Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

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Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:41 pm

Welcome to the Odyssey Reading Group! Anyone is welcome to join in at any time, regardless of their Greek ability. If you’re itching to explore Homer’s epic tale of survival, adventure, love, lust, kinship, betrayal and spooky dead people, hop on in, you’ll be very welcome. People who have some Greek but have never tried reading Homer before are doubly welcome.

Please feel free to ask any question in this thread, no matter how basic you think it is, and we will try to help you with an answer.
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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 with vocabulary and notes

Resources for deeper study are available in the group dropbox folder

We started at Book 6. Here are all the threads so far:

Book 6
Lines 1-23
24-47
48-70
71-92
93-118
119-140
141-161
162-185
186-210
211-238
239-261
262-294
295-331 [end]

Book 7
1-26
27-47
48-77
Greek text lines 78-102
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78 ὣς ἄρα φωνήσασʼ ἀπέβη γλαυκῶπις Ἀθήνη 79 πόντον ἐπʼ ἀτρύγετον, λίπε δὲ Σχερίην ἐρατεινήν, 80 ἵκετο δʼ ἐς Μαραθῶνα καὶ εὐρυάγυιαν Ἀθήνην, 81 δῦνε δʼ Ἐρεχθῆος πυκινὸν δόμον. αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς 82 Ἀλκινόου πρὸς δώματʼ ἴε κλυτά· πολλὰ δέ οἱ κῆρ 83 ὥρμαινʼ ἱσταμένῳ, πρὶν χάλκεον οὐδὸν ἱκέσθαι. 84 ὥς τε γὰρ ἠελίου αἴγλη πέλεν ἠὲ σελήνης 85 δῶμα καθʼ ὑψερεφὲς μεγαλήτορος Ἀλκινόοιο. 86 χάλκεοι μὲν γὰρ τοῖχοι ἐληλέδατʼ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα, 87 ἐς μυχὸν ἐξ οὐδοῦ, περὶ δὲ θριγκὸς κυάνοιο· 88 χρύσειαι δὲ θύραι πυκινὸν δόμον ἐντὸς ἔεργον· 89 σταθμοὶ δʼ ἀργύρεοι ἐν χαλκέῳ ἕστασαν οὐδῷ, 90 ἀργύρεον δʼ ἐφʼ ὑπερθύριον, χρυσέη δὲ κορώνη. 91 χρύσειοι δʼ ἑκάτερθε καὶ ἀργύρεοι κύνες ἦσαν, 92 οὓς Ἥφαιστος ἔτευξεν ἰδυίῃσι πραπίδεσσι 93 δῶμα φυλασσέμεναι μεγαλήτορος Ἀλκινόοιο, 94 ἀθανάτους ὄντας καὶ ἀγήρως ἤματα πάντα. 95 ἐν δὲ θρόνοι περὶ τοῖχον ἐρηρέδατʼ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα, 96 ἐς μυχὸν ἐξ οὐδοῖο διαμπερές, ἔνθʼ ἐνὶ πέπλοι 97 λεπτοὶ ἐύννητοι βεβλήατο, ἔργα γυναικῶν. 98 ἔνθα δὲ Φαιήκων ἡγήτορες ἑδριόωντο 99 πίνοντες καὶ ἔδοντες· ἐπηετανὸν γὰρ ἔχεσκον. 100 χρύσειοι δʼ ἄρα κοῦροι ἐυδμήτων ἐπὶ βωμῶν 101 ἕστασαν αἰθομένας δαΐδας μετὰ χερσὶν ἔχοντες, 102 φαίνοντες νύκτας κατὰ δώματα δαιτυμόνεσσι.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:41 pm

Ἀθήναζε!

As Athena has whisked herself off to Athens for some reason in this week's passage, I thought it might be nice to rest a while and admire the pure air and light soil.

