Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

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seanjonesbw
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Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:06 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.
More Information About the Group
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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
78-102
Greek text lines 103-132
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103 πεντήκοντα δέ οἱ δμωαὶ κατὰ δῶμα γυναῖκες 104 αἱ μὲν ἀλετρεύουσι μύλῃς ἔπι μήλοπα καρπόν, 105 αἱ δʼ ἱστοὺς ὑφόωσι καὶ ἠλάκατα στρωφῶσιν 106 ἥμεναι, οἷά τε φύλλα μακεδνῆς αἰγείροιο· 107 καιρουσσέων δʼ ὀθονέων ἀπολείβεται ὑγρὸν ἔλαιον. 108 ὅσσον Φαίηκες περὶ πάντων ἴδριες ἀνδρῶν 109 νῆα θοὴν ἐνὶ πόντῳ ἐλαυνέμεν, ὣς δὲ γυναῖκες 110 ἱστῶν τεχνῆσσαι· πέρι γάρ σφισι δῶκεν Ἀθήνη 111 ἔργα τʼ ἐπίστασθαι περικαλλέα καὶ φρένας ἐσθλάς. 112 ἔκτοσθεν δʼ αὐλῆς μέγας ὄρχατος ἄγχι θυράων 113 τετράγυος· περὶ δʼ ἕρκος ἐλήλαται ἀμφοτέρωθεν. 114 ἔνθα δὲ δένδρεα μακρὰ πεφύκασι τηλεθόωντα, 115 ὄγχναι καὶ ῥοιαὶ καὶ μηλέαι ἀγλαόκαρποι 116 συκέαι τε γλυκεραὶ καὶ ἐλαῖαι τηλεθόωσαι. 117 τάων οὔ ποτε καρπὸς ἀπόλλυται οὐδʼ ἀπολείπει 118 χείματος οὐδὲ θέρευς, ἐπετήσιος· ἀλλὰ μάλʼ αἰεὶ 119 Ζεφυρίη πνείουσα τὰ μὲν φύει, ἄλλα δὲ πέσσει. 120 ὄγχνη ἐπʼ ὄγχνῃ γηράσκει, μῆλον δʼ ἐπὶ μήλῳ, 121 αὐτὰρ ἐπὶ σταφυλῇ σταφυλή, σῦκον δʼ ἐπὶ σύκῳ. 122 ἔνθα δέ οἱ πολύκαρπος ἀλωὴ ἐρρίζωται, 123 τῆς ἕτερον μὲν θειλόπεδον λευρῷ ἐνὶ χώρῳ 124 τέρσεται ἠελίῳ, ἑτέρας δʼ ἄρα τε τρυγόωσιν, 125 ἄλλας δὲ τραπέουσι· πάροιθε δέ τʼ ὄμφακές εἰσιν 126 ἄνθος ἀφιεῖσαι, ἕτεραι δʼ ὑποπερκάζουσιν. 127 ἔνθα δὲ κοσμηταὶ πρασιαὶ παρὰ νείατον ὄρχον 128 παντοῖαι πεφύασιν, ἐπηετανὸν γανόωσαι· 129 ἐν δὲ δύω κρῆναι ἡ μέν τʼ ἀνὰ κῆπον ἅπαντα 130 σκίδναται, ἡ δʼ ἑτέρωθεν ὑπʼ αὐλῆς οὐδὸν ἵησι 131 πρὸς δόμον ὑψηλόν, ὅθεν ὑδρεύοντο πολῖται. 132 τοῖʼ ἄρʼ ἐν Ἀλκινόοιο θεῶν ἔσαν ἀγλαὰ δῶρα.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by mwh » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:39 am

A few things as I look quickly through the passage.

5 sons, 50 female house-slaves. 50 should imply a counterpart 50, but that’;s not followed through with. Homier’s Priam has 50 sons, which suggests 50 daughters too, but there weren’t enough tales to go round. (Hesiod could have fixed that.) Alkinoos of course has only the one daughter, to match the lone Odysseus.

