Trouble with a verse from Homer's Odyssey book VII

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DBLB
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Trouble with a verse from Homer's Odyssey book VII

Post by DBLB » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:59 pm

Hello everybody, I’ve been translating some excerpts from the book VII of the Odyssey in my Greek class, and I’ve came upon a verse which got me stuck. I’m referring to vv. 216 – 217, when Odysseus says the following:

οὐ γάρ τι στυγερῇ ἐπὶ γαστέρι κύντερον ἄλλο
ἔπλετο, […] (vv. 216 - 217, book VII of the Odyssey)

Supposedly, the translation should be something like: ‘Because nothing is more shameful than a hateful stomach’, yet I fail to understand this comparison.
From what I’ve learned, when comparing something, the second term of comparison should either be in the Genitive case or in the same case as the first term of comparison but preceded by an ἥ. Here, the second term of comparison seems to be in the Dative, followed by ἐπὶ.

So could anyone clarify how the comparison works in this verse?
Many thanks!
(PS: Please excuse my bad English, but this is not my native language.)

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Paul Derouda
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Re: Trouble with a verse from Homer's Odyssey book VII

Post by Paul Derouda » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:14 pm

κύντερον is more like "shameless". It means that whatever you do, however you feel, your stomach always reminds you that you should eat and grumbles shamelessly. Dogs are the epitome of shamelessness in Homer. ἐπὶ is a bit strange true, something like "nothing tops the stomach in shamelessness"?

DBLB
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Re: Trouble with a verse from Homer's Odyssey book VII

Post by DBLB » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:25 pm

Yes, it makes much more sense now.

I also saw that ἐπί with Dative can also mean 'after', or 'besides'.

Maybe, 'after/besides the hateful stomach, nothing is more shameless'?
(It makes sense in Portuguese, I don't know if it sounds so good in English!)

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Paul Derouda
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Re: Trouble with a verse from Homer's Odyssey book VII

Post by Paul Derouda » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:30 pm

"Beside the stomach" is the idea, I would say.

The whole Phaeacian episode is one of my favorites in the Odyssey. You're welcome to post any other question!

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Paul Derouda
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Re: Trouble with a verse from Homer's Odyssey book VII

Post by Paul Derouda » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:35 pm

For shameless dogs, compare for example Iliad 1.225 (Achilles insulting Agamemnon):
οἰνοβαρές, κυνὸς ὄμματ’ ἔχων, κραδίην δ’ ἐλάφοιο
You drunk, you have the eyes of dog and the heart of a deer"

A dog may do anything and look you in the eye while doing it.

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Re: Trouble with a verse from Homer's Odyssey book VII

Post by DBLB » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:38 pm

Oh, hahaha yes I remember that verse! I had never read it in the original Greek though.

Well, many thanks for your clarification! I've spent about an hour trying to make sense of this verse and I can finally carry on.

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