In a change to the regular format, here are some extracts related to the Athenian influence on the text of the Odyssey.
West, The Making of the Odyssey pp.89-91 wrote: Certain passages in the Odyssey have been thought to point to an Athenian poet
...
When Athena leaves Scheria she goes to Marathon and Athens, into the old palace of Erechtheus
...
Certain linguistic and metrical features of the Odyssey favour the hypothesis that it was composed in the west Ionic area that consists, essentially, of Attica and Euboea. One is the relative frequency of 'Attic correption', that is, the failure of a plosive + liquid (τρ, κλ, etc.) combination to lengthen a preceding short syllable ... it occurs about three times as often in the Odyssey as in the Iliad
Andersen, Pisistratean Recension, Homer Encyclopedia wrote: Evidence that the Homeric poems were subject to some kind of processing in Athens during the reign of the Pisistratids ... is first to be found in the 4th-century BCE pseudo-Platonic Hipparchus. ... it can hardly be doubted that Homer was shaped up and given special treatment in the Athens of the Pisistratids.
Haslam, Homeric Papyri and Transmission of the Text in New Companion to Homer pp.82-83 wrote: But the 'Pisistratean recension' itself is controversial, some assigning to it the definitive formation of the Homeric poems, others denying it transmissional importance beyond the diction's acquisition of an attic veneer. What seems clear, although even this depends on accepting atticisms as such, is that the poems passed through Athens, and in written form, on their way to Alexandria and us.
Hix, the wonderfully-named 'Morte D'Author' pp.136-137 wrote: Speculation has centered on the "Pisistratean recension"; this term refers to the "hypothetical Athenian stabilization of the text" of the poems in connection with the Panathenaean festival and under the supervision of Pisistratus. But scholars are unsure about Pisistratus' exact role; no one knows whether Pisistratus was directly involved in the process or whether he only supervised it, and no one knows whether or not the first official written version (the version produced by the Pisistratean recension) was also the first written version of any kind. Probably for our purposes it is best to talk of Pisistratus as the scribe, but only in the sense that he symbolizes for us the process of writing down the poems.
My conclusion from this lot is that we're not looking at a significantly Athenian text, but that the 'attic veneer' provides us with a nice reminder of the hands through which the text has passed. Does anyone have any other points or sources to add to that? It's not clear to me to what extent this atticisation was a conscious process/project, or simply show-through from editing.

I've included the quote from Hix, who you will no doubt be shocked to hear is not an expert in the Homeric manuscript tradition, because he provides the reminder that, even if we don't know who they are, someone wrote down these tens of thousands of words and that's an amazing thing in itself.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:27 pm

Some questions about the text:

81 – αὐτὰρ (as at 6.2) is very much not a 'but' – is it untranslatable in this sense? It seems to me something like 'meanwhile' but without the necessity of it being at the same time.
85 – what is the sense of κατα in this line?
86/87 – what should I be imagining when I read χάλκεοι τοῖχοι and θριγκὸς κυάνοιο?
86 – ελαυνω here seems to have the same sense as when Euclid uses αγω of a line (εὐθεῖαν γραμμὴν ἀγαγεῖν) – 'to extend in space' or 'to run sth along/around' (the same as 6.9 ἀμφὶ δὲ τεῖχος ἔλασσε πόλει). Is that right?
88 – How is ἐντὸς functioning – adverbially?
94 – If this were prose, could ἀθανάτους ὄντας be nominative to agree with κύνες (91) or does the relative clause in between preclude that?
94 – Is the sense of ἤματα πάντα 'for eternity' or 'for all his (Alcinous'?) days'?
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Aetos » Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:48 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:27 pm
81 – αὐτὰρ (as at 6.2) is very much not a 'but' – is it untranslatable in this sense? It seems to me something like 'meanwhile' but without the necessity of it being at the same time.
I read in Edwards' Homer:The Poet of the Iliad that Homer doesn't present parallel actions, "so simultaneous events are related as if happening one after another"(p.34). I think that would rule out 'meanwhile', but how about 'whereas' or 'thereupon' or 'so then'?

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Aetos » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:36 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:27 pm
85 – what is the sense of κατα in this line?
'throughout', I think, so: "throughout the high vaulted palace of the great-hearted Alcinoos."
seanjonesbw wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:27 pm
86/87 – what should I be imagining when I read χάλκεοι τοῖχοι and θριγκὸς κυάνοιο?
According to Stanford and Hainesworth, χάλκεοι τοῖχοι were probably bronze plates attached to the walls, θριγκός κυάνοιο was a blue frieze surrounding them.
This might help: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... ens_01.JPG
seanjonesbw wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:27 pm
86 – ελαυνω here seems to have the same sense as when Euclid uses αγω of a line (εὐθεῖαν γραμμὴν ἀγαγεῖν) – 'to extend in space' or 'to run sth along/around' (the same as 6.9 ἀμφὶ δὲ τεῖχος ἔλασσε πόλει). Is that right?
Authenrieth translates it "were extended".
seanjonesbw wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:27 pm
88 – How is ἐντὸς functioning – adverbially?
The LSJ agrees with you, Sean! adverbially='within'
seanjonesbw wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:27 pm
94 – If this were prose, could ἀθανάτους ὄντας be nominative to agree with κύνες (91) or does the relative clause in between preclude that?
I may be wrong, but I'm betting the relative clause precludes it, as ὄντας agrees with ὅυς, the object of Ἠφαιστος τεῦξεν, so even in Attic prose, you'd still have to do something with Hephaestus.
seanjonesbw wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:27 pm
94 – Is the sense of ἤματα πάντα 'for eternity' or 'for all his (Alcinous'?) days'?
I think this goes with the dogs being "immortal and ageless" for "all their days".
Last edited by Aetos on Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Paul Derouda » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:41 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:27 pm
Some questions about the text:

81 – αὐτὰρ (as at 6.2) is very much not a 'but' – is it untranslatable in this sense? It seems to me something like 'meanwhile' but without the necessity of it being at the same time.
85 – what is the sense of κατα in this line?
86/87 – what should I be imagining when I read χάλκεοι τοῖχοι and θριγκὸς κυάνοιο?
86 – ελαυνω here seems to have the same sense as when Euclid uses αγω of a line (εὐθεῖαν γραμμὴν ἀγαγεῖν) – 'to extend in space' or 'to run sth along/around' (the same as 6.9 ἀμφὶ δὲ τεῖχος ἔλασσε πόλει). Is that right?
88 – How is ἐντὸς functioning – adverbially?
94 – If this were prose, could ἀθανάτους ὄντας be nominative to agree with κύνες (91) or does the relative clause in between preclude that?
94 – Is the sense of ἤματα πάντα 'for eternity' or 'for all his (Alcinous'?) days'?
81 - I think αυταρ usually doesn't convey much meaning, it just introduces the next event.
85 - κατα is a postposition (preposition) to δωμα, the meaning is something line "all over".
86/87 I don't really know, but someone who's more into archaeology might be able to tell us...
86 ελαυνω is indeed a rather weird verb semantically. I think all meanings are in some way related to the idea to "extend"; you extend you arm when striking with a spear or beating out metal, and when you drive cattle you lash them with some kind of a rod. Perhaps other meanings that can be translated "drive" but without the idea of beating or lashing them in the process are secondary? I really don't know, but it's an interesting verb.
88 - yes
94 This has nothing to do with prose vs. poetry, it's because ἀθανάτους ὄντας agrees with οὓς, which is the object of the subordinate clause, while κύνες is the subject of the main clause.
94 Probably "for eternity" here, but I think it can mean either according to context.

EDIT: Cross-posted with Aetos.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:30 pm

Wow, thanks both. Speedy!
Aetos wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:36 pm
This might help: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... ens_01.JPG
Interesting! I think the pigment must be Egyptian blue - in fact I see from googling it that Egyptian blue has been found on the Parthenon sculptures https://www.nature.com/articles/news.2009.574 . I'm still no clearer on the bronze plates though.
Aetos wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:36 pm
The LSJ agrees with you, Sean! adverbially='within'
I really should have spotted that 🤦
Paul Derouda wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:41 pm
86 ελαυνω is indeed a rather weird verb semantically. I think all meanings are in some way related to the idea to "extend"; you extend you arm when striking with a spear or beating out metal, and when you drive cattle you lash them with some kind of a rod. Perhaps other meanings that can be translated "drive" but without the idea of beating or lashing them in the process are secondary? I really don't know, but it's an interesting verb.
That's an interesting idea. I was trying to make 'drive' work metaphorically for extend, but it does make more sense the other way round. I also think it's interesting that the Greek seems to conceive of the wall starting at one end and extending along its length, while I always think of walls as extending from the floor upwards (maybe that's just me).
Paul Derouda wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:41 pm
94 This has nothing to do with prose vs. poetry, it's because ἀθανάτους ὄντας agrees with οὓς, which is the object of the subordinate clause, while κύνες is the subject of the main clause.
Yes sorry I wasn't very clear. I mentioned prose vs poetry because it would break the metre here rather than suggesting a syntactical difference - I suppose my question is if the subclause is truly a subclause or whether it necessarily influences what comes after it as well. But question answered, so thanks!
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Aetos » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:35 am

seanjonesbw wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:30 pm
I also think it's interesting that the Greek seems to conceive of the wall starting at one end and extending along its length, while I always think of walls as extending from the floor upwards (maybe that's just me).
It's probably down to the process of building a wall. You start at one point and keep it extending it till you reach the desired endpoint. Nowadays, we don't see many walls in the process of being built; perhaps it is more natural for us to view the finished product from the ground up.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:04 am

Aetos wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:35 am
Nowadays, we don't see many walls in the process of being built; perhaps it is more natural for us to view the finished product from the ground up.
I refer you to this pioneering work on ancient toichopoiesis https://youtu.be/hidz8Z2cI-k?t=3553
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:32 am

To come back to line 88:

χρύσειαι δὲ θύραι πυκινὸν δόμον ἐντὸς ἔεργον

Gold doors shut the well-built house within.

I'm finding it difficult to deal with the concept of the doors of the house shutting the house itself within - perhaps 'secured' (LSJ A.I) is a better translation of ἔεργον in this case?

Or is there perhaps some contrast between the δώματα (82) and δῶμα (85) above and the δόμος here? I would assume this is simply a metrical choice.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Aetos » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:23 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:04 am
I refer you to this pioneering work on ancient toichopoiesis https://youtu.be/hidz8Z2cI-k?t=3553
:lol: :lol: Thanks for the link! Highly educational!

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seneca2008 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:18 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:I've included the quote from Hix, who you will no doubt be shocked to hear is not an expert in the Homeric manuscript tradition, because he provides the reminder that, even if we don't know who they are, someone wrote down these tens of thousands of words and that's an amazing thing in itself.
Thank you for your posts and for keeping this project going.