108 ὅσσον Φαίηκες περὶ πάντων ἴδριες ἀνδρῶν
109 νῆα θοὴν ἐνὶ πόντῳ ἐλαυνέμεν, ὣς δὲ γυναῖκες
110 ἱστῶν τεχνῆσσαι· πέρι γάρ σφισι δῶκεν Ἀθήνη
111 ἔργα τʼ ἐπίστασθαι περικαλλέα καὶ φρένας ἐσθλάς.
The comparison (in asyndeton) first looks as it it is going to be quite strict in its weaving/seamanship parallelism (I note 110 περὶ ~ 108 περὶ; ὣς δὲ substitutes for tos(s)on, metrically precluded), but gets more expansive at the end with φρένας ἐσθλάς. Whether or not good frenes are exclusive to women (and these are slave-women), they’re hardly a prerequisite for weaving. (Another nod to Phaeacian exceptionalism? and to Athena’s beneficence?). This tail-end has something in common with the way that Homeric similes break loose of their moorings as they go along.

115 ὄγχναι καὶ ῥοιαὶ καὶ μηλέαι ἀγλαόκαρποι
116 συκέαι τε γλυκεραὶ καὶ ἐλαῖαι τηλεθόωσαι.
Both lines have a characteristic structure: 115 three items, 2 to the caesura, the 3rd expanded (typical IE pattern). 116 two items either side of caesura, each with appended epithet.

116-30. Homer showing (showing off?) his agility and adeptness at manipulating his inherited resources. A virtuoso ecphrasis of great beauty, perfectly setting the scene for Odysseus’’ wonderment (reflecting ours), which Homer now doesn’t need to spend time over, beyond recording it.. Cue action.
Aeneas at Dido’s Carthage is Virgil’s homage.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:36 am

Welcome back to the group, mwh! Your contributions have been missed.
mwh wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:39 am
the way that Homeric similes break loose of their moorings as they go along.
A lovely way of putting this.
mwh wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:39 am
116-30. Homer showing (showing off?) his agility and adeptness at manipulating his inherited resources. A virtuoso ecphrasis of great beauty, perfectly setting the scene for Odysseus’’ wonderment (reflecting ours), which Homer now doesn’t need to spend time over, beyond recording it.
What do you make of the sudden shift to the present in this passage? I found an essay where West argues it makes more sense in the mouth of Nausicaa after 6.302, but I wonder whether the 'inherited resources' you mention might be some more ancient description of a paradise garden that was so beautiful it was a shame not to incorporate it wholesale as Odysseus is surveying the scene. It seems to me to share some of the joy in description and repetition of "ἦλθ’ ἦλθε χελιδὼν", although that's obviously not hexameter and the tone is 'lower'.
Last edited by seanjonesbw on Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:44 am

When I was walking the dog yesterday I noticed the first sycamore had lost all its leaves after a couple of windy days, so it was the perfect antidote to escape into Alcinous' paradise garden with its ripening fruit.

The best thing I've read this week was the section on ancient Greek gardens in A History of Garden Art by Marie-Luise Gothein. The second page deals with Alcinous' garden. Who knows how scholarship on changed since 1925, but I found it thought-provoking. In particular, it plays into the theme discussed last week of Alcinous' palace being not just fancy but 'Eastern'.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:03 pm

107 καιρουσσέων δʼ ὀθονέων ἀπολείβεται ὑγρὸν ἔλαιον.

An interesting image. There seems to be some disagreement about what is being represented here. Linen/wool, coating with oil/fulling.

In Scotland (my adoptive home) fulling the wool is called waulking, and there's a long history in Gaelic-speaking (gallick not gaylick, well done if you knew that) communities in the Highlands and islands of singing waulking songs as women clean the wool, removing the oil and dirt. As you might expect, these have a strong beat to go along with the pounding of the cloth. Some are astonishingly beautiful - for instance this one about a massacre on Eigg, which was recorded a couple of years ago in a cave on Eigg itself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEdfV6n35uY . They're a joy to sing. From the same album, there's a haunting song in Norn, a language spoken in Orkney and Shetland before it was replaced by Scots. This was perhaps a rowing song, to bring us by recirculation back to the Odyssey itself.

