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Odyssey, Book 2

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Odyssey, Book 2

Postby huilen » Fri May 16, 2014 3:10 am

Hello everybody, here are my questions on Book 2, hope not repeated.

1. ἦμος δ᾽ ἠριγένεια φάνη ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς,
2. ὤρνυτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἐξ εὐνῆφιν Ὀδυσσῆος φίλος υἱὸς
3. εἵματα ἑσσάμενος, περὶ δὲ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ,
4. ποσσὶ δ᾽ ὑπὸ λιπαροῖσιν ἐδήσατο καλὰ πέδιλα,
5. βῆ δ᾽ ἴμεν ἐκ θαλάμοιο θεῷ ἐναλίγκιος ἄντην.


a) I would expect that εἵματα ἑσσάμενος should join with περὶ δὲ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ, and not with ὤρνυτ᾽. Because it would have much more sense that the actions should happen in this order: he dressed up and then set his sword; instead of: he dressed up and then he wake up. But the coma after εἵματα ἑσσάμενος indicates otherwise.

b) Is -φιν in εὐνῆφιν expressing a locative relation, "in his bedroom", or should I take it with the ἐξ, "from off his bed"?

8. οἱ μὲν ἐκήρυσσον, τοὶ δ᾽ ἠγείροντο μάλ᾽ ὦκα.


c) Is μέν...δέ, used here with imperfects, denoting simultaneity? "So they were gathering very quickly as they summoned them". Or how would you translate it?

125. ἐν στήθεσσι τιθεῖσι θεοί. μέγα μὲν κλέος αὐτῇ
126. ποιεῖτ᾽, αὐτὰρ σοί γε ποθὴν πολέος βιότοιο.


d) "She brings great fame on herself, but on you [she brings] ποθὴν πολέος βιότοιο". I don't know how to translate this last part.

130. Ἀντίνο᾽, οὔ πως ἔστι δόμων ἀέκουσαν ἀπῶσαι
131. ἥ μ᾽ ἔτεχ᾽, ἥ μ᾽ ἔθρεψε: πατὴρ δ᾽ ἐμὸς ἄλλοθι γαίης,
132. ζώει ὅ γ᾽ ἦ τέθνηκε: κακὸν δέ με πόλλ᾽ ἀποτίνειν
133. Ἰκαρίῳ, αἴ κ᾽ αὐτὸς ἑκὼν ἀπὸ μητέρα πέμψω.


e) Should I take οὔ πως ἔστι as "it is not right"? I see this expression again later in this book (verse 310) with a similar use.

f) I didn't get the meaning of 132-133. Telemachus is refusing to give the hand of his mother in marriage to any man. Then he says: "It was an evil thing for me to pay back a great price to Icarius, if I will send of my own will my mother away." But I don't understand, what has he paid to his grandfather?

135. δώσει, ἐπεὶ μήτηρ στυγερὰς ἀρήσετ᾽ ἐρινῦς


g) ἐρινῦς => ἐρινύας ?

141. ἔξιτέ μοι μεγάρων, ἄλλας δ᾽ ἀλεγύνετε δαῖτας
140. ὑμὰ κτήματ᾽ ἔδοντες ἀμειβόμενοι κατὰ οἴκους.


h) What is the meaning of ἀμειβόμενοι here?

157. τοῖσι δὲ καὶ μετέειπε γέρων ἥρως Ἁλιθέρσης
158. Μαστορίδης: ὁ γὰρ οἶος ὁμηλικίην ἐκέκαστο
159. ὄρνιθας γνῶναι καὶ ἐναίσιμα μυθήσασθαι:


i) Which is the function of the accusative ὀμηλικίην here?

174. φῆν κακὰ πολλὰ παθόντ᾽, ὀλέσαντ᾽ ἄπο πάντας ἑταίρους,


j) ἄπο => ἀπό ?

184. ὤφελες. οὐκ ἂν τόσσα θεοπροπέων ἀγόρευες,
185. οὐδέ κε Τηλέμαχον κεχολωμένον ὧδ᾽ ἀνιείης,
186. σῷ οἴκῳ δῶρον ποτιδέγμενος, αἴ κε πόρῃσιν.


k) I had problems with these verses. Is ἀγόρευες with ἄν a contrafactual condition?

187. ἀλλ᾽ ἔκ τοι ἐρέω, τὸ δὲ καὶ τετελεσμένον ἔσται:


l) Would be any difference in the meaning if I replace τετελεσμένον ἔσται with τελέσει?

