Re: pelekus

From: Carl William Conrad (
Date: Sun Feb 15 1998 - 10:22:22 EST

Jonathan asked about this word. I haven't run into it often, but the new
LSJG lists it as a two-edged battle-axe (Iliad), as an axe for sacrificial
use, and also as an executioner's axe. Autenrieth's Homeric Dictionary
gives "hatchet" also as used for felling trees. This is the term for the
"axes" through which Odysseus shot in the great contest with the bow on
Ithaca before the slaughter of the suitors, but there it is generally
thought that Odysseus shot through the axe-heads that were without
handles. The last time I came across it was in the case of a couple
insurance-fraud guys knocking a hole in the belly of a ship to sink it
with a PELEKUS.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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