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We’re working from Geoffrey Steadman’s Odyssey Books 6-8, a freely-available pdf
A few thoughts about Nausicaa's response to Odysseus. My Greek is so poor that I have no ear for differences in register and tone, so hopefully someone can help me out here - Nausicaa opens with ἐπεὶ, but this clause is interrupted by a long parenthesis about Zeus doling out fortune and misfortune. Allen renders this interruption with the raised point at line 187, and most translations don't seem to bother translating ἐπεὶ. Is it being answered by "οὔτ ̓ οὖν ἐσθῆτος δευήσεαι" at line 192, which also answers the ἐπεὶ at 191, or does she simply cut off her own thought? I read Allen's raised point more like an ellipsis ("Stranger, since you don't seem to be a bad or stupid man... Of course Zeus himself hands out fortune...") - perhaps because the confidence she's been given by Athena doesn't extend to her speech-making, so she nervously interrupts herself when the thought occurs to mention Zeus.
Because of the loose syntax of these lines (perhaps mwh or hylander can weigh in on this), Stanford believes she is inwardly nervous and delivers this statement to give herself confidence. Here's his commentary for this week's lines:perhaps because the confidence she's been given by Athena doesn't extend to her speech-making, so she nervously interrupts herself when the thought occurs to mention Zeus.
I think the sense is 'what are small gifts for us to give would be very welcome for him to receive' (I think I've gone over my word limit with that translation). Good things may come in small packages. Merry says the scholia have ὀλίγη μὲν τῷ διδόντι, φίλη δὲ τῷ λαμβάνοντι. But I like your reading which reminds me of the parallels with Matthew 25:35-36 - I'm sure someone else will let us know if it's not allowed.
I forgot that the golden rule is always to read the commentaries first! Thanks for posting this, I don't have either - I was reading the Oxford commentary on Scribd for a while before they took it down and very much enjoying it (just not to the tune of £100 for three volumes). I agree with Hainesworth that Nausicaa is very self-possessed in Book 6, but thinking back to her being awkward with her father earlier I wonder if this being her first line makes it special. A kind of 'cough twice and make yourself sound important' moment.Aetos wrote: ↑Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:24 pmBecause of the loose syntax of these lines (perhaps mwh or hylander can weigh in on this), Stanford believes she is inwardly nervous and delivers this statement to give herself confidence. Here's his commentary for this week's lines:
Hainesworth, on the other hand, says the loose syntax is "not untypical" and cites iii 103, viii 236, xiv 149 and xvii 185. He finds " indeed her self-possession(justified by 201ff.)is amusingly evident throughout this book".
Personally, I'm leaning toward Hainesworth's point of view. She gives many reasons why there is no need to fear this man and takes charge of the situation from line 198 on.
Thank you for offering up this reading, it's definitely more satisfying than leaving the 'since' out altogether. I'll admit though that if I was dramaturging this for the stage I'd be very tempted to have her glance at Odysseus' modesty branch after ἔοικας, take a moment to shake off that image and then say Ζεὺς (!)mwh wrote: ↑Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:03 amIf anything’s a “parenthesis” hereabouts, it’s the ἐπεὶ clause, which I’m inclined to read as properly elliptical: “since you seem to be a decent and sensible guy, [I’ll respond accordingly].” γάρ is often used in a similar sort of way. It typically follows the opening vocative. I wonder if δ ̓ after Ζεὺς in the next line is intrusive (as it often is). In any event, the sequence of thought is perfectly smooth.
Impolite because he's a stranger, or because he's naked? Presumably not the former, given Telemachus asks the same question to Mentes/Athena just after he's met him/her (1.170 τίς πόθεν εἰς ἀνδρῶν;), but why does his being naked make it impolite? As for the damage to the poem, I don't buy this given Odysseus' record of lying about who he is. Surely a little white lie here wouldn't ruin the dramatic satisfaction of the big reveal later?mwh wrote: ↑Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:03 amAs to why she doesn’t ask him who he is, well, for one thing it would be impolite, and more than that, just think how much damage it would do to the poem. Homer defers the question for an exceptionally long time. He eventually lets Arete ask it in a multipart question (7.238, τίς πόθεν εἰς ἀνδρῶν; τίς ...)