255. ἀλλ᾽ ὀίω, καὶ δηθὰ καθήμενος ἀγγελιάων
256. πεύσεται εἰν Ἰθάκῃ, τελέει δ᾽ ὁδὸν οὔ ποτε ταύτην.


m) I don't understand. Why the suitor says that Telemachus would never accomplish his journey in search of his father?

270. Τηλέμαχ᾽, οὐδ᾽ ὄπιθεν κακὸς ἔσσεαι οὐδ᾽ ἀνοήμων,
271. εἰ δή τοι σοῦ πατρὸς ἐνέστακται μένος ἠύ,
272. οἷος κεῖνος ἔην τελέσαι ἔργον τε ἔπος τε:


n) I am not sure about the 272. Is it an exclamation?

277. οἱ πλέονες κακίους, παῦροι δέ τε πατρὸς ἀρείους.


o) κακίους / ἀρείους => κακίονες / ἀρείονες ?

388. δύσετό τ᾽ ἠέλιος σκιόωντό τε πᾶσαι ἀγυιαί,


p) σκιόωντο => σκιῶντο ?
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Qimmik » Fri May 16, 2014 12:41 pm

a) The aorist participle usually, but not always, indicates an action that occurred before the main verb. If εἵματα ἑσσάμενος were joined with περὶ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ, δ' would have to follow immediately after εἵματα: εἵματα δ'ἑσσάμενος περὶ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ. This would not be metrical. These are formulaic expressions.

b) -φιν indicates a range of relationships. See Smyth 280:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Smyth+grammar+280&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007

c) I would translate it into English this way: "The heralds summoned them and the Achaeans quickly gathered." I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the capturing the aspect of the imperfects.

d) ποθὴν πολέος βιότοιο -- "desire for [or expectation of] great wealth"

e) οὔ πως ἔστι -- "it is not possible in any way at all"

f) If Telemachus sends Penelope back to her father, he has an obligation to repay Laertes the dowry that Laertes paid to Odysseus when Odysseus married her.

g) ἐρινῦς is the regular accusative plural. See Smyth 268:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Smyth+grammar+268&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007

h) ἀμειβόμενοι κατὰ οἴκους here means "go from one of your houses to another" and consume your own property instead of staying in Odysseus' house and consuming all of his property.
Last edited by Qimmik on Fri May 16, 2014 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Qimmik » Fri May 16, 2014 1:14 pm

i) ὁμηλικίην ἐκέκαστο -- "he excelled his age-group," i.e., he excelled everyone of the same age.

LSJ καίνυμι:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Dkai%2Fnumi

j) ἄπο -- when a pre-verb follows the verb in tmesis, the accent is shifted back to the first syllable (this is referred to as "anastrophe").

Smyth 175 a, N.1:

In Homer a preposition following its verb and separated from it by tmesis (1650) also admits anastrophe (λούσῃ ἄπο for ἀπολούσῃ).


http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Smyth+grammar+175&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007

k) "You should have [ὤφελες] perished with Odysseus. [If that had happened] you wouldn't be saying these things . . . "

l) τελέσει is active. τετελεσμένον ἔσται is passive, which is required here. This line is a formula: "I tell you this and it shall be fulfilled."

m) He's dismissing Telemachus and his plans with contempt.

n) Not an exclamation. Roughly, ". . . if you have your father's strength, such as he was in accomplishing his deed and word."

o) κακίους / ἀρείους -- contracted forms. Smyth 293 βελτίων:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Smyth+grammar+293&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007

p) σκιόωντο -- This form is a creation of the epic language. The original form would have been σκιάοντο, which was contracted to σκιῶντο in the spoken language. But σκιῶντο would not be metrical in this formula, and forms such as σκιόωντο developed from σκιῶντο to preserve the meter. There are other instances of this development.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby huilen » Fri May 16, 2014 2:41 pm

Thank you very much Qimmik! :)
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri May 16, 2014 9:49 pm

A couple of random comments, although Qimmik has given excellent answer like always...

huilen wrote:1. ἦμος δ᾽ ἠριγένεια φάνη ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς,
2. ὤρνυτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἐξ εὐνῆφιν Ὀδυσσῆος φίλος υἱὸς
3. εἵματα ἑσσάμενος, περὶ δὲ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ,
4. ποσσὶ δ᾽ ὑπὸ λιπαροῖσιν ἐδήσατο καλὰ πέδιλα,
5. βῆ δ᾽ ἴμεν ἐκ θαλάμοιο θεῷ ἐναλίγκιος ἄντην.

a) I would expect that εἵματα ἑσσάμενος should join with περὶ δὲ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ, and not with ὤρνυτ᾽. Because it would have much more sense that the actions should happen in this order: he dressed up and then set his sword; instead of: he dressed up and then he wake up. But the coma after εἵματα ἑσσάμενος indicates otherwise.