I wonder however if this is "true" or perhaps is the best way at looking at the issue. I am reminded of a discussion I heard on the radio on "in our time" ( as if there is any other time we could be in but let's pass over that) in which Mary Beard was ever so politely pointing out that one of the other academics who was suggesting that someone "must have written down/formulated [a particular ] myth for the first time" was speaking nonsense. Of course certain myths appear in identifiable literary works and of course we have a written text for homer and we know that there were written texts in antiquity. But the idea that "someone" wrote our text is to make an unwarranted assumption. Perhaps there were many competing texts all written by groups of people. Perhaps there was some direction perhaps there wasn't. This also seems reminiscent of the "Homeric Question " itself.

I thought this quote from "The Measure of Homer" Richard Hunter 2018 p.186 was of interest:
The key role given in some biographical sources to the Athenian tyrant Peisistratus in bringing together Homer’s scattered ‘rhapsodies’ would allow the possibility of simultaneous composition of both poems or composition of the Odyssey between parts of the Iliad, cf. e.g. the Hesychian Life of Homer (6 West), chap. 6: ‘He did not write the Iliad in one go or in sequence, as it has been put together, but he wrote each rhapsody and performed it as he travelled around the cities to make a living; he left the rhapsodies [where he had performed them], and subsequently the poem was put together by many people – principally Peisistratus the tyrant of Athens.’
Its principally concerned with the priority of the Homeric poems but its interesting to see what Hesychius imagined. Its also interesting to see how antiquity grappled with the idea of how such a text could come into being.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:28 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:18 pm
But the idea that "someone" wrote our text is to make an unwarranted assumption.
I actually agree with everything you say above - I meant to use 'someone' in the sense that we say "And to think someone actually had to move all these stones!" when standing in front of the Great Pyramid. I like that Hix says it's better to think of Pisistratus as symbolising the process of writing the poems down itself than as a single historical man responsible for actually doing it. A kind of papyrological Spartacus ("I'm Pisistratus!").

This discussion has made me reflect, though (incidentally, not because you suggest it), on how often we see editors as somehow meddling with and diminishing a text - how many people would like to get an unblemished transcript of the Odyssey straight from the mouth of a rhapsode! But the Waste Land is undoubtedly better for having passed through Pound's hands etc. etc.
seneca2008 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:18 pm
I am reminded of a discussion I heard on the radio on "in our time" ( as if there is any other time we could be in but let's pass over that)
For anyone who hasn't heard of In Our Time, it has the most extraordinary back catalogue available online of academics (in groups of three) discussing specific topics in their field - here's the one about the Odyssey. They infuriate and inspire in equal measure.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seneca2008 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:48 pm

seanjonesbw wrote: "And to think someone actually had to move all these stones!"
At archaeological sites this comment along with "how did they get x there" makes me wince. I suppose its a fair enough question its just not something I find very interesting. The usual answer is they had slaves to do it for them and no health and safety laws. Its not a popular reply. :D

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Aetos » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:00 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:32 am
To come back to line 88:

χρύσειαι δὲ θύραι πυκινὸν δόμον ἐντὸς ἔεργον

Gold doors shut the well-built house within.

I'm finding it difficult to deal with the concept of the doors of the house shutting the house itself within - perhaps 'secured' (LSJ A.I) is a better translation of ἔεργον in this case?

Or is there perhaps some contrast between the δώματα (82) and δῶμα (85) above and the δόμος here? I would assume this is simply a metrical choice.
I noticed no one had addressed this, so I thought I'd at least provide Hainesworth's thoughts and cite this from Hainesworth's preliminary notes to lines 81-132:
"Throughout, the poet's intention is to impress and astound, rather than to describe a precisely conceived structure (see vi 303 and 304nn): hence the lavish use of precious metal in the first section, for which it would be wrong to seek for exact analogues"
Here are the notes for VI, ll 303-304:
https://archive.org/details/hainesworth002a

As for the verse, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that πυκινὸν δόμον and ἐντὸς ἔεργον are formulaic.
As for a translation, I'd go with:
"Golden doors enclosed the well-built house"

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:19 pm

Aetos wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:00 pm
As for a translation, I'd go with:
"Golden doors enclosed the well-built house"
Deal.
Aetos wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:00 pm
"Throughout, the poet's intention is to impress and astound, rather than to describe a precisely conceived structure
Well, this is a good conversation starter. This section is so visual that we are placed (or I was at least) in Odysseus' shoes looking up at this magnificent doorway. I can't help wondering how the significance of the elements would have changed through time for those who heard and read it, and what they would have expected Odysseus' reaction to it to be. On the one hand, you can read it like a cave of wonders/Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, on the other it comes across a bit like a Sears catalogue (1 set outdoor dog statues, gold & silver (plate), $3500; decorative cornicing (blue), REDUCED $800/ft). Are the dogs more significant for Odysseus than their simple function of guarding an entryway?

