ἀριθμὸν … πλεϊστον: she thinks of Laïus, her father and mother, and her two brothers. ἐν νεκροῖς with δέδεκται: the queen of the nether world has greeted them as they passed through the “πολύξενοι” “πύλαι” to Hades (O. C. 1569 f.). So Oedipus is led by “Ἑρμῆς ὁ πομπὸς ἥ τε νερτέρα θεός” (ib. 1548). As “ἡ ἀφανὴς θεός” she is associated with Hades (ib. 1556). Φερσέφασσα has L's support here. That form occurs also in Eur. Helen 175, but “Περσέφασσα” in Aesch. Cho. 490. The Il.and Od.have only “Περσεφόνεια. Φερσεφόνεια” occurs in Hom. Hymn. 13.2. Pindar uses “Φερσεφόνα”. Plato attests that, in his day, the popular form was “Φερρέφαττα”, which he explains as the goddess of wisdom, who enables men “φερομένων ἐφάπτεσθαι”, to grasp changing phenomena. People were afraid to utter the name “Φερσεφόνη” ( Crat. 404C). Attic inscrr. of the 4th cent. B.C. give “Περσεφόνη, Φερσεφόνη, Φερρέφαττα” (Meisterhans pp. 36 ff.). MSS. have “Φερσέφαττα” (which should perh. be “Φερρέφαττα”) in Aristoph. Ran. 671, Th. 287.A vase ascribed to c. 435 B.C. gives “ΠΕΡΣΩΦΑΤΑ” (sic, Baumeister Denkm. p. 424). Welcker cites “ΦΕΡΕΦΑΣΑ” from an Agrigentine vase (Götterl. 1. 393). We may infer that Soph. , c. 440 B.C., might have used either “Περσέφασσα” or “Φερσέφασσα”. The testimony of our oldest and best MS., L, may therefore be allowed to turn the scale.— In “Περσεφόνη”, the “φον” is certainly “φαν”, as in “Ἀργειφόντης”, and this comes out more clearly in “Περσέφασσα”: cp. “Τηλεφᾶσσα ῀ Τηλεφάεσσα”, Apollod. 3. 1. 1.The first part of the word is prob. “φερ, φέρω”; and the name meant originally, ‘she who brings (vegetation) to the light.’ The initial II would then have been due to the following “φ” (cp. “πέ-φυκα” for “φέ-φυκα”). The replacement of the initial Φ may have been prompted by a wish to mitigate the “δυσφημία” of the name by avoiding an association with “πέρθω”.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.