He does indeed first dress and then get out for bed! I've seen several translations that refuse to accept this. But notice that ὤρνυτ᾽ doesn't mean "woke up" but rather "got up, got himself going".

huilen wrote:8. οἱ μὲν ἐκήρυσσον, τοὶ δ᾽ ἠγείροντο μάλ᾽ ὦκα.

c) Is μέν...δέ, used here with imperfects, denoting simultaneity? "So they were gathering very quickly as they summoned them". Or how would you translate it?

I don't think simultaneity is at issue here. ἐκήρυσσον is in imperfect, because the several heralds go here and there shouting, until everybody has heard. It's not a single simple event. Likewise ἠγείροντο describes a gradual process – as the men hear the call, they start to walk towards the agora one after the other, and arrive at different times. I would translate the same as Qimmik.

Qimmik wrote:j) ἄπο -- when a pre-verb follows the verb in tmesis, the accent is shifted back to the first syllable (this is referred to as "anastrophe").

Note that the same is also true of prepositions. When a preposition follows the it's headword (=becomes a postposition) it also shifts back it's accent.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby huilen » Fri May 16, 2014 10:05 pm

Thanks, Paul.

He does indeed first dress and then get out for bed!

Wait, he dressed into his bed!? How he reached his clothes without leaving his bed!? :P
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri May 16, 2014 10:32 pm

That's how I understand this. Maybe this means he puts on his khiton while sitting on his bed, like he was sitting when he took it off at the end of book 1. Presumably Eurykleia had left it so that it was easy for him to reach. I don't know much about clothing in those times but I guess it was just a simple sheet they put through their head. ὤρνυτ᾽ must then really be more like "got himself going" than "got up".
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Qimmik » Fri May 16, 2014 11:25 pm

ὤρνυτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἐξ εὐνῆφιν

Perhaps Smyth 1872 is relevant here:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Smyth+grammar+1872&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007

The tenses of the participle express only continuance, simple occurrence, and completion with permanent result. Whether the action expressed by the participle is antecedent, coincident, or subsequent to that of the leading verb (in any tense) depends on the context.


c. Aorist (simple occurrence). The action set forth by the aorist participle is generally antecedent to that of the leading verb; but it is sometimes coincident or nearly so, when it defines, or is identical with, that of the leading verb, and the subordinate action is only a modification of the main action.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Qimmik » Sat May 17, 2014 3:20 am

I think Paul found the answer to the puzzle of Telemachus getting off of the bed after putting his clothes on.

εἵματα ἑσσάμενος, περὶ δὲ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ -- this line occurs three times in the Odyssey (never in the Iliad):

2.1-4:

ἦμος δ᾽ ἠριγένεια φάνη ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς,
ὤρνυτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἐξ εὐνῆφιν Ὀδυσσῆος φίλος υἱὸς
εἵματα ἑσσάμενος, περὶ δὲ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ,
ποσσὶ δ᾽ ὑπὸ λιπαροῖσιν ἐδήσατο καλὰ πέδιλα,
βῆ δ᾽ ἴμεν ἐκ θαλάμοιο θεῷ ἐναλίγκιος ἄντην.

4.306-310:

ἦμος δ᾽ ἠριγένεια φάνη ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς,
ὤρνυτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἐξ εὐνῆφι βοὴν ἀγαθὸς Μενέλαος
εἵματα ἑσσάμενος, περὶ δὲ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ,
ποσσὶ δ᾽ ὑπὸ λιπαροῖσιν ἐδήσατο καλὰ πέδιλα,
βῆ δ᾽ ἴμεν ἐκ θαλάμοιο θεῷ ἐναλίγκιος ἄντην,

20.122-127 -- slightly different, but again Telemachus gets up from his bed after putting his clothes on:

αἱ δ᾽ ἄλλαι δμῳαὶ κατὰ δώματα κάλ᾽ Ὀδυσῆος
ἀγρόμεναι ἀνέκαιον ἐπ᾽ ἐσχάρῃ ἀκάματον πῦρ.
Τηλέμαχος δ᾽ εὐνῆθεν ἀνίστατο, ἰσόθεος φώς,

εἵματα ἑσσάμενος: περὶ δὲ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ:
ποσσὶ δ᾽ ὑπὸ λιπαροῖσιν ἐδήσατο καλὰ πέδιλα,
εἵλετο δ᾽ ἄλκιμον ἔγχος, ἀκαχμένον ὀξέι χαλκῷ:

Il. 2.42 sheds light on the process of waking up, getting dressed and getting off (not "out of") the bed.

