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by Archaeology Newsroom

Textile Decoration in the Homeric Poems

The numerous controversial comments and the information about books referring to the unknown “Homeric glosses» offer irrefutable evidence that the Greeks of the historic period were ignorant of the meaning of many Homeric words. Therefore, one has to search again for the lost orig¬inal meaning of the words as they appear in their context and at the same time to fall back on the very items and practices described in the epos. Following up the course of the textile decoration, through the description in the epos, and its impact on vase-painting and sculpture is doubly elucidating: on the one hand it reveals the transformation of the decorative motifs in their transition from vases to textiles and vice versa; and on the other it casts light on the lost meaning of some relevant Homeric terms. For instance, the Homeric adjectives «τερμιόεις», «δινωτός» and «σιγαλόεις» can probably be interpreted through the techniques of textile decoration as they have affected the embellishment of solid objects. Thus, the term «τερμιόεις” seems to signify whatever has a neatly done selvage, «δινωτός» applies to whatever is decorated with the meander motif, while «σιγαλόεις» means the fully-embroidered or dotted.