I found a very interesting study (pdf) into the potential Assyrian origins of Alkinoos' palace, suggesting that it's not just impressive in Greek terms but quite exotic.
Cook, E. (2004). Near Eastern Sources for the Palace of Alkinoos wrote: The architectural ensemble includes a monumen­tal entrance doorway, clad in white and yellow met­als, and guarded by talismanic animal statues, which from the reign of Sargon were also in metal. A sec­ond distinctive feature of the ensemble is the con­tiguous, walled and irrigated garden containing exotic plant specimens. Parallels for other features, such as the blue banding on the walls, and the gold­en statues of youths, are found in Assyrian archi­tecture, but these embellishments are best under­ stood as part of a general image of Near Eastern opulence.
I also found this interesting answer to my question about about the bronze walls and frieze.
Cook, E. (2004). Near Eastern Sources for the Palace of Alkinoos wrote:
quote
Show
The house is not simply brilliant, but effulgent. Comparison of its light to that of the sun and moon (Od. 7.84-85) draws immediate attention to the wealth of white and yellow metals. These are not confined to precious artifacts, but the walls them­selves are described as brazen from the threshold of the house to its innermost recesses (Od. 7.87: mukhon) . We are probably t o imagine bronze clad­ding of some sort. This is certainly the case for the golden doors and silver doorposts and lintel. The dark blue band, thringkos kuanoio(Od.7.87) that runs around these walls is generally interpreted as re­ferring to glass paste rendered blue with the addi­tion of copper, although glazed brick could also be meant.' Elsewhere in Homer, thringkos implies the uppermost course of an external wall and has a de­fensive function.' It thus seems natural to suppose that the band runs around the top of the palace walls, as a kind of ceiling entablature. Ameis and Hentze thus rightly call the thringkos a ''Mauerkranz, ein oben an der Wand herumlaufender Streifen . "60 We could draw the images still closer if we assume that thringkos refers to a crenellated pattern, which had protective and decorative functions on the walls of the courtyard and inside the palace respectively. The description dearly implies that Homer is at­ tempting to describe an architectural feature for which he does not have native vocabulary..
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Aetos » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:02 am

seanjonesbw wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:19 pm
Aetos wrote: ↑Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:00 pm
"Throughout, the poet's intention is to impress and astound, rather than to describe a precisely conceived structure
Much as I would like to take credit for these words, alas, they belong to Hainesworth. I seem to be developing a terrible habit of misplacing credit. Not too long ago, I tried to give Randy Gibbons credit for a quote from Helen Keller.
seanjonesbw wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:19 pm
on the other it comes across a bit like a Sears catalogue (1 set outdoor dog statues, gold & silver (plate), $3500; decorative cornicing (blue), REDUCED $800/ft).
I heard they're half-price at Walmart for the holidays! And if you buy the whole set, they throw in a free alarm clock radio!
(That's a "stolen" line as well, but you'll have to guess!)

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:45 am

Aetos wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:02 am
I heard they're half-price at Walmart for the holidays! And if you buy the whole set, they throw in a free alarm clock radio!
(That's a "stolen" line as well, but you'll have to guess!)
I give up! Googling produced nothing. A comedy... a film?
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:24 am

I thought it might be a fun idea if every week on a Tuesday I try to do a little review of various English translations based on what's been discussed so far in the thread and places of disagreement between translators. Without further ado...

82-83 πολλὰ δέ οἱ κῆρ / ὥρμαινʼ ἱσταμένῳ
ὥρμαινʼ and ἱσταμένῳ are such Greek ways of expressing this that the translators have clearly hesitated and turned it over themselves before attempting an English rendering. Odysseus "meditated a long time" for Fitzgerald, in an attempt to marry the two ideas which doesn't quite come off. Rieu asks why we should use four words when eleven would do ("His heart was filled with varied emotions and he kept on stopping”) and Lattimore, who is in characteristically wooden mood, tells us “the heart pondered much in him as he stood”. Fagles has it that “a rush of feelings stirred within his heart, bringing him to a standstill”, but we don't get much sense what the feelings are. Wilson avoids ἱσταμένῳ altogether - “His heart was mulling over many things”.

84/85 - ὥς τε γὰρ ἠελίου αἴγλη πέλεν ἠὲ σελήνης / δῶμα καθʼ ὑψερεφὲς
In general, the translations of the description of Alcinous' palace either take a mystical-magical approach to building the scene or instead present a more grounded depiction. In these two lines, there is disagreement about whether there is a light illuminating the house, or whether the house appears to produce the illumination itself. Wilson takes the second approach to the extreme - “the palace… shone like rays of sunlight or moonlight”, and Fitzgerald follows suit but thinks the "high rooms" are "airy and luminous as though with lusters of the sun and moon”. Even Lattimore waxes poetical here - “For as from the sun the light goes or from the moon, such was the glory on the high-roofed house”. Fagles wants us to imagine a real light - “a radiance as strong as the moon or rising sun came flooding through”, which for Rieu is instead "a kind of radiance"