ἔγρετο δ᾽ ἐξ ὕπνου, θείη δέ μιν ἀμφέχυτ᾽ ὀμφή:
ἕζετο δ᾽ ὀρθωθείς, μαλακὸν δ᾽ ἔνδυνε χιτῶνα
καλὸν νηγάτεον, περὶ δὲ μέγα βάλλετο φᾶρος:
ποσσὶ δ᾽ ὑπὸ λιπαροῖσιν ἐδήσατο καλὰ πέδιλα,
ἀμφὶ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὤμοισιν βάλετο ξίφος ἀργυρόηλον:
εἵλετο δὲ σκῆπτρον πατρώϊον ἄφθιτον αἰεὶ
σὺν τῷ ἔβη κατὰ νῆας Ἀχαιῶν χαλκοχιτώνων:

Agamemnon apparently puts on his clothes before he gets off of bed--he apparently puts on his chiton and pharos while seated on the bed. This must be what happens in the passages from the Odyssey: as Paul suggested, Telemachus and Menelaus dress while seated on the bed, and then stand up from the bed. So ἐξ εὐνῆφιν in Od. 2.2 might be translated "he got off of the bed" rather than "out of the bed."

In Il. 2.42, we aren't explicitly told that Agamemnon actually gets off of his bed after putting his clothes on, but that is implicit in the passage. Then, in Iliad 2.44, Agamemnon puts on his sandals, using the same verse as Telemachus and Menelaus use in the Odyssey; only after that does he don his xiphos, reversing the order of the Odyssey, and instead of his spear (as in Od. 20.127) he naturally takes his skeptron because he is convoking an assembly.

Iliad 10.21 ff:

ὀρθωθεὶς δ᾽ ἔνδυνε περὶ στήθεσσι χιτῶνα,
ποσσὶ δ᾽ ὑπὸ λιπαροῖσιν ἐδήσατο καλὰ πέδιλα,
ἀμφὶ δ᾽ ἔπειτα δαφοινὸν ἑέσσατο δέρμα λέοντος
αἴθωνος μεγάλοιο ποδηνεκές, εἵλετο δ᾽ ἔγχος.

Here again, Agamemnon puts on his clothes in the same posture as in Il. 2.42 -- ὀρθωθεὶς -- presumably he's sitting upright on bed as in 2.42, not standing.

There's a similar scene at 10.131 ff., with some of the same elements. Agamemnon has gone to get Nestor out of bed (both of them are having trouble sleeping), and Nestor gets dressed to go and wake up the other Greek leaders, but it isn't specifically made clear that he's getting dressed while seated on his bed:

ὣς εἰπὼν ἔνδυνε περὶ στήθεσσι χιτῶνα,
ποσσὶ δ᾽ ὑπὸ λιπαροῖσιν ἐδήσατο καλὰ πέδιλα,
ἀμφὶ δ᾽ ἄρα χλαῖναν περονήσατο φοινικόεσσαν
διπλῆν ἐκταδίην, οὔλη δ᾽ ἐπενήνοθε λάχνη.
εἵλετο δ᾽ ἄλκιμον ἔγχος ἀκαχμένον ὀξέϊ χαλκῷ,
βῆ δ᾽ ἰέναι κατὰ νῆας Ἀχαιῶν χαλκοχιτώνων.

The next-to-last line is the same as Od. 20.127, and the last line is similar to Od. 2.5 and 4.310.

This makes for an interesting comparison of type scenes and formulas for getting up and getting dressed. You can see the oral-formulaic tradition at work.

If I were preparing an English translation of the Odyssey for publication, I think I would dodge the question. "He got up and got dressed." A more literal translation "He got dressed and stood up from his bed" would be confusing, and further explanation of a marginally relevant point would be distracting.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Qimmik » Sat May 17, 2014 2:01 pm

On the other hand, Chantraine, Gramm. hom. II sec. 276, gives some examples of aorist participles that are simultaneous with the main verb. He writes:

Aux modes autres que l'indicatif, l'aoriste exprime, bien entendu, le procès verbal pur et ne comporte, naturellement, aucune signification temporelle. Les exemples du participe sont à cet égard instructifs. Le participe exprime un procès qui se trouve en rapport avec le verbe principal. Ce procès peut être concomitant avec celui qu'exprime le verbe principal . . . "


"In moods other than the indicative, the aorist expresses, of course, the pure verbal process and naturally does not connote any temporal significance. The examples of the participle are instructive in this respect. The participle expresses a process which is situated in relation to the principal verb. This process can be concomitant with that expressed by the principal verb."

