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33

No. Introduction To begin with, the question Has Odysseus been unfaithful to his wife? would not make sense to the people of ancient Greece. Such a question presupposes that the Greeks had a concept of marital love and fidelity similar to ours, which they didn't. As Stephanie Coontz has pointed out, the idea of marriage as a partnership based on romantic ...


29

That's a poor translation, although an understandable one; it should be "Zeus". First I checked a number of other English translations of the Iliad; it was easy to find the relevant passage in each one, since it's the very first paragraph of the whole thing. Here are a few I found, with the corresponding phrase highlighted by me in each case: ...


21

TL;DR: Homer’s Ithaca is somewhere in the Ionian islands but his descriptions are hard to reconcile, so pending a really convincing archaeological find it is impossible to be sure how the descriptions relate to reality. Why do we think there might be a real ‘Ithaca’? An important first question, one that is often neglected, do we have any reason to expect ...


21

Apparently, because it was true. The Iliad as we know it was composed over some centuries, transmitted orally, before "Homer" synthesized the version that was written down. Practically every word in that last sentence is subject to debate, called the Homeric Question. But this is the version that I think is most generally agreed on, and which I think best ...


20

On the answer Much of the structure of this answer is based on the very clear history of The Odyssey and The Iliad written by Nicolas Bertrand in a 2009 Article (PDF). The primary sources discussed are the following, and I will try to reference them more closely in successive edits, but this is a process that takes time, as I relied on translations to write ...


19

A great deal of what is believed to have happened this long ago is based on accounts written centuries later and/or archaeological finds that are open to interpretation. If Homer did exist, it shouldn't surprise us that there would be no evidence of it. If Homer didn't exist, it shouldn't surprise us that for a couple thousand years most people said he did. ...


17

Modern literature very much disputes that Homer existed. Nothing is known for certain about Homer himself, and his very existence is now disputed; the Iliad and Odyssey may have different authors, if either can be said to have an author at all. The epics are certainly the product of a long oral tradition, probably dating back to at least the 12th century ...


16

The Greek is “Διὸς … βουλή” where “βουλή” means “will” and “Διὸς” is the genitive of “Ζεύς”, hence “will of Zeus”. So why did Rouse translate “Zeus” as “God” here? This is clearly a deliberate strategy and not a mistake (as suggested by the other answer), because Rouse makes this choice in many places in the text. Here are three examples, comparing Rouse’s ...


15

Whether the Iliad starts in the middle depends on what the subject of the poem is. If the subject is the whole Trojan War, then certainly the poem starts in the middle, and finishes well before the end. But is that really the subject? The opening line of the poem is: μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος That is, “sing, goddess, the rage of Peleus’ son ...


15

TL;DR: Aphrodite has disguised herself as a worker in wool, an occupation which Rouse stereotypes as northern English. Aphrodite’s speech here is book III, lines 390–394: δεῦρ᾽ ἴθ᾽: Ἀλέξανδρός σε καλεῖ οἶκον δὲ νέεσθαι. κεῖνος ὅ γ᾽ ἐν θαλάμῳ καὶ δινωτοῖσι λέχεσσι κάλλεΐ τε στίλβων καὶ εἵμασιν: οὐδέ κε φαίης ἀνδρὶ μαχεσσάμενον τόν γ᾽ ἐλθεῖν, ἀλλὰ χορὸν δὲ ...


14

Ulysses is the Latin form of the Greek Odysseus, stemming from the Sicilian or alternate Latin form Ulixes. The first instance of these forms in literature that I can find is in the Odusia by Livius Andronicus. This is an early translation of the Odyssey (third century BC). The only parts of it that survive are 46 lines from 17 books of the Odyssey, but ...


12

There was a whole cycle of poems detailing the Trojan war and its aftermath. See Wikipedia. Of these, only the two attributed to Homer have survived intact. So you could think of it as starting in the middle, or you can think of it as being one installment in a long series, most installments of which have now been lost. Much of the audience would have ...


11

I am not a linguist, but I think it's worth mentioning that the Odysseus→Ulysses transformation is a special case of something called the "Sabine L": some words that had "d" sounds in Old Latin (or in Greek) became "l" in later (classical) Latin. Examples include: lacrima in Latin from Old Latin dacrima, from Greek dakry from PIE *dakru- from which both ...


11

“Branch of Ares” is a literal translation of “ὄζος Ἄρηος”, for example in the passage quoted in the question: οὐκ οἶος, ἅμα τῷ γε Λεοντεὺς ὄζος Ἄρηος υἱὸς ὑπερθύμοιο Κορώνου Καινεΐδαο: τοῖς δ᾽ ἅμα τεσσαράκοντα μέλαιναι νῆες ἕποντο. Homer. The Iliad, book II, lines 745–747. Oxford University Press (1920). “Branch” here means “descendant”: it is a metaphor ...


10

The specific Butler passage you reference can be found on Perseus line 272-348. An alternate 1924 translation by A.T. Murray may also be found there. The Murray is quite distinct from the Butler in these passages, which got me wondering about the Greek because The use of "bootless" is undoubtedly wordplay referencing Achilles' famous heel. Murray's ...


