Materiali per una storia dei composti di αὐτο-

Ilaria Sforza
Dipartimento di Filologia Classica - Università di Pisa - Via Galvani 1 - 56126 Pisa (Italy)

Pubblicato 2008-01-16


The Homeric compounds αὐτάγρετος, “who freely chooses”, αὐτόματος, “who spontaneously moves”, and αὐτοδίδαχτος, “who possesses wisdom”, show a link with the sphere of life, particularly with the sphere of the self-determined movement and thought. According to an effective metaphor by Hesiod, the bronze doorway of the Tartarus is “auto-produced” and stands firm on its own roots. In the Greek tragedy, especially in Sophocles, many compounds of αὐτο-, like αὐτογέννητος and αὐτόπρεμνος, develop in a bad way the idea of generation, since they reveal the self-destructive tendency of the γένος. There is but a step from the autochthony to the autoctony. The last consequence of the self-destructive drive of the man is to kill himself “with his own hands”, αὐτόχειρ: the suicide seems to be the only possible solution.