The English-Greek dictionary by Woodhouse translates finger as "δάκτυλος." However, the Homeric dictionary by Cunliffe doesn't have this word, and searching in the text of Homer doesn't seem to turn it up. It occurs only in the set phrase ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς, "rosy-fingered Dawn." Is there some way of expressing this such as "the end of the hand" or "the limbs of the hand" or something?

For leg, there's κνήμη for the calf or lower leg, but σκέλος for the whole leg doesn't seem to exist in Homer, nor does κῶλον. Is there some phrase involving "limb?" Is πούς used in some more general sense to mean leg?

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    Jason Kottke posted a quotation from Emily Wilson "Dawn appears some twenty times in The Odyssey, and the poem repeats the same line, word for word, each time: emos d’erigeneia phane rhododaktulos eos: “But when early-born rosy-fingered Dawn appeared…” kottke.org/18/04/… – Hugh Feb 22 at 23:03
  • @Hugh: Good point. So I wonder what's up with the fact that the word only occurs in that compound form in Homer, never as a separate word. – Ben Crowell Feb 23 at 0:41
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    Yes, πούς can stretch to leg, as it does in English: foot as that with which one runs, “πόδας ὠκὺς Ἀχιλλεύς” Il.1.215, al.; or walks, “τῷ δ᾽ ὑπὸ ποσσὶ μέγας πελεμίζετ᾽ Ὄλυμπος” 8.443; freq. with reference to swiftness, “περιγιγνόμεθ᾽ ἄλλων πύξ τε . . ἠδὲ πόδεσσιν” Od.8.103; ποσὶν ἐρίζειν to race on foot, Il.13.325, cf. 23.792; “πόδεσσι πάντας ἐνίκα” 20.410, cf. Od.13.261; “ἀέθλια ποσσὶν ἄροντο” Il.9.124, etc.; ποδῶν τιμά, αἴγλα, ἀρετά, ὁρμά, ... – Cosmas Zachos Feb 23 at 14:30
  • ... "the finale brought me to my feet" where legs might be conceptually closer. The foot leads the leg. But, at the end of the day, in literal usage, Homer, or anyone before 1000AD, would never use πούς in a description of a broken leg. – Cosmas Zachos Feb 23 at 23:14

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