O Swineherd, Where Art Thou? (Odyssey 14.48-61)

Stender_podcast_Gk112_2013

Nick Stender examines the scene in the Odyssey where Odysseus, dressed as a beggar, shows up at the hut of the swineherd Eumaeus, and is received with gallant swineherd hospitality–quite a contrast to the supposedly noble suitors who are occupying Odysseus’ palace. What does this scene reveal about the custom of xenia or guest-friendship in dark age Greece? Odyssey 14.48-61, discussed, translated, and read aloud by Nick Stender.

Odysseus and Eumaeus on a Greek red-figured vase Athens 5th century BC

Odysseus and Eumaeus

ὣς εἰπὼν κλισίηνδ’ ἡγήσατο δῖος ὑφορβός,
εἷσεν δ’ εἰσαγαγών, ῥῶπας δ’ ὑπέχευε δασείας,
ἐστόρεσεν δ’ ἐπὶ δέρμα ἰονθάδος ἀγρίου αἰγός,
αὐτοῦ ἐνεύναιον, μέγα καὶ δασύ. χαῖρε δ’ Ὀδυσσεύς,
ὅττι μιν ὣς ὑπέδεκτο, ἔπος τ’ ἔφατ’ ἔκ τ’ ὀνόμαζε·
“Ζεύς τοι δοίη, ξεῖνε, καὶ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι,
ὅττι μάλιστ’ ἐθέλεις, ὅτι με πρόφρων ὑπέδεξο.”
τὸν δ’ ἀπαμειβόμενος προσέφης, Εὔμαιε συβῶτα·
“ξεῖν’, οὔ μοι θέμις ἔστ’, οὐδ’ εἰ κακίων σέθεν ἔλθοι,
ξεῖνον ἀτιμῆσαι· πρὸς γὰρ Διός εἰσιν ἅπαντες
ξεῖνοί τε πτωχοί τε. δόσις δ’ ὀλίγη τε φίλη τε
γίνεται ἡμετέρη· ἡ γὰρ δμώων δίκη ἐστίν,
αἰεὶ δειδιότων, ὅτ’ ἐπικρατέωσιν ἄνακτες
οἱ νέοι.

Comments

Homer’s Divine Inspiration (Odyssey 8.487-498)

Sanchez_podcast_Gk112_2013

Solai Sanchez explores the Greek idea of poetry as divinely inspired, and poets as bestowers of immortality. In Book 8 of the Odyssey Odysseus praises the poet Demodocus by saying that he must have learned his craft from the Muse, or from Apollo. What does this mean, exactly? Odyssey 8.487-498 discussed, translated, and read aloud by Solai Sanchez.

Italian painting of three Muses

Orazio Genticleschi, Casino delle Muse (detail)

“Δημόδοκ’, ἔξοχα δή σε βροτῶν αἰνίζομ’ ἁπάντων·
ἢ σέ γε Μοῦσ’ ἐδίδαξε, Διὸς πάϊς, ἢ σέ γ’ Ἀπόλλων·
λίην γὰρ κατὰ κόσμον Ἀχαιῶν οἶτον ἀείδεις,
ὅσσ’ ἕρξαν τ’ ἔπαθόν τε καὶ ὅσσ’ ἐμόγησαν Ἀχαιοί,
ὥς τέ που ἢ αὐτὸς παρεὼν ἢ ἄλλου ἀκούσας.
ἀλλ’ ἄγε δὴ μετάβηθι καὶ ἵππου κόσμον ἄεισον
δουρατέου, τὸν Ἐπειὸς ἐποίησεν σὺν Ἀθήνῃ,
ὅν ποτ’ ἐς ἀκρόπολιν δόλον ἤγαγε δῖος Ὀδυσσεὺς
ἀνδρῶν ἐμπλήσας, οἳ Ἴλιον ἐξαλάπαξαν.
αἴ κεν δή μοι ταῦτα κατὰ μοῖραν καταλέξῃς,
αὐτίκα καὶ πᾶσιν μυθήσομαι ἀνθρώποισιν,
ὡς ἄρα τοι πρόφρων θεὸς ὤπασε θέσπιν ἀοιδήν.”

