Page 1 of 2

### HELP with HOMER

Posted: January 17th, 2015, 1:45 pm
As a new years resolution I decided to get a decent grasp on Homeric Greek. I haven't read much of anything outside the NT, so I purchased Geoffrey Steadman's reader of Homer's Iliad books 6 and 22. I am starting with book 6. After reading 3 pages, I was already beginning to realize that it would be wise to have some folks smarter than me help me and make sure I am understanding things correctly. Steadman's notes are great but I could still use some help and I occasionally have questions. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Τρώων δ᾽ οἰώθη καὶ Ἀχαιῶν φύλοπις αἰνή:
πολλὰ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθ᾽ ἴθυσε μάχη πεδίοιο
ἀλλήλων ἰθυνομένων χαλκήρεα δοῦρα
μεσσηγὺς Σιμόεντος ἰδὲ Ξάνθοιο ῥοάων.

The terrible battle-cry of the Trojans and Achaians was abandoned;
and often the battle of (in) the plain pressed on (continued) here and there,
both sides directing bronze spears at one another
between the Simois and Xanthus rivers.

1) What is the force of ἄρα in line 2? I already see Homer using this particle a lot.
2) In line 3, Is it normal in Homer to have ἀλλήλων as the "subject" of a gen. absolute? It is a word without a nominative form because it can't be a true subject, so it is a little hard for my brain to grasp it as being the subject.
3) Was Homer's sole purpose of using ἰδὲ in line 4 a metrical purpose? Does it have the same exact force as καί?

### Re: HELP with HOMER

Posted: January 17th, 2015, 4:58 pm
First, I am not a person who is smarter than you are nor the person that you are waiting for to answer your questions, but I am interested in your questions. I hope you don't mind but I will give my 2 cents, and we can both wait around for the true answers to your questions.
Jordan Day wrote:1) What is the force of ἄρα in line 2? I already see Homer using this particle a lot.
This particle is difficult for me as well. Here I took it as "then". Looking at the end of book five, it appears that the gods are the ones who are doing the abandoning of the battlefield. Because of this I am tempted to understand "ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθ᾽" as the back and forth of the battle (one side is winning then the other) on the plain after they leave. I think what you have is most likely intended though.
Jordan Day wrote:In line 3, Is it normal in Homer to have ἀλλήλων as the "subject" of a gen. absolute? It is a word without a nominative form because it can't be a true subject, so it is a little hard for my brain to grasp it as being the subject.
I would say that the subject comes from the participle ἰθυνομένων. While [they] directing/aiming [their] bronze-tipped spears at each other.
Jordan Day wrote:3) Was Homer's sole purpose of using ἰδὲ in line 4 a metrical purpose? Does it have the same exact force as καί?
I am so far out of my ability I can hazard a guess about whether it is being used for metrical purposes, much less what Homer's sole purpose-if he had a sole purpose-was. I tend to think that it does have the same force as καί does here at least. From what you have written, I guess you have already consulted Smyth.

Now I will join you as we wait with bated breath.

### Re: HELP with HOMER

Posted: January 17th, 2015, 10:33 pm
Jordan Day wrote:...I could still use some help...

Τρώων δ᾽ οἰώθη καὶ Ἀχαιῶν φύλοπις αἰνή:
πολλὰ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθ᾽ ἴθυσε μάχη πεδίοιο
ἀλλήλων ἰθυνομένων χαλκήρεα δοῦρα
μεσσηγὺς Σιμόεντος ἰδὲ Ξάνθοιο ῥοάων.
χαῖρε, φίλε.

Gaza's Paraphrase, 6:1 ff: Τῶν Τρῴων δὲ καὶ Ἑλλήνων ἡ χαλεπὴ μάχη ἐμονώθη. πολλὰ δ' ἐνταῦθα κᾀκεῖσε ἐπ εὐθείας ὥρμησεν ὁ πόλεμος διὰ τοῦ πεδίου, ἀλλήλων κατ' ευθὺ βαλλόντων τὰ σιδηρᾶ δόρατα, μεταξὺ τῶν ῥευμάτων τοῦ Σιμοῦντος καὶ τοῦ Ξάνθου.

http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... 22&t=59559

### Re: HELP with HOMER

Posted: January 18th, 2015, 9:23 am
Jordan Day wrote:As a new years resolution I decided to get a decent grasp on Homeric Greek. I haven't read much of anything outside the NT, so I purchased Geoffrey Steadman's reader of Homer's Iliad books 6 and 22. I am starting with book 6. After reading 3 pages, I was already beginning to realize that it would be wise to have some folks smarter than me help me and make sure I am understanding things correctly. Steadman's notes are great but I could still use some help and I occasionally have questions. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Wes Wood wrote:First, I am not a person who is smarter than you are nor the person that you are waiting for to answer your questions, but I am interested in your questions. I hope you don't mind but I will give my 2 cents, and we can both wait around for the true answers to your questions.
I think that Wes speaks very modestly and says what is true of all of us who seek to respond to queries about Greek texts here. Some of us have spent longer exploring Greek texts and have enough experience to recognize some features of texts that may be helpful in dealing with the questions raised, but (a) I don't think any of us may legitimately claim to be 'smarter than you" and (b) it's best not waiting for the "true answers" to our questions; let's just hope for insight and assistance.

