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Sulla corporeità del processo cognitivo nei poemi omerici: il caso di μαίνομαι


The aim of this paper is to shed light on the striking connection between, on the one hand, the cognitive process in Homer and, on the other, the verb μαίνομαι (and the forms from the perfect stem μεμον-/μεμα-), which represents the ultimate example of Ancient Greek verb conveying the idea of “raging, being furious/mad/insane”. Besides those common meanings, the analysis of the Iliad and the Odyssey shows that the semantic complexity of μαίνομαι actually includes the idea of “thinking”, due to the inner polysemy of the IE root *men-, to which the verb at issue traces back, as well as the Homeric lack of distinction between body and mind. More specifically, the verb also refers to a range of contiguous meanings, such as “craving”, “wanting”, “intending to do”, all related to the crucial physical dynamic that involves the heart (i.e. ἦτορ, κραδίη, θυμός, φρένες) as the systemic organ complex supervising any vital functions in Homer.