He cites:

Il. 2.167, 4.73, 5.98, 5.119, 8.329, 12.390, 10.139, 13.38, 21.161,

Od. 2.422, 24.199
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby huilen » Sat May 17, 2014 2:54 pm

Thanks for the translation.

Qimmik wrote:He cites:

Il. 2.167, 4.73, 5.98, 5.119, 8.329, 12.390, 10.139, 13.38, 21.161,

Od. 2.422, 24.199

I didn't take Od. 2.422 that way, but "he prompted his comrades and ordered to fasten themselves to the rigging".
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby huilen » Sat May 17, 2014 3:26 pm

c. Aorist (simple occurrence). The action set forth by the aorist participle is generally antecedent to that of the leading verb; but it is sometimes coincident or nearly so, when it defines, or is identical with, that of the leading verb, and the subordinate action is only a modification of the main action.

All this time I was assuming that an aorist participle is *always* antecedent to the leading verb, and I've found the rule very consistent with what I read until now, though I didn't read a lot, of course. So I feel more inclined to accept Paul's explanation, at least by the moment (maybe later I meet with other more categoric counterexamples, I didn't check the other citations of Chantraine).

I have a question: I am not sure if I should take this as a licency of Homer, I mean, is this more mandatory in Attic Greek?
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon May 19, 2014 9:26 pm

huilen wrote:
c. Aorist (simple occurrence). The action set forth by the aorist participle is generally antecedent to that of the leading verb; but it is sometimes coincident or nearly so, when it defines, or is identical with, that of the leading verb, and the subordinate action is only a modification of the main action.

All this time I was assuming that an aorist participle is *always* antecedent to the leading verb, and I've found the rule very consistent with what I read until now, though I didn't read a lot, of course. So I feel more inclined to accept Paul's explanation, at least by the moment (maybe later I meet with other more categoric counterexamples, I didn't check the other citations of Chantraine).

I have a question: I am not sure if I should take this as a licency of Homer, I mean, is this more mandatory in Attic Greek?

I have the impression that this is debated, to some extent at least. I can't give any sources though. But I suppose Chantraine is right and I think this applies to Attic as well.

Qimmik wrote:This makes for an interesting comparison of type scenes and formulas for getting up and getting dressed. You can see the oral-formulaic tradition at work.

If I were preparing an English translation of the Odyssey for publication, I think I would dodge the question. "He got up and got dressed." A more literal translation "He got dressed and stood up from his bed" would be confusing, and further explanation of a marginally relevant point would be distracting.

I think this is one those cases where we should keep apart two different question – what the Greek is exactly saying and how it should be translated to a modern language. Certainly "Homer" isn't emphasizing the fact that Telemachus first dressed up and then got up – so in a translation, we shouldn't dwell too long on that either. It's even possible that "Homer" is being a bit careless about what happens first, since it's really not that important, in which case dressing up and getting up are almost "concomitant".

But the more likely possibility in my opinion is that this reflects how "Homer" sees what is happening. If the poet has a clear idea of his story, he could be giving out this sort of detail quite unconsciously. There are many hints in the Odyssey that the story is set in late autumn. Telemachus' room is bound to be rather cold in the morning in that time of the year, so it's only to be expected that he dresses like this. Once the boy gets out of his woollen blankets, he wants to get warm again as fast as possible.

Another thing: Line 4 is missing in one manuscript. I think it's probably a "concordance" interpolation, copied from Menelaus' dressing up in book 4. This doesn't really change anything here, but in some other contexts these interpolations are clearly out of place. These also change our judgement of the oral formulaic technique, because if these really are interpolations, it means that Homer isn't as mechanichal or repetitive as he seems.

ἦμος δ᾽ ἠριγένεια φάνη ῥοδοδάκτυλος Ἠώς,
ὤρνυτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἐξ εὐνῆφιν Ὀδυσσῆος φίλος υἱὸς
εἵματα ἑσσάμενος, περὶ δὲ ξίφος ὀξὺ θέτ᾽ ὤμῳ,
[ποσσὶ δ᾽ ὑπὸ λιπαροῖσιν ἐδήσατο καλὰ πέδιλα,]
βῆ δ᾽ ἴμεν ἐκ θαλάμοιο θεῷ ἐναλίγκιος ἄντην
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon May 19, 2014 9:34 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:But the more likely possibility in my opinion is that this reflects how "Homer" sees what is happening. If the poet has a clear idea of his story, he could be giving out this sort of detail quite unconsciously. There are many hints in the Odyssey that the story is set in late autumn. Telemachus' room is bound to be rather cold in the morning in that time of the year, so it's only to be expected that he dresses like this. Once the boy gets out of his woollen blankets, he wants to get warm again as fast as possible.

