Homer’s “Wine-Dark” Sea

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(Mycenaean death mask)

In ancient Greek, the phrase is oínopa póntonoi´nopa being a compound of oínos, meaning “wine,” and óps, meaning “eye” or “face”—literally, “wine-faced,” and thus “wineish,” or “winelike.” The enduring “wine-dark” was established in the Greek-English Lexicon famously compiled by Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott and first published in 1843.

From: A Winelike Sea, Lapham’s Quarterly.

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