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Vilken sträng var det som brast? En språklig och medicinsk diskussion med utgångspunkt från episoden med Teukros i Iliaden 8.321-334

Which string broke? A linguistic and medical discussion emanating from the episode of Teucer in the Iliad 8.321-334


  • Göran Benoni

Summary, in English

During the Trojan War, the Greek archer Teucer was hit by a stone on the collar-bone. His arm went numb, indicating a nerve injury. Through a linguistic and medical analysis, Homer’s anatomical knowledge is examined. The conclusion is that Homer’s concept of anatomy was mainly founded on an empirical and functional knowledge, to a lesser degree on systematic knowledge. The paper offers an explanation to Homer’s consistent use of the word τένων (tendon) in either dualis or plural, never in singular. Furthermore, different translations of this episode into English and Swedish are discussed. Some translators state that the bow-string broke, others that a tendon in Teucer’s shoulder was crushed. One finding is that the translation of the words νευρή, ἡ, νεῦρον, τό and τένων, ὁ are in some instances imprecise and contradictory in Greek-English dictionaries.
The analysis suggests that the correct tenor of the word νευρήν (string) in the Teucer episode is similar to the Egyptian word "met" meaning string-formed structures such as tendons, vessels, possibly nerves.

Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Iliaden
  • Homeros
  • anatomi
  • bågsträng
  • sena
  • nerv
  • egyptiskt inflytande
  • Iliad
  • Homer
  • anatomy
  • bow-string
  • tendon
  • nerve
  • Egyptian influence


  • Karin Blomqvist (Professor)