86/87 - χάλκεοι μὲν γὰρ τοῖχοι ... θριγκὸς κυάνοιο
Are the walls "Brazen" (Lattimore), "bronze all over" (Wilson) or are they "plated in bronze" (Fagles), "bronze-panelled" (Fitzgerald)? The θριγκὸς κυάνοιο forces translators' hands when it comes to evoking mood and place. Some are less bold (Wilson "frieze of blue", Lattimore "a cobalt frieze"). Rieu goes out on a limb with "a frieze of dark-blue enamel" and Fagles imagines "a circling frieze glazed as blue as lapis". Fitzgerald is more confident about the lapis - "with an azure moulding of lapis lazuli”. This would have been ruinously expensive but Fitzgerald is the most keen to present the palace as a place of wonder.

88 - ἐντὸς ἔεργον
Wilson "held safe". Lattimore and Rieu "guarded". Fitzgerald "golden guardians of the great room". Fagles "enclosed".

90 - κορώνη
Fitzgerald is the only translator who attempts to get the second sense of crow/coronoid here - “golden handles curved on the doors”. Bonus Italian translation: Pindemonte (1822) misses the double definition and thinks it's an "anello d’oro".

94 - ἀθανάτους ὄντας καὶ ἀγήρως ἤματα πάντα
Lattimore and Fagles have the dogs ageless "all their days", Wilson "for all time". Fitzgerald and Rieu take opposing views on the benefits of being ageless. For Rieu, these glorious dogs are "never doomed to age", but the more wistful Fitzgerald tells us "they never could grow old". Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

For my money, Fitzgerald does the best job of setting the exotic scene that Cook (see above) thinks Greeks would have found represented here. This passage is a prime example of Lattimore's "self-effacing artistry" (TLS review on the back cover, as if such a thing is possible or desirable) producing wooden, lifeless verse.
Last edited by seanjonesbw on Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Aetos » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:25 am

seanjonesbw wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:45 am
Aetos wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:02 am
I heard they're half-price at Walmart for the holidays! And if you buy the whole set, they throw in a free alarm clock radio!
(That's a "stolen" line as well, but you'll have to guess!)
I give up! Googling produced nothing. A comedy... a film?
Tom Holt! He's one of my favourite parodists. He takes mythological and legendary characters and almost always has them interacting with modern mortals, with comic consequences. There are certain constants in his novels, to mention a few: the Milk Board Conspiracy, Danny Bennett of the BBC thinking he's uncovered it, and of course, free alarm clock radios!

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:06 pm

I clearly need to broaden my reading!
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Aetos » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:19 am

seanjonesbw wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:24 am
I thought it might be a fun idea if every week on a Tuesday I try to do a little review of various English translations based on what's been discussed so far in the thread and places of disagreement between translators. Without further ado...
Here's a modern Greek translation of those lines by Zisimos Sideris. I have translated the modern Greek into English, although as you can see, it doesn't vary much from how we take the original. The only glaring difference is θριγκός, which translates into γυαλί or in English, glass.

κι όπως στεκόντανε πολλά λογάριαζε στο νου του,
προτού πατήσει τη μπασιά τη χαλκοκαμωμένη.
... πολλὰ δέ οἱ κῆρ
ὥρμαιν᾽ ἱσταμένῳ, πρὶν χάλκεον οὐδὸν ἱκέσθαι.
And as he stood there, he had much to consider
before he crossed the brazen threshold.

Γιατί μια λάμψη χύνονταν σαν φεγγγαριού, σαν ήλιου.
απ' όλο το αψηλόσκεπο τ' Αλκίνου το πάλατι.
ὥς τε γὰρ ἠελίου αἴγλη πέλεν ἠὲ σελήνης
δῶμα καθ᾽ ὑψερεφὲς μεγαλήτορος Ἀλκινόοιο.
Because a radiance like that of the moon, of the sun
spread throughout the high vaulted palace of Alcinoos

Χάλκινοι οι τοίχοι πήγαιναν απ' τη μπασιά ως το βάθος,
κι είχαν μια ζώνη από γυαλί γαλάζιο γύρω γύρω.
χάλκεοι μὲν γὰρ τοῖχοι ἐληλέδατ᾽ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα,
ἐς μυχὸν ἐξ οὐδοῦ, περὶ δὲ θριγκὸς κυάνοιο:
Walls of bronze went from the threshold to deep within
girt all around in blue glass.