 

 

Comments

Divine License (Iliad 21.342-355)

Morisseau_podcast_Greek112_2013

Will Morriseau argues that uses the gods to impose his own will on the poem.  His freedom with the facts is “divine license,” and Homer himself is the only real deity in the work. Will discusses this idea in the context of a puzzling simile in Iliad 21, where Hephaestus is scorching the battlefield. Iliad 21.342-355, discussed, translated, and read aloud by Will Morriseau.

drawing of personified winds blowing over a battlefield

Illustration of Iliad 23.263, based on a drawing by John Flaxman, 1793. (Wikimedia Commons)

Ὣς ἔφαθ’, Ἥφαιστος δὲ τιτύσκετο θεσπιδαὲς πῦρ.
πρῶτα μὲν ἐν πεδίῳ πῦρ δαίετο, καῖε δὲ νεκροὺς
πολλούς, οἵ ῥα κατ’ αὐτὸν ἅλις ἔσαν, οὓς κτάν’ Ἀχιλλεύς·
πᾶν δ’ ἐξηράνθη πεδίον, σχέτο δ’ ἀγλαὸν ὕδωρ.
ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ὀπωρινὸς Βορέης νεοαρδέ’ ἀλωὴν
αἶψ’ ἀγξηράνῃ· χαίρει δέ μιν ὅς τις ἐθείρῃ·
ὣς ἐξηράνθη πεδίον πᾶν, κὰδ δ’ ἄρα νεκροὺς
κῆεν· ὃ δ’ ἐς ποταμὸν τρέψε φλόγα παμφανόωσαν.
καίοντο πτελέαι τε καὶ ἰτέαι ἠδὲ μυρῖκαι,
καίετο δὲ λωτός τε ἰδὲ θρύον ἠδὲ κύπειρον,
τὰ περὶ καλὰ ῥέεθρα ἅλις ποταμοῖο πεφύκει·
τείροντ’ ἐγχέλυές τε καὶ ἰχθύες οἳ κατὰ δίνας,
οἳ κατὰ καλὰ ῥέεθρα κυβίστων ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα
πνοιῇ τειρόμενοι πολυμήτιος Ἡφαίστοιο.

Comments

A Hero’s Best Friend (Odyssey 17.290-304)

McInerney_podcast_Gk112_2013

The famous scene in which Argus, Odysseus’ faithful dog, recognizes Odysseus on his return and promptly expires, is more than just pathos, argues Lucy McInerney. It is also an opportunity for Homer to show the fortitude of Odysseus himself. In other recognition scenes, she points out, Odysseus is able to share his emotions with whoever it is that recognizes him. In the case of Argus, the only character in the whole epic to recognize Odysseus on sight, he has to turn away and pretend not to know him. Odyssey 17.290-304 discussed, translated, and read aloud by Lucy McInerney.

John Flaxman, Odysseus and Argos (1805) Engraving and etching on paper, Tate Gallery

John Flaxman, Odysseus and Argos (1805) Engraving and etching on paper, Tate Gallery

ὣς οἱ μὲν τοιαῦτα πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἀγόρευον·
ἂν δὲ κύων κεφαλήν τε καὶ οὔατα κείμενος ἔσχεν,
Ἄργος, Ὀδυσσῆος ταλασίφρονος, ὅν ῥά ποτ’ αὐτὸς
θρέψε μέν, οὐδ’ ἀπόνητο, πάρος δ’ εἰς Ἴλιον ἱρὴν
ᾤχετο. τὸν δὲ πάροιθεν ἀγίνεσκον νέοι ἄνδρες
αἶγας ἐπ’ ἀγροτέρας ἠδὲ πρόκας ἠδὲ λαγωούς·
δὴ τότε κεῖτ’ ἀπόθεστος ἀποιχομένοιο ἄνακτος
ἐν πολλῇ κόπρῳ, ἥ οἱ προπάροιθε θυράων @1
ἡμιόνων τε βοῶν τε ἅλις κέχυτ’, ὄφρ’ ἂν ἄγοιεν
δμῶες Ὀδυσσῆος τέμενος μέγα κοπρίσσοντες·
ἔνθα κύων κεῖτ’ Ἄργος ἐνίπλειος κυνοραιστέων.
δὴ τότε γ’, ὡς ἐνόησεν Ὀδυσσέα ἐγγὺς ἐόντα,
οὐρῇ μέν ῥ’ ὅ γ’ ἔσηνε καὶ οὔατα κάββαλεν ἄμφω,
ἄσσον δ’ οὐκέτ’ ἔπειτα δυνήσατο οἷο ἄνακτος
ἐλθέμεν· αὐτὰρ ὁ νόσφιν ἰδὼν ἀπομόρξατο δάκρυ,
ῥεῖα λαθὼν Εὔμαιον, ἄφαρ δ’ ἐρεείνετο μύθῳ·

Comments

Ghosts Give the Best Advice (Homer, Odyssey 11.440-456)

Hummel_podcast_Gk112_2013

Women are not to be trusted, says the ghost of Agamemnon to Odysseus in the underworld in Book 11 of the Odyssey. Penelope is an exception, even he admits, while advising caution to Odysseus on his return home. Allison Hummel argues that this passage praising Penelope in the middle of the Odyssey is crucial to reminding Odysseus, and us, about the meaning of Odysseus’ great struggle to get home. Homer, Odyssey 11.440-456, discussed, translated, and read aloud by Allison Hummel.

