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Iliad 9, 225-227

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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby Niedzielski » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:53 pm

And a very fine scholar of theology you would have made! It's Jeidsath's pratting about driving people away that I referred to as Christian sentiment, is that really so obscure? I suppose it's not very clear to you I am adressing them both, but let me be clear: What did Qimmik write that was so absurd? Did he not write " mwh has convinced me that Achilles does not have foreknowledge of his death"? Did he not mean "mwh convinced me that the revelation of a two fold fate is a lie"? And if he decides to delete all the contents of his post, both his musings on the concordance and what he ventured to write about fate, and asks me whether I am happy for it, am I to feel pity for him for that?
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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby Niedzielski » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:46 pm

Has our Pseudo-Achilles set sail for his Phthia? I was not minded to see his ships sailing.
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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby Bart » Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:59 pm

mwh wrote:He doesn’t seem to anticipate being killed in the event that Hector approach the Myrmidon encampment, nor does he betray any awareness subsequently, either before or after Patroklos’ death, that he is fated to die at Troy.


This thread came to mind while reading these lines in book 18 (324-335):

ὢ πόποι ἦ ῥʼ ἅλιον ἔπος ἔκβαλον ἤματι κείνῳ
θαρσύνων ἥρωα Μενοίτιον ἐν μεγάροισι·
φῆν δέ οἱ εἰς Ὀπόεντα περικλυτὸν υἱὸν ἀπάξειν
Ἴλιον ἐκπέρσαντα, λαχόντα τε ληΐδος αἶσαν.
ἀλλʼ οὐ Ζεὺς ἄνδρεσσι νοήματα πάντα τελευτᾷ·
ἄμφω γὰρ πέπρωται ὁμοίην γαῖαν ἐρεῦσαι
αὐτοῦ ἐνὶ Τροίῃ, ἐπεὶ οὐδʼ ἐμὲ νοστήσαντα
δέξεται ἐν μεγάροισι γέρων ἱππηλάτα Πηλεὺς
οὐδὲ Θέτις μήτηρ, ἀλλʼ αὐτοῦ γαῖα καθέξει.
νῦν δʼ ἐπεὶ οὖν Πάτροκλε σεῦ ὕστερος εἶμʼ ὑπὸ γαῖαν,
οὔ σε πρὶν κτεριῶ πρίν γʼ Ἕκτορος ἐνθάδʼ ἐνεῖκαι
τεύχεα καὶ κεφαλὴν μεγαθύμου σοῖο φονῆος·

It seems quite clear that Achilles at this point in the story at least, right after Patroclus' death, knows that he will die at Troy. Can't see how to interpret these lines in any other way.
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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:40 pm

Why not? The way I see it, he's just very depressed and very angry. So much so that he wants to die, but first he wants to kill Hector. I don't think he necessarily knows he's going to die, he just sees it as a likely outcome for someone as despaired and angry as he is.
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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby Bart » Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:26 am

He doesn't say he wants to die, but that he will die. πέπρωται according to LSJ means has or had been fated to. Also, a protagonist saying A but actually meaning B for psychological/ emotional reasons, though perfectly acceptable in any other text, doesn't strike me as typical for Homer. And then trusty Ameis agrees with me on this: see comment under 326, ἀπάζειν -> Dass er selbst vor Troia fallen werde, wusste Achill damals also noch nicht; es wird vorausgesetzt, dass ihm Thetis die Mitteilung über sein Geschick, wie die Andeutung über Patroklos'Tod (Σ 9 ff.) erst später machte.
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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby mwh » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:52 pm

just quickly clocking in here again, very timely. Quite right about bk.18, only how Achilles views things is not entirely stable but varies according to situation. My Mar.16 post briefly addressed this.
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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:58 pm

Ok, saying that "he wants to die" wasn't well put, but what I meant was that Achilles is in a self-destructive state of mind and cares about nothing except killing Hector. He's going to commit utmost excesses (including human sacrifice) to get his revenge and he knows he's probably going to destroy himself in the process. If he says that something "is fated" to happen to him, that's just the way of Homer of putting things. I think mwh said earlier somewhere that what is fated is Homer is just what happens. Maybe we can compare Achilles to an alcoholic who has been sober for a long time, but who then looses his job, his home, his wife and his money. He takes up drinking again like never before and says to himself that his destiny after all was to drink himself to death. He doesn't want to die and he doesn't know for sure if he will, but he knows there's a good chance it will happen, and he's powerless to prevent it.
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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby Bart » Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:03 am

