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Odyssey 3, 92-95

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Odyssey 3, 92-95

Postby Bart » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:08 am

I'm rereading the first books of the Odyssey using the Oxford commentary by Heubeck, Stephanie West and Hainsworth. This is from the beginning of book 3. Telemachus is adressing Nestor, asking him information about his father.

τοὔνεκα νῦν τὰ σὰ γούναθ᾽ ἱκάνομαι, αἴ κ᾽ ἐθέλῃσθα
κείνου λυγρὸν ὄλεθρον ἐνισπεῖν, εἴ που ὄπωπας
ὀφθαλμοῖσι τεοῖσιν ἢ ἄλλου μῦθον ἄκουσας
πλαζομένου:
πέρι γάρ μιν ὀιζυρὸν τέκε μήτηρ.

I take πλαζομένου with ἄλλου, so "...or heard (something) from someone else wandering about"
The Oxford commentary however thinks πλαζομένου refers to Odysseus, so "..heard something from someone else about him (Odysseus) wandering about. The commentary points to the following γάρ as showing this.

This doesn't seem very convincing to me. Furthermore they find the line fussy and clumsy, but isn't it exactly their reading, namely taking πλαζομένου as a second genitive with ἄκουσας independent of ἄλλου that makes it awkward? I checked the Loeb and Ameis, they both seem to agree with how I read it. The Loeb translates: "..or heard the report of some other wanderer".
What do you think?
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Re: Odyssey 3, 92-95

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:37 am

I suppose that technically, both interpretations are possible. However, I'm siding with the Oxford commentary here. I have no hard data to back my claim and my books are in cardboard boxes, so I can't look up anything, though...
1) I think the genitive πλαζομένου referring to Odysseus is made more acceptable by the genitive κείνου two lines earlier. That way, πλαζομένου is not only a sort of partitive object to ἄκουσας ("heard about him") but also an apposition to κείνου. It is clumsy, but to me it seems to agree with Homeric usage. This is just a gut feeling, though.
2) πλαζόμενος turned into a noun meaning "wanderer" doesn't seem typically Homeric to me. On the other hand, πλάζω is a verb that is regularly applied to Odysseus in the Odyssey and is closely associated with him. Beginning from line 2:
Ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσε
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Re: Odyssey 3, 92-95

Postby Bart » Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:27 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:. On the other hand, πλάζω is a verb that is regularly applied to Odysseus in the Odyssey and is closely associated with him. Beginning from line 2:
Ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσε


Isn't the word closely associated with him simply because he does a lot of travelling in the Odyssey? It doesn't appear limited to him though. For instance, it is used of other groups/ persons at least twice in book 3 alone (line 106: the Greeks looking for plunder; line 252 Menelaos).


I think the genitive πλαζομένου referring to Odysseus is made more acceptable by the genitive κείνου two lines earlier. That way, πλαζομένου is not only a sort of partitive object to ἄκουσας ("heard about him") but also an apposition to κείνου. It is clumsy, but to me it seems to agree with Homeric usage.


But isnt it exactly this that makes it clumsy and confusing: πλαζομένου referring to κείνου two lines earlier instead of simply to ἄλλου two words away?
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Re: Odyssey 3, 92-95

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:42 pm

All right, it wasn't a very good point to say that πλάζω is regularly applied to Odysseus, especially as this is only the second instance (if indeed it is). So my point number two doesn't really work.

The Oxford commentary's point about the γάρ seems good. The γάρ doesn't work nearly as well, if πλαζομένου doesn't refer to Odysseus.

Another point: κείνου and πλαζομένου both fall at the same, empathic position at the beginning of the verse. I think this facilitates taking πλαζομένου as an apposition to κείνου.
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Re: Odyssey 3, 92-95

Postby Bart » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:10 am

About γάρ: in my view this can just as well point back to the entire passage (or to κείνου for that matter) clearly dealing with Odysseus.

As you said, both readings are possible and both seem to have their -well informed- cheerleaders. Unless you have an ace up your sleeve, let's move on to more interesting dilemma's like what is identity of the mystery minstrel (mentioned in Od. 3, 267) left behind by Agamemnon to keep an eye on Klytaimestra.
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