Friday 11 September 2009

Where the cows come home

Lines 399-400 of the Homeric Hymn to Hermes:

ἀγροὺς δ᾿ ἐξίκοντο καὶ αὔλιον ὑψιμέλαθρον
ἡχοῦ δὴ τὰ χρήματ᾿ ἀτάλλετο νυκτὸς ἐν ὥρῃ

"They came to the fields and the high-walled aulion, where those cattle were cherished at night-time."

How should αὔλιον be translated? Some give 'byre', others 'steading'. Feyerabend glosses with 'hurdle', 'farm yard', and 'grotto'. More intriguely, LSJ gives 'country-house' and 'cottage'. Presumably, their former gloss is not to be understood in the sense of the 1930s "the country-house set" !

For when the cows come home, consider this intriguing sign:

So, 5.30 pm, then.

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