Ha! In this case my golden rule was to look at the commentaries before posting my harebrained ideas to textkit as if I'd had an original thought.
A decent host will only ask his guest's name after he has eaten, and Homer says this explicitly, although I don't remember the passage(s) right now (but as mwh says, in the Phaeacian episode Odysseus revealing his name is delayed for an exceptionally long time, for the purpose of the story). In the Odyssey, the way in which a stranger is received is very standardized, and the poet describes these encounters with almost stereotypical formulas that are often repeated almost verbatim from one passage to the other; these are called "type-scenes" (other type-scenes are, for example, sacrifice, and in the Iliad arming scenes and duels). But it in the same time, there are subtle differences from one scene to another, and by paying attention to these differences you can make inferences about what kind of person the host is. I believe the Cyclops is, significantly, the only host who immediately wants to know the name of his guest, and his receiving Odysseus is more generally a perversion (or parody, as Seneca would say) of the host vs. guest type-scene.seanjonesbw wrote: ↑Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:51 pmImpolite because he's a stranger, or because he's naked? Presumably not the former, given Telemachus asks the same question to Mentes/Athena just after he's met him/her (1.170 τίς πόθεν εἰς ἀνδρῶν;), but why does his being naked make it impolite? As for the damage to the poem, I don't buy this given Odysseus' record of lying about who he is. Surely a little white lie here wouldn't ruin the dramatic satisfaction of the big reveal later?
But to me this suggests that, having fed him (6.249), she should ask who he is to avoid being a bad host? Although as she's showing him the way to her father's palace she probably expects she will see him again and the need to exchange telephone numbers isn't quite so pressing.de Jong, A Narratological Commentary on the Odyssey, p.26 wrote:The identification of the guest is a vital part of a Homeric visit, in that it guarantees the host reciprocal hospitality in the future. Only gods have no need of this ritual, because they always recognize each other (5.79– 80). Homeric etiquette requires a host to offer his guest a meal before asking him his name (and business). Consummate hosts like Telemachus (1.123– 4), Menelaus (4.60 –2), and Eumaeus (14.45–7) set their guests at ease by explicitly assuring them that they will ask after their name and/or business only after dinner. The bad host Polyphemus, upon seeing the Greeks, immediately asks them who they are (9.251–5). The anxious hostess Calypso immediately asks Hermes about his business, but receives an answer only after he has eaten (5.85–96). The bad host Antinous does not bother to ask ‘the beggar’/Odysseus for his name at all (17.365–410). The normal moment for the identification is at the opening of the after-dinner conversation (cf. 3.69–74; 16.54–9; 19.105), but in the Odyssey it is often transposed.
In short, no, I don't think it works that way. But I think that it would be untactful from Odysseus if he didn't tell his name at some stage before parting, because only that way he can potentially give reciprocal hospitality in the future, if the need arises. Note that it is also possible to be a bad guest in the Odyssey, the prime example being the suitors who abuse the hospitality of Odysseus' household.
It's worth noting that we don't just have the narrative here but also Odysseus' own interpretation of this event later at 7.292-6:
It's unambiguously 3rd person. The active is transitive. Also you can’t go switching from one person to another and back again without signaling the switch.
The idea I am using here is based on my reading of the structuralist approach I encountered as an undergraduate reading for example "Myth and Tragedy" by Jean-Pierre Vernant and Pierre Vidal-Naquet. Whilst this book is concerned with tragedy its ideas, which have fed through into the work of many other scholars, has wide applicability. It is not doctrinaire unlike its critics. When I studied the Iliad it seemed natural to think in structuralist terms. I think it is helpful to have some way of talking about the space in which books 6 and 7 are set and how and why the spaces are imagined. I don't just mean physical space but gender and political space as well.seanjonesbw wrote:Are your thoughts on the crossover between the liminal and the littoral your own observation or are you referring to something specific?
