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·



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