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New composition exercise for people reading Homer

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New composition exercise for people reading Homer

Postby chad » Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:07 am

hi guys, lots of people in this forum seem to have read at least the start of the Iliad or Odyssey (or both)... If you have, try putting the first 4 lines of the Aeneid into greek dactylic hexameter.

Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Italiam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venit
litora, multum ille et terris iactatus et alto
vi superum saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram;

I sing of arms, and of the man who, being driven from
his country by the decrees of Fate, first came from the
coasts of Troy to Italy, even to the Lavinian shore, much
harassed both on sea and land by the violence of heaven,
because of the unforgotten grudge of relentless Juno;
--A translation from www.rhapsodoioralgreekandlatin.org

This very exercise must have been attempted so many times over the last few thousand years.

You can get lots of the vocab for this exercise from the openings of the Iliad and Odyssey.

The greek versions of names you should be able to get (I think) from the back of the Woodhouse English-Attic dictionary:

http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/efts/Woodhouse/

The rules for caesura are described in a tutorial here on textkit.

You don't need to be a Homer expert to try this: just trying to think it through should be very beneficial on its own :)

cheers, chad. :)
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Postby mingshey » Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:25 am

Woodhouse entry for Sea-shore:

Sea-shore, Subs. See shore

:?
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Re: New composition exercise for people reading Homer

Postby annis » Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:03 am

chad wrote: try putting the first 4 lines of the Aeneid into greek dactylic hexameter.


Fiendish!
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby chad » Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:18 am

fiendish, not at all. i'm assuming people who read homer can read the dactylic hex, but if not, i'll give a simple explanation...

a homeric line could have 12 long syllables.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

to break up the monotony, you can switch any of the even numbers (apart from 12) for 2 short syllables. e.g.

1, 2, 3, 4 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 8, 9, 10 10, 11, 12

the 2 short syllables do not kill the line's rhythm, because they're each sung only half the length of a long syllable (together the 2 shorts add up to a long syllable). so out loud, you kind of trip over the short syllables (saying them as quickly as possible), and the long syllables, you sustain the vowel sound for a moment.

normally the 10th long syllable is switched for 2 short syllables.

that's dactylic hex. the trick is for composing it, to find the words you need to use, search for them in homer, figure out where they are in the line, and build up the rest of the line around them. that's how homer did it.

have fun! cheers, chad. :)
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Re: New composition exercise for people reading Homer

Postby Kerastes » Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:37 am

chad wrote:try putting the first 4 lines of the Aeneid into greek dactylic hexameter.


I agree with William. That's fiendish. And I'm going to have to look for other versions of it that have surely been written.

Here's a stab at the first two lines, which is my first attempt at Greek hexameter.

[face=SPIonic]teu/xea a)/ndra t' a)ei/dw, o(\j th=| dai/moni prw=toj
e)k Troi/hj tw=n h)io/nwn fugo\j h)=lqe de a)kta/j
Labi/naj te kai\ I)tali/hn:
[/face]

Okay, now someone else be brave.

Kerastes
who decided to join the beginning Homeric group for good reason
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Postby chad » Mon Feb 16, 2004 8:06 am

edit: i realised after i left work yesterday that my first line didn't scan right... this is with my new lines 1 and 2, and i also just found out you could put a te after gar without affecting the sense, allowing me to put an "en" in the 4th line :)

[face=SPIonic]a!|somai o3pla kai\ a!ndra, a)eifugi/an, tw~| ai]sa[/face]
[face=SPIonic]Troi/hqen fuge/ein, kai\ 9Rw/mhn prw~ton i9ke/sqai:[/face]
[face=SPIonic]polla_ d' o3 g' e0n po/ntw| pa/qen a!lgea kai\ kata_ gai=an,[/face]
[face=SPIonic]tw~| ga&r t' e0n qumw~| kexolwme/nh po/tnia 3Hrh.[/face]

i will sing arms and the man, eternal exile, to whom fate (it was fated)
from Troy to flee, and to first reach Rome:
many woes he suffered in the sea and on land,
for with him lady Hera was enraged in heart.

the first word comes from one of the homeric hymns to aphrodite.

the 3rd line i pulled almost word-for-word from the start of the odyssey.
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