θ.333-342

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jeidsath
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θ.333-342

Post by jeidsath » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:29 pm

θ.333-342

ὣς οἱ μὲν τοιαῦτα πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἀγόρευον. Ἑρμῆν δὲ προσέειπεν ἄναξ Διὸς υἱὸς Ἀπόλλων· "Ἑρμεία, Διὸ υἱέ, διάκτορε, δῶτορ ἐάων, ἦ ῥά κεν ἐν δεσμοῖς ἐθέλοις κρατεροῖσι πιεσθείς εὕδειν ἐν λέκτροισι παρὰ χρυσῆι Ἀφροδίτηι;" τὸν δ᾽ἠμείβετ᾽ ἔπειτα διάκτορος Ἀργειφόντης· "αἲ γὰρ τοῦτο γένοιτο, ἄναξ ἑκατηβόλ᾽ Ἄπολλον· δεσμοὶ μὲν τρὶς τόσσοι ἀπείρονες ἀμφὶς ἔχοιεν, ὑμεῖς δ᾽ εἰσορόωιτε θεοὶ πᾶσαί τε θέαιναι, αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν εὕδοιμι παρὰ χρυσῆι Ἀφροδίτηι."

M.L. West notes the following for 333-342 (it must be a quote from the scholia, though he doesn't say): ἐν ἐνίοις ἀντιγράφοις οἱ δέκα στίχοι οὐ φέρονται διὰ τὸ ἀπρέπειαν ἐμφαίνειν· νεωτερικὸν γὰρ τὸ φρόνημα

These were jarring to come across. The lines are a cynical commentary on an older story, which is a strange attitude in Homer. Without them, the song of the aoidos fits into the surrounding story, a perfect anthem for the Phaiekes, technology and the sea subduing love and war. Tonally, Poseidon's speech fits surprisingly well as a reply to Hephaistos earlier. There is the normal Homeric awe of the gods mixed in with Hephaistos' pathetic act. With lines 333-342 included, the characters of the gods feel inept and juvenile, and the point of the whole story becomes this witty joke.

Regardless, I lost immersion as I read them, and wondered if Homer had forgotten that he was telling a story within a story. Then looking down at West's note, I felt prompted to make this post. Whether some Lucian of a scribe added these lines, or whether Homer put them in with a bawdy blind wink and Homeric nod in his original performance, I side with the anonymous prudes of antiquity that removed them.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Paul Derouda
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Re: θ.333-342

Post by Paul Derouda » Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:11 pm

In later antiquity, Homer was often blamed for portraying the gods in less than dignified terms, and this passage is a case in point. I think it's easy to see why these lines would have been censored, say, in a copy destined for school use. I think these lines were there all right in "Homer's" master copy.

ἐν ἐνίοις ἀντιγράφοις οἱ δέκα στίχοι οὐ φέρονται διὰ τὸ ἀπρέπειαν ἐμφαίνειν· νεωτερικὸν γὰρ τὸ φρόνημα
I translate this: "These ten lines are absent in some copies because they display an indecent attitude, as their substance is juvenile".

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Re: θ.333-342

Post by jeidsath » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:49 pm

We learn a fact from the scholiast and hear an inference. The fact that he delivers is that these lines were absent in some copies. His guess about the cause of the absence seems reasonable, but he isn't in a better position to know than we are.

However, isn't it strange that θ.333-342 appear to be the central point of this whole episode, but removed, they disappear entirely without any loss? In fact, without them, Poseidon's rather anticlimatic suggestion becomes a much stronger resolution to the event, and the difficulties in Hephaistos' motivation aren't brought so clearly to the fore.

There is clearly an earlier "fairy tale" version of the story, and they are a commentary on it. But did Homer make that commentary in his retelling, or was it a later scribe modifying Homer? It could well have been Homer, but the earlier fairy tale version would have fit his scene better, and it was a lapse to include these lines.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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