Χρυσές οι πόρτες το ψηλό παλάτι μέσα κλειούσαν,
και σε κατώφλι χάλκινο στεκόντανε ασημένιοι
οι παραστάτες κι αργυρό τ' ανώφλι ἠταν απάνω,
και το κρικέλι ολόχρυσο. Στο'να και στ' άλλο μέρος
είχε σκυλιά από μάλαμα κι ασήμι καμωμένα,
χρύσειαι δὲ θύραι πυκινὸν δόμον ἐντὸς ἔεργον:
σταθμοὶ δ᾽ ἀργύρεοι ἐν χαλκέῳ ἕστασαν οὐδῷ,
ἀργύρεον δ᾽ ἐφ᾽ ὑπερθύριον, χρυσέη δὲ κορώνη.
χρύσειοι δ᾽ ἑκάτερθε καὶ ἀργύρεοι κύνες ἦσαν
,

Golden doors enclosed the high palace,
and at the bronze threshold stood silver
doorposts and atop them the silver lintel
and the door handle of pure gold. On each side
there were dogs made of gold and silver,


που τα' χε φτιάσει ο Ήφαιστος με τη σοφή του τέχνη,
να του φυλούν τ' αρχοντικό τ' αντρειωμένου Αλκίνου,
κι αθάνατα κι αγέραστα να στέκουν εκεί πάντα.
οὓς Ἥφαιστος ἔτευξεν ἰδυίῃσι πραπίδεσσι
δῶμα φυλασσέμεναι μεγαλήτορος Ἀλκινόοιο,
ἀθανάτους ὄντας καὶ ἀγήρως ἤματα πάντα.
which Hephaestus had made with his wise skill
to guard the palace of the brave hearted Alcinoos
and immortal and ageless to stand there forever.


EDIT: A little bit more about the "blue glass": the glass Sideris is probably referring to is that blue glass commonly used in Greek ornaments, such as the "μαύρο μάτι", "the evil eye". The ornaments are composed of two shades of blue, one almost cobalt, and the other slightly lighter than lapis as well as white. As his translation was written for the schools, I suspect he used an image that every Greek school boy or girl would be familiar with.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:42 pm

Thanks for that Aetos - fascinating seeing the two together with the points of difference. I'd be interested to know more about what register the modern Greek is in - is it possible to get closer to the original in modern Greek (as in more cognates) or would that begin to sound very stilted (or not even be possible)? I know absolutely nothing about modern Greek but it's clear to see from the text and your translation how the pattern of thought behind the sentence has changed over a few millennia.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:47 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:19 pm
Are the dogs more significant for Odysseus than their simple function of guarding an entryway?
Irene de Jong's thoughts on this:
de Jong, Narratological Commentary on the Odyssey, p.177 wrote:The first instance of the ‘watchdog’ motif. In several places in the Odyssey we hear about watchdogs at the moment of a visitor’s arrival, and each time this is designed to bring about a specific effect: there are Circe’s enchanted watchdogs, symbolizing her world of sorcery (10.212–19); Eumaeus’ watchdogs, who bark at Odysseus (14.29–36), fawn on Telemachus (16.4 –5), and whimper at the sight of Athena (16.162–3); and of course Odysseus’ watchdog Argus (17.291–327), who symbolizes the loyal part of Odysseus’ oikos. A comparison with these passages points up an important aspect of the Phaeacians: Alcinous’ dogs are ‘immortal and ageless’ (unlike Argus, who ages and dies), but in exchange for this they have turned into works of art, ornaments rather than real watchdogs (who bark, fawn, and whimper). Thus they symbolize the Phaeacian way of life: luxurious, but without dynamism, danger, or potential.
An interesting last word.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Aetos » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:30 pm

I did find a translation by Argyris Eftaliotis that I thought was a little closer, and goes as follows:
Ήρθε στου Αλκίνου τ' ακουστά παλάτια κι ο Οδυσσέας, And Odysseus came to the famous palace of Alcinoos
κι ο νούς του σάστιζε πρίν πάη στα χαλκωτά κατώφλια· and he was bedazzled before he passed the brazen threshold
τί σα φώς ήλιου ή φεγγαριού στα μάτια του φαινόταν like the light of the sun or the moon to his eyes appeared
85 του Αλκίνου του τρανόκαρδου το θεόρατο παλάτι. The immense palace of great hearted Alcinoos.
Χαλκένιοι τοίχοι στέκονταν απ' το κατώφλι ως μέσα Brazen walls stood from the threshold to
στα βάθια, και ζωνόντανε με λαζουρί στεφάνι· Deep within, and joined with a crown of lapis lazuli.
θύρες χρυσές σφαλνούσανε το στεριωμένο χτίριο, Golden doors enclosed the well built structure
με παραστάτες αργυρούς στο χαλκωτό κατώφλι, with silver doorposts at the bronze threshold
90 με ανώφλι, ολάργυρο κι αυτό, και με χρυσή κρικελα. with a lintel also of pure silver, and handle of gold.
Είχε και δυό αργυρόχρυσους απ' τα δυό πλάγια σκύλους, It had two gold and silver dogs on each side
που ο Ήφαιστος τους έφτιαξε με τη σοφή του τέχνη, that Hephaestus had fashioned with his wise skill
τον πύργο να φυλάγουνε του Αλκίνου του μεγάλου, to guard the towering palace of great Alcinoos,
αθάνατοι κι αγέραστοι για πάντα και για πάντα. immortal and ageless for ever and ever.

