a1 University of Reading
The word is generally regarded as having two distinct and separate meanings: (1) threshing-floor, and (2) garden, orchard, or vineyard. Like the classical 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.