Penelope. Detail of the statue by American sculptor Franklin Simmons

Penelope. Detail of the statue by American sculptor Franklin Simmons

ὣς ἐφάμην, ὁ δέ μ᾽ αὐτίκ᾽ ἀμειβόμενος προσέειπε:
‘τῷ νῦν μή ποτε καὶ σὺ γυναικί περ ἤπιος εἶναι:
μή οἱ μῦθον ἅπαντα πιφαυσκέμεν, ὅν κ᾽ ἐὺ εἰδῇς,
ἀλλὰ τὸ μὲν φάσθαι, τὸ δὲ καὶ κεκρυμμένον εἶναι.
ἀλλ᾽ οὐ σοί γ᾽, Ὀδυσεῦ, φόνος ἔσσεται ἔκ γε γυναικός:
λίην γὰρ πινυτή τε καὶ εὖ φρεσὶ μήδεα οἶδε
κούρη Ἰκαρίοιο, περίφρων Πηνελόπεια.
ἦ μέν μιν νύμφην γε νέην κατελείπομεν ἡμεῖς
ἐρχόμενοι πόλεμόνδε: πάϊς δέ οἱ ἦν ἐπὶ μαζῷ
νήπιος, ὅς που νῦν γε μετ᾽ ἀνδρῶν ἵζει ἀριθμῷ,
ὄλβιος: ἦ γὰρ τόν γε πατὴρ φίλος ὄψεται ἐλθών,
καὶ κεῖνος πατέρα προσπτύξεται, ἣ θέμις ἐστίν.
ἡ δ᾽ ἐμὴ οὐδέ περ υἷος ἐνιπλησθῆναι ἄκοιτις
ὀφθαλμοῖσιν ἔασε: πάρος δέ με πέφνε καὶ αὐτόν.
ἄλλο δέ τοι ἐρέω, σὺ δ᾽ ἐνὶ φρεσὶ βάλλεο σῇσιν:
κρύβδην, μηδ᾽ ἀναφανδά, φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν
νῆα κατισχέμεναι: ἐπεὶ οὐκέτι πιστὰ γυναιξίν.

Comments

Fire and the Use of Simile (Iliad 21.8-16)

Drummond_podcast_Gk112_2013

Near the climax of the Iliad, Achilles alone chases a large number of Trojans into the river Xanthos, where they take refuge, Homer says, like locusts  take refuge in a river when they are being attacked with fire. Emily Drummond notes that the people of Cyprus are known to have actually used this method to combat locusts, but she points out that the simile also needs to be seen next to other similes in the immediate context where Achilles is compared to fire. Iliad 21.8-16, discussed, translated, and read aloud by Emily Drummond.

people beating off locusts in a field

ἐς ποταμὸν εἰλεῦντο βαθύρροον ἀργυροδίνην,
ἐν δ’ ἔπεσον μεγάλῳ πατάγῳ, βράχε δ’ αἰπὰ ῥέεθρα,
ὄχθαι δ’ ἀμφὶ περὶ μεγάλ’ ἴαχον· οἳ δ’ ἀλαλητῷ
ἔννεον ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα ἑλισσόμενοι περὶ δίνας.
ὡς δ’ ὅθ’ ὑπὸ ῥιπῆς πυρὸς ἀκρίδες ἠερέθονται
φευγέμεναι ποταμὸν δέ· τὸ δὲ φλέγει ἀκάματον πῦρ
ὄρμενον ἐξαίφνης, ταὶ δὲ πτώσσουσι καθ’ ὕδωρ·
ὣς ὑπ’ Ἀχιλλῆος Ξάνθου βαθυδινήεντος
πλῆτο ῥόος κελάδων ἐπιμὶξ ἵππων τε καὶ ἀνδρῶν.

Comments

Chariot tactics in Homer (Iliad 4.297-309)

Plekhov.Iliad.podcast

Chariots appear frequently in the Iliad, but Homer notoriously seems to have little idea of how they would actually be used in combat. Dan Plekhov points out the exception, a passage that does seem to describe realistic chariot tactics, and argues that it reflects memories of Mycenaean culture, not the experience of contemporary societies of Homer’s own day. Iliad 4.297-309, read, translated and discussed by Dan Plekhov.