Note that hypothesis that "getting up" and "getting dressed" are concomitant (rather than sequential) does not contradict with this either, since the aorist ἑσσάμενος suggests immediacy.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Qimmik » Tue May 20, 2014 1:24 am

I'm not so sure that Od. 2.4 is a concordance interpolation. It's missing from just one ms. Usually concordance interpolations are attested in only a few mss. (It would be interesting to know whether any of the papyri omit this line, but the OCT only reports papyri known by 1916, and van Thiel only reports a limited selection of papyri, since he considers them of little value in establishing the text; and Od. 2.4 is not covered by any of the papyri reported in those editions.) Od. 2.4 is not reported as absent in any of the other dressing passages I quoted, so I'd be inclined to accept it as genuine in 2.4.

Personally I would never excise Od. 2.4. It's actually one of my favorite lines. Putting my shoes on and tying my shoelaces is something I do every morning myself, and it brings me closer, on a personal level, to the Bronze Age characters of the Homeric poems--particularly Telemachus, who has captured the sympathies of listeners and readers for more than two millenia as we see him mature from a confused and sullen adolescent in a troubled household into a resolute and courageous young man after his reunion with his father.

And while it seems to me clear that the Homeric poems are the products of an oral tradition, which included type-scenes as well as formulas, I don't think Homeric poems are in any way "mechanical." I think the aoidos/oi who composed these poems were absolute masters of the tradition and could mold it for their own expressive purposes. What amazes me is how they could draw on the tradition not just to describe battles but also to compose scenes of profound human feeling like Hector and Andromache, Achilles and Priam, pastoral and domestic scenes like those in the Odyssey, etc., and they manage to do all these things with the greatest degree of vividness and immediacy. Even the type-scenes show a significant degree of variety and are mostly shaped to fit the narrative.
Last edited by Qimmik on Tue May 20, 2014 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Qimmik » Tue May 20, 2014 1:26 am

Incidentally, a real deficiency of van Thiel's editions is that cites the papyri very infrequently because he thinks that the text of the medieval mss. is more or less what "Homer" wrote. West actually thinks so too, subject to his own excisions, since he purports to reconstruct a seventh-century Ionic text (although he doesn't go so far as to eliminate rough breathings).

According to M. Haslam, "Homeric Papyri and the Transmission of the Text", in Morris and Powell, A New Companion to Homer (1997), p. 63: "Our earliest Homeric manuscripts, those of the 3rd cent. B.C., are characterized by their startling degree of difference from the text that prevailed later, sometimes known as the 'vulgate.'" p. 69: In the pre-150 BCE period, "the entire text was unstable, showing a degree of volatility more characteristic of texts whose transmission is oral."

That's why I'm not comfortable with West's confidence that he can reconstruct a 7th century Ionian text, especially with unfamiliar spellings based on epigraphic evidence. There's no evidence that anything like the stabilized "vulgate" text we know from the medieval mss. existed before about 150 BCE (not that there was little variation in the text after that date), and in that light attempts to reconstruct an earlier text seem unwarranted.

I like van Thiel's texts as reading texts, but really, as critical editions, they leave a lot to be desired.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue May 20, 2014 2:27 pm

Qimmik wrote:I'm not so sure that Od. 2.4 is a concordance interpolation. It's missing from just one ms. Usually concordance interpolations are attested in only a few mss. (It would be interesting to know whether any of the papyri omit this line, but the OCT only reports papyri known by 1916, and van Thiel only reports a limited selection of papyri, since he considers them of little value in establishing the text; and Od. 2.4 is not covered by any of the papyri reported in those editions.) Od. 2.4 is not reported as absent in any of the other dressing passages I quoted, so I'd be inclined to accept it as genuine in 2.4.


