the letters of the titles in order to draw up the main topics of each rhapsody. For instance words which began with the letter A define the main topics of the rhapsody A in the Iliad or in the Odyssey, with B in the rhapsodies B and so forth.
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