ἱππῆας μὲν πρῶτα σὺν ἵπποισιν καὶ ὄχεσφι,
πεζοὺς δ’ ἐξόπιθε στῆσεν πολέας τε καὶ ἐσθλοὺς
ἕρκος ἔμεν πολέμοιο· κακοὺς δ’ ἐς μέσσον ἔλασσεν,
ὄφρα καὶ οὐκ ἐθέλων τις ἀναγκαίῃ πολεμίζοι. (300)
ἱππεῦσιν μὲν πρῶτ’ ἐπετέλλετο· τοὺς γὰρ ἀνώγει
σφοὺς ἵππους ἐχέμεν μηδὲ κλονέεσθαι ὁμίλῳ·
μηδέ τις ἱπποσύνῃ τε καὶ ἠνορέηφι πεποιθὼς
οἶος πρόσθ’ ἄλλων μεμάτω Τρώεσσι μάχεσθαι,
μηδ’ ἀναχωρείτω· ἀλαπαδνότεροι γὰρ ἔσεσθε. (305)
ὃς δέ κ’ ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ ὧν ὀχέων ἕτερ’ ἅρμαθ’ ἵκηται
ἔγχει ὀρεξάσθω, ἐπεὶ ἦ πολὺ φέρτερον οὕτω.
ὧδε καὶ οἱ πρότεροι πόλεας καὶ τείχε’ ἐπόρθεον
τόνδε νόον καὶ θυμὸν ἐνὶ στήθεσσιν ἔχοντες

Ancient Greek Funerary Krater From the Dipylon

Stele from Grave Circle A at Mycenae
chariot relief from Abu Simbel (drawing)
Chariot relief from Abu Simbel (detail)

Comments

Odysseus’ boar’s tusk helmet (Iliad 10.260-271)

KSmith_GRK112_Podcast

One of the most vivid links between the text of Homer and Bronze Age Greece is the boar’s tooth helmet, several of which have been found in Mycenaean-era graves, and which is described carefully by Homer, several hundred years later. Karl Smith examines the passage in the context of the epic and compares it to the archaeological record.  Iliad 10.260-271, read, translated and discussed by Karl Smith.

Μηριόνης δ’ Ὀδυσῆϊ δίδου βιὸν ἠδὲ φαρέτρην (260)
καὶ ξίφος, ἀμφὶ δέ οἱ κυνέην κεφαλῆφιν ἔθηκε
ῥινοῦ ποιητήν· πολέσιν δ’ ἔντοσθεν ἱμᾶσιν
ἐντέτατο στερεῶς· ἔκτοσθε δὲ λευκοὶ ὀδόντες
ἀργιόδοντος ὑὸς θαμέες ἔχον ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα
εὖ καὶ ἐπισταμένως· μέσσῃ δ’ ἐνὶ πῖλος ἀρήρει. (265)
τήν ῥά ποτ’ ἐξ Ἐλεῶνος Ἀμύντορος Ὀρμενίδαο
ἐξέλετ’ Αὐτόλυκος πυκινὸν δόμον ἀντιτορήσας,
Σκάνδειαν δ’ ἄρα δῶκε Κυθηρίῳ Ἀμφιδάμαντι·
Ἀμφιδάμας δὲ Μόλῳ δῶκε ξεινήϊον εἶναι,
αὐτὰρ ὃ Μηριόνῃ δῶκεν ᾧ παιδὶ φορῆναι· (270)
δὴ τότ’ Ὀδυσσῆος πύκασεν κάρη ἀμφιτεθεῖσα.

Comments (1)

The bringer of dark pains (Iliad 4.105-126)

Jimmy Martin Podcast

Homer describes the deadly goat-horn bow of Pandarus. What kind of bow was it, and how does it relate to bows known from the Bronze Age Mediterranean? Iliad 4.105-126, read, translated, and discussed by Jimmy Martin.