On the subject of work songs, I found a BMCR review for a work trying to recover ancient Greek women's work songs. I thought the below was interesting, and my old pal Pittacus makes an appearance.
Andromache Karanika, Voices at Work: Women, Performance, and Labor in Ancient Greece wrote:She begins, in Chapter Four, with a discussion of one ancient explanation for the word iambos, which might be derived from Iambe, who uttered an iambic verse — and thus a work song — while washing wool (107). Hipponax’s witnessing of this scene is taken as an inversion of the standard poetic inspiration from the Muses, and thus iambos, as is suitable to its modality, is from its inception a subversion of epic forms and a domesticated genre. Karanika observes a similar instance in the Mnesiepes inscription, since Archilochus’ encounter with the Muses is also predicated on work: the Muses are working women returning from the “meadows” at dawn (112).

In Chapter Five, among other issues, Karanika focuses on the way in which brief work-songs might approach ritual or magical spells through the repetition of words and prescribed actions (144). Words accompany a deed, and through the repetition of the words, the deed becomes easier, and thus more efficacious; as such, ritual and/or magic are appropriate descriptions of some performative work-songs (150). She examines PMG 869, a short grinding-song that either condemns or mocks Pittacus (and thus, like Electra’s lament, hints at the possibility of female work-songs as a locus for political expression). This short utterance, however, with its imperative-vocative address to an object, is immediately performative, and thus akin to a spell (145). Moreover, she persuasively connects these quotidian addresses with literary invocations, such as Sappho’s address to her lyre (148). In fact, Karanika rightly stresses that work-songs should be added to the list of female speech-acts that provide the context and models for Sappho’s poetry (149).
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:10 pm

104 αἱ μὲν ἀλετρεύουσι μύλῃς ἔπι μήλοπα καρπόν,

I'm aware I'm just chatting away to myself here, but I tracked down PMG 869, mentioned above, which is recorded by Plutarch and feels very relevant to the women grinding in line 104:

ἐγὼ γάρ’ εἶπε‘ τῆς ξένης ἤκουον ᾀδούσης πρὸς τὴν μύλην, ἐν Ἐρέσῳ γενόμενος,
ἄλει μύλα ἄλει
καὶ γὰρ Πιττακὸς ἄλει
μεγάλας Μυτιλάνας βασιλεύων.

Which Karanika translates as:

"When I was in Eresus," he said, "I used to hear my hostess singing to her handmill:
Grind, mill, grind:
For Pittacus used to grind
while ruling great Mytilene.
"

She suggests that the double entendre on ἄλει could be sexual or Pittacus 'grinding' his own people on Lesbos, or both. The context in Plutarch seems to be Pittacus grinding his own food.

I'd be interested to know more about the scansion of these lines in terms of Greek music because it scans like nonsense to my untrained eye.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seneca2008 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:04 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:I'm aware I'm just chatting away to myself here,
Your audience might be mostly silent but it is attentive and interested. I enjoy threads which range widely and engage with other cultures and literature. Thank you for the breath of fresh air you bring to textkit.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by Aetos » Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:25 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:04 pm
Your audience might be mostly silent but it is attentive and interested. I enjoy threads which range widely and engage with other cultures and literature. Thank you for the breath of fresh air you bring to textkit.
Ditto! Sean, thanks to you I've learned about ancient gardens, τειχοποιία, a lot about prosody that perhaps I might not have researched otherwise, (the list really could go on and on)but mostly for forcing me to read critically, a skill I don't practise often enough. Much as I love Tom Holt or A. Lee Martinez or Perry Rhodan novelettes, they're just not as much fun when read critically. (They call for another skill-total suspension of belief!)

