Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

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bcrowell
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Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

Post by bcrowell »

In book 6 of the Iliad, I'm currently reading a scene where Hector confronts Paris in his apartments and scolds him. Both Hector and Paris seem to presuppose that Paris would have some objective reason to be angry, but there is some dispute as to whether he should be doing something different in response to his anger. (I may be getting this wrong -- my reading comprehension is poor.)

6.326 - Hector: δαιμόνι ̓ οὐ μὲν καλὰ χόλον τόνδ ̓ ἔνθεο θυμῷ,
λαοὶ μὲν φθινύθουσι περὶ πτόλιν αἰπύ τε τεῖχος
μαρνάμενοι·

6.335 - Paris: οὔ τοι ἐγὼ Τρώων τόσσον χόλῳ οὐδὲ νεμέσσι
ἥμην ἐν θαλάμῳ, ἔθελον δ ̓ ἄχεϊ προτραπέσθαι.

Because my pace as I go through the Iliad is pretty slow, I often have trouble remembering material from previous books. Why would Paris have any objective reason to be angry? It seems like he's got a good deal. Aphrodite lets him kidnap the world's most beautiful woman. Then when the Greeks show up to try to avenge the insult, Aphrodite magically protects Paris from harm and lets him spend his time having sex with Helen while the war goes on outside. He seems to have nothing to be angry about.
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Re: Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

Post by jeidsath »

The ancient commentators:

Image

Claim made there: All Helen's fault (of course), and that Γ452 shows the Trojans are upset at him first, and (it says) want to hand Helen over (all the stuff you took, in the second entry).

My own thought though, based on nothing, is that the χόλος is actually a rhetorical bant: "you must be really upset at us to be sitting it out, because only a real loser would do it when we're all fighting for you."

Interesting mirroring of Achilles.
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Re: Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

Post by bcrowell »

Thanks, Joel. That's very helpful.

Your interpretation makes more sense to my modern brain. But if we take Helen's shame at face value, and she's basically just Paris's chattel, then maybe from the ancient point of view it makes sense that he'd be mad. I might be angry if my fancy car broke down by the side of the road and embarrassed me by making me late for work. Me: Shame on you, car! Car: Oh, that I had never been manufactured.

The logic of shame and blame in the ancient world is just weird, like when the woman with a hemorrhage in Mark 5:25 is a social outcast (according to interpretations I've read) because blood is unclean. Likewise Jesus's anger with the leper, according to some manuscripts. There's also the fact that αἰδέομαι means both to be ashamed and to show respect. Sometimes it feels like I have to regress to the Piagetian level of a kindergartener to understand their emotions.
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Re: Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

Post by jeidsath »

I should be a bit clearer about "all Helen's fault", which is my jokey reference to the old complaint. What it says here explicitly is: "What sort of χολος? Entirely the χολος due to Helen. He had retreated from battle being angered by some of the Trojans..."

Re: Mark. I was stuck in an ER waiting room for a few hours last night, only thing to do was read, and I came across the same Mark 5 bit. Right then and there though, I had a bit of a different take on its applicability to social ostracization and shame behaviors based on health.
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Re: Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

Post by bcrowell »

jeidsath wrote: Sat Sep 03, 2022 5:45 pm Re: Mark. I was stuck in an ER waiting room for a few hours last night,
I hope everything turned out OK. Best wishes.
jeidsath wrote: Sat Sep 03, 2022 5:45 pm I should be a bit clearer about "all Helen's fault", which is my jokey reference to the old complaint. What it says here explicitly is: "What sort of χολος? Entirely the χολος due to Helen. He had retreated from battle being angered by some of the Trojans..."
Hmm...I had missed that part of the commentary. (Blame my laziness, slow reading, and bad comprehension.) I'm probably just misunderstanding something, but the active ἀποκεχώρηκε doesn't quite make sense to me here. I thought Aphrodite zapped him away, and the cause of the zapping was that he was going to get killed. Refreshing my memory from an English plot summary https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Ilia ... /Chapter_2 for speed, what I see is that the Greeks and Trojans are angry at *him* (and don't understand where he went, so they look all around for him). (Collins uses nonstandard chapter numbers.)
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Re: Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

Post by bcrowell »

This seems relevant: https://chs.harvard.edu/chapter/10-the- ... ads-genre/
The role of khólos in the speeches of Iliad 9, sheds light on a passage that has been troublesome since antiquity. In Il. 6.326 Hector uses khólos in a way that seems distinctly inappropriate. Hector reproaches Paris on Hector’s return to Troy in Book 6. The basis of the reproach is a certain khólos. Paris seems in fact to be angry at no one. What could motivate Hector to call Paris’s emotional state khólos?
I can't say I find their interpretation persuasive, though. The author (there's no byline that I can find) thinks χόλος is a name for a genre of poetry.
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Re: Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

Post by bcrowell »

The paper that people seem to refer to on this topic is this: Heitsch, E. (2001). Gesammelte Schriften, I, Zum Frühgriechischen Epos, 178–209. doi:10.1515/9783110961911.178

I ran it through google translate and tried to figure out the resulting word salad. This verse has bothered people since ancient times, and Heitsch says that modern people have reinvented a lot of the ancient people's explanations. So that seems to suggest that it's not just a difference in cultural values or a misunderstanding of the word χόλος.

The most plausible explanation people have come up with seems to be this. Hector wants his brother to come out and fight, but he can't accuse him of cowardice in front of his wife. Therefore he makes up a polite fiction that allows Paris the face-saving excuse that he left the battle in anger. That kind of emotion would be a foible that was allowed or even expected (according to classical tropes) for someone in Paris's position.
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Re: Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

Post by Paul Derouda »

It's been years since I read this, so there may be something I miss. But perhaps the polite fiction hypothesis is close to the truth. We are reminded of another hero who is away from battle, sulking - Achilles. The idea seems to be that the most natural (and acceptable) reason for heroes to be absent from battle is being angry with one's own people, Achilles being the prime example, and his heroism is beyond all suspicion.

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Re: Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

Post by seneca2008 »

Although it might not add much, here is what the commentary by G. S. Kirk says:
326 Hektor's mention of χόλος comes as a surprise (as it did to Aristarchus, Arn/A), since he might be expected to mention cowardice, slackness or effeminacy as his brother's motive; compare his reproach at 3.39-45. Yet at 521f. he will concede that Paris is not contemptible in battle, is ἄλκιμος even. That is an attempt to be conciliatory, and here, too, he seems anxious not to offend (see preceding n.); the city is, after all, in crisis. Emphatic τόνδ' might seem to suggest a more specific cause for resentment, like Antenor's proposal at 7.347-53, q.v. with nn.; that is improbable, but see e.g. Fenik, TBS 122, 238. At 335f Paris says it is not so much through anger and indignation Τρώων that he stays home: does that mean anger at the Trojans or anger belonging to them, i.e. against himself? The Trojans were furious with him after the duel in book 3, see especially 3.451-4, where they would gladly have handed him over to Menelaos; but then he might equally have resented that fury (as Arn/A suggests), and that is probably what his χόλος refers to here.
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Re: Why is Paris supposed to be angry in Iliad 6.326 and 335?

Post by Hylander »

Wouldn't you be angry if your brother barged in on you when you were relaxing with your wife and was about to start scolding you?
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