Foreign Language Forums => Greek => Topic started by: rakovsky on January 16, 2020, 12:37:06 AM

Title: What does the Sibylline Hexameter sound like in Greek?
Post by: rakovsky on January 16, 2020, 12:37:06 AM
In translating the Christian Sibylline Oracles, Milton Terry commented that the English language naturally fits a Pentameter structure, whereas the Greek language fits hexameter. So when he made his translation of the Oracles, he deliberately translated them into English with a Pentameter verse from the Greek original, which was in hexameter.

What does the Sibylline Hexameter sound like in Greek? Do you know of recordings of the Christian Sibylline Oracles, which would show the poetic rhythm of their Greek hexameter?

The Karavaki blog discusses the Sibylline oracles and has excerpts from it in Greek:
"Ποιές ήταν οι Σίβυλλες; Τι έλεγαν για τον Αδάμ και τον Χριστό; Ο χρησμός του Απόλλωνα", 12/01/2014,
LINK: https://karavaki.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/sibylle/

Here is a talk on Youtube in Greek about it:
I can't understand Greek. Can you summarize what they say in the talk?

I don't know if the following songs actually quote the Sibyl. Can you tell?:
Nenas Venetsanou's 1982 "Oracles of the Sybil": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqqMB4hSa70
Maria Farantouri's song "Oracles of the Sibyl": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mC6k5wBrS4
M. Farantouri's 2011 performance of the same song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGa06iFcqtk
Merlin Beggar's "Song of the Sybil" song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G26WoSqpiGw

The Oracles were written in dactyllic hexameter in the style of Homeric hexameter.
The first 21 lines of Homer's Odyssey is read here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d39VrPwBGkQ
Here is Homer, Odyssey a1-27: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOvVWiDsPWQ
Excerpts from the Iliad can be heard here: https://www.podium-arts.com/3346/iliad-excerpts-16-feb-15/
It's funny, but these performances of Homer's poetry sound as if the narrators have Swedish or Danish accents. For some reason maybe the classical ancient Greek pronunciation is considered to sound that way.

William Deane writes in his article on the Sibylline Oracles:
They are written in Homeric hexameter verse, but with great licence as to the quantities of words, accent often being taken to lengthen a short syllable, e.g. iii.1: Ourani hupsibremeta makar, hos echeis to Cheroubim, and quantities are in the most regal manner made to give way to the necessities of the verse, even without the excuse of accent, e.g. v.272: autous de krupsousin heos kosmos allage, the last two feet doing duty for spondees.
Wikipedia's entry on Spondee says:
A spondee is a metrical foot consisting of two long syllables, as determined by syllable weight in classical meters, or two stressed syllables in modern meters.
David Aune writes in Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World:
The poetic form of oracles was regarded as an indication of their divine origin in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, since the Greeks widely accepted the divine inspiration of poetry.

The Oxford Classical Dictionary's entry on the Sibylline Oracles says:
The surviving collection is a literary product, written largely in Homeric hexameters (as the originals were reputed to be) and composed by multiple Jewish, Christian, and perhaps a few pagan authors ranging from the 2nd century bce to the 7th century ce, with diverse aims and agendas.
The Sibyl in duly oracular form refers to the tale of Troy and to its poet, who is branded as an unreliable source, one who embellished his tale with falsehoods and whose hexameters had been taken from the Sibyl herself (401–432). The twists and turns continue with no obvious structure or order.
In other words, the Christian Sibylline oracle criticizes the poet Homer who told the story of Troy, claiming that Homer took his hexameter verses from the Sibyl.
Title: Re: What does the Sibylline Hexameter sound like in Greek?
Post by: rakovsky on January 24, 2020, 02:40:49 AM
To answer my own OP, it turns out that none of those recordings quote the Sibylline Oracles in Greek. One of the closest of anything on the internet to the poetic meter of the Sibylline oracles is the Homeric readings done in Greek like I linked to above.
Title: Re: What does the Sibylline Hexameter sound like in Greek?
Post by: Apostolos on January 31, 2020, 01:02:18 PM
The songs that you've posted are in modern Greek, so they have no connection at all, with the ancient Greek metric recitation.
The Odyssey videos are cringeworthy because they employ the Erasmic (abhorrent) pronunciation and not the reconstructed one. 
The video with the two gentlemen, tries to reconcile Orthodox Christian Theology with ancient Greek "eschatology". I wouldn't pay too much attention if I were you, their views are at the fringe of the Orthodox world.
Btw I find the reconstructed ancient Greek pronunciation of podium arts (https://www.youtube.com/user/iostrat/videos) much more interesting
Title: Re: What does the Sibylline Hexameter sound like in Greek?
Post by: rakovsky on January 31, 2020, 02:45:44 PM
Thanks for your input, Apostolos.