The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Threshing-Floor or Vineyard

A. D. Urea1

a1 University of Reading

The word S0009838800011502_inline1 is generally regarded as having two distinct and separate meanings: (1) threshing-floor, and (2) garden, orchard, or vineyard. Like the classical S0009838800011502_inline2 the word must originally have denoted a threshing-floor. How the second, and apparently incongruous, meaning became attached to it has never been explained. Both are found in Homer. In the Iliad the horses of Achilles trample down the dead like oxen treading the barley on the well-built threshing-floor; the arrow rebounds from the breastplate of Menelaos like beans or chickpeas flying off the blade of the winnowing shovel on the great threshing-floor; the dust of the conflict that lay white on the Achaeans is likened to the whitening heaps when the wind drives off the chaff on the holy threshing-floors when men are winnowing and Demeter separates the chaff from the grain.