Indeed we do although I am not sure what it really adds to our discussion of Xenia. Indeed, immediately following this we have 7.302-7 in which Odysseus falsifies his account of what happened by saying it was his idea not to come directly to Alcinous.seanjonesbw wrote:It's worth noting that we don't just have the narrative here but also Odysseus' own interpretation of this event later at 7.292-6:
τὴν ἱκέτευσʼ· ἡ δʼ οὔ τι νοήματος ἤμβροτεν ἐσθλοῦ,
ὡς οὐκ ἂν ἔλποιο νεώτερον ἀντιάσαντα
ἐρξέμεν· αἰεὶ γάρ τε νεώτεροι ἀφραδέουσιν.
ἥ μοι σῖτον ἔδωκεν ἅλις ἠδʼ αἴθοπα οἶνον
καὶ λοῦσʼ ἐν ποταμῷ καί μοι τάδε εἵματʼ ἔδωκε.
I'm sorry I brought this up because it really is a ridiculously minor thing but you've got me interested now.
If the form isn't ambiguous, the meaning at least seems to be. The LSJ uses the line I quoted as its only example of λούω meaning "bathed me, i.e. let me bathe, 7.296;", stretching the outer limits of 'i.e.' - perhaps there are other examples not cited, but this seems like circular reasoning. The Greek clearly says "she bathed [me]", but because she didn't literally bathe him the definition shifts accordingly to him being allowed to bathe himself. How is Alkinoos supposed to pick up on this distinction without his copy of the LSJ to hand to let him know how it should be interpreted in the light of the previous book?mwh wrote: ↑Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:25 pmI wouldn't say that Od is "twisting the facts to make her look better." His words echo Nausicaa's orders to her maids in bk.6: ἀλλὰ δότ ̓, ἀμφίπολοι, ξείνῳ βρῶσίν τε πόσιν τε, | λούσατέ τ ̓ ἐν ποταμῷ (209f.). Of course she hadn't personally washed him (and nor had the maids, as it happened, since Od had asked for privacy), and Od doesn't mean to suggest that she had. (Her father would be shocked if she had.)
Perhaps I misunderstood your original post. In my mind this ran:
I don't know about ambiguity, but I think this is pretty straightforwardly a causative active (Smyth 1711), like the phrase Caesar pontem fecit. I don't think that Odysseus means to suggest Nausicaa (who is the only possible subject of λοῦσʼ) may have washed him with her own hands, just as Caesar pontem fecit doesn't suggest Caesar held the bricks.seanjonesbw wrote: ↑Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:21 amI don't dispute for a second that in its context λοῦσʼ ἐν ποταμῷ is 3rd person and it's impossible to take it any other way (I'm not suggesting a translation of 'and I washed myself'), but surely the situation here is a bit more complex than to say there's no ambiguity at all?
I don't think there was any misunderstanding. I did not mean to be dismissive of your post but it seemed to me not to contradict anything in my assertion that Nausicaa was not initiating a ritual of guest-friendship when she meets Odysseus. It is interesting that Odysseus indulges in the trope of "young people are so thoughtless" as a means of simultaneously marking himself and Alcinous as "thoughtful" and including Nausicaa in their group, although I would not want to over stress this. To my mind its a deft touch.seanjonesbw wrote: seneca2008 wrote: ↑Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:10 am
Indeed we do although I am not sure what it really adds to our discussion of Xenia.
Perhaps I misunderstood your original post. In my mind this ran:
I laughed out loud at this! Gods this country is in a shabby state.
Hi Menoeceus! Welcome to textkit, and thanks for contributing to the group.