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by mwh » Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:27 pm

Tritto! (A bastard formation, since ditto is detto, but a good one.) Very interesting post Sean, thanks for posting. As for scansion, work-songs tend to have very simple and primitive rhythms, but with this one as with others the text abstracted from its performance is just not enough. With this Lesbian grinding-chant (note Eresos), ἄλει μύλα ἄλει is not very revealing without its actual delivery, which no doubt matched the woman’s action in operating the mill, and I don’t know enough about that. In strictly metrical terms it should be u—u—u— (unless μύλα was correpted), three iambs, but it could be set to other rhythms, and it could even be that the accents marked the beat.

What follows,
καὶ γὰρ Πιττακὸς ἄλει μεγάλας Μυτιλάνας βασιλεύων.
falls easily into line with traditional Lesbian rhythms, provided that ἄλει is now taken as imperfect, with augmented alpha. (That’s evidently how the translation takes it, but I’m not sure that’s right.)
———uu——|uu—uu——uu——.
If we have to attach labels, an ugly business, this is a “pherecratean” followed by an “ionic trimeter” with syncopated first foot. (The dactylic hexameter probably derived from verses like this. You can see the affinity.)

Sorry for bringing a breath of stale air.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:21 pm

Ha! Thanks everyone, I don't mind the silence at all as long as I know everyone isn't thinking "Oh god, here goes Sean wanging on about bloody clothmaking again".
mwh wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:27 pm
If we have to attach labels, an ugly business, this is a “pherecratean” followed by an “ionic trimeter” with syncopated first foot. (The dactylic hexameter probably derived from verses like this. You can see the affinity.)
I actually came a cropper trying to force some kind of hexameter out of the last two lines because of the dactyl-spondee ending, so that makes sense.

Thanks for coming to my aid, I have a lot yet to learn about Greek metre and I sensed this would be complicated or at least difficult to search. I'm aware when I write things like "I'd be interested to know more about the scansion" I'm effectively lighting the Bat-Signal and hoping you'll swing by.
mwh wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:27 pm
Sorry for bringing a breath of stale air.
Pish you are the Zephyrus of this ever-blooming orchard.
mwh wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:27 pm
With this Lesbian grinding-chant
No comment
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:13 pm

mwh wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:27 pm
καὶ γὰρ Πιττακὸς ἄλει μεγάλας Μυτιλάνας βασιλεύων.
falls easily into line with traditional Lesbian rhythms, provided that ἄλει is now taken as imperfect, with augmented alpha. (That’s evidently how the translation takes it, but I’m not sure that’s right.)
Are you suggesting something like 'For even Pittacus (ruling great Mylitene!) grinds' to bring out the idea of the women performing a task which is not seen as too lowly for a ruler?
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by jeidsath » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:44 pm

I've been reading through the first book of Diogenes Laertius to get more a sense of the context of his various quotes, and he provides a different answer. Speaking of Pittacus:

Τοῦτον Ἀλκαῖος σαράποδα μὲν καὶ σάραπον ἀποκαλεῖ διὰ τὸ πλατύπουν εἶναι καὶ ἐπισύρειν τὼ πόδε· χειροπόδην δὲ διὰ τὰς ἐν τοῖς ποσὶ ῥαγάδας, ἃς χειράδας ἐκάλουν· γαύρηκα δὲ ὡς εἰκῆ γαυριῶντα· φύσκωνα δὲ καὶ γάστρωνα ὅτι παχὺς ἦν· ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ ζοφοδορπίδαν ὡς ἄλυχνον· ἀγάσυρτον δὲ ὡς ἐπισεσυρμένον καὶ ῥυπαρόν. τούτῳ γυμνάσιον σῖτον ἀλεῖν, ὥς φησι Κλέαρχος ὁ φιλόσοφος.

So it was for weight loss. (I sympathize.)
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by mwh » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:58 pm

Sean, I was simply wondering if the ditty was originally contemporary with Pittacus’ rule, in which case ἄλει would be present tense, but that would create a problem for the meter unless the properly short alpha were lengthened. I guess imperfect is right, so the alpha is properly long. But I’d assume the grinding is sexual rather than political, let alone literal; Plutarch was a very naive (and moralistic) reader.
As for Lesbian grinding, well, Lesbian, like queer, is something that has changed its meaning. But I fancy grinding hasn’t.

