Il profumo della voce

Maurizio Bettini


Do the gods speak? And if so, what sort of tongue do the use to communicate? The problem concerned Augustine – who rejected the possibility of a God provided with phonatory organs – but had previously interested Epicureans and Academics. In the world of literature the issue seems to be normally overlooked. In Homer gods and humans share the same language, with the exception of some mysterious lexical pairs such as the bird that the gods call kúmindis and the humans chalkís. But if we turn to some celebrated lines of Euripides' Hippolytos, we can find something more revealing: the dialogue between a goddess and a human, Artemis and Hippolytos, includes not only words, but scents. Similarly, a scenting voice is the attribute of other marvelous creatures.

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