9

I'm going to attempt an answer with the caveats that the materialists often find my etymological ideas on names to be poetic as opposed to scientific, and that I'd want to know what Graves thought but don't have access to his Greek Myths at the moment. Gallifreyan posted an excellent link to a scholar who pondered this question. My take on the essay is ...


8

Pope uses “grateful” in this sense: grateful, adj., 1. Pleasing to the mind or the senses, agreeable, acceptable, welcome. Oxford English Dictionary. and not in the more usual sense of “feeling gratitude”. So the meaning of the line is that Agamemnon’s massacre is pleasing to vultures, who will feast on the corpses, and not to wives, who will mourn their ...


8

He was probably familiar with Alexander Pope's version, which was the prestigious version at the time.1 It's likely that Keats wasn't enamored with this version. He was famously critical of 18th century poets, thinking their poetry too rule-bound and stifled. He expresses some of these criticisms in the poem Sleep and Poetry:1 Could all this be forgotten? ...


8

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: useless, unprofitable a bootless attempt So we can replace the word bootless like this: The oath he swore was useless, but it made Dolon more keen on going. The oath didn't mean anything, but it made him more keen anyway. The way I'm understanding it, it's saying that it won't be kept. As Rand said, I'm not ...


8

This is book IV, line 318: τὸν δ᾽ ἠμείβετ᾽ ἔπειτα Γερήνιος ἱππότα Νέστωρ: In A. T. Murray’s 1924 translation, that’s To him then made answer the horseman, Nestor of Gerenia: “ἱππότης” means “driver or rider of horses” and “Γερήνιος ἱππότα Νέστωρ” is a Homeric epithet, a repeated phrase fitting the rhythm of the poem. Here are some other appearances in ...


6

It likely has to do with a quote by Automedon later in the Iliad: “Alcimedon, what man beside of the Achaeans is of like worth to curb and guide the spirit of [Achilles'] immortal steeds, save only Patroclus, the peer of the gods in counsel..." Source: Iliad, 17.475, A.T. Murray trans. These horses were supernatural, reputedly the offspring of a harpy ...


6

tl;dr Yes, they can be read independently. On the nature of myth (hand-wavy background stuff) In a comment to your question, you note: these were originally oral traditions rather than written books.... [So] I suspect that the Odyssey doesn't require knowledge of the Iliad. This comment is spot-on, and gets to the heart of the matter. What does "...


6

The first case is book IV, line 92: ἀγχοῦ δ᾽ ἱσταμένη ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα: Here ἀγχοῦ = near; ἱσταμένη = standing; ἔπεα = words; πτερόεντα = feathered, winged; προσηύδα = spoke to, addressed. So literally, “standing near, [Athena] addressed winged words”. The second case is book IV, line 203: ἀγχοῦ δ᾽ ἱσταμένη ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα: This is ...


6

The anecdote appears in Plutarch’s life of Alcibiades: After he [Alcibiades] had finished his education, he went into a school, and asked the master for a volume of Homer. When the master said that he possessed none of Homer’s writings, he struck him with his fist, and left him. Another schoolmaster told him that he had a copy of Homer corrected by himself. ...


5

Hector is indeed threatening his own men. These lines are a translation of Iliad XV.343–351. ὄφρ᾽ οἳ τοὺς ἐνάριζον ἀπ᾽ ἔντεα, τόφρα δ᾽ Ἀχαιοὶ τάφρῳ καὶ σκολόπεσσιν ἐνιπλήξαντες ὀρυκτῇ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα φέβοντο, δύοντο δὲ τεῖχος ἀνάγκῃ. Ἕκτωρ δὲ Τρώεσσιν ἐκέκλετο μακρὸν ἀΰσας ‘νηυσὶν ἐπισσεύεσθαι, ἐᾶν δ᾽ ἔναρα βροτόεντα: ὃν δ᾽ ἂν ἐγὼν ἀπάνευθε νεῶν ἑτέρωθι νοήσω,...


5

Hector is urging his men to attack the Greek ships bravely, but without plundering them afterwards. He says: If you run away from the battle, or if you lag behind so that you’re not on its front lines, I will make sure you die a dishonorable death anyway. So don’t try to save yourself. Likewise if you stop to plunder the ships. Edit based on comment from ...


5

Collectively, the stories are called the Epic Cycle. They tell the whole story of the Trojan War, from the Judgment of Paris to the death of Odysseus. It includes the Iliad and the Odyssey (though the term "Epic Cycle" is often used just to refer to non-Homeric books). Like those two, the Epic Cycle is based on older, oral stories, possibly dating back as ...


5

The whole crew dies, except Odysseus. He started off to the Trojan war with a whole fleet of ships. Odysseus won the victory. Then he landed on the Achaeans land, allies of Troy. He lost 72 men there. Then he came to the island of the Lotus eaters. Where three of his men were 'drunk' from eating the flower and wanted to stay, but Odysseus tied them to his ...


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