EDIT: Sorry about the lack of spacing between the Greek & English. I was trying to do a side by side, but for some reason the spacing was not preserved.

As you can see, he goes with λαζουρί (lapis) for θριγκός and after checking my λεξικό της αρχαίας ελληνικής γλώσσης by Stamatakou, that is a proper translation of the word into modern Greek. I'm still looking for what I think would be best translation of the Odyssey into modern Greek, which I believe is that of Nikos Kazantzakis in collaboration with Ioannis Kakrides. I can find Kazantzakis' sequel to the Odyssey everywhere (for about 40 Euro) but his translation of the original is a rare bird. I haven't looked on archive.org yet, for some reason the site's down for a bit. I'm sure that someone must have done a translation into Katharevousa (Purist Greek) back when it was the favoured literary language. Purist Greek resulted from a movement to purify the Greek language of foreign (particularly Turkish) loan words by replacing them with words closer to at least Byzantine Greek.
Update: After a search on archive.org, I found a translation by Iakovos Polylas which dates approximately from mid to late 19th century and seems to preserve a little more of the character of the original (I think you'll recognize a few more of the words in this one):

και ο Οδυσσέας του Αλκίνου εμπρός 'ς τα υπέρλαμπρα δώματα
μεριμνούσε κ' εστέκονταν, το χάλκινο κατώφλι πριν πατήση.
ότι ως του ηλίου φαίνονταν ή της σελήνης λάμψι
'ς το μέγα δώμα του υψηλού 'ς το φρόνημ' Αλκινόου•
85 ότ' ήσαν τοίχοι ολόχαλκοι πέρ' από το κατώφλι ως μέσα,
και τους έζωνε χαλυβικό στεφάνι•
το κτίριο το καλόκτιστο χρυσαίς εκλειούσαν θύραις•
οι παραστάταις άργυροι 'ς το χάλκινο κατώφλι•
τ' ανώφλ' ήταν ολάργυρο, χρυσός ο κρίκος ήταν•
90 χρυσοί 'σαν σκύλοι και αργυροί 'ς το 'να και τ' άλλο πλάγι•
τους έπλασεν ο Ήφαιστος με την σοφή του γνώσι,
'ς το λαμπρό δώμα του υψηλού 'ς το φρόνημ' Αλκινόου
φύλακες να ήναι αθάνατοι και αγέραοι 'ς τον αιώνα.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by seanjonesbw » Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:33 am

Hey presto! (PRE tag and tabbed spaces). That last one is much more comprehensible. Glad to have the σελήνη back! Although interesting to chase the etymology of φεγγάρι.

Ήρθε στου Αλκίνου τ' ακουστά παλάτια κι ο Οδυσσέας, And Odysseus came to the famous palace of Alcinoos κι ο νούς του σάστιζε πρίν πάη στα χαλκωτά κατώφλια· and he was bedazzled before he passed the brazen threshold τί σα φώς ήλιου ή φεγγαριού στα μάτια του φαινόταν like the light of the sun or the moon to his eyes appeared 85 του Αλκίνου του τρανόκαρδου το θεόρατο παλάτι. The immense palace of great hearted Alcinoos. Χαλκένιοι τοίχοι στέκονταν απ' το κατώφλι ως μέσα Brazen walls stood from the threshold to στα βάθια, και ζωνόντανε με λαζουρί στεφάνι· Deep within, and joined with a crown of lapis lazuli. θύρες χρυσές σφαλνούσανε το στεριωμένο χτίριο, Golden doors enclosed the well built structure με παραστάτες αργυρούς στο χαλκωτό κατώφλι, with silver doorposts at the bronze threshold 90 με ανώφλι, ολάργυρο κι αυτό, και με χρυσή κρικελα. with a lintel also of pure silver, and handle of gold. Είχε και δυό αργυρόχρυσους απ' τα δυό πλάγια σκύλους, It had two gold and silver dogs on each side που ο Ήφαιστος τους έφτιαξε με τη σοφή του τέχνη, that Hephaestus had fashioned with his wise skill τον πύργο να φυλάγουνε του Αλκίνου του μεγάλου, to guard the towering palace of great Alcinoos, αθάνατοι κι αγέραστοι για πάντα και για πάντα. immortal and ageless for ever and ever.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 78-102

Post by Aetos » Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:26 pm

Thank you, Sean! So that's what PRE is for!
I thought you'd get more out of that last version by Polylas. I prefer it myself, although I'd still like to see that of Kazantzakis. After a little digging, I learned that Polylas also translated Book 6 (Hector and Andromache)of the Iliad in addition to the entire Odyssey. He translated The Tempest and Hamlet as well.
As for φεγγάρι, you can see that it has a more or less direct ancestor in Classical Greek - φέγγος, which in turn either comes from the Indo-European (s)p(h)eng "shine" or slightly less possibly (s)peng "light" or spen-dh "spark". So today it's that shiny thing up in the sky at night, whereas to Homer, it was the moon goddess Selene smiling down upon him.

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