I posted a bit ago concerning line 389 in Book IX of the Odyssey and its use of the word οφρυας (eyebrows) in regards to the cyclops Polyphemus. A commenter (by the name of Hypatia) noted that Polyphemus is not said to have one eye and that that the word “Cyclops” really only means “orb-eyed”. I was reading through Hesiod’s Theogony and noticed this in line 143:
μοῦνος δ’ όφθαλμὸς μέσσῳ ἐνέκειτο μετώπῳ (a single eye was placed in the middle of the forehead).
At first I thought this answered Hypatia’s question. But Hesiod’s cyclopes are not even the same as Homer’s. Homer’s cyclopes are the children of Poseidon and “οὐ γὰρ Κύκλωπες Διὸς αἰγιόχου ἀλέγουσιν οὐδὲ θεῶν μακάρων” (for the Cyclopes care not for Aegis-Holding Zeus nor the blessed gods). The cyclopes of Hesiod are the children of Earth and Heaven and aid Zeus in his overthrowing of Chronos.
Despite this, I still think Polyphemus is probably in line with the archetypal cyclops. In an article by Justin Glenn, he discusses the fact that Homer is drawing on archetypal stories involving ogres and cyclopes. (cf. “The Polyphemus Folktale and Homer’s Kyklopeia,” Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol 102 (1971): 133-181.) So I’m back to square one. The only reason I can figure Homer used οφρυας is meter – and that just seems like a lame reason.