Prayer from Iliad 7

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Barry Hofstetter
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Prayer from Iliad 7

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:25 pm

This prayer from Iliad 7 fascinated me:

202 “Ζεῦ πάτερ, Ἴδηθεν μεδέων, κύδιστε μέγιστε,
203 δὸς νίκην Αἴαντι καὶ ἀγλαὸν εὖχος ἀρέσθαι·
204 εἰ δὲ καὶ Ἕκτορά περ φιλέεις καὶ κήδεαι αὐτοῦ,
205 ἴσην ἀμφοτέροισι βίην καὶ κῦδος ὄπασσον.”

Of course they want Aias to win, but then:

"But if you do love Hector and care about him,
give both equal might and glory."

Is this for real? It puts any student of the NT in mind of:

πλὴν μὴ τὸ θέλημά μου ἀλλὰ τὸ σὸν γινέσθω (Lk 22:42).

Is this simply a pious sentiment, or does Homer represent them as actually meaning it?
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Aetos
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Re: Prayer from Iliad 7

Post by Aetos » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:56 pm

I agree with Leaf, that the theme here is the tournament, the one on one contest to determine who is the better fighter, but really no more than that. The tournament itself provides a short truce between Athena and Apollo, as well as between the Achaeans and Trojans. There is a certain symmetry here, a balance: Gods on opposite sides working together, truce between the mortal hosts, a more or less evenly matched combat, and both warriors parting amicably at the end. The prayer conforms to the general plan of the poet, that there can be no clear winner, (although Ajax gets in the last hit) by allowing that Ajax might not prevail and so asks at the least for equal strength and glory for each opponent. I think the prayer fits perfectly in this scene.

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seneca2008
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Re: Prayer from Iliad 7

Post by seneca2008 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:32 am

Aetos wrote:I agree with Leaf, that the theme here is the tournament, the one on one contest to determine who is the better fighter, but really no more than that.
I prefer the complexity which Nagy sees ("The best of Achaeans" p31-2). Ajax is second to Achilles yet Hektor cannot defeat him so this duel presages "the outcome of a fatal defeat for Hektor when he comes to confront Achilles himself."
Barry Hofstetter wrote:Of course they want Aias to win, but then:

"But if you do love Hector and care about him,
give both equal might and glory."

Is this for real? It puts any student of the NT in mind of:

πλὴν μὴ τὸ θέλημά μου ἀλλὰ τὸ σὸν γινέσθω (Lk 22:42).

Is this simply a pious sentiment, or does Homer represent them as actually meaning it?
I don't see this as "pious sentiment". At one level it shows the respect the Achaeans have for the Trojans at another it is of course a plot device because if Hektor is killed by Ajax a major element of the plot falls away. Mutual respect of Achaeans and Trojans is a feature of the Iliad. Alternatively can the prayer not simply be read as please let Ajax win but if you love Hektor make it a draw (ie don't let Ajax die).

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Re: Prayer from Iliad 7

Post by Aetos » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:39 pm

Seneca said:
I prefer the complexity which Nagy sees ("The best of Achaeans" p31-2). Ajax is second to Achilles yet Hektor cannot defeat him so this duel presages "the outcome of a fatal defeat for Hektor when he comes to confront Achilles himself."
One can certainly infer from this episode that if Hektor can't defeat Ajax , he won't fare well against Achilles. Even if one is listening to the Poem for the very first time, they would know that a contest between the two main heroes is unavoidable, so I can see Nagy's point. BTW, I'm just starting to read some of Nagy's material on The Center for Hellenic Studies Site. He includes material from 'The Best of the Achaeans'. Right now though, I'm reading his thoughts on Oral Poetry, hoping to get a good overview of the field. Then perhaps I'll be able to understand Nagler better ('Spontaneity and Tradition').

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