Posts Tagged science

Purple rain: did Homer think the wine-dark sea was burgundy?

The girl in the YELLOW bonnet

The girl in the YELLOW bonnet

Now for something completely different, though still with a strong literary bent: “the topic of color perception through the prisms of cognitive science, perception, language, literature, and history.”

In his writings Homer surprises us by his use of color. His color descriptive palate was limited to metallic colors, black, white, yellowish green and purplish red, and those colors he often used oddly, leaving us with some questions as to his actual ability to see colors properly (1). He calls the sky “bronze” and the sea and sheep as the color of wine, he applies the adjective chloros (meaning green with our understanding) to honey, and a nightingale (2). Chloros is not the only color that Homer uses in this unusual way. He also uses kyanos oddly, “Hector was dragged, his kyanos hair was falling about him” (3). Here it would seem, to our understanding, that Hector’s hair was blue as we associate the term kyanos with the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli…  Purple rain: did Homer think the wine-dark sea was burgundy? « Sandy’s CERSYS Blog.


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