αὐτίκ’ ἐσύλα τόξον ἐΰξοον ἰξάλου αἰγὸς (105)
ἀγρίου, ὅν ῥά ποτ’ αὐτὸς ὑπὸ στέρνοιο τυχήσας
πέτρης ἐκβαίνοντα δεδεγμένος ἐν προδοκῇσι
βεβλήκει πρὸς στῆθος· ὃ δ’ ὕπτιος ἔμπεσε πέτρῃ.
τοῦ κέρα ἐκ κεφαλῆς ἑκκαιδεκάδωρα πεφύκει·
καὶ τὰ μὲν ἀσκήσας κεραοξόος ἤραρε τέκτων, (110)
πᾶν δ’ εὖ λειήνας χρυσέην ἐπέθηκε κορώνην.
καὶ τὸ μὲν εὖ κατέθηκε τανυσσάμενος ποτὶ γαίῃ
ἀγκλίνας· πρόσθεν δὲ σάκεα σχέθον ἐσθλοὶ ἑταῖροι
μὴ πρὶν ἀναΐξειαν ἀρήϊοι υἷες Ἀχαιῶν
πρὶν βλῆσθαι Μενέλαον ἀρήϊον Ἀτρέος υἱόν. (115)
αὐτὰρ ὁ σύλα πῶμα φαρέτρης, ἐκ δ’ ἕλετ’ ἰὸν
ἀβλῆτα πτερόεντα μελαινέων ἕρμ’ ὀδυνάων·
αἶψα δ’ ἐπὶ νευρῇ κατεκόσμει πικρὸν ὀϊστόν,
εὔχετο δ’ Ἀπόλλωνι Λυκηγενέϊ κλυτοτόξῳ
ἀρνῶν πρωτογόνων ῥέξειν κλειτὴν ἑκατόμβην
οἴκαδε νοστήσας ἱερῆς εἰς ἄστυ Ζελείης.
ἕλκε δ’ ὁμοῦ γλυφίδας τε λαβὼν καὶ νεῦρα βόεια·
νευρὴν μὲν μαζῷ πέλασεν, τόξῳ δὲ σίδηρον.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ δὴ κυκλοτερὲς μέγα τόξον ἔτεινε,
λίγξε βιός, νευρὴ δὲ μέγ’ ἴαχεν, ἆλτο δ’ ὀϊστὸς (125)
ὀξυβελὴς καθ’ ὅμιλον ἐπιπτέσθαι μενεαίνων

 

Comments

Nestor’s Sacrifice (Odyssey 3.444-463)

Caitlin%27s Podcast

After he realizes that the goddess Athena has visited, Nestor leads his entire household in an animal sacrifice in her honor. Odyssey 4.444-463, read, translated and discussed by Caitlin Elmer.

Περσεὺς δ’ ἀμνίον εἶχε. γέρων δ’ ἱππηλάτα Νέστωρ
χέρνιβά τ’ οὐλοχύτας τε κατήρχετο, πολλὰ δ’ Ἀθήνῃ (445)
εὔχετ’ ἀπαρχόμενος, κεφαλῆς τρίχας ἐν πυρὶ βάλλων.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεί ῥ’ εὔξαντο καὶ οὐλοχύτας προβάλοντο,
αὐτίκα Νέστορος υἱός, ὑπέρθυμος Θρασυμήδης,
ἤλασεν ἄγχι στάς· πέλεκυς δ’ ἀπέκοψε τένοντας
αὐχενίους, λῦσεν δὲ βοὸς μένος· αἱ δ’ ὀλόλυξαν (450)
θυγατέρες τε νυοί τε καὶ αἰδοίη παράκοιτις
Νέστορος, Εὐρυδίκη, πρέσβα Κλυμένοιο θυγατρῶν.
οἱ μὲν ἔπειτ’ ἀνελόντες ἀπὸ χθονὸς εὐρυοδείης
ἔσχον· ἀτὰρ σφάξεν Πεισίστρατος, ὄρχαμος ἀνδρῶν.
τῆς δ’ ἐπεὶ ἐκ μέλαν αἷμα ῥύη, λίπε δ’ ὀστέα θυμός, (455)
αἶψ’ ἄρα μιν διέχευαν, ἄφαρ δ’ ἐκ μηρία τάμνον
πάντα κατὰ μοῖραν, κατά τε κνίσῃ ἐκάλυψαν,
δίπτυχα ποιήσαντες, ἐπ’ αὐτῶν δ’ ὠμοθέτησαν.
καῖε δ’ ἐπὶ σχίζῃσ’ ὁ γέρων, ἐπὶ δ’ αἴθοπα οἶνον
λεῖβε· νέοι δὲ παρ’ αὐτὸν ἔχον πεμπώβολα χερσίν. (460)
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ κατὰ μῆρ’ ἐκάη καὶ σπλάγχνα πάσαντο,
μίστυλλόν τ’ ἄρα τἆλλα καὶ ἀμφ’ ὀβελοῖσιν ἔπειρον,
ὤπτων δ’ ἀκροπόρους ὀβελοὺς ἐν χερσὶν ἔχοντες.

Comments

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »