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Od. 9.290, not for the faint-hearted

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Od. 9.290, not for the faint-hearted

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:33 am

Odyssey 9.289-290, the most charming passage in Homer... (The Cyclops eating Odysseus' men)

σὺν δὲ δύω μάρψας ὥς τε σκύλακας ποτὶ γαίῃ
κόπτ': ἐκ δ' ἐγκέφαλος χαμάδις ῥέε, δεῦε δὲ γαῖαν.

κόπτ' is imperfect (i.e. not an aorist) - should we interprete this as a repetitive action, "he hammered them against the ground like puppies"? The translations I looked seem to interprete this as single strike, but wouldn't that rather take an aorist? 'Hammered' is more vivid and a lot more gruesome, are they just playing down the violence to make Homer nicer?
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Re: Od. 9.290, not for the faint-hearted

Postby Scribo » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:26 pm

I've always seen that as a repetitive, aggressive, action myself. Not a single strike but the full iterative function of the imperfect. Lifting, slamming, men screaming and trying to avoid violence even as Polyphemos breaks them etc.

I don't know if there's an attempt to tone down Homer, mayhap it just makes better English.
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Re: Od. 9.290, not for the faint-hearted

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:24 am

OK. So bang bang bang bang bang it is then!
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