Being sure about these things is impossible of course. But I don't think that the fact that this lacks from just one manuscript (especially as van Thiel is quoting only a rather small selection of manuscripts) means that it's not an interpolation. The point is rather that once there is no obvious ground for mechanical omission (homoeoarchon/homoeoteleuton etc.) AND there is an obvious reason to account for the interpolation, it is likely to be an interpolation, more so of course if it's lacking from several manuscripts. Here, the fact that there seemed to be one verse missing compared to other similar passages would have led to some copyist adding it, either consciously or, especially if he was very well acquainted with the Odyssey, unconsciously. Other such grounds for interpolation are supplying speech introductions to where one was felt missing or if it was felt some clarification was needed.

Once the interpolation had come about it would spread in the tradition, because manuscripts where compared from time to time when new ones where copied. That's also the reason why well-attested ("genuine") lines were unlikely to disappear from the tradition and also why the manuscripts grew in length with time.

Basically, I'm more or less following Richard Janko's review of van Thiel's Odyssey edition here. He even lists a large number of lines he thinks should have been bracketed, and I think I largely agree with him.

Qimmik wrote:Personally I would never excise Od. 2.4. It's actually one of my favorite lines.

Basically, you are giving a further ground for interpolating this verse here! It is a very nice touch, so the temptation to copy it to this place must have been great!

Qimmik wrote:Even the type-scenes show a significant degree of variety and are mostly shaped to fit the narrative.

Absolutely. If this is an interpolation, it's a very nice one and it's understandable why it would have spread quickly. More often than not, however, I believe that interpolations of this sort decrease the variety between type-scenes and removing them improves the story. But of course, you can seldom recognize an interpolation with absolute certainty.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue May 20, 2014 2:55 pm

Qimmik wrote:That's why I'm not comfortable with West's confidence that he can reconstruct a 7th century Ionian text, especially with unfamiliar spellings based on epigraphic evidence. There's no evidence that anything like the stabilized "vulgate" text we know from the medieval mss. existed before about 150 BCE (not that there was little variation in the text after that date), and in that light attempts to reconstruct an earlier text seem unwarranted.

The BIG question is how the vulgate came about. How did it happen that all those "plus" verses (i.e. verses missing from our vulgate) where discarded, on what grounds? How can we be sure that the "inauthentic" ones were discarded and "authentic" ones were not?

One interesting thing is that with the advent of the "vulgate", the numerus versuum was more or less stabilised, but the content of the verses was not – many variant readings we have are obviously older than that. Apparently the creation of the "vulgate" did not discard "interlinear" variants like it did with "plus" verses.

Whatever happened when the "vulgate" came about – and I think it has been persuasively argued that it's the product of Alexandrian scholarship – if it was the result of an intelligent comparison of manuscripts and the "plus" verses were removed on the grounds that they were not well attested in the tradition (and not for some subjective reason), the decisions are bound to have been the right ones in general, because authentic verses were unlikely to become badly attested, for the reasons I gave in the previous post. I think this is the reason why West et al. think the medieval tradition is in general reliable compared to the average "wild" papyrus. But I don't know whether we have enough grounds to be so optimistic. This is a very difficult question.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue May 20, 2014 3:05 pm

So, if we take the optimistic view, I think the point is that although the pre-Vulgate papyri had a lot of variation, there was a "core" shared by all manuscripts, more or less identical with our "vulgate", and in addition highly variable, volatile "plus" verses, which were different from text to text. This is how I understand this view.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Qimmik » Wed May 21, 2014 9:16 pm

Paul, just a few friendly comments--not to be overly contentious.

although the pre-Vulgate papyri had a lot of variation, there was a "core" shared by all manuscripts, more or less identical with our "vulgate", and in addition highly variable, volatile "plus" verses, which were different from text to text.


This is more or less the assumption of West and van Thiel, but I'm not sure there's much basis for it. The article in the New Companion suggests otherwise. In fact, the scholia apparently refer to a pre-existing "koine", a standard text, but when they quote it, apparently, it's frequently different from the text in the medieval mss., so it doesn't seem likely that it was the basis for the medieval text.

Basically, you are giving a further ground for interpolating this verse here! It is a very nice touch, so the temptation to copy it to this place must have been great!

But surely the fact that the line fits very well here can't be grounds for rejecting it! And if it was a conscious choice on the part of an individual composer to omit the line here, why is it included when Menelaus gets up and in the other dressing passages, too?

The OCT Odyssey supposedly takes into account a much larger number of mss. than van Thiel (or the von der Muehll edition), although the apparatus is supposedly not wholly reliable. But in any case, there's no reason not to give weight to the one 11th century ms. that doesn't include the line, even though the other "primary" mss. have it.

interpolations of this sort decrease the variety between type-scenes and removing them improves the story. But of course, you can seldom recognize an interpolation with absolute certainty.


