Check the introductory thread for a description of how the group works.
We’re working from Geoffrey Steadman’s Odyssey Books 6-8, a freely-available pdf
mwh wrote: ↑Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:55 am3. The simile (102-108). One of Homer’s more complex similes, which always have clearly marked entry and exit points: 102 οἵη Artemis (the vehicle, in I.A.Richards’ terms), 108 ὣς Nausicaa (the tenor, a single line). The formal point of comparison is how each of them stood out among her companions, but this is reached only at the end, after the picture of Artemis and her entourage has been painted in loving detail. Homer usually keeps tenor and vehicle quite separate and avoids any interaction between them (no interference or bleeding), but here they mirror one another, so that the image of Artemis & co. at play in the mountains (παίζουσι 106) is a reflection, distorted but unmistakable, of their counterparts at play on the beach (ἔπαιζον 100).
The simile nicely anticipates Odysseus’ own flattering comparison of Nausicaa to Artemis in the next scene. But we don’t get to that till next week.
The archer goddess and her nymphs disporting themselves in the mountains, carefree—a type-scene (beloved of painters), and we know what comes next: an outsider’s intrusion, his discovery, a swift change of atmosphere and dire consequences. (Seneca already mentioned Actaeon, and there are many others.) That’s the template, at the poet's disposal to play with. Cue the discovery of Odysseus. What will the reaction be?
The simile obliquely stresses another thing that Nausicaa has in common with Artemis: they are both virgins. The point is obvious but is withheld till the very end (109): Nausicaa is not called Nausicaa but παρθένος ἀδμής (an emphatic combination)—but for how long will she remain so? The marriage theme has been insistently sounded. Cue Odysseus’ entrance into her maiden life, naked.
And a question about the Greek. The εἰ + opt. clause is, I assume, the one at Symth 2354. Is the difference in force from a ἵνα clause here that Odysseus really isn't sure whether either ploy will succeed?141 στῆ δ ̓ ἄντα σχομένη· ὁ δὲ μερμήριξεν Ὀδυσσεύς, 142 ἢ γούνων λίσσοιτο λαβὼν ἐυώπιδα κούρην, 143 ἦ αὔτως ἐπέεσσιν ἀποσταδὰ μειλιχίοισι 144 λίσσοιτ ̓, εἰ δείξειε πόλιν καὶ εἵματα δοίη.
To answer your first question: I think it’s just natural to assume that anyone, let alone a young girl, would rather avoid physical contact with a naked, filthy stranger, whatever the usual etiquette for supplication dictates. So this just shows that Odysseus is being tactful.seanjonesbw wrote: ↑Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:20 pmAnswer there came none.
Some questions I have from this week's passage:
Is Odysseus' dilemma at lines 141-144 just because he's naked and salty or, as a stranger in Scheria, would he ask himself the same question fully clothed? What might the consequences be of avoiding proper supplication etiquette?
Does his opting for a μειλίχιον καὶ κερδαλέον μῦθον (148) show that he's certain he's not dealing with a god (who would presumably be immune to his charms)?
Is the tone of his speech meant to sound comically obsequious to the audience?
Or perhaps we need to realize how much our sacral language itself is informed by a couple of thousand years of Christian usage. The "prayer" vocabulary and accompanied activity is regularly used of both gods and mortals in ancient times. It's the normal language of an inferior beseeching a superior. A god is simply superior to a greater degree...Paul Derouda wrote: ↑Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:30 pmYou have the Iliad line wrong, it should be 22.394.
But the parallels you found disprove me to a point when I said that praying to a person is not traditional, even if it doesn’t disprove the rest. I wonder if it has any relevance that Hector, the greatest mortal protector of the Trojans, is already dead at this moment, while Helen is Zeus’ daughter and only half mortal; praying to them would have been somewhat more appropriate.