The potential of ancient Greek poetic etymologizing and its reception in antiquity are analyzed with new interpretive models.
The author studies poetic etymology in a holistic and integrative manner, as a tool of thematic and narrative unification. Select passages from Homer and archaic lyric poetry provide the matrix for etymological patterns; their validity is examined in an intertextual study of the names of Pelops and his kin.
This family exhibits a consistent naming system: the signifiers and signifieds of its male members manifest a lexical and semantic affinity; fathers and sons are linked with inherited linguistic and behavioral bonds. Pelops is given a focal position on account of his preeminence at Olympia and his polyvalent and polysemous name, in which the ambiguities and polarities of his mythic and cultic identity are embedded.