I was clearly wrong in stating that no other interpretations were possible, when such an experienced reader of Homer as yourself comes to a different conclusion of what these lines mean. However, I'm still not convinced for three reasons:

-first, according to your reading Achilles is speaking in emotional distress about his own death, not as a given fact, but as something that might very well happen. It's outside his control, he doesn't care about it now Patroclus is dead, perhaps he even desires it. I still feel the use of πρέπρωται is an obstacle to this kind of reading. Earlier in book 18 Achilles speaks in just this way about his own death, but using a very different wording:

90-91: ἐπεὶ οὐδʼ ἐμὲ θυμὸς ἄνωγε
ζώειν οὐδʼ ἄνδρεσσι μετέμμεναι,

98-99: αὐτίκα τεθναίην, ἐπεὶ οὐκ ἄρʼ ἔμελλον ἑταίρῳ
κτεινομένῳ ἐπαμῦναι

θυμὸς ἄνωγε and τεθναίην make perfectly clear that we're dealing with emotional and subjective utterances. In the verses where Achilles uses πέπρωται this isn't so obvious at all.

-Secondly, it's no wonder Achilles knows about his impending death, for Thetis explicitly told him. See 94-96: τὸν δʼ αὖτε προσέειπε Θέτις κατὰ δάκρυ χέουσα·
ὠκύμορος δή μοι τέκος ἔσσεαι, οἷʼ ἀγορεύεις·
αὐτίκα γάρ τοι ἔπειτα μεθʼ Ἕκτορα πότμος ἑτοῖμος.

-Thirdly: even though I willingly concede that your reading is possible, why would you chose it over the more obvious one? I mean, when Achilles says he will or is fated to die, this logically implies he has knowledge about this fact. Sure, you can read this as an emotional outcry, even though in this instance (contrary to previous, clearly emotional utterances about his own death) it is phrased as a factual statement, but why prefer this to the more litteral reading? I must say, the reasons you have given so far, strike me as overpsychologising.
Last edited by Bart on Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby Bart » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:26 am

mwh wrote:just quickly clocking in here again, very timely. Quite right about bk.18, only how Achilles views things is not entirely stable but varies according to situation. My Mar.16 post briefly addressed



Hi, Michael, glad to see you're still around here!
About Achilles wavering in his views (with respect to his death, I assume you mean): fair enough, but it seems improbable to ascribe this to epistemological reasons (he knows about his death, then he forgets, then he remembers it partially etcetera). If it has to be explained it seems much more likely that he simply knows the fact he will die, but that his utterances about this fact vary according to rethorical (or, to give it a more modern twist, psychological) reasons dependent on the circumstances and to whom he is speaking. Alternatively, we're digging much too deep into this and it's just a narrative technique Homer uses to keep his audience guessing.
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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:52 pm

I think another member of our forum, Scribo, once wrote a good answer all these difficult questions of interpretation. Something like "What did the the writer mean when he wrote x... How should I know, I didn't write it!".

What I do know is that I found mwh's post earlier in this thread refreshing and quite convincing. I can't say whether it will stand up to a really close scrutiny. It's several years since I last read the whole Iliad, so take my views with a grain of salt. :) I'm more comfortable with the Odyssey...
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Re: Iliad 9, 225-227

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:04 pm

Bart wrote:-Secondly, it's no wonder Achilles knows about his impending death, for Thetis explicitly told him. See 94-96: τὸν δʼ αὖτε προσέειπε Θέτις κατὰ δάκρυ χέουσα·
ὠκύμορος δή μοι τέκος ἔσσεαι, οἷʼ ἀγορεύεις·
αὐτίκα γάρ τοι ἔπειτα μεθʼ Ἕκτορα πότμος ἑτοῖμος.

Is this fundamentally different from what mortal mother would say to her son who engages in such a dangerous and self-destructive activity? We take this as a prediction because Thetis is a goddess, but what she's really saying isn't so different from what any mother would say to his son in a similar situation.
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