I think when lines are removed on the ground that removing them improves the story, there's a risk of inposing modern critical judgments on an ancient Greek text. The original audiences and readership may well have preferred to experience a more expanded version of the text, and the original composer (whatever that means) might have catered to his customers. (On the other hand, maybe my own preference for including the line is based in part on being immersed in a literary culture of realistic novels, in which irrelevant details like this enhance the reader's sense of realism.)

the fact that there seemed to be one verse missing compared to other similar passages would have led to some copyist adding it, either consciously or, especially if he was very well acquainted with the Odyssey, unconsciously.


Couldn't the exact opposite process occur, too? A copyist who was very familiar with the text, working very quickly and relying on memory as much as on the ms. he was copying from (he had previously copied the Odyssey 20 times), could have forgotten to include the line, even without any apparent reason for mechanical omission.

I don't have access to Janko's review. Do you know whether he rejects 2.4?
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed May 21, 2014 10:30 pm

These are very difficult questions and I don't have absolutely formed views. Also, this particular case of suspected "concordance" interpolation is not as obvious as some others.

At present I'm on trip in France and the only Homer-related book I have with me is van Thiel's Odyssey. What I'm saying are my own impressions, I'm not sure where I got which idea and so on.

Qimmik wrote:This is more or less the assumption of West and van Thiel, but I'm not sure there's much basis for it. The article in the New Companion suggests otherwise. In fact, the scholia apparently refer to a pre-existing "koine", a standard text, but when they quote it, apparently, it's frequently different from the text in the medieval mss., so it doesn't seem likely that it was the basis for the medieval text.

I think here we have to differentiate between the numerus versuum and the actual content of the verses. The number of verses was stabilised with the advent of the vulgate, but the content these verses (i.e. of the verses that remained in the vulgate) displays the same variance as before. Someone, I don't remember who, proposed that basically when some Alexandrian scholar had established what verses he considered spurious and which not, book traders used his "critical edition" as a model to mark into their own "inferior" texts which lines were "original" and which ones were not, but without editing their own text; afterwards, they would have copied from their own texts only those "original" lines into the books they were going to sell – thus the books they were selling afterwards were substantially copies of the books they were selling before, but with the line count reduced to match with the "critical edition". I find this theory very attractive, whatever we should think about the rest. And why would book sellers do that? Well, they could claim they were selling a "critical" text while actually having less text to copy, i.e. at lower costs.

Anyway, it looks like the actual content of the vulgate, the "intralinear" variants, is one question, and the numerus versuum of the vulgate is another, and they have to be accounted for separately.

But surely the fact that the line fits very well here can't be grounds for rejecting it! And if it was a conscious choice on the part of an individual composer to omit the line here, why is it included when Menelaus gets up and in the other dressing passages, too?

I mean that if it wasn't originally part of the narrative in book 2 but was there in book 4 – not for any special reason, but just because things aren't done the same always – there are obvious reasons why it would have crept into the narrative in book 2 as well, and once it was there, it was likely to contaminate the tradition.

I think when lines are removed on the ground that removing them improves the story, there's a risk of inposing modern critical judgments on an ancient Greek text. The original audiences and readership may well have preferred to experience a more expanded version of the text, and the original composer (whatever that means) might have catered to his customers. (On the other hand, maybe my own preference for including the line is based in part on being immersed in a literary culture of realistic novels, in which irrelevant details like this enhance the reader's sense of realism.)

I was mostly thinking about places where interpolations create incongruities in the story. Sometimes it's more like they make the story more banal. But I agree you should be careful about this kind of thing. I think you usually have to have some positive manuscript evidence, modern critical judgement isn't enough alone.

the fact that there seemed to be one verse missing compared to other similar passages would have led to some copyist adding it, either consciously or, especially if he was very well acquainted with the Odyssey, unconsciously.


Couldn't the exact opposite process occur, too? A copyist who was very familiar with the text, working very quickly and relying on memory as much as on the ms. he was copying from (he had previously copied the Odyssey 20 times), could have forgotten to include the line, even without any apparent reason for mechanical omission.


It must be possible, but the idea I have gotten is that the reverse is more likely, that there is good positive evidence in general that "type scenes" of this sort tend to get more similar with time. In individual cases anything is possible of course.

I don't have access to Janko's review. Do you know whether he rejects 2.4?

I don't have it right now but I think he does. It's a very good review, I recommend it.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 2

Postby Qimmik » Wed May 21, 2014 10:40 pm

At present I'm on trip in France


You lucky devil.
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