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Odyssey, Book 5

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Odyssey, Book 5

Postby huilen » Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:38 pm

By the way, Mark Edward's book (Homer, Poet of the Iliad) has just arrived! I've just started to read, but I got very excited with the introduction. The author gives at the very beginning a list of the typical contemporary preconceptions that should not be applied for this kind of orally composed poetry (most of which I've already been warned here by all you, once and again, with your infinite patience :)).
Moreover, I've specially liked the idea of "expansion" that the author early introduces here, because many times I've been quite shocked with some odd simils, digressions and apparently unnecessarily lengthy passages at the most unexpected moments, that this idea of expansion could explain:
A major part of Homer's technique is expansion, which he uses for emphasis; a lengthy description of a scene or a long-winded speech must not be passed over as an irrelevant display of the poet's powers or the uncontrolled love of detail, but accepted as the poet's method of dignifying the present or the future action, and allowed its full impact.

And then he cites Austin:
Where the drama is most intense the digressions are the longest and the details the fullest.

I have not read enough yet, as to fully identify these emphasis, specially those which anticipate future actions, but the building of the raft, which I've just read in Book 5, is given by the author as one of the example passages in which Homer uses expansion, because the detailed description of the construction of the raft emphasize how much his escape means to Odysseus.

I left here some of the questions that I had reading Book 5:

3. οἱ δὲ θεοὶ θῶκόνδε καθίζανον, ἐν δ᾽ ἄρα τοῖσι

A) -δε is used though there is no notion of movement here.

33. ἀλλ᾽ ὅ γ᾽ ἐπὶ σχεδίης πολυδέσμου πήματα πάσχων
34. ἤματί κ᾽ εἰκοστῷ Σχερίην ἐρίβωλον ἵκοιτο,
35. Φαιήκων ἐς γαῖαν, οἳ ἀγχίθεοι γεγάασιν,
36. οἵ κέν μιν περὶ κῆρι θεὸν ὣς τιμήσουσιν,
37. πέμψουσιν δ᾽ ἐν νηὶ φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν,
38. χαλκόν τε χρυσόν τε ἅλις ἐσθῆτά τε δόντες,
39. πόλλ᾽, ὅσ᾽ ἂν οὐδέ ποτε Τροίης ἐξήρατ᾽ Ὀδυσσεύς,
40. εἴ περ ἀπήμων ἦλθε, λαχὼν ἀπὸ ληίδος αἶσαν.

B) Which construction are here (κεν + optative / future)? Why not just future?

99. Ζεὺς ἐμέ γ᾽ ἠνώγει δεῦρ᾽ ἐλθέμεν οὐκ ἐθέλοντα:

C) ἠνώγει would be pluperfect or imperfect (contracted)? I incline myself more to the pluperfect, though really I would have expected an aorist here.

130. τὸν μὲν ἐγὼν ἐσάωσα περὶ τρόπιος βεβαῶτα
131. οἶον, ἐπεί οἱ νῆα θοὴν ἀργῆτι κεραυνῷ
132. Ζεὺς ἔλσας ἐκέασσε μέσῳ ἐνὶ οἴνοπι πόντῳ.

D) How would you explain the perfect βεβαῶτα?

252. ἴκρια δὲ στήσας, ἀραρὼν θαμέσι σταμίνεσσι,
253. ποίει: ἀτὰρ μακρῇσιν ἐπηγκενίδεσσι τελεύτα.
254. ἐν δ᾽ ἱστὸν ποίει καὶ ἐπίκριον ἄρμενον αὐτῷ:
255. πρὸς δ᾽ ἄρα πηδάλιον ποιήσατο, ὄφρ᾽ ἰθύνοι.
256. φράξε δέ μιν ῥίπεσσι διαμπερὲς οἰσυΐνῃσι
257. κύματος εἶλαρ ἔμεν: πολλὴν δ᾽ ἐπεχεύατο ὕλην.
258. τόφρα δὲ φάρε᾽ ἔνεικε Καλυψώ, δῖα θεάων,
259. ἱστία ποιήσασθαι: ὁ δ᾽ εὖ τεχνήσατο καὶ τά.
260. ἐν δ᾽ ὑπέρας τε κάλους τε πόδας τ᾽ ἐνέδησεν ἐν αὐτῇ,
261. μοχλοῖσιν δ᾽ ἄρα τήν γε κατείρυσεν εἰς ἅλα δῖαν.