Τρώων δ᾽ οἰώθη καὶ Ἀχαιῶν φύλοπις αἰνή:
πολλὰ δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθ᾽ ἴθυσε μάχη πεδίοιο
ἀλλήλων ἰθυνομένων χαλκήρεα δοῦρα
μεσσηγὺς Σιμόεντος ἰδὲ Ξάνθοιο ῥοάων.
Jordan Day wrote:1) What is the force of ἄρα in line 2? I already see Homer using this particle a lot.
I'd go with LSJ (under "earlier usage") 2:
to draw attention, mark you! τὸν τρεῖς μὲν ἐπιρρήσσεσκον . . τῶν ἄλλων Ἀχιλεὺς δʼ ἄρʼ ἐπιρρήσσεσκε καὶ οἶος 24.456 ; with imper., ἀλλʼ ἄγε δὴ κατʼ ἄρʼ ἕζευ 24.522 : to point a moral or general statement, φευγόντων δʼ οὔτʼ ἂρ κλέος ὄρνυται οὔτε τις ἀλκή 5.532 .
Jordan Day wrote:2) In line 3, Is it normal in Homer to have ἀλλήλων as the "subject" of a gen. absolute? It is a word without a nominative form because it can't be a true subject, so it is a little hard for my brain to grasp it as being the subject.
I'm not convinced that this is a genitive absolute; I think it may be simply genitives dependent upon μάχη. You might compare the way genitive strings follow below nouns in the proem of Iliad 1. " ... the battle of (men) hurling brazen spears at each other"
Jordan Day wrote:3) Was Homer's sole purpose of using ἰδὲ in line 4 a metrical purpose? Does it have the same exact force as καί?
I'd be wary of equating the two words, but I'm perfectly happy to equivocate. I think that the old phrase "metri gratia" is a pretty useful excuse, sort of like explaining the inexplicable by appealing to God's will (they call that argument "philosopher's fatigue"). It may be a mistake, however, to say that's the only factor. Homeric verse composition, so says the theory, is a matter of an entire memorized trove of expressions in perfect metrical formulation that are to be fitted together like jigsaw puzzle pieces so as to form an intricate and intelligible pattern. Look how elegant line 4 is, and then consider how the short ε of ἰδὲ makes a long syllable with the Ξ of Ξάνθοιο -- and then consider how neatly those words and syllables balance out.

### Re: HELP with HOMER

Posted: January 18th, 2015, 9:56 am
Yeah, I'd go with that . My thanks to you both!

### Re: HELP with HOMER

Posted: January 18th, 2015, 10:42 pm
cwconrad wrote:Homeric verse composition, so says the theory, is a matter of an entire memorized trove of expressions in perfect metrical formulation that are to be fitted together like jigsaw puzzle pieces so as to form an intricate and intelligible pattern.
Wow, I had no idea that was the theory. That is wild... it seems so counter-intuitive.
Thank you for your assistance Carl. What you said about ἀλλήλων being dependent upon μάχη actually makes a little more sense to me than it being a gen. absolute like Steadman's notes say.

### Re: HELP with HOMER

Posted: January 18th, 2015, 11:28 pm
And thank you Wes for your interest, and Mark for the link to an Attic translation (very interesting and helpful).

Here are lines 6.5-11

5- Αἴας δὲ πρῶτος Τελαμώνιος ἕρκος Ἀχαιῶν
6- Τρώων ῥῆξε φάλαγγα, φόως δ᾽ ἑτάροισιν ἔθηκεν,
7- ἄνδρα βαλὼν ὃς ἄριστος ἐνὶ Θρῄκεσσι τέτυκτο
8- υἱὸν Ἐϋσσώρου Ἀκάμαντ᾽ ἠΰν τε μέγαν τε.
9- τόν ῥ᾽ ἔβαλε πρῶτος κόρυθος φάλον ἱπποδασείης,
10- ἐν δὲ μετώπῳ πῆξε, πέρησε δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὀστέον εἴσω
11- αἰχμὴ χαλκείη: τὸν δὲ σκότος ὄσσε κάλυψεν.

And Ajax, first son (eldest?) of Telamon, wall (shield) of the Achaians,
tore down the phalanx of the Trojans, and gave light (hope) to [his] comrades,
after striking a man who had been made (had been considered to be?) most excellent among the Thracians,
a son of Eussorus, Acamas, both noble and great [in stature?].
he struck him first (being first to strike?) [hitting] the crest of [his] horse-haired helmet,
it (the spear) stuck in his forehead, and the bronze spearhead penetrated into the bone,
and darkness covered both of his eyes. (Literally: With reference to him, darkness covered both eyes)

1) What is the correct understanding of πρῶτος in line 5, and then in line 9?
2) Does anyone see anything wrong with my translation and understanding of the text?

