Od. 1.241

Are you reading Homeric Greek? Whether you are a total beginner or an advanced Homerist, here you can meet kindred spirits. Besides Homer, use this board for all things early Greek poetry.
Post Reply
User avatar
Paul Derouda
Global Moderator
Posts: 2151
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:39 pm

Od. 1.241

Post by Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:32 pm

Od. 1.230 ff.:
τὴν δ᾽ αὖ Τηλέμαχος πεπνυμένος ἀντίον ηὔδα:
‘ξεῖν᾽, ἐπεὶ ἂρ δὴ ταῦτά μ᾽ ἀνείρεαι ἠδὲ μεταλλᾷς,
μέλλεν μέν ποτε οἶκος ὅδ᾽ ἀφνειὸς καὶ ἀμύμων
ἔμμεναι, ὄφρ᾽ ἔτι κεῖνος ἀνὴρ ἐπιδήμιος ἦεν:
νῦν δ᾽ ἑτέρως ἐβόλοντο θεοὶ κακὰ μητιόωντες,
οἳ κεῖνον μὲν ἄιστον ἐποίησαν περὶ πάντων
ἀνθρώπων, ἐπεὶ οὔ κε θανόντι περ ὧδ᾽ ἀκαχοίμην,
εἰ μετὰ οἷς ἑτάροισι δάμη Τρώων ἐνὶ δήμῳ,
ἠὲ φίλων ἐν χερσίν, ἐπεὶ πόλεμον τολύπευσεν.
τῷ κέν οἱ τύμβον μὲν ἐποίησαν Παναχαιοί,
ἠδέ κε καὶ ᾧ παιδὶ μέγα κλέος ἤρατ᾽ ὀπίσσω.
νῦν δέ μιν ἀκλειῶς ἅρπυιαι ἀνηρείψαντο:
οἴχετ᾽ ἄιστος ἄπυστος, ἐμοὶ δ᾽ ὀδύνας τε γόους τε
κάλλιπεν. οὐδέ τι κεῖνον ὀδυρόμενος στεναχίζω
οἶον, ἐπεί νύ μοι ἄλλα θεοὶ κακὰ κήδε᾽ ἔτευξαν.

I'm thinking about the meaning of the word ἀκλειῶς on line 241 (underlined). Stephanie West in her commentary: "ἀκλειῶς: 'without report, so that there is no news of him' (cf. ἀκλέα iv 728); the verbal antithesis with κλέος in 240 can scarcely be reproduced in English. (Shewring's 'ingloriously' is not really satisfactory, since it suggests 'ignominiously' rather than 'obscurely'.).

As far as other translators are concerned, Loeb goes with S. West and Lattimore and LfgrE s.v. ἀκλεής with Shewring. I think I disagree with West here and would rather go with Shewring, as I think ἀκλειῶς in this particular context means more than just "without news"; the general tone of Telemachus' speech shows that what he's concerned about here is his and and his family's general loss of status. If Odysseus had died in Troy instead of just vanishing, his war comrades would have given him a glorious funeral (τῷ κέν οἱ τύμβον μὲν ἐποίησαν Παναχαιοί), which would have given μέγα κλέος to his son as well, whereas now Telemachus' legacy is just ὀδύνας τε γόους τε.

I suppose West is right that in iv 728 ἀκλέα means just "without news", but I think a more relevant parallel would be from 5.308, where Odysseus is almost drowning in a sea storm:

ὡς δὴ ἐγώ γ᾽ ὄφελον θανέειν καὶ πότμον ἐπισπεῖν
ἤματι τῷ ὅτε μοι πλεῖστοι χαλκήρεα δοῦρα
Τρῶες ἐπέρριψαν περὶ Πηλεΐωνι θανόντι.
τῷ κ᾽ ἔλαχον κτερέων, καί μευ κλέος ἦγον Ἀχαιοί·
νῦν δέ λευγαλέῳ θανάτῳ εἵμαρτο ἁλῶναι.

I'd be grateful for any opinions.