Aeolic versification is older than Ionic, so it’s reasonable to look to that for origin of dact.hex. (Cf. JHS 96, 1976, 202f., one of my earliest reviews.)

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by jeidsath » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:14 am

I suppose not everybody gets to grow up near Indian reservations. Here is a Zuni corn grinding chant:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8jch0r7hOw

Beyond that, any cryptic sexual/political meaning here is hard to reconcile with the Clearchus quote.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:25 am

mwh wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:58 pm
Sean, I was simply wondering if the ditty was originally contemporary with Pittacus’ rule, in which case ἄλει would be present tense, but that would create a problem for the meter unless the properly short alpha were lengthened.
Sorry, I was reading too much into your brackets.
jeidsath wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:14 am
I suppose not everybody gets to grow up near Indian reservations. Here is a Zuni corn grinding chant:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8jch0r7hOw

Beyond that, any cryptic sexual/political meaning here is hard to reconcile with the Clearchus quote.
Fantastic! They must have biceps like softballs.

I'm not sure I catch your last point. Isn't the point of a cryptic meaning that it's at least partially hidden behind an innocuous surface, especially if it's politically or sexually subversive? http://www.bbc.co.uk/culture/story/2015 ... ery-rhymes . I think it's quite common, too, that work songs and drinking songs have a call/chorus and then a variable element (/verse) which can be used expressively or subversively (depending on who's listening). I wonder whether here ἄλει μύλα ἄλει might be a kind of chorus that could then be fleshed out with different 'reasons' in the next two lines, Pittacus' grinding being just one example.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by jeidsath » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:02 pm

The point is that the idea that milling chants are inherently dirty because they involve grinding is the opposite of reality. They are normal in cultures that need to hand mill food. If you want to read something dirty or political into one, you need some sort of evidence. You can't just assume it. Sometime a woman ἄλει μύλη is really just a woman ἄλει μύλη.

This one gets yucked at too: ἔσονται δύο ἀλήθουσαι ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό, ἡ μία παραλημφθήσεται ἡ δὲ ἑτέρα ἀφεθήσεται.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:22 pm

105 αἱ δʼ ἱστοὺς ὑφόωσι καὶ ἠλάκατα στρωφῶσιν

Back to waulking - the Loeb Greek Lyric III has a section with 'occupational songs' that contains both the grinding song above and the following:

πλεῖστον οὖλον οὖλον ἵει, ἴουλον ἵει.

"A sheaf, a sheaf, send, send a great sheaf" (Edmonds)

It's recorded in Athenaeus (I've copied the translation below), who says it is either a sheaf-binding or, perhaps, a wool-working song (depending on how we take οὖλος/ἴουλος), so possibly "A skein, a skein..."?

I find myself singing this to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down", which rhythmically might be quite far off the mark.

Athenaeus says the names of the different types of work song were:
  • ἴουλος - wool song/sheaf binding song like above.
  • ἱμαῖος - sung when grinding corn.
  • αἴλινος - sung when working the loom (also a lament).
  • καταβαυκάλησις - lullaby
    and a variety of other songs (possibly specific, rather than general classes like these).
Athenaeus, The Deipnosophists, Book XIV
Show
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... 008,001:14

Tryphon also gives a list of the different names of songs, as follows. He says—"There is the Himæus, which is also called the Millstone song, which men used to sing while grinding corn, perhaps from the word ἱμαλίς.. But ἱμαλίς is a Dorian word, signifying a return, and also the quantity of corn which the millers gave into the bargain. Then there is the Elinus, which is the song of the men who worked at the loom; as Epicharmus shows us in his Atalantas. There is also the Ioulos, sung by the women who spin. And Semus the Delian, in his treatise on Pæans, says—'"They used to call the handfuls of barley taken separately, ἄμάλαι; but when they were collected so that a great many were made into one sheaf, then they were called οὔλοι and ἴουλοι.. And Ceres herself was called sometimes Chloe, and sometimes Ioulo; and, as being the inventions of this goddess, both the fruits of the ground and also the songs addressed to the goddess were called οὖλοι and ἴουλοι: and so, too, we have the words δημήτρουλοι and καλλίουλοι, and the line—

πλεῖστον οὖλον οὖλον ἵει, ἴουλον ἵει.