E) I spent some time with this passage about the construction of the raft, because there is a lot of specialized vocabulary that I didn't know in English, not even in Spanish!
After struggling with LSJ and wikipedia, I made an sketch in the paper, but I couldn't identify to which part of the raft belong the ἐπηγκενίδες:
Image
(Sorry, that's the best I can do, I'm not better drawer than a mariner as you can see, please let me know if you see some error in the labels).
The other thing I didn't understand about the creation of the raft was: πολλὴν δ᾽ ἐπεχεύατο ὕλην.

276. τὴν [the constellation] γὰρ δή μιν ἄνωγε Καλυψώ, δῖα θεάων,
277. ποντοπορευέμεναι ἐπ᾽ ἀριστερὰ χειρὸς ἔχοντα.

F) ἐπί goes with ἀριστερά? Why is χειρός genitive?

289. ἐκφυγέειν μέγα πεῖραρ ὀιζύος, ἥ μιν ἱκάνει.

G) ἱκάνει is used here as if it were a past tense.

300. δείδω μὴ δὴ πάντα θεὰ νημερτέα εἶπεν,

H) I wonder which mode should be used with a verb of fearing when the thing feared is something that occurred in the past.
Since fear clauses can be interpreted as paratactic, as in Latin, I like to think them as two independent sentences: I fear + may that thing not happen!
Thus, I always think the second sentence as a wish, so I think that if I knew how to express a wish referring to a past action then this should resolve this question too.

419. δείδω μή μ᾽ ἐξαῦτις ἀναρπάξασα θύελλα
420. πόντον ἐπ᾽ ἰχθυόεντα φέρῃ βαρέα στενάχοντα,
421. ἠέ τί μοι καὶ κῆτος ἐπισσεύῃ μέγα δαίμων
422. ἐξ ἁλός, οἷά τε πολλὰ τρέφει κλυτὸς Ἀμφιτρίτη:

I) τί is not interrogative here, why then keeps its accent? The only thing I'd figured out was that it is part of a fear clause, which maybe is regarded as an indirect question, but even then the question would be "whether some monster may be send" and not "which monster".

174. περάαν => περᾶν (contr. from περάειν)
290. ἐλάαν => ἐλᾶν (contr. from ἐλάειν, from the poetic form ἐλάω of ἐλαύνω)

J) Just to confirm, the explanation here would be the same as for κεράασθε in viewtopic.php?f=22&t=61629?
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby Bart » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:01 pm

Now that's how a raft should look like! It looks just fine to cross the Aegean, with some sweet wine at hand and a sea nymph or two.
I've read most of book 5 of the Odyssey while going through Frank Beetham's Learning Greek with Homer. Didn't like it much though (the Beetham book I mean, not Homer of course).
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:20 pm

Just a couple of quick comments for now...

"Where the drama is most intense the digressions are the longest and the details the fullest."

I think this is very important. Have you read the first book of the Iliad? Perhaps the greatest example of this, and perhaps the best moment in Homer in my opinion, is to be found there. It's when Achilles describes the staff in his hand, how it will never sprout again, before throwing it to the ground. I find it truly great. Maybe you could argue that it's not exactly a good example, since it's a character speaking and not the narrator, but I still think it's for the same effect.

huilen wrote:E) I spent some time with this passage about the construction of the raft, because there is a lot of specialized vocabulary that I didn't know in English, not even in Spanish!
After struggling with LSJ and wikipedia, I made an sketch in the paper, but I couldn't identify to which part of the raft belong the ἐπηγκενίδες:

(Sorry, that's the best I can do, I'm not better drawer than a mariner as you can see, please let me know if you see some error in the labels).
The other thing I didn't understand about the creation of the raft was: πολλὴν δ᾽ ἐπεχεύατο ὕλην.

This passage of the construction of the raft is extremely difficult from a technical point of view. No one knows those terms for sure, and LSJ is more or less just guessing. First of all, modern critics (contra LSJ etc.) generally think Homer isn't describing the building of a raft here, but rather the building of a boat/ship. A naval archaeologist called Samuel Marks has written a whole book on Homeric ships, with a chapter on this particular passage. He thinks skhedie doesn't mean "raft", although it meant that later on. He is not a philologist, but anyway trying to explain all the details here as if it were a raft is problematic.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:47 pm

And yes, I agree with Bart that if I had to cross the Aegean on a raft, I would definitely take yours! With sweet wine and preferably a couple of sea nymphs too... :)
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby Qimmik » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:49 am

A) The idea is that they are going into the council chamber and sitting down.

B) The speaker shifts from a future less vivid construction to a future.