### Re: HELP with HOMER

Posted: January 19th, 2015, 6:40 am
Jordan Day wrote:
cwconrad wrote:Homeric verse composition, so says the theory, is a matter of an entire memorized trove of expressions in perfect metrical formulation that are to be fitted together like jigsaw puzzle pieces so as to form an intricate and intelligible pattern.
Wow, I had no idea that was the theory. That is wild... it seems so counter-intuitive.
The question resolved by this theory was: how did the ῥαψωδοί -- the oral singers of the Homeric epics who made the rounds of the palaces of noblemen in the archaic era -- memorize vast swatches of verse that they recited. The answer generally accepted is that they didn't actually memorize whole epic poems but that they committed to memory an encyclopedic array of phrases that fit together in particular metrical positions, items like παρὰ θῖνα πολυφλοισβοῖα θαλάσσης or πολύτλας δῖος ᾿Οδύσσευς -- and stitched them together to recite remembered plots, often with variations. It's a fascinating and complex story, one that you should learn a bit more about. For starters, read about Milman Parry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milman_Parry, the brilliant young man who traveled about Serbo-Croatia and recorded oral poets who sang vast amounts of verse at a time before audiences of all sizes, wrote two dissertations in French at the Sorbonne in Paris setting forth his theory of oral composition of epic verse https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral-form ... omposition and died of an accidental gunshot wound at the age of 33, after bringing about a revolution in the understanding of epic poetry in general and of Homeric poetry in particular.

### Re: HELP with HOMER

Posted: January 19th, 2015, 6:53 am
Jordan Day wrote:And thank you Wes for your interest, and Mark for the link to an Attic translation (very interesting and helpful).

Here are lines 6.5-11

5- Αἴας δὲ πρῶτος Τελαμώνιος ἕρκος Ἀχαιῶν
6- Τρώων ῥῆξε φάλαγγα, φόως δ᾽ ἑτάροισιν ἔθηκεν,
7- ἄνδρα βαλὼν ὃς ἄριστος ἐνὶ Θρῄκεσσι τέτυκτο
8- υἱὸν Ἐϋσσώρου Ἀκάμαντ᾽ ἠΰν τε μέγαν τε.
9- τόν ῥ᾽ ἔβαλε πρῶτος κόρυθος φάλον ἱπποδασείης,
10- ἐν δὲ μετώπῳ πῆξε, πέρησε δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὀστέον εἴσω
11- αἰχμὴ χαλκείη: τὸν δὲ σκότος ὄσσε κάλυψεν.

And Ajax, first son (eldest?) of Telamon, wall (shield) of the Achaians,
tore down the phalanx of the Trojans, and gave light (hope) to [his] comrades,
after striking a man who had been made (had been considered to be?) most excellent among the Thracians,
a son of Eussorus, Acamas, both noble and great [in stature?].
he struck him first (being first to strike?) [hitting] the crest of [his] horse-haired helmet,
it (the spear) stuck in his forehead, and the bronze spearhead penetrated into the bone,
and darkness covered both of his eyes. (Literally: With reference to him, darkness covered both eyes)

1) What is the correct understanding of πρῶτος in line 5, and then in line 9?
πρῶτος/η/ον is one of several adjectives that are often used in a quasi-adverbial sense with verbs. In both lines I would construe πρῶτος with the verb (lines 5-6: πρῶτος ... ῥῆξε φάλαγγα -- "first broke the formation" = "was the first to break the formation", line 9: τόν ῥ᾽ ἔβαλε πρῶτος "him did he smite first (of all the warriors he struck down)."
Jordan Day wrote:2) Does anyone see anything wrong with my translation and understanding of the text?
That's too broad a question, really. There's not one single right way to do this -- have you noticed how many English translations of the Iliad are on the market? I think that if you want suggestions from members of this forum, you'd do best to ask more pointed questions about particular items in the text.

### Re: HELP with HOMER

Posted: January 19th, 2015, 8:37 am
Jordan Day wrote:
cwconrad wrote:Homeric verse composition, so says the theory, is a matter of an entire memorized trove of expressions in perfect metrical formulation that are to be fitted together like jigsaw puzzle pieces so as to form an intricate and intelligible pattern.
Wow, I had no idea that was the theory. That is wild... it seems so counter-intuitive.
Thank you for your assistance Carl. What you said about ἀλλήλων being dependent upon μάχη actually makes a little more sense to me than it being a gen. absolute like Steadman's notes say.
Just a quick note here. I used several of Steadman's texts when teaching at the American Academy. They are print on demand texts, and Dr. Steadman is quite open to suggestions and feedback. I exchanged several emails with him when I found errors (there weren't many at all) and he responded very positively and made the changes necessary for the next printing.