But others say that the Ioulis is the song of the workers in wool. There are also the songs of nurses, which are called καταβαυκαλήσεις. There was also a song used at the feast of Swings,6 in honour of Erigone, which is called Aletis. At all events, Aristotle says, in his treatise on the Constitution of the Colophonians—“Theodorus also himself died afterwards by a violent death. And he is said to have been a very luxurious man, as is evident from his poetry; for even now the women sing his songs on the festival of the Swing.”

There was also a reaper's song called Lityerses; and another song sung by hired servants when going to the fields, as Teleclides tells us in his Amphictyons. There were songs, too, of bathing men, as we learn from Crates in his Deeds of Daring; and a song of women baking, as Aristophanes intimates in his Thesmophoriazusæ, and Nicochares in his Hercules Choregus. And another song in use among those who drove herds, and this was called the Bucoliasmus. And the man who first invented this species of song was Diomus, a Sicilian cowherd; and it is mentioned by Epicharmus in his Halcyon, and in his Ulysses Shipwrecked. The song used at deaths and in mourning is called Olophyrmus; and the songs called Iouli are used in honour of Ceres and Proserpine. The song sung in honour of Apollo is called Philhelias, as we learn from Telesilla; and those addressed to Diana are called Upingi.

There were also laws composed by Charondas, which were sung at Athens at drinking-parties; as Hermippus tells us in the sixth book of his treatise on Lawgivers. And Aristophanes, in his catalogue of Attic Expressions, say—“The Himæus is the song of people grinding; the Hymenæus is the song used at marriage-feasts; and that employed in lamentation is called Ialemus. But the Linus and the Aelinus are not confined to occasions of mourning, but are in use also in good fortune, as we may gather from Euripides.”
For anyone who's really interested, West also has a nice summary in Ancient Greek Music (pp.26-30).
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:22 pm

English translations:

Something that I thought was particularly notable about the Greek this week was how alliterative it is, lines 113-133 especially, which isn't just full of word-initial alliteration but plenty of assonance, often across multiple lines. "καὶ μηλέαι" / "καὶ ἐλαῖαι" (115/6), "ἀλλὰ μάλʼ αἰεὶ" / "ἄλλα δὲ πέσσει" (118/9) and then the repetition of the X ἐπὶ X motif (120-1).

Fagles is the only translator who tries to get this across in English, aspiring to Anglo-Saxon verse or cynghanedd at 104 - "some weave at their webs or sit and spin their yarn, / fingers flickering quick as aspen leaves in the wind / and the densely woven woolens dripping oil droplets" which reminded me of Hopkins's doomed poplars "My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled, / Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun" and that "dandled a sandalled / Shadow that swam or sank". Not really a fully-formed thought - the translations were actually quite similar this week considering how lovely the Greek is, but I will keep on the lookout for poplars in the wind! Apparently the aspen is quite rare in Scotland.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by Aetos » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:08 am

seanjonesbw wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:22 pm
For anyone who's really interested, West also has a nice summary in Ancient Greek Music (pp.26-30).
I just picked this up from the local library. I was hooked by page v.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:56 am

Aetos wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:08 am
seanjonesbw wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:22 pm
For anyone who's really interested, West also has a nice summary in Ancient Greek Music (pp.26-30).
I just picked this up from the local library. I was hooked by page v.
Let us know how it goes! I've only read snippets on google books. I worked my way through Stefan Hagel's book of the same name slowly but it's a much more technical work about theory and practice (I think Seneca would get quite a lot out of it) - I probably should have started with West.