C) This verb exists only in the perfect, which has a present meaning and lacks augment/reduplication, and the pluperfect, which serves as a past tense. It's simply an irregularity:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Da%29%2Fnwga

D)The perfect of βαίνω has a present meaning, "to stand," "to be in place" -- the result of having stepped into place.

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

E) Enough has already been written about boats.

F) ἐπ᾽ ἀριστερὰ χειρὸς ἔχοντα -- I would treat this as an idiom that defies precise analysis. The meaning is clear.

G) Present tense because woe is still coming to him.

H) Fear relating to the past: μή + indicative

Smyth 2233: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Smyth+grammar+2233&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007

I) τί is accented because the following word, μοι, is also enclitic. Smyth 185:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Smyth+grammar+185&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007

J) Yes, the short syllable lost in contraction is restored by (or retained as) the short vowel equivalent to the long vowel resulting from the contraction where the meter requires it, as we've seen several times previously.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby huilen » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:47 am

Excuse me for the delay, I just wanted to wait to be able to sit and read at ease the answers and review my notes.
Bart wrote:It looks just fine to cross the Aegean, with some sweet wine at hand and a sea nymph or two.
I've read most of book 5 of the Odyssey while going through Frank Beetham's Learning Greek with Homer. Didn't like it much though (the Beetham book I mean, not Homer of course).

:lol: You better make sure to be at peace with Poseidon first!

Paul Derouda wrote:I think this is very important. Have you read the first book of the Iliad? Perhaps the greatest example of this, and perhaps the best moment in Homer in my opinion, is to be found there. It's when Achilles describes the staff in his hand, how it will never sprout again, before throwing it to the ground. I find it truly great. Maybe you could argue that it's not exactly a good example, since it's a character speaking and not the narrator, but I still think it's for the same effect.

Thanks, I will read again that passage. When I read it the first time I was at the very beginning with Greek (I mean, at the beginning of the beginning), so I was too much diverted by basic grammar questions. So now, but I'm trying to start paying more attention to these things.

Great, Qimmik :D

huilen wrote:G) ἱκάνει is used here as if it were a past tense.

I didn't see it before, but I've just found this about ἱκάνω on Autenrieth:
Often with perf. signif., ‘am come to,’ Il. 9.197, Od. 6.119.

Doesn't cite this passage, but I think it could apply, don't you? (LSJ do not mention anything about a perfect meaning).
Last edited by huilen on Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby mwh » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:19 am

“The best moment in Homer”? Sure it’s powerful, but surely better moments come later. I never fail to shiver when reaching Patroklos’ entry in 11, κακοῦ δ’ ἄρα οἱ πέλεν ἀρχή. I love it when Homer looks forward, as he so rarely does, or gives privileged information (e.g. Castor & Pollux in teichoskopia, nhpios .., oud’ ar’ eti dhn | hn, etc.). And there are others, e.g. in 16 or 22. All the good moments are in Iliad, of course. A new thread, perhaps?
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby Scribo » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:39 am

mwh wrote:“The best moment in Homer”? Sure it’s powerful, but surely better moments come later. I never fail to shiver when reaching Patroklos’ entry in 11, κακοῦ δ’ ἄρα οἱ πέλεν ἀρχή. I love it when Homer looks forward, as he so rarely does, or gives privileged information (e.g. Castor & Pollux in teichoskopia, nhpios .., oud’ ar’ eti dhn | hn, etc.). And there are others, e.g. in 16 or 22. All the good moments are in Iliad, of course. A new thread, perhaps?


I like you MWH, I really do. The Iliad really is uperfialmh. I want to re-read it but I started a re-read of the Odyssey a few days ago and I'm only on book 7. Grr this is taking forever and I really couldn't care less about Nausikaa and company. Zeus, 7 books in and no one has stabbed anyone yet.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:58 am

mwh wrote:“The best moment in Homer”? Sure it’s powerful, but surely better moments come later.

Of course you're right... I should have written "one of the best moments that come to my mind right now without giving it another thought"... Achilles chasing Hector around the walls of Troy is actually maybe my favourite, but the more you think about it, the more difficult it becomes to pick up the one "best" moment. But my favourite book though is Iliad I; not because of any particular moment, but because it's a whole.

As for this scepter speech of Achilles, it's true it can't compete on even grounds with scenes that come later on, which Homer has carefully prepared for thousands of verses. But that's exactly the point, I think – the power and intensity with which Homer builds the suspense in the beginning of his story and makes us believe in his characters. It's specifically the scepter scene and the like that do the job, it's because of them that we care so much about the "better moments" that come later.

