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Homeric Frustrations:

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Homeric Frustrations:

Postby JauneFlammee » Fri Nov 26, 2004 7:56 pm

Just looking for sympathy: I'm reading through the Iliad and I'm on book 6: line 240: I'm going to make it through the first Loeb book even if it kills me, and then I'm going to frame the little tattered green paper cover and hang it on my wall as a trophy.

I almost always get messed up following complicated trails of pronouns; I can never seem to get the right he and him who is doing things to whom.

Twice this week, i badly mangled passages by confusing Theon (imperfect verb - they ran) with Theov ( God - singular accusative).Along with a random variety of other assorted silly errors.

And then there seem to be some things that are basically just impossible to grasp without some commentary : Like the 'Thumos-destroying signs' for Bellerophon in 6:168. Or like somewhere in one of the earlier chapters where Homer compared some scream to Storks (or some other bird I can't quite recall) landing on some island (I think I read in commentary or dictionary or something the island was inhabited by little people - did the storks eat them, or step on them - I have no idea).

Despite all this it is definitely worth it though, Homer is a magnificent poet. Also, those ocassional paragraphs I hit where i can just sit down and read it intelligibly , make it really worth it. All in all, one of the hardest most worthwile things I've done. I'm hoping with a few more books under my belt it will get easier (actually I can already see much progress compared to my efforts with books 2 and 3).

I think someone should start a thread for the most mangled translation of a passage: that might be fun (Although I must warn I may be a clear favorite to grasp victory)
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Postby Bert » Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:33 pm

I am half way through book one.
I was hoping that by the time I reach book six, I'd be able to read without to much difficulty.
Maybe not then.
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Postby JauneFlammee » Fri Nov 26, 2004 9:32 pm

Well, I read Book 1 in Pharr and then started tackling the rest: Book 2 was a nightmare, I felt like an idiot who knew nothing about greek. But, I started to get the hang of it and pressed on. It got easier with each book: but after book 5, i took about a six month hiatus from Homer, so book six had been a little tough because i've forgotten a lot of the vocabulary.

I think at some point everyone has to just grab a text and a dictionary and go for it.

It does get easier as you go though. It took me forever to plough through book 2, and If I remember correctly I read book 5 in a little over a week.

I can't really give much advice but a couple of things. Don't get stuck for too long on a single sentence: Read ahead a little and look at the surrounding context and it can usually help you figure out the problem. Pay super close attention to the cases of nouns, participles etc...75% of my translation mistakes can be attributed to a mistake of this sort. (A mistake in one place can send you cascading down the wrong track for several lines.)
Also, you will get really good at looking things up in the lexicon. (book 2 is especially scary - it has a ton of new words compared to chapter 1).

It does get easier though: and its definitely worth it IMO.
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Postby Bert » Fri Nov 26, 2004 11:15 pm

JauneFlammee wrote: and If I remember correctly I read book 5 in a little over a week.

Thanks for writing that. That is encouraging.
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Postby annis » Sat Nov 27, 2004 2:03 am

JauneFlammee wrote:Also, you will get really good at looking things up in the lexicon. (book 2 is especially scary - it has a ton of new words compared to chapter 1).


This was my sense, too.

I went straight from Pharr to Benner. Perhaps there aren't more new words, but it sure did seem that way. Maybe it was all that flipping to the back for new words, instead of having them all there for me?
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Re: Homeric Frustrations:

Postby Skylax » Sat Nov 27, 2004 11:56 am

JauneFlammee wrote:Twice this week, i badly mangled passages by confusing Theon (imperfect verb - they ran) with Theov ( God - singular accusative).Along with a random variety of other assorted silly errors.


This is a case where accents help : [face=SPIonic]qe/on[/face] "they ran" vs [face=SPIonic]qeo/n[/face] "god"
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Postby Bert » Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:16 pm

annis wrote:
JauneFlammee wrote:Also, you will get really good at looking things up in the lexicon. (book 2 is especially scary - it has a ton of new words compared to chapter 1).


This was my sense, too.

I went straight from Pharr to Benner. Perhaps there aren't more new words, but it sure did seem that way. Maybe it was all that flipping to the back for new words, instead of having them all there for me?

Benner does not have a new vocabulary list with each lesson?
That would make it a lot less suitable for using this book to follow Pharr would it not?
Or are there no alternatives ?
I like it that I can familiarize myself with the vocabulary before reading the next 15 lines or so.
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Postby annis » Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:28 pm

Bert wrote:Benner does not have a new vocabulary list with each lesson?


There are no lessons. It's just selections from the Iliad in the first part of the book, line-by-line notes in the middle, a precis of Homeric grammar, then a dictionary.

That would make it a lot less suitable for using this book to follow Pharr would it not?
Or are there no alternatives ?


All I know of work the same way, with this text/notes/vocab division, and no lessons.

I like it that I can familiarize myself with the vocabulary before reading the next 15 lines or so.


Then you must begin to steel yourself now for life after Pharr. You'll have to make a quick run through the next 15 lines, writing down unknown words, looking them up, then coming back to read more slowly armed with that new hoard of words.

I don't know about your study practices, but I have notebooks just for this.
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Postby JauneFlammee » Tue Nov 30, 2004 8:42 pm

Who wants to read selections though, there is something to be said for tackling entire books.

Think of book 6 -

The trojans are getting absolutely slaughtered on the battlefield (tension and doom building )

Hector returns to Troy, to have the women plead to Athena for mercy (more sheer dread).

Hector goes to find Paris, is looking for him brandishing his spear (the reader is left in suspense as to what Hectors intentions are)

Hector then goes to see his beloved wife and baby son one last time, but they are not home! and Hector must return to the battlefiend alone having missed his last chance (the gloom by now is unbearable)

The context of the whole book is all wrapped together, events build on each other, the contrast between the glaring battle and the sleeping city, all of it is wrapped up together. I can't imagine reading one piece of this story taken out by itself, it might be an interesting read but it would have been stripped of so much emotional weight and force by having to leave its context.

Thanks for the accent tip Skylax - I have learning accents on my to do list but there always seems something more fun to tackle.
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