For background listening while you read, I recommend this playlist of Hagel playing the aulos but also any video with Barnaby Brown in it who is a complete eccentric (e.g. or this very therapeutic video of him sanding reed clamps while singing the Seikilos fragment). He's been developing his own technique over the last few years. I heard him play the aulos live as the score to the David Greig adaptation of Aeschylus' Ἱκέτιδες, which was incredible. He talks a little bit in that video about how he messed it up (needless to say I didn't notice!). The circular breathing required is vein-poppingly intense.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by Aetos » Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:45 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:56 am
seanjonesbw wrote: ↑Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:22 am
For anyone who's really interested, West also has a nice summary in Ancient Greek Music (pp.26-30)
Aetos wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:08 am
seanjonesbw wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:22 pm
For anyone who's really interested, West also has a nice summary in Ancient Greek Music (pp.26-30).
I just picked this up from the local library. I was hooked by page v.
seanjonesbw wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:56 am
Let us know how it goes!
Will do! Anyone who can poke fun at himself in a preface is definitely worth reading, e.g. "I committed one of them (Delphic Paeans) to memory, and the next spring, when I went to Greece for the first time, on arriving at Delphi I sang it at the top of my voice in the ruins of the sanctuary where it had had its premiere 2,084 springs previously. My two travelling companions distanced themselves somewhat."

Thanks for the audio links! I'll listen to them a little later, after my bride wakes up.
Now back to Herodotus!

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by Aetos » Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:10 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:56 am
For background listening while you read, I recommend this playlist of Hagel playing the aulos but also any video with Barnaby Brown in it who is a complete eccentric (e.g. or this very therapeutic video of him sanding reed clamps while singing the Seikilos fragment).
Hagel - beautiful piece of music, well played
Barnaby Brown - my new favourite aulos player, better than Zen!
The Hammer - Brilliant co-star of video; who knew it could be so versatile?

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seneca2008 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:13 pm

seanjonesbw wrote: Aetos wrote: ↑Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:08 am
seanjonesbw wrote: ↑Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:22 pm
For anyone who's really interested, West also has a nice summary in Ancient Greek Music (pp.26-30).
I just picked this up from the local library. I was hooked by page v.
Let us know how it goes! I've only read snippets on google books. I worked my way through Stefan Hagel's book of the same name slowly but it's a much more technical work about theory and practice (I think Seneca would get quite a lot out of it) - I probably should have started with West.
I did read through rather quickly Hagel's book. But his preface says it is not an introductory work. ( "It is also not the intention of this book to provide a general introduction to its topics for the entirely uninitiated; fortunately there are other works that serve this purpose, which must be consulted by anyone concerned with our subject anyway, and to which I therefore often refer; above all Martin L. West’s Ancient Greek Music and Andrew Barker’s Greek Musical Writings.")

In another life maybe I will make study of this. Or perhaps I should take the great Seneca'a advice to heart. "...et tempus, quod adhuc aut auferebatur aut subripiebatur aut excidebat, collige et serva. Persuade tibi hoc sic esse, ut scribo: quaedam tempora eripiuntur nobis, quaedam subducuntur, quaedam effluunt. Turpissima tamen est iactura, quae per neglegentiam fit. Et si volueris attendere, maxima pars vitae elabitur male agentibus, magna nihil agentibus, tota vita aliud agentibus." (Ep.1) If only we used out time wisely we have plenty.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:54 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:13 pm
But his preface says it is not an introductory work. ( "It is also not the intention of this book to provide a general introduction to its topics for the entirely uninitiated; fortunately there are other works that serve this purpose, which must be consulted by anyone concerned with our subject anyway, and to which I therefore often refer; above all Martin L. West’s Ancient Greek Music and Andrew Barker’s Greek Musical Writings.")
Ok smarty pants but I'd already bought the book by then! 😀
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seneca2008 » Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:20 am

Sean

I know that you are not in ernest but I was trying to buttress what you had said and provide a note of caution for others.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:57 am