Picking up a "best moment" is bound to be subjective choice, and for me this one scepter scene made an exceptional impression because it was one of the first I read, when I was making really slow progression with Pharr. It really contributed to my Homer addiction at this early stage.

But you are not being fair with the Odyssey. It's not because the story isn't about the Meaning of Life or Choice or Whatever that it can't be a truly great one. I think the comparison to the Iliad isnt' a fair one. The only thing the Odyssey lacks compared to the Iliad in my opinion is an addictive beginning.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby mwh » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:03 pm

All well said, Paul. I certainly agree the Quarrel is a great kick-off to the poem, and captivatingly sets up everything that follows, and the scepter oath (so simple and stark when it actually comes, h pot’ Axillhos poqh ixetai) makes a magnificent culmination to the wonderfully calibrated escalation. It’s that and in fact the whole of bk.1 that first sold me on Homer too.

My comment on Il. vs. Od. was a throwaway provocation but not insincere. Odyssey is a very different kind of poem, in which it’s hard to find “height” (and quite impossible to believe in unitary “authorship.”) Longinus instances Ajax’ turning away without speaking in the Nekuia (that clearly impressed Vergil too) but hardly anything else if I remember. But perhaps I shouldn’t let my responses be influenced by that bloody aesthete. (The “bloody” is for Scribo.)
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby Scribo » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:32 pm

Ha I deserve that :P all though I do believe classical aesthetes and all that get a free pass whereas 21st century guys ought to know better - explication of text! not mental masturbation. I really hated interpretative questions as an undergraduate. How the hell do I know? I didn't write it! Let's talk about language or social values instead bro.

Between the Iliad and Odyssey there can be no context. I'm on the butt end of book VIII now and...it's good. This book would be better for me if I hadn't gone over it with a fine tooth comb due to Phemi-lolican'tsee-os the singer maybe. But it lacks...the whole poem lacks something the Iliad has in terms of sheer force. Like I keep jokingly saying, the Odyssey waits waaaay to long to start killing people properly.

The sceptre is interesting in the Iliad - I like it when Odysseus starts smashing people with it.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:36 am

mwh wrote: (and quite impossible to believe in unitary “authorship.”)

You do like to provoke, don't you? :) I don't know. Certainly there are a lot of problems that have to be explained. Personally I'm seduced by the idea that it's the result of a process not unlike what West postulates for the Iliad - a single poet who worked on the text for a long time and made those interpolations himself. I'm waiting impatiently to see what sort of concoctation West has come up with in the book that's coming out later this year. Poet A and recensor B or whatever is sure another possibility. Anyway, it seems obvious to me that the textualisation was a rather long and complex process, so all those hypotheses more or less to the effect that the Odyssey was dictated from α to ω in a few weeks time are absolutely out.

And Scribo - what do you think about the way Odysseus uses the Cyclops' staff in book 9? ;)
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby mwh » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:33 pm

I’m regretting that parenthesis, which merely distracted. And I misspoke: I didn’t mean unitary authorship of Od., but Il. and Od. each by same poet.

To judge from the prepublication blurb, West will take the same line with Od. as with Il. — single poet, textualization concurrent with composition.

A scepter is too civilized a thing to find in Od.9, obviously, and the cyclops’ ropalon gives him affinity with Herakles. As for Odysseus’ use of the moxlos he converts it to, I can tell you Scribo will like it, oh he will like it very much.
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Re: Odyssey, Book 5

Postby Paul Derouda » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:22 pm

mwh wrote:I’m regretting that parenthesis, which merely distracted. And I misspoke: I didn’t mean unitary authorship of Od., but Il. and Od. each by same poet.

I was a bit surprised at you taking such a definite analytical stance... But as for the Iliad and and Odyssey being from different hands, I think it's very likely too.

mwh wrote:To judge from the prepublication blurb, West will take the same line with Od. as with Il. — single poet, textualization concurrent with composition.

That's how I read it too. Anyway I can only accept an explanation that accounts for the difficulties pointed out by the good old Analysts. West's is the most attractive I've seen, but I'll welcome any better one if see one. Explaining the problems as just incongruities of oral composition is implausible. A 10000+ verse text from the antiquity is not an oral composition. It's a text.

mwh wrote:A scepter is too civilized a thing to find in Od.9, obviously, and the cyclops’ ropalon gives him affinity with Herakles. As for Odysseus’ use of the moxlos he converts it to, I can tell you Scribo will like it, oh he will like it very much.

Affinity with Heracles? Yes! That's an interesting one. Was that just an idea that passed through your head or can you elaborate?
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