User avatar
jeidsath
Administrator
Posts: 3357
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Γαλεήπολις, Οὐισκόνσιν

Re: Od. 1.241

Post by jeidsath » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:38 pm

If I wanted an English word that means without report, but not ignominiously, the word that I would reach for is "unsung."
With prosperous wing full summ'd to tell of deeds
Above Heroic, though in secret done,
And unrecorded left through many an Age,
Worthy t' have not remain'd so long unsung.
Another word that nearly means what you want would be "unmarked." It does not quite fit for the passage, and I am only mentioning it for comparison.
...to his great Baptism flock'd
With aw the Regions round, and with them came
From Nazareth the Son of Joseph deem'd
To the flood Jordan, came as then obscure,
Unmarkt, unknown;...
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

User avatar
seneca2008
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 875
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:48 pm
Location: Londinium

Re: Od. 1.241

Post by seneca2008 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:09 pm

"ἄιστον" in 235 prepares the idea of "out of sight" and seems to me to make the sense of ἀκλειῶς as "without report" more natural. This is confirmed by "οἴχετ᾽ ἄιστος ἄπυστος" in the following line (242)

The sense of being snatched away "ingloriously" is not immediately explicable. He is not the sort of person to be snatched away? This seems a bit weak. That its an inglorious fate for a hero seems to stretch the sense.

Surely the key to the reference to 4.728 is the verb ἀνερείπομαι:

νῦν δέ μιν ἀκλειῶς ἅρπυιαι ἀνηρείψαντο: 1.241

νῦν αὖ παῖδ᾽ ἀγαπητὸν ἀνηρείψαντο θύελλαι
ἀκλέα ἐκ μεγάρων... 4.727-8

I am not sure I follow your comment on 5.308. It is a sort of parallel to 1.239-40 but 1.241 and 5.312 are surely quite different?

User avatar
Paul Derouda
Global Moderator
Posts: 2151
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:39 pm

Re: Od. 1.241

Post by Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:05 pm

The way I (tentatively) understand this is that ἀκλειῶς at 1.241 and ἀκλέα at 4.728 both are formed from the word κλέος "report", but the word at 1.241 has the (usual Homeric) nuance of "fame, good reputation, status". The words convey slightly different nuances, although at a verbal level the passages are quite similar. At 1.240-241 we have

ἠδέ κε καὶ ᾧ παιδὶ μέγα κλέος ἤρατ᾽ ὀπίσσω.
νῦν δέ μιν ἀκλειῶς ἅρπυιαι ἀνηρείψαντο

It seems to me that there's definitely interplay between κλέος and ἀκλειῶς on these consecutive lines, "even to his son he would have left great fame, but as it is (νῦν) he's disappeared along with his fame".

I don't mean that S. West is necessarily completely wrong. As κλέος means both "report" and "fame", I think it's likely that ἀκλειῶς has both meanings here and means both "without a trace" and "along with his fame" at the same time, and perhaps some sort wordplay is intended; only I think that it would be too weak if we only translate it with the first meaning. Perhaps "ingloriously" veering on "ignominiously" is too strong; whether Joel's "unsung" is better I leave to you native speakers of English.

With the 5.308 parallel I simply meant that it shows how being buried by war comrades after falling in battle brings you κλέος, while antithetically disappearing alone and drowning in a storm does not. Telemachus' speech at 1.230 seems obsessed with his, his father's and his household's status, and for that reason I find it hard to believe that ἀκλειῶς does not relate to that in any way.

User avatar
seneca2008
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 875
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:48 pm
Location: Londinium

Re: Od. 1.241

Post by seneca2008 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:20 pm

It seems to me that there's definitely interplay between κλέος and ἀκλειῶς on these consecutive lines,
I agree. The more I think about it the more difficult it is to map the opposition of these words into English. ἀκλειῶς must, you are right, carry with it some idea of "lack of fame (or reputation)" resulting from being "without report". I dont think there is any neat way of capturing this in a translation. Personally I think your "he's disappeared along with his fame" goes a bit too far, after all O. has not lost all his κλέος! Unsung is a bit too poetic for me and too far from the text.
Telemachus' speech at 1.230 seems obsessed with his, his father's and his household's status, and for that reason I find it hard to believe that ἀκλειῶς does not relate to that in any way.
I think all of Homer is obsessed with the idea of status. Have you read Nagy's "The Best of the Achaeans? He points out that " Etymologically κλέος should have meant simply "that which is heard". Yet the poet himself is implicated in the choice of what is to be heard. So that possibly whenever we read κλέος we are implicated in some kind of metapoetics. Who has the authority to decide about O.'s κλέος? (I realise this may be just too compressed to be readily intelligible.)

Anyway its useful to have had to think about this and be reminded how seemingly simple Greek words carry complex ideas which are very difficult to express simply in English. Homeric thought is really quite alien to our own.

User avatar
Paul Derouda
Global Moderator
Posts: 2151
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:39 pm

Re: Od. 1.241

Post by Paul Derouda » Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:32 pm

Isn't about every human being obsessed with status? But I agree this obsession manifests itself in a particular way in early Greek epic – like this particular example, or how obsessed Odysseus is about the treasures he's going to bring back home.

I know I should read Nagy, but I haven't read that book...

Post Reply