Fair point, and thank you for adding your thoughts. To anyone thinking of reading/buying Hagel's book, you will need a real interest in the reconstruction of ancient Greek music and a very solid grounding in music theory (mostly to see why things are relevant to what he's discussing. I certainly found myself asking this often enough). West's book will probably inspire the former but won't help with the latter. Hagel works from scattered and seemingly contradictory primary evidence to build a cohesive theory throughout the work, although some chapters can be taken on their own (I thought the auloi chapter was particularly interesting).
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seneca2008 » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:14 pm

seanjonesbw wrote:The best thing I've read this week was the section on ancient Greek gardens in A History of Garden Art by Marie-Luise Gothein. The second page deals with Alcinous' garden. Who knows how scholarship on changed since 1925, but I found it thought-provoking. In particular, it plays into the theme discussed last week of Alcinous' palace being not just fancy but 'Eastern'.
You might be interested in John Henderson's The Roman Book Of gardening. The Bryn Mawr review gives a flavour of his style. (http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2005/2005-05-22.html).

I met a charming academic (from Switzerland?) at a CA conference a few years ago who told me that when she spoke about Gardening her audience was full of ladies of a certain age who seemed most disappointed that her approach was political and cultural rather than practical.

On the subject of conferences I heard John Henderson talk about Seneca (he was probably writing his excellent Morals and Villas in Seneca's Letters: Places to Dwell). He talked about letter 57 which begins (at least on the face of it) with Seneca's journey from Baiae to Naples first going through the "crypya Neapolitana". He produced a hand out consisting of a very large black square covering almost the whole of the sheet, entitled " The Tunnel: the view within". A splendid example of his wit and capacity to parody even the act of giving a paper.

(I feel a certain license in your threads, Sean, to veer away from strictly Homeric points. Writing styles have been on my mind this morning. Apologies if this upsets others.)

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:59 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:14 pm
He produced a hand out consisting of a very large black square covering almost the whole of the sheet, entitled " The Tunnel: the view within". A splendid example of his wit and capacity to parody even the act of giving a paper.
Ha!
seneca2008 wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:14 pm
(I feel a certain license in your threads, Sean, to veer away from strictly Homeric points. Writing styles have been on my mind this morning. Apologies if this upsets others.)
Oh absolutely, fill your boots. I'm with Xenophon's Socrates; as long as we've had our σῖτος, it's no bad thing to indulge in a little ὄψον.
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:11 pm

I've been rereading Paradise Lost alongside the Theogony, and I thought the description of Eden in book 3 wasn't far off Alcinous' garden, so I'm going to leave it here in this thread for future historians of internet-based language learning communities to enjoy.

and overhead up grew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar and pine and fir and branching palm,
A sylvan scene; and, as the ranks ascend
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verdurous wall of Paradise up sprung;
Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neighboring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appeared, with gay enamelled colors mixed;
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams,
Than in fair evening cloud or humid bow,
When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed
That landskip; and of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair: now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils.

10/10 Milton 👌
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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seneca2008 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:25 pm

Thank you for posting Milton. I think perhaps we should have a thread at some stage on Milton and Vergil.

Did you see the British Museum exhibition "I am Ashurbanipal" ? A number of the reliefs from A.'s palace were illuminated by means of coloured lights which helped the viewer to follow more clearly the narrative depicted.

One of the reliefs was of A. relaxing in his garden. It stands in stark contrast to Alcinous' garden because the head of a defeated Elamite King hangs from a tree. Ashurbanipal's idea of paradise ( our word comes via a circuitous route from Assyrian?) evidently involved exalting in trampling on his defeated enemies. I did not come away with a positive impression of him, despite his fabulous library.

A picture can be seen on this BM blog https://blog.britishmuseum.org/who-was-ashurbanipal/.

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Re: Odyssey Reading Group: Book 7 Lines 103-132

Post by seanjonesbw » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:14 pm

Strange fruit indeed. Horrible. And someone had to carve it!

No I didn't catch it, unfortunately, but I do remember the ridiculous furore over the Ashurbanipal 'world king' socks donned by 'he who shall not be named except on the Academy board'. Interesting you should mention him though - when I was looking for information about the 'bronze walls' in the previous passage one of the things that came up were the slightly earlier Balawat Gates at the British Museum.

I'll start boning up on Latin for the Milton and Virgil thread.
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